A selection of
sent to the BBC News website
I was the producer on the BBC 1 Production of Love in a Cold
Climate in 2000 for which Alan was nominated for a BAFTA . I
will always remember him fondly for the support and encouragement
he gave the young director and the younger members of the cast
and the friendship he gave to all of us. It was also a crackingly
funny performance that he clearly relished giving.
KH, London, England
As a neighbour for several years one could see the devoted
father, the totally approachable and lovable, open man, free
of his 'fame'.
PB, London UK
What a presence he had! Such a gorgeous man, and also a truly
superb character actor. An Englishman Abroad remains one of the
most fantastic things ever seen on TV, in my opinion. Bless you,
Alan, and you shan't be forgotten.
MD, Oxford, UK
What a great shame to hear of the passing of Alan Bates, I
had the pleasure of meeting him in the early 60s in the privacy
of a relative's home. The most down to earth man you could meet
and over the years never changed. Myself and I know everyone
from Derby will miss him.
TC Tiverton, Devon, UK
I was privileged to see his Petruchio at Stratford in 1973.
It was the best portrayal I've ever seen, and was the highlight
of a fantastic production. My most treasured memory was the way
Alan Bates handled a potentially disastrous interruption from
the audience; someone stood up halfway through the first act,
shouting that the interpretation was a disgrace and generally
causing a fuss.
Alan stood still a second, then
advanced downstage, leaned across the footlights, and hissed
"**** off!" Cue a standing ovation by a grateful audience.
Alan - you were a fine actor who never got the recognition you
deserved. Thank you for all the enjoyment you gave us, and rest
JM, East Molesey, UK
Alan Bates was once me. That's to say, he played me - in Nicholas'
Gift, a made-for-television film about the murder of my seven
year-old son, Nicholas, in Italy. Both he and Jamie Lee Curtis,
who played my wife, were so caught up in the unfolding drama
- and the subsequent inspiration when Nicholas' donated organs
saved the lives of five young Italians - that neither appeared
to be acting at all.
The memory of the loss of his
own son clearly added an extra dimension of awareness. The scene,
when Nicholas has just been shot and is taken away in an ambulance,
he told me, was one of the bleakest moments of his life, though
fully aware, of course, that it was just a stage prop with a
boy actor inside. It was the ability to sink himself into the
character he was playing, and yet remain detached enough to cope
with all the fussy complications of film-making, that helped
make him such a compelling performer. Thank you, Alan, for the
pleasure you have given us all.
Reg Green, Bodega Bay, California, USA
I was stunned to hear of my favourite actor's untimely passing.
He had many great roles ahead. He is gone too soon. I shall always
remember him as Gabriel Oak in Far From the Madding Crowd and
Ted Burgess in The Go-Between. There are no words to express
CH, Austin TX USA
A truly magical performance in Women in Love not forgetting
of course Far from the Madding Crowd. He will never be forgotten.
Hoping to see more of him on the screen in the next few weeks
- especially A Kind of Loving. So sorry to hear of his passing.
Will miss his good looks. Condolences to his family.
GH, Millom, Cumbria.
Alan Bates was one of the best actors of all time. He was
an outstanding and excellent actor. Unfortunately he died too
young, he will be missed. My condolences to his family
Danielle, The Netherlands
May 28, 2002, my sister Donna, my husband Lorenzo, and myself
saw Alan Bates in Fortune's Fool. It was on of the highlights
of our lives, having adored him in all his film performances.
We met him after the performance. He kindly gave us autographs
and chatted. What a charming and talented man. When we told him
that surely the Tony was going to be his, he touched his heart
and said, "One can only hope." Thank you for touching
our hearts, Mr. Bates. We will never forget you.
ML, Naples, Florida, USA
What to add? Except to say that I will never forget the thrill
of Alan Bates, when the world was young. But he has brought me
even greater pleasure in later years in An Englishman Abroad,
Oliver's Travels, Gosford Park, The Cherry Orchard, and Love
in a Cold Climate.
I have celebrated his marvellous
career with an Alan Bates Video Festival this week, watching
Quartet, An Unmarried Woman, Far From the Madding Crowd, The
King of Hearts and Georgie Girl (twice). Though now I will never
see him on the stage and meet him at the stagedoor as others
have done, I can watch these splendid performances over and over
again and remember and dream. Thank you Sir Alan Bates.
