32 Facts About Alan Bates


Sir Alan Arthur Bates was an English actor who came to prominence in the 1960s, when he appeared in films ranging from the popular children's story Whistle Down the Wind to the "kitchen sink" drama A Kind of Loving.

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Alan Bates appeared on the stage, notably in the plays of Simon Gray, such as Butley and Otherwise Engaged.

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Alan Bates was born at the Queen Mary Nursing Home, Darley Abbey, Derby, England, on 17 February 1934, the eldest of three boys born of Florence Mary, a housewife and a pianist, and Harold Arthur Alan Bates, an insurance broker and a cellist.

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Alan Bates further developed his vocation by attending productions at Derby's Little Theatre.

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Alan Bates was a member of the 1967 acting company at the Stratford Festival in Canada, playing the title role in Richard III.

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Alan Bates made his feature film debut in The Entertainer opposite Laurence Olivier, his first film role.

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Alan Bates worked for the Padded Wagon Moving Company in the early 1960s while acting at the Circle in the Square Theatre in New York City.

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Alan Bates played the lead in his second feature, Whistle Down the Wind, directed by Bryan Forbes.

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Alan Bates followed it with the lead in A Kind of Loving, directed by John Schlesinger.

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Alan Bates' character worked well with Harvey and Remick, helping director Carol Reed craft an ever-guessing, suspenseful story of cat and mouse detective work that moved seamlessly from beginning to end.

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Alan Bates went into an adaptation of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker with Donald Pleasence and Robert Shaw.

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Alan Bates returned to TV doing episodes of Wednesday Theatre and starred in Philippe de Broca's King of Hearts.

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Alan Bates was reunited with Schlesinger in Far From the Madding Crowd, starring Julie Christie then did the Bernard Malamud film The Fixer, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

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Alan Bates was handpicked by director John Schlesinger to play the starring role of Dr Daniel Hirsh in the film Sunday Bloody Sunday.

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Alan Bates was held up filming The Go-Between for director Joseph Losey alongside Christie, and had become a father around that time, and so he had to refuse the role.

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Alan Bates starred in the film of A Day in the Death of Joe Egg and produced and appeared in a short, Second Best.

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Alan Bates starred in Story of a Love Story, and some play adaptations, Butley and In Celebration.

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Alan Bates was the villain in Royal Flash and appeared on television in Plays for Today and the Laurence Olivier Presents version of Harold Pinter's The Collection.

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Alan Bates starred in such international films as An Unmarried Woman and Nijinsky, and played Bette Midler's ruthless business manager in the film The Rose.

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Alan Bates played two diametrically opposed roles in An Englishman Abroad, as Guy Burgess, a member of the Cambridge spy ring exiled in Moscow, and in Pack of Lies, as a British Secret Service agent tracking several Soviet spies.

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Alan Bates continued working in film and television in the 1990s, including the role of Claudius in Mel Gibson's version of Hamlet, though most of his roles in this era were more low-key.

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In 2001 Alan Bates joined an all-star cast in Robert Altman's critically acclaimed period drama Gosford Park, in which he played the butler Jennings.

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Alan Bates later played Antonius Agrippa in the 2004 TV film Spartacus, but died before it premiered.

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On stage Alan Bates had a particular association with the plays of Simon Gray, appearing in Butley, Otherwise Engaged, Stage Struck, Melon, Life Support and Simply Disconnected, as well as the film of Butley and Gray's TV series Unnatural Pursuits.

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In Otherwise Engaged, his co-star was Ian Charleson, who became a friend, and Alan Bates later contributed a chapter to a 1990 book on his colleague after Charleson's early death.

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Alan Bates was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1996, and was knighted in 2003.

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Alan Bates was an Associate Member of RADA and was a patron of The Actors Centre, Covent Garden, London, from 1994 until his death in 2003.

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Alan Bates was married to actress Victoria Ward from 1970 until her death from a heart attack in 1992, although they had separated many years earlier.

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Alan Bates chose many roles with an aspect of homosexuality or bisexuality, including the role of Rupert in the 1969 film Women in Love and the role of Frank in the 1988 film We Think the World of You.

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Alan Bates died of pancreatic cancer in December 2003 after going into a coma.

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Alan Bates is buried at All Saints' Church, Bradbourne in Derbyshire.

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Donald Spoto's 2007 book, Otherwise Engaged: The Life of Alan Bates, is a posthumous authorised biography of Alan Bates.

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