REMEMBERING: Born today in 1940, RALPH BATES. Sadly, no longer with us. A talented actor and a truly gentle and kind man.
The great, great nephew of the renowned French scientist Louis Pasteur developed into a strangely handsome dark haired, pale complexioned English actor. Ralph Bates was born in 1940 in Bristol, England and attended the University of Dublin and studied at the Yale Drama School. His dramatic talents first came to audiences attention playing the evil Emperor Caligula in the well received BBC TV series The Caesars (1968). However, the Hammer studios resurrection of the horror genre was then in full stride, and Bates was soon engulfed in the swirling cloak of Hammer's success as he appeared in several horror films in quick succession.
Firstly in a support role as demonic Lord Courtley in Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970), followed as the lead character Baron Frankenstein in The Horror of Frankenstein (1970), then as Giles Barton in the sexy Lust for a Vampire (1971) and as the well meaning Dr. Jekyll in an unusual spin on the Robert Louis Stevenson story in Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971) and 'Fear in the Night' with Peter Cushing in 1972. Bates brought a new zest to Hammer and with his stylish dialogue delivery and film acting methods, he quickly won himself quite a few fans in both critics and regular film goers!
Unfortunately, by the early 1970s there had been a downturn in Hammer studios fortunes, and Bates then found himself turning to more traditional character work in other production houses and he appeared in several films before snaring other superb villainous role as George Warleggan in the 18th century period piece Poldark (1975).
After Poldark, Bates himself kept busy in a few forgettable UK made TV shows and television film roles which did not really do justice to his remarkable talents. In the late 1980s his health rapidly deteriorated, and he sadly passed away from cancer aged only 51 on 27th March 1991.