JC, Asheville, North Carolina, USA
I'm the manager of Alan's website, the Alan Bates Archive.
Over the last decade he became a dear friend, and my family and
I already miss him hugely. Alan was at the top of his form as
an actor; he had come through the refining fire of years of personal
tragedy, was once again savouring life, and was doing his best
work. We are missing his Falstaff, his Lear, his further ventures
into comedy, and so much more.
Karen Rappaport, Massachusetts USA and London
I was fortunate enough to work with Alan in A Patriot For
Me at the Ahmanson in L.A. When I first met him in London during
rehearsals, I told him that I loved everything he had been in.
He replied " Surely, not everything!". I will miss
you my friend.
NEK, Los Angeles U.S.A,
My wife Jan, daughter Lara and I were immensely privileged
to have known Alan. We found him to be a bright light in our
lives. He was above all modest, caring and genuine, the best
type of human being. Our friendship was very important to us
and the time spent with him was always happy and enjoyable.
Once after watching him on Broadway
in 'The Unexpected Man' Alan treated us to a meal at The Firebird
in New York and we had a wonderful evening in his company. On
leaving the restaurant we walked arm in arm towards our hotel
and came across a tramp curled up in a doorway. Alan went over
to the guy and spoke to him for several minutes before giving
him some money for food. It wasn't the money he gave the man
but the time he spent talking to him which made Alan the person
he was. Larger than life and always giving of himself to others.
Yes he was a great man in his
own right, remarkable and wonderful and we feel so lucky to have
spent time together. Some people have said that he wasn't a SUPERSTAR,
well let me tell you that he was and if you care to look at his
web site www.alanbates.com you will be blown-away by the quality,
quantity and breadth of his work.
Our thoughts are with all Alan's
friends and family, but especially to Ben, Joanna and Rosemary
who gave him so much love, and to Karen who has made Alan's website
a tribute to the man.
MP, St John - Torpoint - England
I am so glad I went way out of my way to see a number of his
stage performances...including a long queue for his Philip Larkin
poetry at the National. His Antony, unexpected by many, was superb.
Early on I saw Butley; I wanted to see it again but was persuaded
by friends to see my first Ayckbourn instead; I sat through it
unimpressed, thinking repeatedly "I could be watching Bates
as Butley!" A deep sense of loss for a masterful actor.
Susan, Chicago USA
He was the finest actor to emerge from that astonishing bumber
crop of talent in the early sixties. My favourite Bates performance
was the one he gave in A Kind of Loving.
RdV, Detroit USA
I was extremely saddened to hear of the death of Sir Alan
Bates, a favourite actor of mine for many years. I was never
fortunate to see him on stage but enjoyed (and will continue
to do so) his film roles immensely. My favourite role of his,
as many have said already is in 'Far from the Madding crowd'.
My sympathies to his family and friends now he has taken his
GK, Perivale, England
I first saw Alan Bates in 1971 appearing in "The Go Between".
He was a handsome devil then as he continued to be throughout
his life. Then there was a re-run of television's "Far From
The Madding Crowd". I shall never forget that scene where
he shot that dog because his sheep were killed. Very disturbing.
The killing was all off camera but one could see the savagery
in Bates' face when he held that rifle. Now that is an actor!
PHD, College Park, Georgia
I loved every movie Sir Alan acted in, he was a very talented
actor and I shall miss him terribly although I will be able to
view many of his movies on T.V. and videos, may he rest in peace.
A great, great loss to British stage and cinema, and to all
persons capable of appreciating his craftsmanship. Alas being
in the antipodes I never got to see him on stage, but every film
performance I have seen is exemplary. Like many other viewers
I particularly loved his performance in Far from the Madding
Crowd, and equally in Women in Love. The Go-Between was also
a triumph for him. Very very sorely missed.
JP, Sydney Australia
The wind has been knocked out of me since hearing of the death
of the wonderful Alan Bates. I was 12 when I first saw him, in
Georgy Girl, and I followed his career ever after. When I was
younger I had a joke with my boyfriends, that the only man I'd
ever leave them for was Alan Bates. I told my husband, though,
that I wouldn't even leave him for Alan Bates - the ultimate
In Alan Bates's movie and television
roles, he explored intensely all aspects of his characters' connections
to the world and to other people. He did this unflinchingly,
but, to my observation, with deep humanism, honesty, and care.
