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Terry Carter, pioneering Black actor, passes away at age 95


‘Phil Silvers Show,’ ‘McCloud,’ ‘Battlestar Galactica’

Terry Carter, the pioneering actor, documentarian, and broadcaster whose screen credits included the original “Battlestar Galactica,” “McCloud” and “Foxy Brown,” died on April 23 at his home in Manhattan. He was 95.

A statement posted on Carter's website did not disclose a cause of death but said he died peacefully at home.

Born John Everett DeCoste in 1928, Carter grew up in Brooklyn and attended several colleges, including Hunter College, Boston University, UCLA, Northeastern University, and St. John's University School of Law. He studied acting with Howard Da Silva in the early 1950s and played a number of roles in Broadway and Off Broadway stage productions during his early career, including “Mrs. Patterson,” in which he appeared opposite Eartha Kitt.

Carter's breakthrough screen project was “The Phil Silvers Show,” on which he played Pvt. Sugie Sugarman from 1955 to 1959 and was the only regular Black cast member. In the 1960s, he appeared on a number of TV shows, including the World War II drama “Combat,” where he was the only Black GI character in the entire series. Carter also served as an anchorman for Boston's NBC affiliate network WBZ-TV from 1965 to 1968, making him New England's first Black news anchor.

Carter appeared in many of his most prominent projects in the 1970s. After leading the 1973 Blaxploitation film “Brother on the Run,” Carter portrayed Pam Grier's boyfriend in the genre's seminal hit “Foxy Brown” in 1974. That same year, he played a police officer in the dog-centric family film “Benji.” Carter also portrayed second-in-command Colonel Tigh on the sci-fi series “Battlestar Galactica” in the late '70s and Sgt. Joe Broadhurst, the protagonist's partner on “McCloud,” for seven seasons.

Carter launched his own production company, Meta/4 Productions, in Los Angeles in 1975. He and his company produced more than 100 educational documentaries, some of which were for the Library of Congress, PBS, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Among his most notable documentary projects were “Katherine Dunham Technique,” which captured the process of the titular choreographer, and “A Duke Named Ellington,” a two-part documentary.