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Actor who played ghoulish TV host Sammy Terry dies

July 1, 2013

Bob Carter, the actor who portrayed ghoulish Indianapolis late night television movie host Sammy Terry for nearly three decades, has died at 83, a funeral director said Monday.

Carter died Sunday at an Indianapolis nursing home, Paul Burton of Singleton Mortuary said. He did not disclose the cause of death.

Sammy Terry was a fixture of Indianapolis television from 1962 to 1989, beginning each episode of "Nightmare Theater" on WTTV-TV by climbing out of a coffin with a trademark fiendish chuckle and wearing a blood-red cape and skullcap, and green makeup on his face. His sidekick was a toy spider named George.

The name Sammy Terry was a play on the word cemetery.

Carter was among the early television pioneers at independent stations around the country producing and starring in local programs. Before arriving in Indianapolis and inventing Sammy Terry, he worked as a weatherman in Peoria, Ill., and hosted a teen dance television show in Fort Wayne. He had a master's degree in television production from Syracuse University.

"There was hardly any programming available for the independent stations back then, so we had to build programming," Carter told The Indianapolis Star in 2007.

Carter also owned and operated an Indianapolis music store.

Carter is survived by his wife of 59 years, Phyllis, and his four children, including a son, Mark, who has appeared as Sammy Terry in recent years.

A public viewing of Carter is planned for Friday at the mortuary. A private burial is planned for Saturday.

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