Bless you for protecting the integrity of your characters. It
always seemed an act of generosity.
I watched you get old - and maybe
not quite as pretty - but your continuing searches into souls,
and your seeming goodness and intelligence and imagination deepened
your beauty, especially your gaze. And that makes me feel good
about having loved you when I was 12. You provided a model of
spirit, love, strength, and, always, honesty.
RK, Hartford, Connecticut
When I saw the film of "Butley" in 1974, Alan Bates
instantly became the most fascinating actor I had ever seen,
and he has been my favourite ever since. I saw him on stage many
times, and met him personally several times as well; he was a
great man both on stage and off. The only bright spot in the
darkness of his passing is that he won the Tony Award and received
his knighthood before he left us.
CR, New York, USA
A great loss, I shall always remember Separate Tables, and
his performance in the Man from Kiev, among many others, a sad
loss, for everyone who loved good acting.
Hernando Canardo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
One of the best actors has died, he will be missed. I always
enjoyed his work and I will continue to do so. Thanks for the
great work. I will remember you. My condolences to his family.
Danielle, The Netherlands
You will be greatly missed, Dear Alan. "You're The TOP!"
It just doesn't get any better than Alan Bates.
Linda, North Carolina, USA
I'm 35 years old. When I was a teenager I loved Tom Cruise.
Then, around the age of 21 or 22 I saw Georgy Girl. Goodbye Tom,
hello Alan Bates. Love at first sight. He is a joy to watch.
No matter how heart-wrenching the scene, I always have a little
smile on my face. Pure joy. Thank you, Sir Alan.
AM, Lake City, Pennsylvania, USA
My most cherished theatrical memory is of seeing the original
production of Look Back in Anger at the Royal Court in 1956.
Alan Bates gave a stellar performance as Cliff Lewis: physically
energetic and emotionally sensitive, he was brilliant. And everything
he did after that was also brilliant in different ways.
DD, London, UK
Sir Alan Bates was indeed one of the finest actors of our
time. He was one of a kind and will be sorely missed. Fortunately,
we can still watch him perform in the many great movies he made.
DO, Halifax, Canada.
Wonderful actor with perfect performances in movies like The
Go-Between, Women in Love, An Unmarried Woman. His final encounter
with Jill Clayburgh in Paul Mazursky's forgotten masterpiece
An Unmarried Woman is one of the best scenes of its kind.
The warmth of this fine actor showed itself so beautifully
in the television serial, Oliver's Travels, and this fine quality,
paired with the finest of acting skills to be found, projected
a dimension that went straight to our hearts and minds until
one felt that he was as familiar as a much-loved family member.
I hope he knew how much he touched a willing audience. He will
CD, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
His brilliant performance in Fortune's Fool restored my faith
in Broadway theatre.
GW, New York, USA
A great loss to the theatre and film world. There is now a
void which will not be easily filled.
JC, Luton, England
Such a sad loss to the world of British cinema and theatre.
A true gentleman. Kind, courteous, modest, and understated. My
condolences to his family and friends.
What a great loss to film, television and theatre!
I had the pleasure of working
with him about 10 years ago, and also talking to him on the phone
as a customer a couple of years later. He came aross as a quiet,
intelligent, friendly and polite man who will be greatly missed.
CD, London, England
The man was incredible to watch in every film he was in. His
brooding intelligence flowed across the screen. Alas, I never
had the privilege of seeing him do live theatre.
MB, Cabin John, Maryland USA
So very sad to hear the news. A brilliant and charismatic
actor who we can never replace.
JC, Lichfield, England
Sadly, we didn't see nearly enough of this fine actor in the
UK. Sir Alan Bates's presence was captivating especially in Far
From the Madding Crowd. My daughter, who was two at the time
of this performance, sent a sketch of him in the role and he
very kindly sent a lovely letter in return. I think he is a very
sad loss for many of us.
Juliet, S.W. England
Looking at today's tv programmes and seeing that The Mayor
of Casterbridge was to be shown, I thought of Alan Bates and
his inimicable performance. How ironic. Rest in Peace Alan, we
shan't forget you!
