Otherwise Engaged : The Life of Alan Bates, Paperback Book

Otherwise Engaged : The Life of Alan Bates Paperback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


In 1956, at the age of 22, Alan Bates was cast in John Osborne's controversial play, "Look Back in Anger".

The play changed the course of British theatre - and of Alan's life.

With a sudden rush of fame, he became a member of a new circle of actors at the Royal Court: the English Stage Company.

From then on, he also worked steadily in television and won international acclaim for his roles in a number of major films, from "A Kind of Loving" and "Zorba the Greek" to "Women in Love".

But his personal life was not always as seemingly straightforward as his career - his relationships, including that with his wife, Victoria Ward, were often turbulent.

Drawing on dozens of interviews with his family, lovers, colleagues and friends - and mining a rich store of primary research - Donald Spoto chronicles Alan's achievements as a performer against the backdrop of a complicated personal life.


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A bio of one of my favorite actors. After Bates' death in 2003, his son, brother and many friends handed over to Spoto a lifetime of paperwork kept by Bates. Using his personal and professional letters and contracts, along with interviews, Spoto put together a biography that was much more personal than Bates would allow during his lifetime.At the heart of this book is Bates' need to keep his homosexuality a secret, both to ensure his ability to get the big leading man roles and to be comfortable with himself, as he saw himself in many of his roles. Spoto provides information about Bates' roles, where and when they were filmed, how much he was paid (surprising little until the 70's) and how Bates felt about his films. But the focus of the book is Bates' personal life. He was a devoted son who did everything he could to make his aging parents comfortable and had strong bonds with his brothers, yet was so determined to distance himself from his marriage that for many years he allowed his own twin boys to live in squalor and be starved by their unbalanced mother. This is a fast-paced and sometimes sad story about someone who seemed to be constantly running.

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