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|Born||Roger Caesar Marius Bernard de Delgado Torres Castillo Roberto
1 March 1918
Whitechapel, London, England, UK
|Died||18 June 1973
|Cause of death||Car crash|
|Known for||First actor to play The Master
in Doctor Who (1971–1973)
|Spouse(s)||Kismet Shahani (1957–1973; his death)|
Delgado was born in Whitechapel, in the East End of London; he often remarked to Doctor Who co-star and close friend Jon Pertwee that this made him a true Cockney, as he was born within the sound of the Bow bells, even though his mother was Belgian and his father was Spanish. He attended Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, a Roman Catholic secondary school in Holland Park, and the London School of Economics. He served in the Second World War with both the Leicestershire Regiment and the Royal Signals, attaining the rank of major.
Delgado married Kismet Shahani in 1957 and they were together until his death in 1973.
Delgado worked extensively on the British stage, and on TV, film and radio. He appeared in the 1955 BBC TV serial Quatermass II, the 1956 Powell and Pressburger wartime drama Battle of the River Plate, and came to wide popular attention in Britain when he played the duplicitous Spanish envoy Mendoza in the ITC Entertainment series Sir Francis Drake from 1961 to 1962, after which he was in much demand. An in-joke in the 1971 Doctor Who story Colony in Space refers to that role, when the Brigadier tells the Doctor not to worry as the suspected sighting of the Master "was only the Spanish Ambassador". Delgado was frequently cast as a villain, appearing in many noted British action-adventure TV series by ITC, including Danger Man (1961), The Saint (1962 and 1966), The Champions (1969), and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (1969).
Delgado made a total of 16 guest appearances in ITC shows, the most of any actor, with his last completed role being ITC's The Zoo Gang (1974). He also appeared in The Avengers (1961 and 1969), The Power Game (1966), and Crossfire (1967). His films included The Terror of the Tongs, The Road to Hong Kong, The Mummy's Shroud and Antony and Cleopatra. He began work as the Master on Doctor Who in late 1970, his first broadcast appearance being in the January 1971 adventure Terror of the Autons. He subsequently reprised the role of the Master in many of the Third Doctor serials, including The Mind of Evil, The Claws of Axos, Colony in Space, The Dæmons, The Sea Devils, The Time Monster and Frontier in Space. The Master's story arc was to have ended in The Final Game, which was planned as the final story to feature Pertwee's Third Doctor, but the story was scrapped following Delgado's sudden death and replaced with Planet of the Spiders.
Delgado died on location in Turkey, whilst shooting La Cloche Tibetaine, (Tibetan Bell), a Franco/German TV mini-series. This was portraying Citroen car expeditions in 1931-32 which traversed Asia, from Peking and one starting from Beirut. Delgado appeared in one episode of this production. He was killed, along with two Turkish film technicians, when the car in which he was travelling went off the road into a ravine. He was 55 years old.
Over the years there have been a lot of speculation over what became of Roger's remains. Some of the rumours have been that his widow could not afford to bring his body back home and left it to medical science in Turkey. Another is that he was cremated over there. And another rumour that he was cremated at Mortlake Crematorium in North London.
On the extras of the BBC DVD Doctor Who story "Frontier In Space" there is a lovely tribute documentary to Roger with the late Barry Letts saying that Roger was in fact cremated with most of the Doctor Who crew in attendance, so it is very likely that his funeral took place back in the UK.
The serial he was filming in Turkey continued production and was completed after his tragic death and that of the film technicians and the series was broadcast on French and German television in 1974-75, and Delgado can be seen in episode 4 as the minor character Paco.
|1952||Murder at Scotland Yard||George Grayson|
|1953||The Broken Horseshoe||Felix Galegos|
|The Captain's Paradise||Kalikan policeman|
|Blood Orange||Marlowe||Released as Three Stops to Murder in USA|
|1954||The Belles of St Trinian's||Sultan's Aide||Uncredited|
|Third Party Risk||Detective Gonzales||Released as The Big Deadly Game in USA|
|1955||Storm Over the Nile||Native spy|
|1956||The Battle of the River Plate||Captain Varela, Uruguayan Navy|
|Man in the Shadow||Alberto||Uncredited|
|Mark of the Phoenix||Devron|
|1959||First Man into Space||Mexican Consul - Ramon de Guerrera|
|The Stranglers of Bombay||Bundar||Uncredited|
|1960||Sands of the Desert||Abu Nial|
|1961||The Singer Not the Song||Pedro de Cortinez|
|The Terror of the Tongs||Tang Hao|
|1962||Village of Daughters||Francisco Predati|
|The Road to Hong Kong||Jhinnah|
|Guns of Darkness||Hernandez||Voice|
|In Search of the Castaways||Patagonian Prisoner|
|1963||The Mind Benders||Dr Jean Bonvoulois||Uncredited|
|The Running Man||Spanish doctor|
|1964||Hot Enough for June||Josef|
|1965||Masquerade||Ahmed Ben Faïd||Uncredited|
|The Sandwich Man||Abdul - Carpet Seller|
|1967||The Mummy's Shroud||Hasmid|
|1969||The Assassination Bureau||Bureau Member||Uncredited|
|You Can't Win 'Em All||Capt.Enver and two others||Voice, Uncredited|
|1972||Antony and Cleopatra||Soothsayer|
|1958||The Adventures of Robin Hood||Ambassador||Episode: The Minstrel|
|1959 - 65||The Third Man||Luis Mendoza / Henri Banear||4 episodes|
|1961||Danger Man||Von Golling||Episode: Under the Lake|
|1962||Z Cars||Gregori Katsybalis||Episode: Business Trip|
|1971||The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes||Silva||Episode: Madame Sara|
|1971 - 73||Doctor Who||The Master||37 episodes, recurring role|
|1974||La Cloche Tibetaine, (Tibetan Bell)||Paco||Episode 4
Filmed in Turkey. He was killed in a car crash during the production of this French/German TV mini-series, (Last appearance)
- The Making of Doctor Who, 1972, p. 31
- "Roger Delgado". Metacritic. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
- "The UNIT Family: Part Two". The Day of the Daleks (DVD special feature). BBC. 2011. ASIN B004VRO89C.
- "Funeral Directors and services - Roger Delgado". Family Announcements.
- "Kasterborous Doctor Who News and Reviews / Roger Delgado's Last Appearance: Found! - Kasterborous Doctor Who News and Reviews". Kasterborous Doctor Who News and Reviews.
- "La Cloche Tibetaine". La Cloche Tibetaine.
- "Exclusive First Look: The Final Curtain Part 1 - Doctor Who - Planet of the Spiders". YouTube. BBCClassicDoctorWho. 4 March 2011.