So sad to hear the news of Alan Bates' death. We will no longer
be able to enjoy his charismatic stage appearances but I'm sure
his wonderful films will continue to give much pleasure over
JC, Lichfield, England
Alan Bates's performances in two Simon Gray plays of the seventies,
Butley and Otherwise Engaged were masterful. I've since seen
these plays performed by other respected actors, but he brought
a depth to them I've not seen replicated. Utter class.
PA, Edinburgh, UK
A great actor, Sir Alan will be greatly missed. I have been
a fan of Sir Alan's for many years. He seemed to be a natural.
My sympathies to his family.
JH, Coventry, W Midlands
Alan Bates's acting displayed all kinds of emotions and tones
but there was an underlying sweetness that was very special and
If Zorba were around he would
be deeply saddened to see his "boss" depart.
PM, Ottawa, Canada
I hope that Alan's family will gain comfort from the appreciative
comments made by his fans on the net and by the fact that there
are so many of them from all over the world. Not only did I find
him extremely sexy, as another person has mentioned, but he was
also a superb actor in so many parts and appeared to be such
a nice person. It is impossible to single out films, as they
all have their merits, and I am only sorry that he can't read
all these comments now and realise how much he was admired.
DR, Macclesfield, England
Although a very private man, Alan Bates was unfailingly kind
to fans who wished to meet him after a stage performance. My
husband and I had the privilege of meeting him on several occasions
- a note to the stage door before a performance would guarantee
this - and he would chat to us with great warmth and friendliness,
always modest and unassuming about his work. On one occasion
he telephoned personally to apologise for forgetting to thank
us for a first-night 'good luck' card. Such amazing kindness
and courtesy towards a middle-aged fan.
It is surely a coincidence worthy
of Thomas Hardy that his death was announced on the day that
a new TV production of 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' was screened.
The 1978 BBC version was one of Bates's finest roles. Perhaps
the BBC will consider a season of Bates's films to mark the passing
of this great actor? He will be sorely missed.
JP, Taunton, England
I wrote a movie for Alan Bates. When he was in L.A. performing
"Voyage Round My Father", I snuck backstage and introduced
myself, explaining that I was a young filmmaker and wrote this
character of an irreverent sometimes lunatic headmaster especially
for him . He graciously took the script, and within days agreed
to play the part.
Incredibly, a major studio then
"green lit" the movie - until Dustin Hoffman inserted
himself and the studio stopped the presses and it became an Dustin
Hoffman movie which, naturally, never got made. I flew to London
to meet Alan at a coffee shop in Hampstead, we both liked to
tell him in person, and to apologise.
We were both disappointed, and
I'll never forget his kindness. My condolences to his family.
Alan Bates was an extraordinarily gifted actor of great power
and joie de la vie whose distinctive impish twinkle could make
me laugh and cry at will. Goodbye, Mr. Bates.
AS, Los Angeles, CA, USA
My condolences to his loved ones. I saw Alan Bates' wonderful
performance in "Fortune's Fool" on Broadway. He made
me laugh and cry simultaneously in the scene where he becomes
drunker and drunker and funnier and funnier and heartbreaking
at last. What a fine actor, and it sounds like he was a decent
SK, Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA
I was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Sir Alan Bates
to the world. He was a wonderfully talented actor and he has
left a tremendous body of work. I offer my deepest condolences
and prayers to his son Benedick, and to all of his loved ones.
ST, Lafayette, Louisiana USA
The world has lost a great actor. I will always remember him
in his role in Zorba The Greek. My deepest sympathy to his family
and to his admirers.
AM, Columbus, Ohio, USA
I had the pleasure of working with him on a TV movie I wrote
once. I was a little shy of meeting him because I'd grown up
watching his work (I'm particularly fond of The Collection, the
TV version of the Pinter he did with Olivier, Helen Mirren and
Maloclm McDowell). He couldn't have been more gracious or charming.
A couple years back, he starred
on Broadway in Fortune's Fool. It was easily one of a handful
of great performances I have seen in a lifetime of theatre-going.
The Tony Awards got it right and gave him a "best actor"
trophy. A great career and a lovely man.
JS NYC, NY
It was 1968, when the film Zorba the Greek, came to my small
and isolated town in Fiji.The name Anthony Quinn actually drew
the crowd. But little did I know, that I was about to add another
actor in my list of favourites that eventually became my top
film actor of all times.
