||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (March 2013)|
Gates in trailer for "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1956)
September 24, 1915|
St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
|Died||December 12, 1996
Sharon, Connecticut, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Judith Gates (? - 1996)|
Larry Gates (September 24, 1915 – December 12, 1996) was an American actor probably best known for his role as H.B. Lewis on daytime's Guiding Light and as Doc Baugh in the film version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He played the role of Lewis from 1983 to 1996 and received the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor at the 1985 awards.
Gates had a long career in film, television, and theater. He appeared in the Broadway productions of The Teahouse of the August Moon (1953) Bell, Book and Candle (1956) and A Case of Libel (1964). In Airport, the 1970 all-star disaster / melodrama film, he played the role of (Lincoln Airport) Commissioner Ackerman. He played Polonius opposite Sam Waterston in a New York revival of Hamlet. He also starred in the 1976 Broadway play Poor Murderer, which is about an actor who questions whether or not he, who is playing Hamlet, actually killed the actor playing Polonius, or if it was just a dream.
His film roles included supporting parts in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Death of a Gunfighter, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Sand Pebbles, and perhaps most memorably, In the Heat of the Night playing landowner Endicott, where he famously slapped Sidney Poitier's character, Virgil Tibbs, who immediately slapped him back.
On television, Gates had numerous roles on such anthology drama series as Philco Television Playhouse, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, Goodyear Television Playhouse, Kraft Television Theatre, Studio One, and Playhouse 90. He continued to make dozens of guest appearances in a wide variety of primetime series, including Bonanza, Route 66, The Defenders,Channing, Slattery's People, Rawhide, and Twelve O'Clock High. He also starred as Roscoe Potts in the ABC Stage 67 television musical Evening Primrose by Stephen Sondheim.
Gates died of leukemia in 1996 at the age of 81.