Warren Oates


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Warren Oates was born and reared in Depoy, a tiny rural community in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, located just a few miles west of Greenville, the county seat. According to the federal census of 1940, he was the younger child of two sons of Sarah Alice (née Mercer) and Bayless Earle Oates, who owned a general store. His brother, Gordon, was five years his senior. On his father's side, Warren was of English, Scottish and Welsh ancestry. He attended Louisville Male High School in Louisville, Kentucky, until 1945 but did not graduate from that institution. He did, however, later earn a high school equivalency diploma. After high school he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps for two years, serving in its air wing as an aircraft mechanic. Oates became interested in theater while attending the University of Louisville, where in 1953 he starred in several plays produced by the school's Little Theater Company. Four years later, in New York City, he got an opportunity to star in a live production of the television series Studio One.