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January 2003 >>
Sir Alan Bates
Sir Alan Bates
The recently knighted Sir Alan Bates has appeared in works by some of the most respected writers of modern times.
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FACTS

After his son's death in 1990, Sir Alan set up a theatre in his name.

Sir Alan once said: "I've not done as much Shakespeare as I should have done."

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Sir Alan Bates was born in Allestree in 1934, and after leaving grammar school earned a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in London.

After spending two years in the Royal Air Force, Bates joined the new English Stage Company and made his West End debut in 1956 at the age of 22.

In the same year, he made a huge impact by appearing in John Osbourne's famous play 'Look Back in Anger', a production that gave a name to a generation of post-war 'angry young men'.

SELECTED FILMOGRAPHY
1960 The Entertainer
1961 Whistle Down The Wind
1962 A Kind of Loving
1964 Zorba The Greek
1966 Georgy Girl
1967 Far From The Madding Crowd
1968 The Fixer
1969 Women In Love
1970 The Go-Between
1980 Nijinsky
1987 A Prayer For The Dying
1990 Hamlet
2001 Gosford Park
The play made Bates a star and set him on a path which would see him perform in plays by the likes of Harold Pinter, Peter Schaffer and William Shakespeare.

In 1960, Bates made his film debut in the acclaimed 'The Entertainer', playing one of Laurence Olivier's sons.

Big roles were soon to follow including 'Whistle Down the Wind' in 1962, Zorba the Greek in 1964 and Georgy Girl in 1966.

He eventually appeared in more than 50 films and earned an Oscar nomination for his role in 1968's The Fixer.

Yet perhaps his most famous moment came in 1969's Women In Love in a role which involved him wrestling naked with Oliver Reed!

Sir Alan married actress in Victoria Ward in 1970 and their twin sons, Benedick and Tristan were born in 1971.

"I just up and said I wanted to be an actor."
Alan Bates
Tragedy came later though. Tristan died during an asthma attack in 1990 whilst Victoria died in 1992.

Career wise, from 1970 onwards, Bates's involvement with the film world diminished and he instead worked largely in stage productions and television roles.

But in the last few years, Bates's ability has re-emerged on the big screen with roles in Gosford Park, Sum of All Fears and Hamlet.

He was awarded a CBE in 1996 and became a 'Sir' in the New Year's Honours 2003.
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