(September 24, 1915December 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). 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......