Among Britain’s most recognizable (and many epic ) character actors, Tom Baker is famous for his record-setting seven-year stint as the Fourth Doctor at Doctor Who (1963). He had been born in 1934 at Liverpool, to Mary Jane (Fleming) and John Stewart Baker. Tom, together with his younger sister, Lulu, along with younger brother, John, has been raised in a bad Catholic neighborhood with his mum, a house-cleaner and barmaid, who had been a devout Catholic, and his father, a sailor, who was seldom at home.
At age fifteen, Baker left college to be a monk with all the Brothers of Ploermel in the island of Jersey. Six decades after, he left the monastic life and performed with his National Service in the Royal Army Medical Corps., where he became interested in acting. Baker subsequently served to the Queen Mary for seven weeks as a sailor in the Merchant Navy before attending Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama at Kent, England, on scholarship.
Baker acted in repertory theatres around Britain before the late 1960s when he joined up with the National Theatre, where he performed with these esteemed celebrities as Maggie Smith, Anthony Hopkins and Laurence Olivier, that helped him to get his first notable movie role as Rasputin at Nicholas and Alexandra (1971). His performance in this movie brought him two Golden Globe Award nominations, one for best actor in a supporting character and yet another for best new celebrity of this year. A couple years before, Baker had left his theatrical film debut in The Winter’s Tale (1967).
However, the BBC’s Head of Serials, William Slater, who’d led Baker at BBC Play of the Month (1965), recommended him to manufacturer Barry Letts, that was looking for a substitute for Jon Pertwee since the Fourth Doctor at Doctor Who (1963). Baker’s functionality in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) convinced Letts he was appropriate for this. It attracted Baker international popularity and fame. He played the job for seven decades, longer than any actor before or since.