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Birth name Alan Arthur BatesNationality United-kingdomBirth 17 february 1934Death 27 december 2003
(at 69 years) at City of Westminster (United-kingdom
Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Sir Alan Arthur Bates, CBE (17 February 1934 – 27 December 2003) was an English actor who came to prominence in the 1960s, a time of high creativity in British cinema, when he appeared in films ranging from the popular children's story Whistle Down the Wind to the "kitchen sink" drama A Kind of Loving. He is also known for his performance with Anthony Quinn in Zorba the Greek, as well as his roles in King of Hearts, Georgy Girl, Far From the Madding Crowd, and The Fixer, in which he received 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, An Unmarried Woman, Nijinsky, and The Rose with Bette Midler, as well as playing varied roles in television drama, including The Mayor of Casterbridge, Harold Pinter's The Collection, A Voyage Round My Father, An Englishman Abroad (as Guy Burgess), and Pack of Lies. He also continued to appear on the stage, notably in the plays of Simon Gray, such as Butley and Otherwise Engaged.
Bates was married to Victoria Ward from 1970 until her death in 1992, although they had separated many years earlier. They had twin sons, born in November 1970, the actors Benedick Bates and Tristan Bates. Tristan died following an asthma attack in Tokyo in 1990. Other sources report Tristan died of a heroin overdose in a public toilet.
Bates had numerous homosexual relationships throughout his life, including those with actors Nickolas Grace and Peter Wyngarde and with Olympic skater John Curry. In 1994 Curry died from AIDS in Bates' arms. Even when homosexuality was partially decriminalised in Britain in 1967, Bates rigorously avoided interviews and questions about his personal life, and even denied to his male lovers that there was a homosexual component in his nature. While throughout his life Bates sought to be regarded as a ladies' man or at least as a man who, as an actor, could appear attractive to and attracted by women, he also chose to take on many roles with an aspect of homosexuality or bisexuality. He let this part of his life appear as he played the role of the sexually-frustrated Rupert in the 1970 film Women in Love.
In the later years of his life, Bates had a relationship with the Welsh actress Angharad Rees and in the last years, his companion was his lifelong friend, actress Joanna Pettet, his co-star in the 1964 Broadway play Poor Richard. They divided their time between New York and London.
Bates had undergone a hip replacement shortly before being diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer in January 2003. He suffered a stroke later that year, and died in December after going into a coma.