Happy birthday Sylvester McCoy!

Sylvester McCoy in 2008
Sylvester McCoy in 2008

Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith, this is his real name, was born on August 20, 1943 in Dunoon, Scotland. His father was an officer who served in a British submarine and was killed during World War II before his son was born.

During his teenage years, he entered the seminary to become a priest. For a time he thought of becoming a monk but attending a regular school his interest towards his female fellow students convinced him to abandon the idea of priesthood and monasticism.

After moving to London for what was originally just a holiday, he worked in the insurance industry and other jobs. After a few years he started working in the entertainment industry along with actors such as Bob Hoskins. He acquired a certain fame playing a stuntman named Sylveste McCoy, who for a mistake made by a reviewer was mistaken for a real person. Kent-Smith decided to adopt it as a stage name by adding an “r” at the end of the first name and from that day on he was known as Sylvester McCoy.

Sylvester McCoy and some of his colleagues were discovered while busking and obtained a number of contracts for musical performances. McCoy worked more and more often also in theater and television, becoming famous in children’s programs.

In 1987, Sylvester McCoy became the Seventh Doctor in “Doctor Who”. It was the most turbulent period for the show: the BBC executives had already tried to shelve it once, the budget was getting tighter and tighter and the episodes had been moved several times in the schedule. Initially, the Seventh Doctor’s adventures had a light tone but after the first season the character of the Doctor became darker and more manipulative.

Despite an improvement in the quality of its last season, “Doctor Who” was canceled in 1989. Subsequently, Sylvester McCoy continued his acting career in theater, on television, on radio and occasionally in movies.

In 2008, Sylvester McCoy guest starred on the soap opera “Doctors”, in which he played an actor who in the past used to be the star of a television series called “The Amazing Lollipop Man” whose hero traveled through time. In short, a tribute to McCoy himself.

Sylvester McCoy has played the Doctor again in the television special “Dimensions in Time” in 1993 and in the TV movie in 1996 but also in the 1997 videogame “Doctor Who: Destiny of the Doctors” and in the 2001 webcast “Death Comes To Time”. Like the other actors still alive who played the Doctor in the classic “Doctor Who” series, he reprized his role in the Big Finish audio adventures that are still being published. In McCoy’s case, they fill the gap between the end of the classic series and the TV movie.

Recently, Sylvester McCoy is playing Radagast, one of the Istari or Wizards, in the movie “The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey” (2012) and soon you will be able to see him in the sequels “The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug” in 2013 and “The Hobbit – There and Back Again” in 2014. The role of his character has been extended compared to the novels giving way to the fans of the saga created by Tolkien to appreciate this actor.

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