From being a teacher, journalist, writer, anchor, to turning actor and now a director, the extremely versatile Tom Alter passed away battling Skin Cancer on Friday.
The 67-year-old actor of American descent is survived by his wife Carol, son Jamie and daughter Afghan, Hindustan Times reported.
“It is with sadness we announce the death of Tom Alter, actor, writer, director, Padma Shri, and our dear husband and father. Tom passed away Friday night at home with his family and close family members in attendance. We ask for their privacy to be respected at this time,” a statement issued by his family read.
Born to American parents in Mussourie, India; Alter debuted in Bollywood with director Ramanand Sagar’s Charas in 1976. Fluent in Hindi, Urdu and knowledgeable of Indian culture, he had worked for noted filmmakers like Satyajit Ray in Shatranj Ke Khilari and is remembered for his role as a British officer in Kranti.
You musn’t have missed on ‘Samvidhan’?
Television gave him longer roles; none more famous than don Keshav Kalsi in Junoon, the unending 1990s DD serial. But it was in Shyam Benegal’s underfeted, Samvidhan (2014), where Alter produced one of his most nuanced performances. His flawless Urdu diction and rich, resonant voice made for a compelling and convincing Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
Remember our Shaktiman’s Mahaguru???
Long before kids fell in love with Albus Dumbledore’s snowy white long locks and beard, we had Mahaguru donning a similar look. Tom played the role of Mahaguru in hit Indian superhero TV series, Shaktimaan (original run from 1997-2005). He essayed the character of a powerful sage and sported the long white hair and beard while wearing a vermillion red robe, adorned with rudraksha all over the body and white teeka on the forehead.
And Captain Vyom?
Tom took over the role of a powerful world leader in Captain Vyom, which also aired in 1997. The highly successful sci-fi TV series set in the dystopian year of 2123, Tom was seen as Vishwapramukh – the World President and boss of Indian superhero, Captain Vyom played by Milind Soman.
He also acted in foreign films, notably Richard Attenborough’s Gandhiand One Night with the King.
Throughout his career, Alter was engaged with theatre, having co-founded Motley Productions with Naseeruddin Shah and Gilani in 1979. His prominent stage work includes the two-and-a-half-hour-long solo play in Urdu, ‘Maulana’, ‘Babur ke Aulaad’, ‘Lal Qile ka Aakhri Mushaira’, ‘Ghalib ke Khat’, ‘Trisanga’, ‘Teesveen Shatabdi’, Copenhagen’ and the theatrical reproduction of William Dalrymple’s ‘City of Djinns’.
From being just a “Gora” of our film industry to winning a Padma Shri in 2008, his multifaceted and yet extraordinarily talented life will keep on inspiring us!