Sir Alan's performance in this
film was brilliant in every sense of the word. Soon the whole
town knew this new actor Alan Bates.. "the Englishman in
Since 1968 I have made it my mission
to see every film that he has acted in. None have disappointed
The world has lost a great actor
and a good human being. He has left a legacy that will be hard
to match.....truly "A man for all seasons."
My deepest condolences to his
family and friends.
SR, Prince George , B.C., Canada.
I've for years looked to Britain for the best performances
and productions. Alan Bates was one of the most gifted and is
a great loss.
BJ, Sequim, Washington, USA
A tragic loss to the theatrical world; a unique artistic talent
is not replaceable...
I had the great pleasure to meet Sir Alan when he was playing
in A Patriot For Me at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket while I worked
there. He was a true star, I think, who was equally riveting
on stage and on film (a rare commodity). I remember the raw power
of his performance in The Shout, and the heartbreak of The Go-Between
in particular. My condolences to his family.
KG, Philadelphia, PA USA
A shame, a damn shame.
MT, Kings Lynn, UK
He was a wonderful actor and I always looked forward to seeing
him on the screen. Such great range but you always could sense
the gentility of the man. I so much enjoyed seeing him in Gosford
Park recently. I only wish I could have seen him on stage. He
will be sorely missed.
Far From the Madding Crowd was always our favourite and I
found myself always taping it when it appeared again on television,
I now have 3 VHS copies. He always excelled playing in Victorian
masterpiece theatre on TV and we will all miss him.
MC & BC, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
A great loss to British theatre and cinema. I never missed
his films or when ever I was able to see him perform in London
theatre. Truely a brilliant and sensitive actor.
Prof. MBHY Haifa, Israel
Alan Bates belonged to that group of actors who added depth
to the resurgent British movie industry of the 1960s. Along with
Albert Finney, Tom Courteney, Richard Harris and others, Alan
Bates was a vital force in restoring the international reputation
of British film acting.
EN, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
He brought class and style to all his projects. His last New
York stage performance in Fortune's Fool was dazzling and stands
as a magnificent testament to the actor he was.
BHG, New York, NY
A great actor. Over the years I have enjoyed so many of his
performances. My condolences to his family. He will be greatly
AD, Montreal, Canada
Very sad to hear of the loss of Alan Bates, one of my favourite
actors over many years. I had the privilege of seeing him perform
on stage in a Shakespeare play as Richard III in Stratford, Ontario
in 1967 and he was a familiar face around town for that summer,
always friendly and polite. My deepest sympathies go to his family
and friends. He will be missed by many around the world.
AP, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
I remember him as the gentle, somewhat shy, bookish "boss"
in Zorba the Greek, who learned how to dance by the end of the
film. He was a charismatic, evidently very sensitive man, stylish.
Can one have any feeling except a sense of deep personal loss
hearing this news?
JG, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
I loved Alan Bates in The King of Hearts which most people
seem to have forgotten. A beautiful film with a quirky sense
of humour. He will be missed.
WR, St. John's, the Republic of Newfoundland
In his seemingly effortless portrayals of droll, offbeat characters,
Alan Bates was the embodiment of fine English acting and, indeed,
of Englishness. Will always be fondly remembered for his role
in Georgy Girl, a defining film and character for the Sixties
JG, Montreal, Canada
Very sad to hear of Sir Alan Bates's death! He was truly a
great actor of our time. I particularly enjoyed his performance
in Women in Love. What a terrible loss to the acting community
and Great Britain!
AD-H, Wisconsin, USA
He had a presence about him that would make you shut up and
really listen to his lines...and believe in the character he
played...a real loss.
XG, Miami, Florida, USA
After having the King of Hearts recommended to me, I realised
what a fine actor Bates was indeed. I have followed each of his
films and will miss the anticipation of another.
BMcD, Los Angeles, California
Living and working abroad, whenever I hear of the passing
of yet another great talent, I also feel the loss of a fellow
countryman who was both a creator and a part of an English creativity,
which I miss and of which I am intensely proud. As Alan Bates
and others pass into history, there is a feeling that a little
piece of history, all our collective memories of growing up and
living in their company, is lost. Such was the part Alan Bates
and others played in the cultural life of us all.
