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British Actor Alan Bates Dies at 69

British actor Alan Bates, who made his stage debut nearly five decades ago, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 69 years old.

His agent said he died Saturday in a London hospital.

Bates, who was born in central England, debuted on stage in 1955 and gained attention the following year in John Osborne's Look Back in Anger.

He went on to play the lead in stage productions of Shakespeare's Hamlet, Richard III, and Antony and Cleopatra.

Bates also appeared in films such as Zorba the Greek with Anthony Quinn and Irene Papas, and Women in Love with Oliver Reed.

His recent movie credits included Gosford Park in 2001, and The Sum of all Fears in 2002.

Bates, who won a Tony Award in 2002 for Fortune's Fool, was knighted earlier this year.