Granville Bates (January 7, 1882 – July 8, 1940) was an American character actor and bit player, appearing in over ninety films.
Bates was born in Chicago in 1882 to Granville Bates, Sr., a developer and builder, and Adaline Bates (née Gleason). He grew up in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago on the southeast corner of Evanston (now Broadway) Ave. and Oakdale Ave. in a townhouse that his father later demolished, along with all of the others on the block, to redevelop as a four-story commercial building with apartments above.
Bates began his film career in the 1910s with Essanay Studios of the Chicago film industry, and his World War I draft Registration Card listed him as a travelling actor for Francis Owen & Co. He appeared on Broadway in the late 1920s and early 1930s, notably in the original production of Merrily We Roll Along (1934) by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. He was also the Conductor in the original production of Twentieth Century (1932).
From the 1930s, he appeared in a number of classic films, although sometimes uncredited. He received favorable notice for his character roles, such as in My Favorite Wife (1940), where he played an irascible judge - The New York Times critic Bosley Crowther wrote "Mr. Bates deserves a separate mention for his masterpiece of comic creation." Another New York Times reviewer noted that "Edward Ellis and Granville Bates provoked an early audience yesterday to gentle laughter in a brief but quietly amusing sequence" in Chatterbox (1936), while Crowther praised his work in Men Against the Sky (1940): "The players' performances are stock and pedestrian, excepting that of Granville Bates as a cynical banker".
Bates died of a heart attack in Hollywood on July 9, 1940. He was buried at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago.
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