Alan Bates

(1934-2003)


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The 400 people who gathered in the Royal Court theatre on Sunday 26th September 2004 to celebrate the life of the great theatrical knight, Sir Alan Bates included many of the luminaries of British film and theatre.

There was Glenda Jackson, with whom he starred in the erotic Women In Love, a still youthful Charlotte Rampling, playwright Harold Pinter, Hollywood leading man Malcom McDowell, actor Nikolas Grace who spoke and actresses Felicity Kendal and Dame Eileen Atkins.

But amid all the tributes to the actor whose Byronic looks captivated a generation of female fans and turned him into a Sixties icon, one detail about his life remained unknown...until now.

For I can reveal that Bates, who died of cancer at the age of 69 in December 2003, had been secretly sharing the last years of his life with an actress he had loved and lost almost four decades earlier.


Alan Bates

Only a handful of people knew that Joanna Pettet lived in his house in St John's Wood, North-West London, that it was she who discreetly accompanied him to Buckingham palace for his Investiture and when he succumbed to pancreatic cancer, nursed him through the last months of his life. They had even planned to marry, until his illness made it impossible. His abiding regret was that he was never able to make her his wife and Lady Bates.

The extraordinary story begins in 1964 when Bates, who had electrified audiences as an Angry Young Man and as a working class dreamer in the 1962 film, A Kind Of Loving, was appearing on stage with Joanna in a Broadway hit called Poor Richard, along with a budding actor, Gene Hackman.

'They fell absolutely in love,' a friend of Joanna said. 'Neither of them were married and after the play ended he whisked her off to the British Virgins Islands and had she not been so young - she was only 18 - I'm sure they would have married.'

When their careers forced them apart - his on the London stage and hers in Hollywood - they split up and married other people. But they remained friends and were to share in each other's subsequent tragedies.

In 1990 Alan's son Tristan by his marriage to former model Victoria Ward died after an asthma attack. Two years later Victoria also died suddenly.

His loss was mirrored by events in Joanna's life. In 1996 her son, Damien, from her marriage to American actor Alex Cord died of a drugs overdose. Bates was the first person to call and commiserate.

'He flew her to Toronto where he was in a play and looked after her for two weeks while she cried,' says the friend.

When Alan's four-year on-off romance with actress Angharad Rees collapsed in 2000, he phoned Joanna, who was a recluse living in the Anza Desert, in California and told her she must jump on a plane to London and that they should be married.

'Tragically they didn't marry because four months later he came down with the cancer that eventually killed him,' says the friend. 'It was desperately sad.'

The emergence of Joanna Pettet, who starred in Casino Royale, the James Bond spoof, is a poignant new chapter in Sir Alan's life.

Says the friend: 'Some people suspected that Alan was bisexual. He may well have been earlier in his life. He may well been earlier in his life, but he certainly was not during the time he was reunited with Joanna.'



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alan bates dvds




alan bates videos





alan bates

dvds | videos

al pacino | michelle pfeiffer

yul brynner | christopher plummer | romy schneider

the godfather | the godfather part ii
marlon brando | james caan | diane keaton | al pacino
laurence olivier | clark gable | vivien leigh | leslie howard | alfred hitchcock | robert montgomery | grace kelly
olivia de havilland | humphrey bogart | howard hawks | frank capra | charlie chaplin | lauren bacall | fritz lang
jean harlow | greta garbo | ava gardner | audrey hepburn | edward g. robinson | john garfield
erich von stroheim | wim wenders | madeleine carroll | marlene dietrich | rita hayworth






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