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Overview for Alan Bates
Alan Bates

Alan Bates



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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: Cast ... actor stage manager


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.

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