Alan Bates


Actor
Alan Bates

About

Also Known As
Alan Arthur Bates
Birth Place
Derbyshire, England, GB
Born
February 17, 1934
Died
December 27, 2003
Cause of Death
Pancreatic Cancer

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 originat...

Photos & Videos

Family & Companions

Victoria Ward
Wife
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.

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).

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 "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.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Sins of a Father (2014)
Hollywood North (2004)
The Statement (2003)
The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
The Sum of All Fears (2002)
The Bacchae (2002)
Evelyn (2002)
Tom Connolly
Gosford Park (2001)
The Cherry Orchard (1999)
Nicholas' Gift (1998)
Reginald Green
Grotesque (1995)
Silent Tongue (1993)
Eamon Mccree
Shuttlecock (1991)
James Prentis
Secret Friends (1991)
John
Docteur M. (1991)
(Uncredited) Guru; Dr Marsfeldt
Hamlet (1990)
Mister Frost (1990)
Felix Detweiller
Force Majeure (1989)
Malcolm Forrest
We Think the World of You (1988)
Frank Meadows
Pack of Lies (1987)
A Prayer For The Dying (1987)
Duet For One (1986)
The Wicked Lady (1983)
Britannia Hospital (1983)
Mr Macready
An Englishman Abroad (1983)
Separate Tables (1983)
John Malcolm; Major Pollock
The Return of the Soldier (1982)
Captain Chris Baldry
Quartet (1981)
H J Heidler
Nijinsky (1980)
The Rose (1979)
The Shout (1978)
An Unmarried Woman (1978)
Royal Flash (1976)
In Celebration (1975)
Andrew Shaw
Butley (1974)
The Story of Jacob and Joseph (1974)
Narrator
Impossible Object (1973)
Harry
A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1972)
Bri
The Go-Between (1971)
Ted Burgess
Women in Love (1970)
Rupert Birkin
The Fixer (1968)
Yakov Bok
Far From the Madding Crowd (1967)
Gabriel Oak
King of Hearts (1967)
Pvt. Charles Plumpick
Georgy Girl (1966)
Jos
Nothing But the Best (1964)
Jimmy Brewster
The Guest (1964)
Mick
Zorba the Greek (1964)
Basil
The Running Man (1963)
Stephen Maddox
A Kind of Loving (1962)
Vic Brown
Whistle Down the Wind (1962)
The man
The Entertainer (1960)
It's Never Too Late (1956)

Cast (Special)

Bertie and Elizabeth (2002)
Oliver's Travels (1996)
Hard Times (1995)
Classic Mel: The Making of Mel Gibson's Hamlet (1991)
One Man in His Time: A Tribute to Laurence Olivier (1990)
Doctor Fischer of Geneva (1985)

Cast (Short)

Location: FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD (1967)
Himself
Once Upon a Tractor (1965)

Misc. Crew (Short)

LIONPOWER FROM MGM (1967)
Archival Footage

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Spartacus (2004)
Salem Witch Trials (2003)
The Prince and the Pauper (2001)
Love in a Cold Climate (2001)
In the Beginning (2000)
Arabian Nights (2000)
Saint Patrick, the Irish Legend (2000)
Unnatural Pursuits (1994)
Hamish Partt
102 Boulevard Haussmann (1991)

Life Events

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

First film appearance, a one-minute impersonation of King Lear in "It's Never Too Late"

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"

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

Reteamed with director Anderson for "Brittania Hospital"

1982

Came home shell-shocked to wife Julie Christie after World War I in "The Return of the Soldier"

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 Tom Clancy thriller "The Sum of All Fears"

2002

Appeared in the Richard Gere thriller "Mothman Prophecies"

2003

featured in "The Statement" with Michael Caine

Photo Collections

Zorba the Greek - Movie Posters
Here are two styles of American one-sheet movie posters for Zorba the Greek (1964), starring Anthony Quinn. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Women in Love - Movie Posters
Women in Love - Movie Posters

