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Charles Dance, OBE (born Walter Charles Dance; 10 October 1946) is an Englishmarker actor, screenwriter and director. Dance typically plays assertive bureaucrats or villains.

Dance was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) on 17 June 2006.

Early life

Dance was born in Redditch, Worcestershire, the son of Eleanor (née Perks), a cook, and Walter Dance, an engineer. He attended Widey Technical School for Boys (it closed when known as Widey High School in 1988) in Manadonmarker. He was set for a career in graphic design from the Plymouth College of Artmarker before turning to acting.



Dance was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company during the mid- to late-1970s and was in many of their productions in London and Stratford upon Avonmarker. Later he returned to the RSC to take the title role in Coriolanus at Stratford upon Avon and Newcastlemarker in 1989, and at the Barbican Theatremarker in 1990. He received rave reviews and a Critics' Circle Best Actor award for his performance as the Oxford don C. S. Lewis in William Nicholson's Shadowlands, in the 2007 stage revival.


Dance is currently starring in the ITV2 Drama 'Trinity', which airs Sundays at 10pm. He made his screen debut in 1974, but his big break came ten years later when he played the major role of Guy Perron in The Jewel in the Crown (Granada Television, Christopher Morahan 1984), an adaptation of Paul Scott's novels that also made stars of Geraldine James and Art Malik. He has also starred in many other British television dramas such as Murder Rooms, Rebecca, The Phantom of the Opera, Fingersmith and Bleak House (for which he received an Emmy nomination). He was name-checked in the British comedy series Absolutely Fabulous, as being slated to play the title character in The Life of Jesus Christ 2, which was filming in Moroccomarker at the same time as the main characters of the series were there for a photo shoot.Recently Starred in Merlin for BBC as an infamous witch hunter (BBC, Merlin (Season 2)(2009))


He has appeared in numerous films, including Plenty (1985) with Meryl Streep, The Golden Child (1986) with Eddie Murphy, White Mischief with Greta Scacchi (1987), Good Morning Babylon (1987), Hidden City (1987), Pascali's Island (1988), Alien 3 (1992), Kalkstein (Italy, 1992), Last Action Hero (1993), China Moon (1994), Kabloonak (1994, Paris Film Festival Award for Best Actor 1996), Century (1994), Shortcut to Paradise (Spain, 1994), Space Truckers (1996), Michael Collins (1996), What Rats Won't Do (1998), Don't Go Breaking My Heart (1998) Hilary and Jackie (1998), Gosford Park (2001), Dark Blue World (2001), Black and White (2002), Swimming Pool with Charlotte Rampling (2002), Ali G In Da House (2002), Dolls (2006) and Woody Allen's Scoop, The Contractor (2007), . Dance made one of his earliest big screen appearances in the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only as an evil henchman, and in 1989 he played Bond creator Ian Fleming in Anglia Television's dramatised biography, Goldeneye (the name of Fleming's estate in Jamaicamarker and a title later used for a James Bond film).

Screenwriting and directing

His debut film as a screenwriter and director was Ladies in Lavender (2004), which starred Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith.

In 2008, filmed a role in Trinity for ITV2.

In 2009, he will direct his own adaptation of Alice Thomas Ellis's The Inn at the Edge of the World and make a guest appearance in BBC drama series Merlin as the Witchfinder Aredian and himself in the third series of Jam & Jerusalem.

Personal life

He married Joanna Haythorn in 1970 in Plymouth and they have two children Oliver (born 1974) and Rebecca (born 1980). After his marriage ended in 2004 he had a brief relationship with actress Sophia Myles, 34 years his junior. He currently resides in Londonmarker, England.

Stage roles


2009 Jam and Jerusalem (BBC)Last Action Hero 1993


  1. Charles Dance Biography (1946-)
  2. Charles Dance Biography - Yahoo! Movies
  3. Dance is poignant perfection| Theatre | This is London

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