December 28, 2003 by

Alan Bates


Categories: Actors

abates.jpgSir Alan Arthur Bates, a Tony-Award winning actor, died on Dec. 27 from pancreatic cancer. He was 69.
Bates knew he wanted to be an actor by the time he was 11 years old. He earned a scholarship to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and after serving two years in the Royal Air Force, joined the new English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre.
In the 1950s and ’60s, Bates was labeled as one of Britain’s “angry young men” for appearing in the anti-establishment play, “Look Back in Anger.” But in reality, he was known for having a gentle disposition.
Bates landed his first major film role in 1960 when he was cast opposite Laurence Olivier and Albert Finney in “The Entertainer.” He appeared as a supporting actor in several small roles until 1964, when he landed a starring part in the film, “Zorba the Greek.” He earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination in 1968 for his work in the John Frankenheimer movie, “The Fixer.” Recently, Bates appeared in “The Sum of All Fears,” “Evelyn,” “Gosford Park” and “The Statement.”
Although he received notoriety for his appearance in the erotic adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s “Women in Love,” in which he wrestled naked with Oliver Reed, Bates was a well-respected actor who appeared in 59 stage productions, including five Broadway plays. He won Tony Awards for his roles in “Butley” and “Fortune’s Fool,” and did voice work on more than 20 audiobooks.
Bates was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1995; he was knighted in 2003.

2 Responses to Alan Bates

  1. akim akim

    Bates dead? Had no idea – I love this actor. I hope his wonderful sense of humour helped him through this cancer ordeal – it takes some guts to watch yourself slowly fade away, for no reason at all really. He must have had a grand taste for life. Sorry to hear the news, way too soon, way way way too soon.

  2. Cathy

    Alan Bates was one of most versatile actors for the 20th century. From his quietly strong portrayal of Gabriel Oak in “Far From the Madding Crowd”, to the artist-lover in “An Unmarried Women”, to his work in “Women in Love”, “Zorba the Greek”, “The Rose”, “Georgie Girl”, “Gosford Park”. On and on. A very underappreciated and underrated (and sexy!) “actor’s actor” especially here in America. He will be greatly missed. I am sure he had more wonderful performances ahead of him and it is such a tragedy his life was cut short by cancer.

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