AP, Jepara, Indonesia
I recall smoking with Alan (backstage) during the filming
of The Rose many years ago in Southern California, he was a nice
MM, San Francisco
One of the truly great actors is gone. For a provincial Swede,
adoring the English theatre and the English language, Alan Bates
epitomised the very best of a what the English theatre has to
offer. Many outstanding performances will be remembered. My favourite
is Bates' rendition of John Malcolm, the former Labour politician
turned journalist, in Terence Rattigan's oft forgotten little
masterpiece "Separate Tables".
J-ES, Stockholm, Sweden
Two particular performances from Alan Bates that stick out
in my mind was his Claudius in Zefferelli's 1990 Hamlet. Dark,
fearful and played with subtle malice, Bates shone and Mel Gibson
couldn't steal the spotlight whenever Bates or Glenn Close were
around. Bates however is memorable to me from his performance
in the virtually unknown Silent Tongue, in which he played a
dreadfully eccentric Irishman in 1800s America, who married a
Native American and then is forced to go on a travelling circus
with his family of half breeds.
This film has the distinction
of being a memorable movie for the late Richard Harris and River
Phoenix's final released film, both of whom are at the top of
their game. Bates was fantastic in the role, I urge you all to
try and get your hands on Silent Tongue and watch Mr Bates's
mesmerising performance. Alan Bates... RIP
ATG, Kettering, England
David Hemmings... and now Alan Bates... Such great losses
for British theatre and film! And yet, we all shall always remember
them. They will live in our memories, in the wonderful films
they've made. They did not die actually. How could they? Great
actors are always immortal. Rest in peace, Sir Alan! God bless
you for the art and beauty you shared with us!
AD, Bucharest, Romania
Condolences to all who loved Alan Bates. I saw him perform
in the play Fortune's Fool on Broadway. He had me laughing and
crying at the same time with his incredible acting abilities.
SK, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
I am very sad to hear of Sir Alan's passing. Over the past
few months this 32-year-old American girl has been getting to
know this fine actor through DVDs & VHS tapes. I was hoping
to see him on the London stage soon but that will never be. He
was a treasure & I am so happy that he was knighted last
year. Sir Alan you will be missed! My condolences to Benedick
& the whole Bates family.
PH, Chicago IL USA
I fell in love with Gabriel Oak in my early teens and always
followed closely, and gained so much happiness from, all things
Alan Bates. To hear of your death on the radio today fills me
with sadness. From We Think The World Of You to The Fixer, Women
In Love to The Cherry Orchard - pure genius. An absolute delight.
"Whenever I look up there shall you be, and whenever you
look up there shall I be also" - the greatest film of all
time. May the sun shine on you wherever you are.
Even today, some of the very best actors are from Britain.
Of that admirable group, I feel Alan Bates has always been at
AS, Oakville, Canada
A great actor of enormous depth, versatility and immense charm.
His performance as Guy Burgess in An Englishman Abroad remains
one of my favourite performances that I never tire of watching.
A genuinely sad loss to the world.
ASt.J-Brown, Armidale, NSW, Australia
Sir Alan also directed several television plays for the BBC
in the sixties. I had the pleasure of working for him as his
film editor for the play The Prussian Officer. I shall never
forget the late night dinners we shared in a workman's cafe just
outside Ealing during our long edit sessions. In one scene of
the Prussian Officer he gave an amazing performance which he
later confided in me was the result of a injury he accidently
inflicted on himself in the opening seconds.
CH, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, USA
His last appearance on the NY stage in Fortune's Fool was
a well deserved triumph and to leave us with that last memory
is a blessing. His resume of roles onstage and in film will be
admired by many generations. Rest in Peace.
BG, New York, NY
An actor of tremendous range and versatility, he took what
many would consider risks to broaden his talent and art. He has
given us and genrations to come some of cinema's most unforgettable
characters in films such as: Zorba the Greek, An Englishman Abroad
and The Rose and Georgy Girl. Like all greatness, he will never
JA, Pittston, USA
I have been a fan of Sir Alan for three decades and was saddened
to learn of his passing. I only wish I had been fortunate enough
to enjoy his stage career as well as his film career. It is truly
a loss for the entire world when such a fine and talented actor
passes. Condolences to his family and his many devoted fans.
I have to agree with the gentleman who said the greatest actors
in the world come from Great Britain, and Sir Alan was certainly
among the best of them.
MG, St. Helens, Oregon, USA
If I had a choice to watch anything on television, or at the
movies, and Alan Bates was it in, that would be what I'd watch.
I just knew his part, if anything, would be worth the watching.
