Veteran British Actor Alan Bates Dies
LONDON (Reuters) – British actor Alan Bates, a pioneer of the “Angry Young Man” school of post-war British theater who also conquered Hollywood with gritty performances, has died of cancer, his agent said on Sunday. He was 69.
Bates died in a London hospital on Saturday with his son and brother at his side.
“He had a long battle with cancer,” agent Rosalind Chatto told Reuters.
Bates, versatile and good looking, shot to fame in 1956 in John Osborne’s “Look Back in Anger,” a groundbreaking play reflecting the social and class turmoils of 1950s England.
“‘Look Back in Anger’…totally transformed British theater,” said Oscar-winning actress Glenda Jackson. “But as he matured as an individual, his acting became broader and deeper and he always brought the unexpected to everything he did.”
Bates went on to play classical leads on the stage in “Hamlet,” “Richard III” and “Antony and Cleopatra.”
On the big screen, he starred in films such as “Zorba the Greek,” “Far From The Madding Crowd” and “Women in Love,” in which he famously grappled naked with Oliver Reed.
More recently, in 2001, he featured in director Robert Altman’s period drama “Gosford Park.”
Jackson, who starred with Bates in “Women in Love,” said he had been unafraid to take risks.
“The longer he lived, the better an actor he became,” Jackson, now a politician, told Sky television.
Bates, knighted after a career spanning six decades, suffered personal tragedies in recent years.
His son Tristan died in 1990 aged 19 and his wife, the actress Victoria Ford, died two years later.