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Bates as Cyril Blamire in Last of the Summer Wine
Michael Bates was an English actor.
The son of Harry Stuart Bates, CSI (1893–1985, son of Albert Bates, of Congleton, Cheshire), a civil servant, by his wife Sarah Clarke (1896-1982, daughter 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. 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. 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.
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 played Shakespearean roles 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) - Major Broke-Smtih
- Dunkirk (1958) - Froome
- I'm All Right Jack (1959) - Bootle
- Bedazzled (1967) - Inspector Clarke
- Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (1968) - Mr. McGregor
- Hammerhead (1968) - Andreas / Sir Richard
- Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River (1968) - Dr. Spink
- Salt and Pepper (1968) - Inspector Crabbe
- Oh! What a Lovely War (1969) - Drunk Lance Corporal
- Battle of Britain (1969) - Warrant Officer Warwick
- Patton (1970) - Field Marshall Sir Bernard Law Montgomery
- Arthur? Arthur! (1969) - Mr. Harrington
- Every Home Should Have One (1970) - Magistrate
- The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer (1970) - Mr. Spimm
- A Clockwork Orange (1971) - Chief Guard
- Frenzy (1972) - Sergeant Spearman
- No Sex Please, We're British (1973) - Mr. Needham
- The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones (1976) - Madman
- Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes, 1969, pg. 224
- Who Was Who: A Companion to Who's Who, 2002, pg. 50
- Who's Who in the Theatre, 1977, pg. 391
- 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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