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Michael Bates as Cyril Blamire in Last of the Summer Wine.
4 December 1920|
Jhansi, United Provinces, British India
|Died||11 January 1978
Cambridge, England, UK
The son of an Anglo-Indian civil servant, Bates served as a Major with the Brigade of Gurkhas in Burma before his discharge at the end of World War II. 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. 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.
Bates's film roles include 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.
Selected television roles
|1973–1975||Last of the Summer Wine||Cyril Blamire|
|1974–1977||It Ain't Half Hot Mum||Bearer Rangi Ram|
- Carrington V.C. (1955)
- Dunkirk (1958)
- I'm All Right Jack (1959)
- Bedazzled (1967)
- Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River (1968)
- Battle of Britain (1969)
- Patton (1970)
- Every Home Should Have One (1970)
- The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer (1970)
- A Clockwork Orange (1971)
- Frenzy (1972)
- No Sex Please, We're British (1973)
- Peter Nichols Diaries, 1969-1977, London: Nick Hern Books, 2000, p.133
- Neil Clark "Jimmy Perry turns 90: a tribute to the genius behind Dad's Army", telegraph.co.uk, 20 September 2013
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