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Liverpool Actor Tom Baker

Tom Baker was born on Scotland Road area of Liverpool in 1934, to Mary Jane (Fleming) and John Stewart Baker. His father  was a steward in the Merchant Navy, and of English and Scottish descent, while his mother's family was originally from Ireland. Tom, along with his younger sister, Lulu, and younger brother, John, was raised in a poor Catholic community by his mother, a house-cleaner and barmaid, who was a devout Catholic, and his father, a sailor, who was rarely at home. He is best known for his acting role as the Fourth Doctor in Doctor Who.

Tom Baker left school at 15 to become a monk with the Brothers of Ploermel on the island of Jersey. Six years later, he abandoned the monastic life and performed his National Service in the Royal Army Medical Corps., where he became interested in acting. He then served on the Queen Mary for seven months as a sailor in the Merchant Navy. After he left the Merchant Navy he attended the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama in Kent, England, on a scholarship.

Tom acted in repertory theatres around Britain until the late 1960s when he joined up with the National Theatre, where he performed alongside Maggie Smith, Anthony Hopkins and Laurence Olivier, who helped him get his first prominent film role as Rasputin in Nicholas and Alexandra (1971). His performance in this film earned him two Golden Globe Award nominations, one for best actor in a supporting role and another for best new star of the year. A couple of years earlier in 1967, he made his theatrical film debut in The Winter's Tale.

He continued to get parts in films, including The Canterbury Tales (1972), The Vault of Horror (1973), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) and The Mutations (1974), but in spite of these roles he found himself in a career lull and was working as a labourer at a building site. However, this wasn’t to last for long as the BBC's Head of Serials, William Slater, who had directed Baker in BBC Play of the Month in 1965, recommended him to producer Barry Letts, who was looking for a replacement for Jon Pertwee as the Fourth Doctor in Doctor Who. Tom Baker's performance in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) convinced Letts that he was right for it and it brought Baker international fame and popularity. He played the role for seven years, longer than any actor before or since.

Tom is the longest-serving actor to have portrayed the Doctor in Doctor Who, having played the role for seven seasons from 1974 to 1981, a total of 172 episodes. In second place is his immediate predecessor, Jon Pertwee, who played the Third Doctor for five seasons from 1970 to 1974.

After leaving Doctor Who in 1981, Tom returned to theatre and made occasional television and film appearances, playing Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1982, Puddleglum in The Chronicles of Narnia story The Silver Chair in 1990 and Hallvarth, Clan Leader of the Hunter Elves, in Dungeons and Dragons.

Tom Baker was cast as a narrator of Little Britain on BBC Radio 4 and remained in the role when it transferred to television. Baker has suggested that he was chosen for the part in Little Britain due to his popularity with Lucas and Walliams, part of the generation to whom he is the favourite Doctor. "I am now being employed by the children who grew up watching me", he stated in a DVD commentary.

Tom Baker in 2010
By Legend Photography 
Baker's first marriage in 1961 was to Anna Wheatcroft, niece of rose grower Harry Wheatcroft, whom he met and began dating when they were both students in acting school. They had two sons, Daniel and Piers, but divorced in 1966. Baker lost contact with his sons until a chance meeting with Piers in a pub in New Zealand allowed them to renew their relationship. In December 1980 he married Lalla Ward, who had co-starred in Doctor Who (playing his companion Romana) with him for two years. However, 16 months later in April 1982, the marriage dissolved, and the pair divorced. Baker married for a third time in 1986, this time to Sue Jerrard, who had been an assistant editor on Doctor Who. In November 2006, Baker who had been living in France, returned to live in England, initially buying a house in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, before later moving to East Sussex.


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