British actor SIR Alan Bates has lost his long battle with cancer at the age of 69.

The Derbyshire-born star, who was nominated for an OSCAR for his performance in THE FIXER, passed away at a London hospital last night (27DEC03).

Sir Alan studied drama at the prestigious London school ROYAL ACADEMY OF DRAMATIC ARTS (RADA), before beginning his acting career on the stage.

The Englishman made his big screen debut opposite SIR Laurence Olivier in THE ENTERTAINER in 1960.

During his 43-year career, Sir Alan received four BRITISH ACADEMY OF FILM AND TELEVISION ARTS (BAFTA) nominations, including one win for TV drama AN ENGLISHMAN ABROAD in 1983.

The actor recently filmed scenes for TV mini series SPARTACUS alongside ER star Goran Visnjic.

One of his most memorable performances was wrestling naked with OLIVER REED in a film adaptation of DH LAWRENCE's classic novel WOMEN IN LOVE.

The GOSFORD PARK star is survived by his son BENEDICK, whose twin TRISTAN died from an asthma attack in 1990. Sir Alan's wife VICTORIA WARD passed away in 1992.

28/12/2003 14:02