Thomas Beach Alter (born 22 June 1950) is an Indian actor of American descent. He is a television actor, best known for his work in Bollywood, and has also worked in the theatre.
In 2008, he was awarded Padma Shri by the Indian government.
A native of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India, Tom Alter is the son of American Christian missionaries of English and Scottish ancestry and has lived for years in Mumbai and the Himalayan hill station of Landour. His father was born in Sialkot, now in Pakistan. His elder sister Martha Chen has a PhD in South Asian Studies and his brother John is a poet and a teacher.
As a child, he studied Hindi and, consequently, he has occasionally been referred to as the “Blue-eyed saheb with impeccable Hindi.”
He studied at the Film and Television Institute of India. His major inspiration to enter films was Rajesh Khanna. He confessed in an interview “I still dream of being Rajesh Khanna. For me, in the early 1970s, he was the only hero — romantic to the core, not larger than life, so Indian and real — he was my hero; the reason I came into films and he still is.”
He is married, with two children, a son, Jamie, and daughter, Afshaan.
He is a life member of International Film And Television Club & International Film And Television Research Centre of Asian Academy of Film & Television.