Actor Tom Alter dies at 67 after long battle with skin cancer

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The demise of veteran actor and Padma Shri awardee Tom Alter is a huge loss for the Indian entertainment industry.

Tom Alter was awarded the Padma Shri in 2008. Among his notable roles are Satyajit Ray's "Shatranj Ke Khiladi", Shyam Benegal's "Junoon", Manoj Kumar's magnum opus "Kranti", Raj Kapoor's "Ram Teri Ganga Maili" and Mahesh Bhatt's "Aashiqui".

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Alter's family while informing about his sad demise in a statement 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.

Tom was an American-origin actor settled in India, and has worked in over 300 movies in the span of his career and also played iconic roles on TV. 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 past year and which had relapsed.

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The actor was born to American missionaries in 1950. He married Carol Evans in 1977 and is survived by his wife, son Jamie and daughter Afshaan. In fact, it was Alter who had interviewed a 15-year-old Sachin Tendulkar in 1989 ahead of India's tour to West Indies when the selectors were considering the teenage prodigy. His grandparents migrated to India from OH, the United States in November 1916. With a gold medal in acting from Pune's Film and Television Institute, Alter debuted in Bollywood with director Ramanand Sagar's Charas in 1976. Alter has also written columns on cricket.

Singer Mohit Chauhan wrote: "Saddened by the passing away of Tom Alter saab". Among his foreign films are Richard Attenborough's Gandhi and One Night with the King, in which he acted opposite his idol, the legendary Peter O'Toole.

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