I will miss his presence in the world. God bless your soul, Sir
JA, Raleigh, NC USA
Oliver's Travels and An Englishman Abroad were as good as
it gets. He is irreplaceable.
CS, Portola Valley, California
Born a north countryman, Alan Bates nonetheless played Thomas
Hardy's best-known roles with a panache and finesse that made
him the quintessential Dorset man. He never descended into "mummerset"
as his depictions of Thomas Henchard in The Mayor of Casterbridge
and Gabriel Oak in Far From The Madding Crowd made joyously clear.
People who remember him from location filming of Far from The
Madding Crowd in the Shaftesbury area in 1967 recall a journeyman
actor with a huge yet unpretentious feel for the work of the
great Wessex author. Irreplaceable, and dead too young.
DH, Bruton, Somerset, UK
One of the greatest British actors of all time. Will be sadly
missed by many admirers including myself. May his soul rest in
MF, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
A great man. A great actor. A great loss.
DM, Bexleyheath, Kent, London
I met Alan Bates on the Greek island of Spetses about eight
years ago. He was dining with friends in a taverna one lunchtime
and l sent his table a bottle of wine. He came over to my table
and thanked me profusely for the wine. We chatted for a while
about Greece, of which he was very fond and about his work as
an actor, of which he was very modest. He explained that since
making Zorba The Greek, he returned to Greece nearly every year
to holiday with members of the original cast and crew.
A great actor who would be remembered
for his perfect acting in movies like The Go-between, An Unmarried
Woman, Women in Love... His final encounter with Jill Clayburgh
in the Paul Mazursky`s forgotten masterpiece, An Unmarried Woman
,is one of the best scenes in its kind.
Sina , Cambridge,UK
It's a shame. He seemed such a nice man as well as a good
RD, Selby, Britain
I have enjoyed Mr. Bates acting since I saw him in Far from
the Madding Crowd as a young child. My heart goes out to his
family and may God bless them all.
Julyienn, New Orleans, La./USA
Sir Alan played many wonderful roles. Among my favourites
was as the spy Kim Philby in A Gentleman Abroad. [Guy Burgess
in "An Englishman Abroad." -ed] He showed the side
of a spy we rarely see: after all the headlines and scandal,
how a life goes into decline. Sir Alan, we shall miss your dramatic
Father GS, Irving, Texas - USA
I was so sorry to hear of Alan Bates' death. He was a great
actor and it was always a pleasure to see him both on stage and
in film. He made so many other good films that were not mentioned
in the obituary. He will be missed very much. Once you saw his
name on the theatre board or cinema, you had to see the performance.
Condolences to his family.
JD, New York, USA
The brightest star has dimmed. He will forever be in the heavens,
a wonderful actor, so magnificent in everything he did. I will
miss him so much, Thank God he blessed our lives with his great
DL, Huntersville, North Carolina USA
I will never forget the magical movie, King of Hearts that
starred Alan Bates as the WWI soldier who left the "mad
world" and joined the "lunatics" in the insane
asylum and how those in the asylum were more sane than the rest
of the world.
TAB, Sterling Heights, MI. 48313
My favorite role of his was a television mystery called Oliver's
Travels from a few years back. He played a jazz-loving agnostic
professor of religion,and pulled it off with grace and style.
Rest in peace...
PH, NYC,New York
It was very sad to learn of the passing of Sir Alan Bates.
Definitely, one of our favourite actor, and, for my wife, I would
have to say, THE most favourite. She always put him right up
there alongside Gregory Peck: to be enjoyed not only for his
considerable acting talent, but also for his ability to induce
rapid knee-weakening among the fairer sex. Our favourite portrayals?
The Mayor of Casterbridge is right at the top, and we hope that
public TV over here will re-run it one of these days.
That is followed closely by Whistle
down the Wind, and the never-to-be-forgotten exclamation of "Jesus
Christ" when he was awakened by the children in the barn.
I don't feel that his persona on stage or screen was of the Olivier
or Gielgud type - one simply rejoiced in part after part brilliantly
and naturally acted in a manner which constantly brought a smile
to the lips or a lump to the throat. A master craftsman indeed.
