Monday, February 17, 2014

Remembering Alan Bates

Alan Arthur Bates was born on February 17, 1934 in Allestree, Derbyshire, England. Bates decided to be an actor at age 11. After grammar school in Derbyshire, he earned a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. Following two years in the Royal Air Force, he joined the new English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre. He made his West End debut in 1956, at age 22, it was also the company's first production. In the same year Bates appeared in John Osborne's "Look Back in Anger," a play that gave a name to a generation of postwar "angry young men." It made Bates a star and launched a lifetime of his performing in works written by great modern playwrights -- Harold Pinter, Simon Gray, Storey, Bennett, Peter Shaffer and Tom Stoppard (as well as such classic playwrights as Anton Chekhov, Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg and William Shakespeare). Four years later Bates appeared in his first film, a classic: “The Entertainer” (1960). This a time of high creativity in British cinema, and he went on to appear in films ranging from the popular children's story “Whistle Down the Wind” (1961) to the drama “A Kind of Loving” (1962). He is also known for his performance with Anthony Quinn in “Zorba the Greek” (1964), as well as his roles in “King of Hearts” (1966), “Georgy Girl” (1966), “Far From the Madding Crowd” (1967), and “The Fixer” (1968), which gave him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. In 1969, he starred in the Ken Russell film “Women in Love” with Oliver Reed and Glenda Jackson.
Bates went on to star in “The Go-Between” (1970), “An Unmarried Woman” (1978), “Nijinsky”, “The Rose” (1979) with Bette Midler and “Nijinsky” (1980), as well as playing varied roles in television drama, including ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’ (1978), Harold Pinter's ‘The Collection’ (1976), ‘A Voyage Round My Father’ (1982), ‘An Englishman Abroad’ (1983) as Guy Burgess, and ‘Pack of Lies’ (1983). He also continued to appear on the stage, notably in the plays of Simon Gray, such as “Butley” (1974) and “Otherwise Engaged” (1975)
Bates appeared in only one Euro-western: “Silent Tongue” (1993) with River Phoenix and Richard Harris.
Alan died from pancreatic cancer on December 27, 2003 in London, England.
Today we remember Alan Bates on what would have been his 80th birthday.

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