skip navigation
Alan Bates

Alan Bates

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (2)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Zorba The Greek DVD Exuberant and earthy, Anthony Quinn dominates the screen as Zorba, the Crete... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Royal Flash DVD Set off for a wild escapade across 19th century Europe in this outrageous,... more info $19.98was $19.98 Buy Now

Spartacus: The Mini-series... In this thrilling television adaptation of Howard Fast's novel, "Spartacus"... more info $19.98was $19.98 Buy Now

Silent Tongue DVD A man returns to a charlatan's Old West medicine show to kidnap the sister of... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

The Statement DVD The sins of the past come roaring back. Michael Caine plays an ailing old... more info $14.99was $14.99 Buy Now

A Voyage Round My Father... Known as one of the greatest actors of not only his generation, but of all time,... more info $29.99was $29.99 Buy Now

Also Known As: Alan Arthur Bates Died: December 27, 2003
Born: February 17, 1934 Cause of Death: pancreatic cancer
Birth Place: Derbyshire, England, GB Profession: actor, stage manager

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Versatile, good-looking British actor Alan Bates came to prominence as one of the chief proponents of the angry young man school, along with fellow RADA alums Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay. Since his London stage debut in "The Mulberry Bush" (1956), he has been closely associated with playwrights John Osborne, Harold Pinter and Simon Gray, both on the boards and in film. Bates originated the role of Cliff in Osborne's "Look Back in Anger" (1956) and made his Broadway debut the following year in the play. He won tremendous acclaim for his portrayal of Edmund Tyrone in a production of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey into Night" (1958) before making his feature debut in the film version of Osborne's "The Entertainer" (1960), starring Laurence Olivier. He then created the role of Mick in Pinter's "The Caretaker" (1960), playing it on Broadway (1961) and in the Clive Donner movie version (also known as "The Guest" 1964). Bates flourished on the big screen during the 60s, establishing a long-standing relationship with director John Schlesinger ("A Kind of Loving" 1962, "Far From the Madding Crowd" 1967) and providing able support for Anthony Quinn in "Zorba the Greek" (1964) and Lynn Redgrave in...

Versatile, good-looking British actor Alan Bates came to prominence as one of the chief proponents of the angry young man school, along with fellow RADA alums Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay. Since his London stage debut in "The Mulberry Bush" (1956), he has been closely associated with playwrights John Osborne, Harold Pinter and Simon Gray, both on the boards and in film. Bates originated the role of Cliff in Osborne's "Look Back in Anger" (1956) and made his Broadway debut the following year in the play. He won tremendous acclaim for his portrayal of Edmund Tyrone in a production of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey into Night" (1958) before making his feature debut in the film version of Osborne's "The Entertainer" (1960), starring Laurence Olivier. He then created the role of Mick in Pinter's "The Caretaker" (1960), playing it on Broadway (1961) and in the Clive Donner movie version (also known as "The Guest" 1964).

Bates flourished on the big screen during the 60s, establishing a long-standing relationship with director John Schlesinger ("A Kind of Loving" 1962, "Far From the Madding Crowd" 1967) and providing able support for Anthony Quinn in "Zorba the Greek" (1964) and Lynn Redgrave in "Georgy Girl" (1966). He starred in the stylish "King of Hearts" (1967), which has become a cult favorite, received his lone Best Actor Oscar nomination for John Frankenheimer's "The Fixer" (1968) and romped sans clothing in Ken Russell's adaptation of D H Lawrence's "Women in Love" (1969). Never one to allow too much time to pass before returning to the English stage, Bates interpreted the Bard during the early 70s, taking his turns as a well-received "Hamlet" (1970) and as Petruccio in His London Evening Standard Award for his portrayal of Simon Gray's "Butley" (1971) preceded the Tony and Drama Desk Awards he would win when he brought the play to NYC in 1972.

