Pioneering Hollywood actor Terry Carter issued a statement to Heavy on Friday night after he was wrongly reported dead by a number of top media outlets in a case of mistaken identity following the fatal hit and run involving rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight.
“I feel like a character in a novel who comes back and finds out all the people who care whether he is gone or not. The reactions, the calls, the tweets, the texts have been nothing short of overwhelming. (Not one “good riddance” has come to my attention!),” he said.
“Let me say, for the record, that I have no intention of leaving this planet any time soon. I meant it when I said that I’m shooting for 150!,” added Carter, who is 86.
Established entertainment and news sites including People , Entertainment Weekly , Billboard and the international news agency UPI all reported that the elderly actor was dead in the aftermath of the incident in Compton, California.
But in his statement to Heavy, Carter added: “I used to say, as most actors did, ‘Who cares what they say about me, as long as they spell my name right.’ I’m here to tell you, I take that back!”
On Friday morning, it was confirmed that the Terry Carter who died was a 55-year-old music producer and TMZ also reported he worked at a local tow truck company in Compton and was “an OG in the neighborhood.”
Carter was said to have known Knight and was on the set of upcoming biopic about the group N.W.A. called Straight Outta Compton
Hollywood star Carter, who was living in New York, is best known for his roles on science-fiction series Battlestar Galactica, western drama McCloud and the movie Foxy Brown.
His statement, issued through spokeswoman Lisbeth Oden, read: “Terry Carter, co-star of the classic sci-fi TV series Battlestar Galactica and the long-running series McCloud is alive and well, despite press to the contrary, stating that he was a victim in the recent accident allegedly involving Marion “Suge” Knight, in Los Angeles.
“Happily, I don’t even know the guy”, Carter responded when asked how his name showed up in articles in TMZ, Entertainment Weekly, CinemaBlend, and on many Facebook pages, among others. He got a call from a CNN reporter, asking him to verify that he was still among us.
“Carter, also a filmmaker, is residing in New York. He was producer-director of the award-winning documentary, “A Duke Named Ellington” which was nominated for an Emmy and he is the producer of “The Katherine Dunham Dance Technique”, a dance documentary he created for the U.S. Library of Congress. Terry is in the early stages of developing a motion picture project and is leisurely writing his memoirs.”
According to TMZ, witnesses said Knight fled to his car after a fight broke out with two crew members. Two original members of the group, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, were present at the filming.
The victim was reportedly walking around the car to get into the passenger seat when the car reversed into him at about 2.55 p.m. on Thursday.
Lt. John Corina, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s detective unit, said Knight got involved in a dispute on the movie set and is thought to have followed two men to Tam’s burger bar where he allegedly ran over them in the parking lot about 20 minutes later.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Corina added that witnesses saw the truck hit the men and then roll back over them before fleeing the scene in his red Ford 150 truck. He turned himself in to police in the early hours of Friday morning and was charged with murder at 3am. The rap mogul’s bail was set at $2 million.
“It was an argument,” Lt. Corina said of the deadly confrontation before Knight surrendered. “They’re acquaintances. I’m sure they know each other. And it just went bad.”
The confusion did, however, draw attention to the actor Terry Carter’s distinguished acting career on film, stage and TV.
Here’s what you need to know about the Hollywood star and his trailblazing acting bio:
1. He Was 2nd in Command on ‘Battlestar Galactica’
Terry Carter is best known for his co-starring role as ‘Colonel Tigh’ in the popular science fiction TV series ‘Battlestar Galactica.’
Following the success of the Star Wars trilogy on the big screen, Battlestar Galactica:Saga of a Star World was originally made in 1978 as a special effects-laden one-off that became the most expensive film ever made for television.
Carter co-starred with TV legends like Lorne Greene from Bonanza, Ray Milland and Alfred Hyde White. He was originally supposed to play the part of “Lt. Boomer,” but broke his ankle just before the shoot while roller skaing with his daughter and was later recast as the No. 2 officer on the starship fleet. The film cost so much money it was turned into a $1 million-per-episode TV series that was cancelled after one season.
Carter returned to the role in the 1999 trailer for Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming in an attempt to revive the original show.
2. He Played The Sidekick on ‘McCloud’
The actor played Sgt. Joe Broadhurst on the western detective series McCloud with co-star Dennis Weaver for seven years from 1970 to 1977. The hit show was directed by Glen Larson, who went on to cast Carter in Battlestar Galactica.
Carter chose the part over two other offers. The other shows floundered while McCloud went on to be one of the biggest shows of the seventies.
3. He Was One of The First Black Actors to Get Equal Billing as a TV Sitcom Regular on ‘The Phil Silvers Show’
In 1956, Carter was one of the first black actors on equal footing as a regular on a TV sitcom, playing Private Sugarman on The Phil Silvers Show. The ground-breaking hit, also known as “The Sgt. Bilko Show” ran for four years and was the forerunner of later military-based favorites like McHale’s Navy and Hogan’s Heroes.
His acting career began in 1952 and he was an accomplished stage actor, landing his first lead role on Broadway in 1954 opposite the legendary Eartha Kitt in the play, Mrs Patterson.
4. He Was the World’s First Black TV Anchor
Born in Brooklyn, New York, on December 16, 1928, his real name was John E. DeCoste. He enlisted in the merchant marine after graduating high school and visited post-war Germany, where his ship carried concentration camp survivors to new homes in South America.
After six months at sea, Carter worked as a mail clerk at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, where he became a lover of arts and movies. It was about this time, as he considered a career in drama, that he changed his name to ‘Terry’ after the hero of the ‘Terry and the Pirates’ cartoon. He switched to the more English-sounding Carter thinking it would help him become established in the acting world.
Although he found some success as a stage and TV actor, winning mostly smaller parts, he was offered a newscaster job for WBZ-TV Eyewitness News in Boston and spent three years as the face of the flagship news show. He also became Boston TV’s first opening night drama and movie critic.
5. He Was Inducted Into The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
In 1980, Carter was elected to the Board of Governors of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, where he served two terms and three years later he was inducted into the organization behind the Oscars.
One of the movies he is best known for is Foxy Brown, the 1974 cult hit co-starring Pam Grier.
In 1991, he was sent to China by the United States Information Agency on a culture tour to lecture on his experience as an actor and filmmaker in the US.
He lived in Sweden with Etta, his second wife, for 19 years before moving back to the United States in 2013.