All of us at CreativeFuture are devastated by the sudden loss of our friend and colleague Richard Bates. He was a tireless advocate for the creative communities and was deeply devoted to his work – but he was most beloved for his wit, kindness, and compassion.
He was our ally, our supporter, and, above all, our friend. He was always there for us both personally and professionally. What we do at CreativeFuture would not be possible without him. His belief in us was strong and he carried us through the fights we had to have on behalf of our creative community. We would not be who we are without Richard. And, as importantly, we would not be the individuals we are had Richard not been in our lives.
We will carry him in our hearts, and our thoughts and condolences are with his wife Rose and his two sons, Ricky and Chris.
Below, he is remembered by his son, Richard Bates, Jr.
My Dad is my best friend in the world. He was the best man at my wedding and we spoke every single day. Everything I am is because of him. He sacrificed everything for our family. I cannot think of anything to say about him, other than he was perfect.
His dream growing up would have been to be a musician or something more arts-oriented, so when he found out I wanted to make movies he did everything in his power to help make my dreams come true. He found a film camp for me to go to in high school, he screamed at the top of his lungs when I was accepted into NYU, and he was stunned when my first movie was accepted into Sundance.
At my wedding, he cried when he gave his speech – reflecting on the fact that every Saturday morning I would wake up extra early to watch a movie with him downstairs, and now I was making them. He sacrificed his own dreams to make my dreams come true. He is the very definition of a great man.
We used to go to Tower Records and look through the aisles for gems and then drive to Lee Highway to watch the latest horror B-movies together. He introduced me to all my film heroes and every musician I love – from The Strokes to The Rolling Stones. We would sit and listen to records together for hours. He had the best taste in everything.
During baseball season, he used to drive us to Camden Yards to watch the Orioles play and even took me out of school to watch Cal Ripken Jr. tie and then break the consecutive games record. When I played Little League, he did everything in his power to never miss a game and would always try to get away with standing in the outfield to watch so he could avoid small-talk with other parents.
He was so funny – the funniest person I’ve ever known. Once we were at a Nationals game, and he just turned to me out of nowhere and said, “Ya know son, I know karma’s supposed to be a thing, but I gotta tell ya… a lot of the biggest pieces of shit I’ve ever met in my life are the most successful.” I just burst out laughing.
I have a voicemail still saved on my phone that he left for me on my Birthday in 2010. “Happy Birthday. It’s your Dad. I was there the day you were born. You were a lot better looking then than you are now.” I can’t help but listen to it over and over again.
In college, he visited me in New York and took me to see one of his all-time favorite bands – the Allman Brothers. I turned to him and complained, “Dad, every single one of their songs is twenty minutes too long.” He smiled back at me and said, “Son, every single one of your movies is 20 minutes too long.” Since his passing, I’ve listened to the Allman Brothers At Filmore East from beginning to end, and now I wish it went on forever.
He died on New Year’s Eve. I spent almost every New Year’s Eve at The Hamilton with him since college. He would also invite all my friends. Everyone loved him – he was so fucking cool. The coolest and the greatest. So many of my childhood friends have called me to say how important my Dad was to them. He taught us all how to be ourselves, do the right thing, and not give a fuck. God, he was awesome.
The last thing he texted me the morning he passed away was rock-and-roll. I sent him some Kurt Vile records for Christmas. As he was listening to them, he texted, “Kurt Vile has Lou Reed vibes.”
Richard Bates is my hero and sharing his name is the greatest honor I will ever receive. I love him with all my heart. And I will love him forever.
– Richard Bates, Jr.