Carter is a Scottish film and television actor whose work in film began with An American Werewolf in London in 1981. He was born in Dumfries, Scotland, UK, and studied at the Royal Academy Dramatic Arts. His first appearance in UK television in 1980 on Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime.
His role as Bib Fortuna came after casting director Mary Selway saw him perform on stage in The Streets of London in 1981. His first transformation into the Twi'lek majordomo took over eight hours in the make-up chair. By the time his five weeks of filming were complete, makeup artist Nick Dudman had honed the time down to just under an hour. The process of removing his makeup took an additional 25 minutes.