Tom Alter, Indian film industry’s revered ‘Firang’, an American who fell in love with India and stayed—a third generation American in India—earned his acting spurs in Bollywood after a gold-medal winning stint at the Pune’s Film and Television Institute, and was awarded the Padma Shri, is no more. He died on Friday night at an early age of 67.
He was suffering from complications arising out of skin cancer and had been hospitalized for a while. He was taken back home on Thursday, where he breathed his last. He is survived by his wife Carol Evans, son Jamie and daughter Afshaan.
Alter, who was born in Mussoorie in 1950, studied at Woodstock School in the Himalayas and then briefly at Yale University in the USA before returning to India in the 1970s, started his career as a sports journalist. He was the first to interview Sachin Tendulkar, before the superstar was inducted into the Indian squad.
He has acted in over 300 movies, plus many television shows, apart from being an accomplished stage actor.
He has worked with renowned directors such as Satyajit Ray (in Satranj Ki Khilari), Shyam Benegal (Junoon), Manoj Kumar (Kranti), Raj Kapoor (Ram Teri Ganga Maili), as well as V Shantaram, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Manmohan Desai, Subhash Ghai, Chetan Anand and others.
His family released a statement, which said: “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.”
—India Legal Bureau