Bates starred opposite Julie Christie in Joseph Losey's "The Go-Between" (1971), renewing his association with screenwriter Pinter, reprised his award-winning role for Pinter's film version of "Butley" (1973) and delivered an outstanding performance as Jill Clayburgh's bearded lover in Paul Mazursky's "An Unmarried Woman" (1978). Since "The Return of the Hero" and Lindsay Anderson's "Brittania Hospital" (both 1982), his best feature work has been as Gary Oldman's lover in "We Think the World of You" (1988) and as Claudius in Franco Zeffirelli's "Hamlet" (1990), starring Mel Gibson. Bates reteamed with Schlesinger for the TV-movies "An Englishman Abroad" (BBC, 1983) and "Separate Tables" (1984), winning a BAFTA Award as British spy Guy Burgess for the former. His other TV projects have included A&E's 1994 movie "Unnatural Pursuits" (screenplay by Gray), and the PBS "Masterpiece Theatre" production of Charles Dickens' "Hard Times" (1995). The West End production of "Life Support" (1997), directed by Pinter, marked his 11th collaboration with playwright Gray.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Hollywood North (2003)
2.
 Statement, The (2003) Minister Armand Bertier
3.
 Evelyn (2002) Tom Connolly
4.
 Mothman Prophecies, The (2002) Doctor Alexander Leek
5.
 Sum of All Fears, The (2002) Richard Dressler
6.
 Bacchae, The (2002)
7.
 Gosford Park (2001) Jennings
8.
 Cherry Orchard, The (1999) Gaev (Leonid Andreyevich)
9.
 Nicholas' Gift (1998) Reginald Green
10.
 Grotesque (1995) Sir Hugo Coal
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1951:
Served in the Royal Air Force (dates approximate)
1955:
Joined Frank Dunlop's Midland Theatre Company, Coventry, England, where he stage-managed and made stage acting debut in "You and Your Wife"
1956:
Joined English Stage Society at the Royal Court in London (date approximate)
1956:
London stage debut, "The Mulberry Bush"
1956:
Played Cliff in the original production of John Osborne's "Look Back in Anger"
1956:
First film appearance, a one-minute impersonation of King Lear in "It's Never Too Late"
1957:
Broadway debut, "Look Back in Anger"
1959:
US TV debut, "Duel For Love"
1960:
Feature film debut in movie version of Osborne's "The Entertainer"
1960:
Originated part of Mick in Harold Pinter's "The Caretaker" on the English stage
1961:
Reprised "Caretaker" role on Broadway
1962:
First collaboration with director John Schlesinger, "A Kind of Loving"
1964:
Again reprised stage role in feature film "The Caretaker/The Guest", directed by Clive Donner
1964:
Portrayed Anthony Quinn's intellectual British cohort in "Zorba the Greek"
1966:
Played the lover who left Lynn Redgrave in the lurch in "Georgy Girl"
1967:
Reteamed with Schlessinger for "Far From the Madding Crowd"; first screen teaming with Julie Christie
1968:
Received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for John Frankenheimer's "The Fixer", adapted by Dalton Trumbo from the Bernard Malamud novel
1969:
Engaged in now famous nude wrestling scene with Oliver Reed in Ken Russell's film adaptation of the D H Larwence novel "Women in Love"
1970:
Interpreted title role of "Hamlet" on British stage
1971:
Starred as farmer opposite aristocratic Julie Christie in Joseph Losey's "The Go-Between"; screenplay written by Harold Pinter
1972:
Portrayed Petruccio in "The Taming of the Shrew" for the Royal Shakespeare Company
1973:
Reprised Tony-winning role from Simon Gray's stage play "Butley" in film version directed by Pinter
1973:
Reunited with Frankenheimer for "Impossible Object"
1975:
First film with Lindsay Anderson, "In Celebration"
1978:
Was outstanding as Jill Clayburgh's ultimate lover (after abandonment by weak-willed husband Michael Murphy) in Paul Mazursky's "An Unmarried Woman"
1982:
Came home shell-shocked to wife Julie Christie after World War I in "The Return of the Soldier"
1982:
Reteamed with director Anderson for "Brittania Hospital"
1983:
Earned a BAFTA Award for his portrayal of exiled traitor Guy Burgess in "An Englishman Abroad", a TV-movie (BBC) directed by John Schlesinger
1984:
Second TV film with Schlesinger, "Separate Tables" (HBO)
1990:
Turned in a solid portrayal as King Claudius in Franco Zeffirelli's "Hamlet", starring Mel Gibson as the Melancholy Dane
1991:
Portrayed Marcel Proust in A&E movie "102 Boulevard Haussman"
1994:
Starred as obsessive English writer Hamish Partt in A&E movie "Unnatural Pursuits" (screenplay by Simon Gray)
1995:
Played Josiah Bounderby in PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre" production of Charles Dickens' "Hard Times"
1996:
Appeared as Oliver in four-part "Oliver's Travels" for "Mystery!" (PBS)
1997:
Embarked on West End Show "Life Support", his 11th collaboration with playwright Gray, directed by Pinter
1998:
Starred opposite Jamie Lee Curtis in CBS movie "Reginald's Gift", the true story of Maggie and Reginald Green who donated the organs of their brain-dead son, enhancing or saving the lives of seven people
2000:
Returned to the NYC stage in the Off-Broadway production of "The Unexpected Man"
2001:
Gave a sterling performance as the head butler at "Gosford Park" in Robert Altman's ensemble murder mystery
2002:
Returned to Broadway opposite Frank Langella in "Fortune's Fool"
2002:
Appeared in the Richard Gere thriller "Mothman Prophecies"
2002:
Appeared in the Tom Clancy thriller "The Sum of All Fears"
2003:
featured in "The Statement" with Michael Caine
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: London , England -

Notes

"Alan Bates has it in his nature to play tormented and self-divided characters with emotional truth and technical finesse." --Peter Roberts' 1970 review of Bates's Hamlet (PLAYS AND PLAYERS)

Bates received the Best Actor Award from the Variety Club of Great Britain for his stage portrayals in "Otherwise Engaged" (1975) and "A Patriot for Me" (1983-84).

Both his wife Victoria and son Tristan died under tragic circumstances: "When people are alive they can be horrible to each other and let each other down, but that doesn't mean they don't love each other. You remember all the good things when they're gone, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that . . . as long as you keep your feet on the ground . . . I had pure ambition, but when terible things happen in your life, your priorities are changed--not sharply, but subtly and slowly. You think about somebody like Tristan and think he would probably have been an extremely good actor. I've already had 40 years and he wasn't allowed that, why should I have any more? And then you think, hey, wait a minute: he was one of the main inspirations of my life. I'm going to do it for him." --Alan Bates quoted in the London Times, August 3, 1997

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Victoria Ward. Actor. Married in 1970; born c. 1940; died on June 22, 1992 at age 52, while on vacation in Sardinia after an illness, refusing medicinal help, relying on nature and, most significantly, alone and absent from her husband.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Harold Arthur Bates. Insurance salesman.
mother:
Florence Mary Bates.
son:
Tristan Bates. Actor, model. Twin; born c. 1971; died of a heart attack brought on by freak asthma attack in January 1990, aged 18; mother, Victoria Ward; Bates endowed a theater in honor of his son.
son:
Benedick Bates. Actor, model. Twin; born c. 1971; mother, Victoria Ward; acted in the feature "Deadly Advice" (1994) and on stage with father in "Fortune's Fool" in 1998.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute