Ralph Bates

Ralph Bates

Infobox Actor
name = Ralph Bates

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birthdate = Birth date|1940|02|12|df=yes
birthplace = Bristol, England
deathdate = Death date and age|1991|03|27|1940|02|12|df=yes
deathplace = London, England
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occupation = Actor
yearsactive = 1967–1991
spouse = Joanna Van Gyseghem (divorced) Virginia Wetherell (1973-1991)
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Ralph Bates (12 February 1940 - 27 March 1991) was an English film and television actor, best known for his role in the British sitcom, "Dear John" (1986).

Bates was born in Bristol, England, of French ancestry (he was a distant relative of Louis Pasteur) and educated at Trinity College Dublin. He read French there, before winning a scholarship to Yale Drama School. The course completed, Bates returned to Ireland to make his stage debut in Shaw's 'You Never Can Tell', at The Gate Theatre, Dublin, in 1963. A career in repertory theatre soon followed and the young actor gained experience in productions ranging from "Hedda Gabler", to raucous comedies.

Later, Bates carved a niche in the world of horror films and played important roles or the lead in several Hammer horror productions, such as "Taste the Blood of Dracula", "The Horror of Frankenstein" (1970), "Lust for a Vampire", and "Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde", in which he played a deranged doctor who mistakenly transforms himself into a beautiful siren.

He made himself noticed on television playing Thomas Culpeper in an episode of "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" (1970). He had already starred as Caligula in the series 'The Caesars' and alongside Cyd Hayman in a passionate French tale of murder and mystery - Crime of Passion series. He went on to star in the BBC drama series, "Moonbase 3" (1973) and the long-running "Poldark", in which he played villainous George Warleggan. The series ran for 29 episodes, starting in 1975. He also played Communist Paul Vercors in the final season of the drama series "Secret Army". Because of his French blood and dark looks, he was often chosen to play a Frenchman on television. Bates also appeared in the TV movie "Minder On the Orient Express"'.

He was twice married:
* The actress Joanna Van Gyseghem (marriage dissolved)
* The actress Virginia Wetherell (1973-1991). One daughter Daisy Bates and one son William Bates both became actors.

It looked, for a while, as if he might remain typecast as the archetypal mean-and-moody hunk, but then he was offered a part in a farcical comedy by the writer John Sullivan, which saw Bates as the loveable but loveless central character among a singles group, with each of its members looking for that perfect but ever elusive partner. After starring in two series of "Dear John", in which he realistically played the part of a divorcee returning to single life, Bates became ill with cancer. He died in London at age 51 from pancreatic cancer, survived by his widow, Virginia, and his children.

External links


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