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As well as his best-known role as The Master in Doctor Who, Roger Delgado was a familiar figure in other British TV series before his death on 18 June 1973. His striking saturnine appearance and sly expression elevated him into the ranks of the best small-screen villains. While some actors earnestly bemoan their struggles to shake off their typecasts, Mr Delgado insisted he enjoyed being seen as 'the most evil man in the universe'. But when the cameras stopped filming it was his light-hearted and amiable – yet surprisingly shy - character that made him so popular among fellow actors and film crews. Born in Whitechapel, London, on 1 March 1918, Delgado’s parents christened him with the less catchy name Roger Caesar Marius Bernard de Delgado Torres Castillo Roberto. A self-confessed Cockney at heart, he overcame his nationality barriers – his mother was Belgian and his father Spanish - to be accepted to fight in World War II. The war over, he joined the York repertory company, from which he progressed to the BBC Drama Repertory before dipping his toes into radio and television. Even on radio – without the advantage of his striking looks - his aptitude for making villainous characters come to life was clear as he played seismologist Gomez in the BBC radio serial The Slide. Mr Delgado made his film debut in 1953 in Captain’s Paradise before adding such credits as The Power and the Glory, Battle of the River Plate, First Man into Space, Terror of the Tongs and The Mummy's Shroud. Over on the small screen, he landed parts in The Three Musketeers, Quatermass II, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and The Saint, before winning the lucrative part of Spanish envoy Mendoza in the ITV film series, Sir Francis Drake. With his popularity soaring he made his Doctor Who debut as The Master in Terror of the Autons . He proved to be a natural in the role and went on to appear in a string of other Doctor Who programmes including The Dæmons, The Claws of Axos, The Sea Devils, The Time Monster, The Mind of Evil and Frontier in Space. While in Turkey, shooting what was to be his first comedy role in feature film Bell of Tibet, 55-year-old Delgado was killed in a car crash, along with a film technician. His death dealt a heavy blow to his Doctor Who co-stars including Jon Pertwee, who played the Doctor at the time, and of course his family – to whom he had been famously devoted.
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Viewed by: 8238 visitors. Uploaded: 45 years ago
Published in: Online.
Published from: June 18, 1973.
Region: National
Roger was a fantastic actor and I remember him fondly whilst partially hiding behind the sofa during Dr Who.Thanks for giving us so much entertainment in all of your familiar roles. Nasaar Shakir
Left by Nasaar Shakir: 28/03/2018
As a Classic Whovian, I honor Mr. Delgado on what would be his centennial birthday. Though I was not yet born during his time portraying the Master, I learned about his excellence in this role from watching episodes of Classic Dr. Who. May God have granted his family peace since the years of his Earthly passing. May his family also have comfort in their memories of him and in the body of work preserved for generations to come so they will be able to know about him and the roles he portrayed so well. Regards, William E. Plants
Left by William Plants: 01/03/2018
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