The director passed away in London on Sunday (09Jan11) after suffering a long illness. No more details were available as WENN went to press.
Yates dreamed of becoming an actor in his youth, studying at Britain's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and going on to star on the stage before working as an assistant director for Tony Richardson.
His feature directorial debut was 1963's low-budget Summer Holiday starring Sir Cliff Richard and he went on to direct Steve McQueen in acclaimed 1968 cop movie Bullitt.
Yates received four Academy Award nominations throughout his career, a double nod for Best Producer and Best Director for Breaking Away (1979) and another two nominations for The Dresser (1983).
More recently, he worked on a 2000 TV adaption of Don Quixote and 2004's A Separate Peace.