Veteran actor Tom Alter was claimed by cancer in Mumbai on Friday night. He was 67 and had been in hospital for several weeks. He was taken home on Thursday. A statement from the actor's family said, "It is with sadness we announce the death of Tom Alter, actor, writer, director, Padma Shri, and our dear husband and father." His son Jamie revealed earlier this month that Mr Alter had been diagnosed with stage four of a skin cancer - called a squamous cell carcinoma - that he had been treated for last year and which had relapsed.
- Tom Alter had been in hospital for several weeks
- Tom Alter was of American descent and a native of Mussoorie
- Mr Alter is best known for his role in Shatranj Ke Khiladi and Kranti
Tom Alter, a familiar face from film, TV and theatre, was of American descent and a native of Mussoorie, where he grew u and went to school. He was born to American missionaries in 1950. Tom Alter's grandparents came to India from Ohio in 1916, settling in Lahore. After Partition, Tom Alter's father, who was born in Sialkot, moved to India.
Tom Alter attended Mussoorie's Woodstock School and then sent a year at Yale. He returned to India, aged 19, and found work as a teacher at St Thomas School in Jagadhri, Haryana. It was in Jagadhri that the actor in him was roused, reportedly after he watched Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore in the 1969 film Aradhana. Tom Alter eventually studied at Pune's Film and Television Institute of India, graduating in 1974. His batchmates included Vijayendra Ghatge, Benjamin Gilani and Rama Vij; Shabana Azmi was a year above him, Naseeruddin Shah a year below.
Tom Alter's early film work includes some of his most notable roles - he played British officers in Satyajit Ray's Shatranj Ke Khiladi and Kranti, starring Dilip Kumar and Manoj Kumar; he was cast as a doctor in Richard Attenborough's Gandhi, Lord Mountbatten in Ketan Mehta's Sardar, and the gangster Musa in Parinda. Tom Alter's screen credits include Aashiqui, Junoon, Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Karma, Veer Zaara and Bheja Fry. He worked in Bengali, Assamese and Telugu cinema and also co-starred with Peter O'Toole in One Night With The King.
Tom Alter starred in the TV shows Zabaan Sambhalke, Bharat Ek Khoj, Betaal Pachisi, Captain Vyom and Shaktimaan.
His last big screen appearance was in this year's Sargoshiyan, set in Kashmir and co-starring Alok Nath and Farida Jalal. He also appeared on the TV series Rishton Ka Chakravyuh.
Tom Alter, wo received the Padma Shri in 2008, authored several books and also wrote columns on cricket for several publications. He married Carol Evans in 1977 and is survived by his wife, son Jamie and daughter Afshaan.