Brother of Gordon Oates.
In his long and prestigious career as one of the best character actors in film, he only had four leading roles: Bennie in "Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia", as well as the title roles in "Chandler", "Cockfighter", and "Dillinger". He got his first official lead role in "Garcia" as a gift from director Sam Peckinpah partly in appreciation for his work in two of his films, "Ride The High Country" and "The Wild Bunch", respectively, and because Oates had never been the star before.
Sang in the backup chorus for "Rocket to Stardom" on Kris Kristofferson's 1975 album "Who's to Bless . . . Who's to Blame."
Subject of the song by "Dave Graney and the Coral Snakes", title "Warren Oates", from their album "You Wanna Be There But You Don't Wanna Travel" phonogram 1994
The University of Louisville had a scholarship named after him for promising students in the arts programs.
Turned down the lead role in Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969) in order to make The Wild Bunch (1969).