Tuesday marks the 71 birth anniversary of veteran Indian actor and artist, Thomas Beach Alter better known as Tom Alter. Born in the hill station of Mussoorie on June 22, 1950, Alter was the grandson of American Presbyterian missionaries who first came to India in 1916. He grew up in north Indian towns of Rajpur and Mussoorie, and studied at Woodstock School. Alter learnt the craft of acting at Film and Television Institute of India at Pune. After graduating from FTII, he started his prominent career in the Indian cinema and theatre. The actor passed away on September 29, 2017.
On his 71st birth anniversary, let us take a look at some of the lesser-known facts about the artist:
1. At the time Alter had applied for the FTII in June 1972, he was one of two people selected out of more than 1000 applicants that year. The actor studied with the likes of Benjamin Gilani, Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Mithun Chakraborthy and others at the institute.
2. Before becoming an actor, Alter was a teacher. It was while teaching at a school in Jagadhri, Haryana, in the early 1970s that Alter perfected his Hindi language skills and fell in love with the Indian cinema. It is believed that movies of the time like Rajesh Khanna-starrer Aradhana inspired him to apply for FTII.
3. Alter’s first release was Ramanand Sagar’s Charas in which he played actor Dharmendra’s CID boss. However, he got his first acting break in Dev-Anand starrer Sahib Bahadur, directed by Chetan Anand.
4. Besides being an actor, Alter was also a renowned sports journalist and television presenter. The actor was the first person to interview Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar on television. In 2017, when the news of Alter’s demise came out, Sachin posted a throwback screengrab from his first television interview remembering the actor.
5. Alter was also a keen writer and wrote three books -one non-fiction Flashback: My Life And Times In Bollywood And Beyond andtwo fictions,The Longest Race and Rerun at Rialto.