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LGBT People of History 97 - Alan Bates

Updated on May 10, 2012
Alan Bates
Alan Bates | Source
Plaque on Childhood Home.
Plaque on Childhood Home. | Source

Alan Bates

Sir Alain Arthur Bates CBE (1934 – 2003) was a British actor whose career spanned nearly 50 years starting in the 1950s. He was married but had many homosexual relationships. He kept his personal life very private.

He was born in Derby, England to Florence Mary and Harold Arthur Bates. His parents were amateur musicians and encouraged him to become involved in music. Young Alan, however, had set his heart on acting and he was sent to drama coaching by his parents. He earned a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and was also in the RAF for his National Service.

His first major role was in ‘Look Back in Anger’ on stage and on TV. In the 60s he starred in many movies such as ‘Whistle Down the Wind’, ‘Zorba the Greek’, ‘Georgy Girl’ and ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’. In 1969, he starred in ‘Women in Love’ with Glenda Jackson playing the famous nude wrestling scene with Oliver Reid.

In the 1970s and later, he was in movies and TV shows such as ‘Nijinsky’, ‘The Rose’, and ‘An Englishman Abroad’ (playing Guy Burgess) as well as on stage. In 2001, he played a butler in ‘Gosford Park’.

He was married to Victoria Ward between 1970 and 1992 even though they spent most of this time apart. They had twin sons. Alan had many gay relationships including with actors Nickolas Grace and Peter Wyngarde. The Olympic skater, John Curry, died of an AIDS related disease in his arms. He would avoid questions about his personal life and presented himself as a ladies man, although he did take on roles which displayed homosexuality or bisexuality.

He was made a CBE in 1996 and knighted in 2003.

He died in 2003 of pancreatic cancer.

Ian and Callum.

With thanks to Wikipedia.


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    • alian346 profile image

      alian346 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Yeah - very good and could be quite enigmatic!


    • calpol25 profile image

      Callum 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      He was a great actor.