Full name, Eric Richard Porter; born April 8, 1928, in London, England; diedof colon cancer, May 15, 1995, in London, England. Actor. Although he is bestremembered for his role as patriarch Soames Forsyte in the television adaptation of John Galsworthy's The Forsyte Saga, Eric Porter had a long and successful stage career before he began his work in television. His original training, however, was in electrical work. At the age of 15 he began attending Wimbledon Technical College and he later worked as a solderer for the Marconi Company. He also served briefly as an engine fitter in the Royal Air Force during World War II before being invalided out of the service. He made his professional debut, on the recommendation of a school friend, in 1945 at the Arts Theatre in Cambridge in a walk-on role in Twelfth Night. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s he continued to play Shakespeare, Restoration Comedy, Tennessee Williams, and Chekhov in London and in repertory companies. Later stage appearances include a 1988 Evening Standard- award winning performance as Big Daddy inCat on a Hot Tin Roof, the title role in King Lear (1989), and Professor Serebriakov in Uncle Vanya (1992). He began a film career in 1964 with The Fallof the Roman Empire and The Pumpkin Eater, and was later seen in The Day of the Jackal (1973) and The Thirty-Nine Steps (1978). His television work included the part of Neville Chamberlain in Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years(1981), Count Bronowsky in The Jewel in the Crown (1983), and Fagin in Oliver Twist (1985).