Sylvester McCoy

Sylvester McCoy


8/20/1943, Dunoon, Scotland, UK

Birth Name

Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith



Also Known As

Sylveste McCoy, Percy Kent-Smith
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Sylvester McCoy is best known for playing the seventh incarnation of The Doctor in the long-running BBC science-fiction show Doctor Who (in which he appeared between 1987 and 1989, reprising the role in 1996 for the television movie). After working in London in the insurance trade and then…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Sylvester performed a 'Sylveste McCoy' stuntman routine at the 1981 Secret Policeman's Ball, an event to raise funds for Amnesty International.

    • Sylvester played Mr Beaver in a stage adaptation of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2001.

    • As well as the Fool in King Lear, Sylvester's other Shakespearean roles include Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Feste the clown in Twelfth Night.

    • Sylvester got the role of the Doctor when producer John Nathan-Turner saw him in a production of The Pied Piper, which had been specially written for him.

    • Sylvester played the role of Snuff in a Radio 4 adaptation of The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari

    • Sylvester is adept at juggling and playing the spoons.

    • Sylvester has reprised his role as the Doctor for many of the Big Finish audio dramas, as well as for the 1997 video game Destiny Of The Doctors.

    • Sylvester was the first non-English actor to play The Doctor.

    • Sylvester has portrayed famous movie comedians Stan Laurel and Buster Keaton on stage in two one-man shows.

    • Sylvester stood in for Colin Baker (his predecessor in the role of The Doctor) for his regeneration scene- Baker refused to return to do a regeneration scene so Sylvester donned a blonde wig and the costume instead. That is why the Doctor's face is hidden as he regenerates.

    • In 2007, Sylvester played The Fool in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of King Lear, opposite Ian McKellen as Lear.

    • In the early 1990s, Sylvester was attached to the role of Governor Swann in Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl, when Steven Spielberg was slated to direct. Disney did not give their permission for the film to be made at that time. When it was eventually made, the role went to Jonathan Pryce.

    • In 1990, readers of Doctor Who Magazine voted Sylvester the 'Best Doctor'- one of only two occasions when the accolade did not go to Tom Baker.

    • In 2005, Sylvester appeared as Dr. Einstein in a UK-touring production of Arsenic And Old Lace.

    • In 2004, Sylvester appeared as Selsdon Mowbray in a UK-touring production of Michael Frayn's Noises Off.

    • Sylvester has recorded DVD commentaries for Remembrance Of The Daleks, Ghost Light, The Curse Of Fenric and Survival.

    • Sylvester McCoy was the second choice to play Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, after Ian Holm.

    • In September 2005, he toured Australia and New Zealand with the TARDIS stage show. The show, which included Katy Manning and Colin Baker, recounted his experience portraying the Doctor in the original series.

    • He was the shortest actor to play the Doctor - his height 5'6".

    • Sylvester once trained to be a priest but had a change of heart, much like fellow Doctor Who Tom Baker who once trained as a Catholic Monk.

    • McCoy played a crazed kidnapper in the movie "Beyond Fear."

      Was a director and camera operator.

  • Quotes

    • Sylvester McCoy: I'm very proud to be part of it. I'm a national institution. I'm in a museum. I thought you had to be dead to be in a museum, but I'm in a museum somewhere.

    • Sylvester McCoy: Fame! We all want it. By Christ, I was hungry for it, I must admit. But you don't really know what it entails... The fame that came with Doctor Who was so sudden. Overnight, one became like a pop star... In a sense, you had to watch your p's and q's. You could no longer be yourself in public. You had to become this other, false human being, to protect yourself. If you wandered in and just opened your mouth and said something that you would say in everyday life that would have no consequence at all, suddenly it would reverberate through the crap newspapers. I was put under siege by the press. It was an infringement of my human rights.

    • Sylvester McCoy: If you really want to become well known, appreciated, applauded by your peers and by an audience, stick to the theatre.

    • Sylvester McCoy: The fame affected my family, my children especially. We couldn't go on holiday in Britain. I went somewhere to open something once and they treated me like royalty. Their body language was like that. If you stood in a certain way, they move towards you. If you turned, they angled towards you. And I watched these people moving like this, and then I was introduced to the ladies who made the tea, and they were all in descending order of height. They bobbed as I went past, much to my horror. I said, 'Don't! I'm only an actor.'

    • Sylvester McCoy: By the time you got to the third or fourth story of the season, you had no idea what it was about. You just got the script, learned the lines and tried not to bump into the monsters. You had no overall concept, because there was no time.

    • Sylvester McCoy: Like all actors, you bring a lot of yourself to the Doctor. Life has made me kind of clown-like and comic. I see things in a comic way. But I'm also angry. Comedy does come from anger. It's the flipside of the coin, isn't it?

    • Sylvester McCoy: If you're a really intelligent being, you're not going to be violent, because violence is not intelligent. It's a basic, Neanderthal thing that we carry with us. I feel very strongly that the Doctor should not be violent. He should find another way.

    • Sylvester McCoy: (about the Doctor Who story Ghost Light) It was well done but God knows what it meant.

    • Sylvester McCoy: (On when the original series was cancelled) They kept that from us, I wasn't told until about eight months after we'd finished the previous series. I was told when we should have been told when they were starting the new one, but it happened and that was it. I'm an actor and that what happens in my profession – you do a job and it finishes and you go onto another one, but it was a bit sad as I felt I hadn't finished with the Doctor. It's lived on in the conventions and with Big Finish where I've been making audio versions of the show which have been successful all over the world, so that's carried it on. Colin Baker, Paul McGann and others have been playing their Doctors on these audio books. That's kept it going, the fans have kept it going and it's kept me travelling around the world in between acting jobs, it's been terrific.

    • Sylvester McCoy: (On whether or not he's been typecast) The actors who played the Doctors tended not to get typecast. The ones who suffered in Doctor Who were the companions, they are the ones who didn't necessarily go on to do a variety of other work.

    • Sylvester McCoy: (when asked what he hoped to accomplish in the role of the Doctor) I hope to have fun, keep it as wonderful as it was when the other six Doctors were doing it and enjoy it, really.

    • Sylvester McCoy: In a way Doctor Who is a strange role, because normally you don't have that comparison. The only other similar kind of roles are Shakespearean roles - you have good Hamlets and you have bad Hamlets, one's not as good as another and so on. It was a bit of a problem to deal with at first.