Videos

Movie Clip

Entertainer, The (1960) - Talent Got A Bit Thin Joan Plowright as Jean visiting from London, Alan Bates her brother Frank catching up on the Morecambe, Lancashire promenade, discussing their song & dance man father (Laurence Olivier), then visiting the (still standing) Winter Gardens theater, Tony Richardson directing from the John Osborne play, in The Entertainer, 1960.
Entertainer, The (1960) - He's A Fool On location at Morecambe in north Lancashire, worried Jean (Joan Plowright) with her retired actor grandfather Billy (Roger Livesey), turning to her father, his son, Archie (Laurence Olivier), his first appearance, also Alan Bates as her brother, in Tony Richardson's The Entertainer, 1960.
Georgy Girl (1966) - The Solemn And Binding Character At the insistence of Jos (Alan Bates), Londoner Meredith (Charlotte Rampling) has agreed they might as well get married now that she’s pregnant for the third time, joined by Lynn Redgrave (title character), returning to their Maida Vale, Westminster apartment, in Georgy Girl,1966.
Far From The Madding Crowd (1967) -- Since I've Beheld You Bathsheba (Julie Christie) is overseeing her would-be suitor, and neighbor-turned-employee Oak (Alan Bates) when gentleman landowner Boldwood (Peter Finch) arrives, having taken her Valentine jest seriously, in John Schlesinger's Far From The Madding Crowd, 1967.
Far From The Madding Crowd (1967) -- Everyday Sort Of Man Nicolas Roeg shooting the Dorset countryside, farmer Oak (Alan Bates), disguising his purpose, visiting the aunt (Alison Leggatt) of neighbor Bathsheba (Julie Christie) who's eavesdropping, early in director John Schlesinger's Far From The Madding Crowd, 1967.
Zorba The Greek (1964) - The Most Chic Cabarets Entering a Cretan village to claim the mine he's inherited, English writer Basil (Alan Bates) and his newly hired aide Anthony Quinn (title character), are much celebrated, and introduced to the new innkeeper, Madame Hortense (Lila Kedrova) in Zorba The Greek, 1964.
Zorba The Greek (1964) - Where's My Goat? Basil (Alan Bates) and Anthony Quinn (title character) arrive at the coffee shop then, with all the village men, especially teen Pavlo (Yorgo Voyagis), are plausibly transfixed by the appearance of "the widow" (Irene Papas), in Michael Cacoyannis' Zorba The Greek, 1964.
Zorba The Greek (1964) - The Full Catastrophe Near slapstick from director Michael Cacoyannis, English writer Basil (Alan Bates) doing better than Anthony Quinn (title character), whom he's just hired, on a ferry from the mainland to Crete, in Zorba The Greek, 1964.
Kind Of Loving, A - She Asked For It At the Miller Arcade in Preston, Lancashire, Vic (Alan Bates) meets his new girl Ingrid (June Ritchie), unhappy to discover she's brought along needy friend Dorothy (Patsy Rowlands), in John Schlesinger's A Kind Of Loving, 1962.
Kind Of Loving, A - Easy Ten A Penny Vic (Alan Bates) off the bus with co-worker Ingrid (June Ritchie), whom he fancies and who paid his fare, then to his family's Manchester home, chatting with Dad (Bert Palmer) and brother (Malcolm Patton), in John Schlesinger's A Kind Of Loving, 1962.
Kind Of Loving, A - Is It Serious Then? Breakfast in Manchester, draftsman Vic (Alan Bates) with Mum (Gwen Nelson), railwayman Dad (Bert Palmer) and brother (Malcolm Patton), then off to work chatting about his new girl, in John Schlesinger's A Kind Of Loving, 1962.
Quartet (1981) - Impossible Situations Idle rich English Lois (Maggie Smith) and H-J (Alan Bates) in their Paris flat, noting the misfortunes of an acquaintance, not agreeing on whether to help her, early in the Merchant-Ivory production Quartet, 1981.

Trailer

Family

Harold Arthur Bates
Father
Insurance salesman.
Florence Mary Bates
Mother
Tristan Bates
Son
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.
Benedick Bates
Son
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.

Companions

Victoria Ward
Wife
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.

Bibliography

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