Full Name: Timothy Peter Dalton
Date of Birth: 21st March 1946
Place of Birth: Colwyn Bay, North Wales
Height: 6' 2" (1.88m)
Also Famous For: The Lion in Winter, Scarlett
Active Duty: 1986-1994
Only Bond: The only Bond to have performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company before becoming 007.
1987 - The Living Daylights
1989 - Licence To Kill
"It's very important to make the man [James Bond] believable so that you can stretch the fantasy. Whether people like this kind of Bond is another question."
Timothy Peter Dalton was born on the 21st of March 1946 to an American
mother and English father, who was both a solider and a successful
advertising agent. The eldest of five in the family, Dalton grew
up in Colwyn Bay, Wales, where they resided from the time of
his birth. At the age of four, the Dalton family moved to Belper
in Derbyshire (just south of Manchester), England, where the
young Timothy was enrolled in a local Grammar school in Manchester
- he thrived on sports and sciences before catching the acting
During his school years, he attended several
stage and theatre productions including Shakespeare's "Macbeth",
which reportedly inspired Dalton to make a career on the stage.
Also in school, Dalton first performed in "Arms and the
Man" - a
George Bernard Shaw play in which Timothy played Sergius, a
gallant war hero. Dalton continued
to perform on stage in a variety of productions, including "Billy
Lair" at a local theatre. Dalton began his professional
dramatic career on tour with the National Youth Theatre. In 1964
a role with the company's Shakespearian production of "Coriolanus" at
London's Queen's Theatre.
After leaving high school and with an already impressive resumé, Dalton won a place in the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. He never completed his course at RADA, and freely admitted that he found teaching was no substitute for intuition or experience when it came to acting. After dropping out early, Dalton set about finding an acting job. In 1966 he was welcomed back to the National Youth Theatre in London where he won the lead and title role in "Little Malcolm and His Struggle against the Eunuchs" as well as "A Game Called Arthur".
Through his work with the Youth Theatre,
Dalton began to build on his range of roles and broaden
his talents as an actor. After a run of "Little Malcolm
And His Struggle Against The Eunuchs" Dalton
was signed to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Soon after
accepting that contract, Dalton's workload doubled as he began
to be noticed by a range of influential film and television
personalities. In the late 1960's, he was picked up for a role
in "Sat'day While Sunday", a north-London based mini
series in which he featured in 11 episodes. The production
shot during the day every Saturday and Sunday so that Dalton
could still fulfill his contract with the Repertory Theatre.
In 1968, Dalton made his breakthrough
in to cinema in the Academy Award winning drama "The
Lion In Winter". Based on the play by James Goldman, Dalton
made his film debut as King Philip of France in this production.
He played opposite screen legends such as Peter O'Toole (who
had recommended Dalton for the role), Anthony Hopkins (who
also made his Hollywood break with this picture), and
of course the stunning Katharine Hepburn.
After this auspicious start in film, Dalton
returned to local UK stage productions before winning a role
in the BBC's "The
Three Princes" which aired on UK television in the winter
of 1968. Through carefully selecting each job and being ever
determined to make the very best of each part he took on, Dalton
began to develop a name for himself in the industry. It was in
'68 that he was first approached by Bond producers, Albert
R. Broccoli and Harry
Saltzman to star in their latest Bond picture - "On
Her Majesty's Secret Service". Dalton turned down the
role out of respect for the character, feeling he was too young
to accurately play the famous British spy. However, he left a
distinct impression with Broccoli, who vowed he would not take
no for an answer next time.
Dalton continued to work an impressive and varied
career as an actor and stage producer - taking on roles in the
film adaptation of "War and Peace" and 1979's "Agatha",
a biopic of crime-writer Agatha Christie, all the while developing
his real dramatic passion: Shakespeare on stage.
Dalton performed on stage in "Royal
Hunt Of The Sun" and "Mary Queen Of Scots" alongside
Vanessa Redgrave during 1970, and portrayed Macbeth
in Shakespeare's great tragedy the following year.
He would not return to the big
screen until 1970 when Ken Hughes offered him the role
Rupert in his historical drama "Cromwell". Eight
years later, Hughes and Dalton would work again on "Sextette",
a more modern production than those in his previous resume
but one that would begin to make Dalton a more globally
"I don't think that Bond is a role model or that he should be a role model. He's only part of a particular kind of story. I don't think anyone should grow up wanting to go around killing people. I don't think anyone should grow up wanting to be a secret agent."
In the 1980s, Dalton began to work on an increasing
number of American productions, finding the public lack of interest
in the stage disheartening. His short stint in the US included "Chanel
Solitaire" a moody biopic of Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel,
and the Hughes picture "Sextette".
Dalton returned to London to shoot the pulpy action flick, "Flash
Gordon" and tried his hand as a presenter in this era -
hosting a variety of documentaries, notably "Survival Factor" which
aired in 1987. In the late 1980s, Dalton returned to the
UK once more and committed two further Shakespearian roles to
his CV - "Antony and Cleopatra" in 1983 and "The
Taming of The Shrew" in 1988 - both for the BBC.
In the Bond world, Moore's contract was drawing
to a close and it soon became clear that he would not be renewing
his double-oh licence. Dalton was called to audition for 007,
now a more worldly actor, where he performed two scenes
from "On Her Majesty's Secret
Service" - the film he turned down. Although he was
offered the part almost immediately, Dalton took two weeks to
accept the role. The classically trained actor was able to step
into the super-spy's shoes last minute, as a theatre run Dalton
was performing in was about to close and the other hot name -
Pierce Brosnan - was tied to the US hit show "Remmington
Dalton was introduced to the world as James
Bond on August 7th 1986, and a month later was whisked to Vienna,
Austria to begin location shooting for
adventure "The Living Daylights".
While at first Dalton was weary of his newfound fame Bond had
thrust upon him, he delivered a remarkable performance as 007
and held the job in the highest respect. Dalton brought a Fleming-esque
realism to the shoot and the writers of the day
made many alterations to suit Dalton's Bond. Despite the disappointing
revenue and severe lack of publicity for his second outing "Licence
To Kill", Dalton had intentions of a 3rd Bond picture
- as his 007 contract extended him until the early 1990s. After
the legal battles put a delay on Bond 17, Dalton stood
down from the role of 007 in a Variety-covered press release
on April 12th, 1994.
After his short stint onscreen as 007,
Dalton continued to perform regularly in theatre and dabbled
the US movie market with Disney's "The Rocketeer" and
even signed onto a big-budget biopic of Christopher Columbus,
later bowing out of the production due to disagreements
and a change of creative staff.
In 1994 Dalton took the lead in "Scarlet" a brilliant historical drama and the follow up to "Gone With The Wind". The period mini series clinched two Emmy awards for art direction and hair and makeup. That same year Dalton read "Peter and the Wolf" to two sellout crowds at a live performance at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl.
"Richard Burton was Welsh; Tom Jones is Welsh, and we Welshmen like to think of ourselves as heroes - on screen and off!"
Dalton appeared in many productions with British
star Vanessa Redgrave and while nothing was ever formalised,
Dalton remained close friends with the actress from 1980 until
1994. Dalton was later married for a short spell to Russian composer
Oksana Grigorieva with whom he had one son, Alexander. Dalton
resides in Los Angeles today performing in selected films and