Photo of Alan Bates Alan Bates

A distinguished British actor of stage and screen, Alan Bates was born in Allestree, Derby, England, on Feb. 17, 1934, and raised by amateur musicians. After attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art on scholarship, he wowed London audiences playing Cliff in the West End production of "Look Back in Anger," a role he re-created on Broadway.

Bates made his film debut in 1960's "The Entertainer" and earned an Oscar nod for his portrayal of a wrongly imprisoned Russian Jew in The Fixer (1968). He won notoriety of a different sort the following year for wrestling in the nude with fellow actor Oliver Reed in Women in Love, considered one of the first mainstream films to include frontal male nudity.

Later in life, Bates appeared as a butler in Robert Altman's Gosford Park (2001). He died at age 69 on Dec. 27, 2003, before the debut of his final role in a televised adaptation of Spartacus.

Alan Bates in Gosford Park

Gosford Park

2001 R

A weekend hunting party at the home of Sir William McCordle turns into a murder mystery when the host is found dead. This witty whodunit follows the subsequent investigation from the perspectives of the guests and their servants.

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