The renowned actor, author, sports writer and Padma Sri Tom Alter passed away at 67 on Friday night at his home in Mumbai. Tom Alter, who acted in more than 300 films, had been battling stage four skin cancer and was admitted to Saifee Hospital two weeks ago.
The veteran who was also known for his theatre performances, shot to fame with his very famous gangster character, Keshav Kalsi, in super-hit show ‘Junoon’. The show broke all the records and ran continuously for five years during 1990s.
Apart from his acting skills, Tom Alter was also a well known sports writer; Alter was the first person who interviewed Sachin Tendulkar before his debut in Indian cricket team. Tom Alter also wrote three books. Alter’s contributions to the fields of Arts and Cinema were also recognised by the government, in 2008 Tom alter was awarded the title of Padma Shri.
A statement released by the family members read, “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.”
Tom Alter was born June 22, 1950 in the hill station of Mussoorie and was a third-generation American in India. Alter completed his education from Woodstock School in the Himalayas and then briefly at Yale University in the USA.
In 1972, he was one of three men – the others being Benjamin Gilani and Phunsok Ladakhi – chosen from over 800 applicants across north India to be enrolled in at the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India in Pune.
Apart from leaving a mark in the television industry, he also acted in several movies. Tom Alter’s first release was Ramanand Sagar’s Charas in 1976, in which he played the role of Dharmendra’s boss, a CID official.
He also eassayed some notable roles in the starting of his career, with a few being Satyajit Ray’s Shatranj Ke Khiladi (1977), Shyam Benega’s Junoon (1979), Manoj Kumar’s Kranti (1981) and Raj Kapoor‘s Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985). In the 90s, Alter was seen in many films, prominent among them Mahesh Bhatt’s Aashiqui, Junoon and Gumrah, Ketan Mehta’s Sardar and Priyadarshan’s Kala Pani.