Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) is an advisor to the leader of the Others. He is also the intermediary between the current leader and Jacob (Mark Pellegrino). Jacob grants Richard immortality to fill this role indefinitely. He was originally shipwrecked on the island after being sent on a boat from Spain to the New World for killing a doctor who refused to help his dying wife.
Richard has the longest history on the island, aside from Jacob and the Man in Black (Titus Welliver/various others) and uses this knowledge to advise the leader of the Others on the best course of action. Richard also helps select the person who fills this role. In one of the flashbacks on "Lost, " he speaks to a young John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) to decide if he is suitable to become the leader in the future and determines he is not. Locke, however, does later become the leader. Richard is also consulted for advice on how to destroy the Man in Black in the last season.
Richard is a key character in the history of the island. He has the most knowledge of the area and his guidance is often sought by the inhabitants. He is however tortured by the memory of the death of his wife and his accidental killing of the doctor.
"Look, but I certainly don't want to contradict myself, but we have a very specific process for selecting our leadership, and it starts at a very, very young age. "
"Then I don't want to die... I want to live forever."