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. He also worked steadily in major films, from "A Kind of Loving" and "Zorba the Greek to Women in Love" - and he won international acclaim for his performance as Guy Burgess in the television adaptation of "An Englishman Abroad". During his career, he appeared in more than 80 plays, 45 films and 32 television dramas, including major works by Simon Gray, Harold Pinter and Alan Bennett, and "Spoto" chronicles his achievements as a performer against the backdrop of a complicated personal life. Alan's friends, family and fellow actors provide rich, poignant and often astonishing anecdotes. His twenty-year marriage to the clever but disturbed Victoria Ward, an unconventional union which resulted in shared child-rearing but separate homes and lives, provides a contrast to his hitherto hidden, sometimes passionate and often tortured liaisons with other women and with men.
Despite this, he and Victoria never divorced, and family was very important to Bates. In 1990, tragedy struck when, at 19, his son Tristan died under mysterious circumstances. Not long after, Victoria also died, leaving Tristan's twin, Benedick, and Alan suddenly alone. Drawing on dozens of interviews with Alan Bates' family, his lovers, colleagues and friends, and with people who knew and worked with him - and mining a rich store of primary research - this exclusively authorised biography paints a portrait of a complex and remarkable personality.
Donald Spoto was born near New York City in 1941 and received his PhD from Fordham University in 1970. He is the author of 21 books, including internationally bestselling biographies of Alfred Hitchcock, Tennessee Williams, Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe and Ingrid Bergman. His acclaimed biography of Audrey Hepburn, Enchantment, is available in paperback from Arrow. He is married to the Danish school administrator and artist Ole Flemming Larsen. They live in a quiet village an hour's drive from Copenhagen.