JG and CG, Mississauga, Canada
I was very sad to hear about the death of Sir Alan Bates,
a most talented and versatile actor, making some truly memorable
performances in films such as Zorba the Greek, The Rose (a particualar
favourite of mine) and also in TV serials such as The Mayor of
Casterbridge, and lately Love in A Cold Climate. I very much
treasure the autograph I once received from him. He'll be greatly
VA-B, Helsingborg, Sweden
I consider Sir Alan Bates to be one of the greatest British
actors of all time. A remake of The Mayor of Casterbridge is
being screened tonight - I wish it was the 78 Alan Bates version,
that should be screened as a tribute. How poignant that the Go-Between
was screened just days ago. A talent that will be sadly missed,
a hero of mine when I myself was at stage school years ago.
I saw him in all the famous films but i also saw him on stage
a few years ago in Ibsens play The Materbuilder and his full
stature as a stage actor was immense. I feel very privileged
to have seen him 'live' I feel a great sense of loss at this
TW, Maldon Essex
Alan was always eminently watchable, a rare gift sadly gone.
From Whistle Down the Wind to Hamlet I never ceased to believe
the character or the man. He portrayed perfectly the fall of
thought across the eyes and ensured my trust in his presence.
Quite rightly, a presence immortalised through film and thought.
AW, Manchester, UK
Only days ago we were speaking of Alan's role in The Mayor
of Casterbridge and how brilliant he was in it, and in so many
films over the years too, so I was shocked to read tonight of
his death. He brought a lot of pleasure through films and series
and will be sadly missed. Condolences to his family.
CB, Adelaide South Australia
I am saddened to hear of Alan Bates' death. He was a very
fine actor who had the talent to play a variety of roles. I particularly
loved him in Far from the Madding Crowd in which he was tender
and appealing as the patient Gabriel yet brash and unfeeling
as The Mayor of Casterbridge. I look forward to a season of his
films in tribute on the BBC.
MB, Chorley, Lancashire
Condolences to friends and family, the sad loss of a legend
of British stage and screen.
There are no words that could console a very deep loss as
the death of Sir Alan Bates. May he rest in peace.
Susan, Modena. Italy
Alan Bates was a very,very good actor and he will be sadly
missed. I remember him in A Kind of Loving.
AB, Skegness, Lincolnshire
I've been a fan of AB since the 1970s, and have greatly enjoyed
his work on film and audio for decades. I finally had the opportunity
to meet him in person after a stage performance of The Unexpected
Man. All those years I knew he was handsome, but when I finally
met him I was struck by how beautiful he was. His eyes were grey
and the irises were lined in black, which gave him a most striking
look which was never appreciated until one was near him; he was
warm, pleasant, and totally at ease with this star-struck fan.
He was genuine and wonderful. One is tempted to say "he
was a class act", but his was no act; he truly was class.
I am grateful that
we can continue to enjoy so much of his work on film and audio.
My condolences to his son Benedick,
his brother, and their families.
FW, Princeton, New Jersey
The man just oozed class and absolutley made himself the characters
he played. The Nazi he played in The Sum of All Fears could only
have been played that way by him.
PS, Manchester, UK
Whenever I was able to watch Sir Alan Bates on the London
theatre stage I was moved by his great performance and human
touch. A great actor will be missed by many admirers.
AB, Vienna, Austria
Alan Bates. A great actor in the greatest tradition. His was
a great gift, I for one will miss his presence and rugged good
looks. His role in many classics brought joy to the ear and eye.
I shall miss him.
MK, St Albans, Hertfordshire.
It was the brilliance of actors like Sir Alan Bates that made
British actors the best in the world. He will be sorely missed.
My condolences go to his family.
Very sorry to hear of Alan Bates' passing. His performance
in "Butley" still ranks as the finest piece of acting
I have ever seen.
Alan Bates performance in Far From the Madding Crowd is one
of the most memorable for me - in particular his closing line
"Whenever I look up there shall you be, and whenever you
look up there shall I be also". Magic.
RN, Milton Keynes, England
A tremendous loss to both theatre and cinema. A sad day for
all who enjoy great acting.
Two wonderful performances I'll remember Alan Bates for were
in John Mortimer's A Voyage Round My Father, and as Guy Burgess
in An Englishman Abroad. His timing and sensitivity were brilliant.
He is sadly missed
TC, Ipswich, Suffolk, UK
A favourite actor of ours for many, many years. It is too
early to lose an actor of his abilities and charm. So sorry.
HG&JG, Taunton, England