While attending Wimbleton Technical School, 17-year-old Eric Porter made his theatrical debut at the Arts Theatre in Cambridge. Porter served with the RAF for two years, then began his acting career in earnest, performing in scores of Shakespearean and Chekhovian productions (his two favorite roles were King Lear and Uncle Vanya). In 1959, he won the London Evening Standard award for his performance in Ibsen's Romersholm. He spent most of the 1960s and 1970s with the Royal Shakespeare Company, after inking a long-term contract. Porter came to films relatively late, making his first appearance in 1964's Fall of the Roman Empire. He gained worldwide fame as Soames Forsyte in the incredibly successful BBC TV miniseries The Forsyte Saga. Eric Porter's subsequent TV roles included Karenin in Anna Karenina (1977), Fagin in a 1985 miniseries version of Oliver Twist and Professor Moriarty in Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes adaptations.