'Battlestar Galactica' actor Terry Carter dies at 95


Terry Carter starred as Col. Saul Tigh in the original 'Battlestar Galactica' series, which ran from 1978 to 1979. Photo: Handout

Actor Terry Carter, who starred in TV's original Battlestar Galactica and McCloud, and the film Foxy Brown, has died.

Carter "died peacefully" at his home in New York City on April 23, his website announced. No cause of death was revealed. He was 95.

The website paid tribute to Carter and his trailblazing career, remembering him as "one of the first Black actors as a regular on a TV sitcom series." The Brooklyn-born star, who began his decadeslong career amid the civil rights movement, first gained TV notoriety for his time on The Phil Silvers Show from 1955 to 1959.

For more than 90 episodes, Carter starred as Pvt. "Sugie" Sugarman opposite Silvers' Sgt. Ernie Bilko. Despite a four-year tenure on the CBS sitcom, Carter's next major television role did not arrive until NBC's police drama McCloud hit the air in 1970. Carter starred as Sgt. Joe Broadhurst opposite Dennis Weaver's daring Sam McCloud.

Adding to his network TV spotlight, Carter most notably originated the role of Col. Saul Tigh in the original Battlestar Galactica series, which ran from 1978 to 1979 on ABC. As Tigh, a straightforward executive officer who helped the Galactica's operations run smoothly, Carter appeared alongside Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict and Lorne Greene, among others.

Carter's TV credits also included Playhouse 90, Mr. Belvedere, 227 and The Cop And The Kid. He also graced the silver screen during his career, appearing in minor roles in films including Parrish, Attraction, Brother On The Run, Foxy Brown and Benji.

Born to William and Mercedes DeCoste on Dec. 16, 1928, Carter pursued an entertainment career after enlisting in the U.S. Merchant Marine — under which he traveled to Europe and parts of South America, according to his website. After time at sea, Carter returned to New York, where he worked at the Museum of Modern Art, which exposed him to a host of avant-garde independent and foreign films and sparked his interest in entertainment.

He attended Northeastern University to study pre-law, but a growing interest in drama and theater derailed that path. After deciding to pursue acting full time, under the mentorship of actor Howard da Silva, he adopted the last name Carter as his stage name.

Performances in theatre productions including Greenwich Mews Theatre's Decision, Broadway's Mrs. Patterson and Finian's Rainbow at the City Center Theatre paved the way for Carter's medium- and genre-spanning career.

Carter was also a director and producer who earned an Emmy nomination for directing an episode of American Masters about the life of jazz giant Duke Ellington. He also directed and produced The Katherine Dunham Technique, a project that offered a deep dive into the trailblazing choreographer's teachings.

Carter served on the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' board of governors for two terms. He also founded Council for Positive Images, a nonprofit dedicated to "enhancing intercultural and interethnic understanding through audiovisual communication."

He is survived by wife Etaferhu Zenebe-DeCoste, children Miguel and Melinda, a granddaughter and many cousins. He was preceded in death by ex-wives Anna DeCoste (married 1964-1990) and Beate Glatved DeCoste (married 1991-2006). – Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service

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