Padma Shri awardee and veteran theatre, film and television actor Tom Alter has passed away. He was 67.
He was battling skin cancer, and passed away on late Friday night at his residence in Mumbai. Indian actor of American descent, Alter was the son of American missionary parents. He was born in 1950 in Mussoorie. He studied at Woodstock School in Mussoorie and later at Pune’s Film and Television Institute.
The actor appeared in over 300 films which included Satyajit Ray’s acclaimed movie “Shatranj Ke Khiladi” and “Junoon”. His first Hindi film to be released was Ramanand Sagar’s Charas in 1976. His acting credits also include “Aashiqui”, “Parinda”, “Sardar Patel” and “Gandhi”.
In television, Alter’s work ranged from “Bharat Ek Khoj” to “Shaktimaan”. He also worked in Bengali, Assamese and Telugu cinema. A cricket enthusiast, he also wrote for several sporting journals and was a published author. His last film was “Sargoshiyan” with Alok Nath and Farida Jalal. The film released in May this year.
Alter’s presence in theatre has been noteworthy as well. His play, “In Ghalib In Delhi”, was performed across the country. He played the lead role of legendary poet Mirza Ghalib.
Alter was also a sports journalist and was the first person to interview Sachin Tendulkar for TV when the cricketer was yet to debut for India. The actor was awarded Padma Shri in 2008 for his services to the field of arts and cinema. Alter is survived by his wife Carol, son Jamie, and daughter Afshaan.
Mourning Alter’s demise, President Ram Nath Kovind offered condolences to the actor’s family. “Sad to hear of demise of veteran actor Tom Alter. He will be remembered by film lovers. Condolences to his family #PresidentKovind,” he posted on Twitter.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief and recalled Alter’s contribution to film and theatre. “PM expressed grief on the demise of Shri Tom Alter and recalled his contribution to the film world and theatre. He extended condolences to the family and admirers of Shri Tom Alter,” the official handle of PMO posted.