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Michael Bates
Bates as Cyril Blamire in Last of the Summer Wine
Born (1920-12-04)4 December 1920
Jhansi, United Provinces, British India
Died 11 January 1978(1978-01-11) (aged 57)
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, UK
Occupation Actor
Years active 1953–1977
Spouse(s) Margaret M. J. Chisholm (1954-1978; his death)
Children 3

Michael Bates (4 December 1920 – 11 January 1978) was an Anglo-Indian[1] actor born in Jhansi, United Provinces, British India.


The son of Harry Stuart Bates, CSI (1893-1985; son of Albert Bates, of Congleton, Cheshire),[2][3] an Anglo-Indian civil servant, by his wife Sarah Clarke (1896-1982), dau. of William Hammond Walker of Congleton, Cheshire, Bates was educated at Uppingham School and St Catharine's College, Cambridge. In 1954, he married Margaret M. J. Chisholm. They had three children: Rupert, also an actor; Camilla; and Jolyon.[1][4] He served as a Major with the Brigade of Gurkhas in Burma before his discharge at the end of World War II. Bates was a lifelong supporter of the Conservative Party. In 1953, while an ensemble member with the Stratford Festival in Stratford Ontario Canada, he appeared in Richard III and All's Well That Ends Well. In 1956 he appeared in Hotel Paradiso, which starred Alec Guinness, at the Winter Garden Theatre in London. On radio, he played a variety of characters in the BBC's long-running comedy series The Navy Lark, including Able Seaman Ginger, Lt. Bates, Rear Admiral Ironbridge, the Padre, and Captain Ignatius Aloysius Atchison.

Bates appeared in many UK television series including Last of the Summer Wine from 1973 to 1975 as Cyril Blamire and It Ain't Half Hot Mum from 1974 to 1977 as Rangi Ram, as well as many others. Despite being born in India and learning Hindi before he spoke English, his role as Rangi Ram caused some controversy, that Bates was performing in blackface. "All Michael Bates [...] wore was a light tan", protested Jimmy Perry in a 2013 interview with the journalist Neil Clark, an admirer of the series.[5]

Bates's film roles include Bedazzled (1967) as the flirtatious police inspector, Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (1967) as Mr. McGregor, Battle of Britain (1969) as Warrant Officer Warwick, Oh! What a Lovely War (1969) as a Lance-corporal, Patton (1970) as Field Marshal Sir Bernard Law Montgomery (to whom he bore a striking resemblance), Frenzy (1972) by Alfred Hitchcock, and the Stanley Kubrick film A Clockwork Orange (1971). On stage, he did Shakespeare at Stratford and at the Old Vic and made a big impression as Inspector Truscott in the West End production of Loot by Joe Orton in 1966.

Bates died of cancer at his home in Cambridge, aged 57.

Selected television roles[edit]

Year Title Role
1973–1975 Last of the Summer Wine Cyril Blamire
1974–1977 It Ain't Half Hot Mum Bearer Rangi Ram

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ a b Peter Nichols Diaries, 1969-1977, London: Nick Hern Books, 2000, p.133
  2. ^ Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes, 1969, pg. 224
  3. ^ Who Was Who: A Companion to Who's Who, 2002, pg. 50
  4. ^ Who's Who in the Theatre, 1977, pg. 391
  5. ^ Neil Clark "Jimmy Perry turns 90: a tribute to the genius behind Dad's Army", telegraph.co.uk, 20 September 2013

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Bates_(actor) — Please support Wikipedia.
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Births: 1795 Thomas Carlyle, Ecclefechan-born historian and writer; 1865 Edith Cavell, nurse and patriot; 1866 Wassily Kandinsky, artist; 1892 General Franco, Spanish dictator; 1913 Claude Renoir, cinematographer; 1920 Michael Bates, actor. Deaths ...

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