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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 December, 2003, 17:20 GMT
Sir Alan Bates dies at 69
Sir Alan Bates
Sir Alan Bates was knighted in 2003
Actor Sir Alan Bates has died at the age of 69.

Sir Alan, famous for starring opposite Oliver Reed in the film version of Women in Love, passed away in a London clinic on Saturday night.

He had been suffering from cancer of the liver. His brother and son were at his side.

Sir Alan had a long career in the theatre, cinema and television. The brooding good looks that brought him early success in John Osborne's Look Back in Anger matured into a talent for a wide range of modern and classical roles.

On Sunday actor and Labour MP Glenda Jackson paid tribute to the actor on BBC Radio 4.


"As he grew older he became an even better actor with much greater depth and breadth.

"I just thought that, apart from being a really first-rate actor, he was the most delightful person."

He was born in Derbyshire in 1934 and won a scholarship to Rada from school. He served in the RAF, and got his first acting job with a Midlands repertory company.

Sir Alan played Thomas Hardy's Mayor of Casterbridge

Six months later he auditioned for the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre, and after making his debut in The Mulberry Bush in 1956, got the part of Cliff Lewis in Look Back in Anger, which also took him to Broadway.

From then on he was in constant demand, appearing in the West End, Stratford-on-Avon, and at the Bristol Old Vic.

He launched his film career in The Entertainer in 1960, quickly followed by Whistle Down the Wind and The Caretaker. He went on to appear in many period productions, notably Far From the Madding Crowd, The Go-Between and Ken Russell's Women in Love.

On television he scored a notable success in the title role of the BBC serial, The Mayor of Casterbridge, in 1978.

Alan Bates was knighted in the New Year Honours of 2003.

His wife and second son died several years ago.

Obituary: Sir Alan Bates
28 Dec 03  |  UK
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19 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
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