English actor. He proved himself a versatile male lead in over 60 plays and films. His films include Zorba the Greek (1965), Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), Women in Love (1970), The Go-Between (1971), The Shout (1978), Duet for One (1986), We Think the World of You (1988), and Gosford Park (2001).
Later film work includes Varya (1998), a Greek adaptation of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. He was made a CBE in 1996, and knighted in 2003.
Bates trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and made his theatrical debut in 1956 with the English Stage Company. In the same year he starred in John Osborne's Look Back in Anger, which won him widespread acclaim and established his reputation as one of the leading talents of his generation. He went on to feature in major new works by such luminaries of the theatrical world as Harold Pinter, Peter Shaffer, and Tom Stoppard, as well appearing in many productions of classic works by Shakespeare, Chekhov, and Ibsen. He made his screen debut in 1960, playing one of Laurence Olivier's sons in The Entertainer.
Throughout his lengthy career on stage and screen Bates studiously avoided being stereotyped, serving up fresh, rounded characters in every performance, whether as Shakespeare's Anthony in the National Theatre's production of Anthony and Cleopatra (1998), the romantic lead of The Go-Between and An Unmarried Woman (1978), or Marcel Proust in the television movie 102 Boulevard Haussmann (1991).
Following the loss of one of his twin sons, Tristan, in 1990 and the death of his wife, Victoria Ward, in 1992, Bates threw himself with renewed vigour into stage, film, and television work, winning plaudits for his performance in the London production of Life Support (1997). In 2002 he won a Tony Award for his performance in Fortune's Fool.
Bates, Alan Arthur
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