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Timothy Peter Dalton (born 21 March 1946) is a Welsh born English actor. He is best known for portraying James Bond in The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989), as well as Rhett Butler in the television miniseries "Scarlett" (1994), an original sequel to Gone with the Wind. In addition, Emily Bronte’s "Wuthering Heights" (1970), Charlotte Bronte’s "Jane Eyre" (1983) and his portrayals in Shakespearean films and plays, as leads in "Romeo and Juliet", "King Lear", "Henry V", "Love's Labours Lost” and "Henry IV".

Early life

Dalton was born in Colwyn Baymarker, Wales, to an American mother of Italian and Irishmarker descent, and an English father, who was a captain in the Special Operations Executive during World War II and had become an advertising executive at the time of his son's birth.Before his fourth birthday, the family returned to England to Belpermarker, Derbyshiremarker. While in Belper, he attended the Herbert Strutt Grammar School. As a teenager, he was a member of the Air Cadets; however, at age 16, saw “MacBeth” thus sealing his fate. He left Grammar School in 1964 to enroll in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and tour with the National Youth Theatre. Dalton did not complete his RADA studies, leaving the academy in 1966 to join the ensemble of the Birminghammarker Repertory Theatre.


Dalton quickly moved to television, working mainly with BBC and, in 1968, made his film debut as Philip II of France in The Lion in Winter. This was the first of several period dramas, which included a remake of Wuthering Heights in 1970 in which he portrayed the tortured Heathcliff. In 1968, Albert Broccoli asked the 22-year-old Dalton to take over for Sean Connery in the role of James Bond. This would not be the last time Dalton turned the role down.

After a few more films, Dalton took a break in 1971 to concentrate on the theatre, performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company and other troupes throughout the world. With two notable exceptions, the 1972 film Mary, Queen of Scots and 1975's Permission to Kill, he remained a theatre actor until 1978. That year he starred in Sextette as the husband of 85-year-old Mae West, hailing his return to cinema and the beginning of his American career. While in the United States, Dalton worked mainly in television, although he starred in several films. During this time he played Prince Barin in the 1980 remake of cult science fiction classic Flash Gordon and played Mr. Rochester in the 1983 BBC miniseries Jane Eyre. He also co-starred with Joan Collins in the hit 1986 mini-series, Sins.

James Bond (1987-1994)

Initial offers

In 1986, Dalton was the first choice to replace the retiring Roger Moore, but obligations to the film Brenda Starr and the stage productions of Antony and Cleopatra and The Taming of The Shrew kept him from accepting the role. Sam Neill was then screen-tested for the part of Bond, but was ultimately rejected by Albert R. Broccoli. Pierce Brosnan was then approached for the role, but was forced by NBC to turn it down (after initially accepting it) because of his contractual commitments to the television series Remington Steele. By this time, when Dalton completed the filming of Brenda Starr, he was now available to assume the role as James Bond.

Previously, Dalton had been considered for the role of James Bond four times. In 1968, he was asked to play Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) after Sean Connery decided that You Only Live Twice (1967) would be his last Bond film. Dalton turned the offer down, feeling he was too young for the role; it finally went to George Lazenby. During the late-1970s, he was approached again, but he did not favour the direction the movies were taking. As he explained, his idea of Bond was different. In a 1979 episode of the television series Charlie's Angels, Dalton played the role of 'Damien Roth', a millionaire playboy described by David Doyle's character as "almost James Bond-ian," either an amusing coincidence, or a specific in-joke, since it was around that time that Dalton was also asked to star in For Your Eyes Only (1981). The producers are also said to have considered him for the role in Octopussy (1983), but they finally re-contracted Moore (see Octopussy), although Ian Ogilvy was also a serious contender for the role at the time. (Ogilvy was reportedly turned down because of his similarity to Moore, and because he, too, had played The Saint, a role made famous by Moore.)


Dalton's first appearance as 007, The Living Daylights was critically successful, and grossed more than the previous two Bond films with Moore, as well as contemporary box-office rivals such as Die Hard and Lethal Weapon. However, his second film, Licence to Kill, although almost as successful as its predecessor in most markets, did not perform as well at the U.S. box office, in large part due to a lacklustre marketing campaign, after the title of the film was abruptly changed from License Revoked.

With a worldwide gross of $191 million, The Living Daylights became the fourth most successful Bond film at the time of its release. In 1998 second Deluxe Edition of Bond's Soundtracks was released. Living Daylights was one of first soundtracks to receive Deluxe treatment. On the very booklet/poster of this CD, there is exact MGM's quote about LD being the fourth most successful Bond film : quote source

Since Dalton was contracted for three Bond movies, the pre-production of his third film began in 1990, in order to be released in 1991. It was rumoured that he would make The Property of a Lady (which is one of Ian Fleming's short stories and elements of which had been included in Octopussy), but this was never confirmed. What was confirmed is that the story would deal with the destruction of a chemical weapons laboratory in Scotland, and the events would take place in London, Tokyo and Hong Kong. However, the film was cancelled due to legal issues between UA/MGM and EON, which lasted for four years.

The legal battle ended in 1993, and Dalton was expected to return as James Bond in the next Bond movie, which later became GoldenEye. Despite his contract having expired, negotiations with him to renew it took place. In an interview with the Daily Mail in August 1993, Dalton indicated that Michael France was writing the screenplay for the new movie, and the production was to begin in January or February 1994. When the deadline was not met, Dalton surprised everyone on 12 April 1994 with the announcement that he would not return as James Bond. At this time, he was shooting the mini-series Scarlett. The announcement for the new Bond came two months later, with Pierce Brosnan playing the role. Dalton reflected in 2007, "I was supposed to make one more but it was cancelled because MGM and the film's producers got into a lawsuit which lasted for five years. After that, I didn’t want to do it anymore."

Dalton as Bond

Unlike Moore, who had played Bond as more of a light-hearted playboy and admitted that he had read very little Fleming and found the books lacking in humour, Dalton's portrayal of Bond was darker, stiffer and more serious. Dalton pushed for renewed emphasis on gritty realism instead of fantasy plots and humour. Dalton stated in a 1989 interview:

A fan of the literary character, often seen re-reading and referencing the novels on set, Dalton determined to approach the role and play truer to the original character described by Fleming. His 007, therefore, came across as a reluctant agent who did not always enjoy the assignments he was given, something only seen on screen before, albeit obliquely, in George Lazenby's On Her Majesty's Secret Service. In The Living Daylights, for example, Bond tells a critical colleague, "Stuff my orders! ... Tell M what you want. If he fires me, I'll thank him for it." In Licence to Kill, he resigns the Secret Service in order to pursue his own agenda of revenge. Stephen Jay Rubin writes in The Complete James Bond Movie Encyclopaedia (1995):

This approach proved to be a double-edged sword. Film critics and fans of Fleming's original novels welcomed a more serious interpretation after more than a decade of Moore's approach. However, Dalton's films were criticized by general audiences for their comparative lack of humour.

Dalton's serious interpretation was not only in portraying the character, but also in performing most of the stunts of the action scenes himself.

The post-Bond era

After his Bond films, Dalton divided his work between stage, television and films, and diversified the characters he played. This helped him eliminate the 007 typecasting that followed him during the previous period. Dalton was nevertheless for a certain period considered to act in the upcoming Bond movie GoldenEye. Instead, he played the villainous matinee idol Neville Sinclair in 1991's The Rocketeer, and Rhett Butler in Scarlett, the television miniseries sequel to Gone with the Wind. He also appeared as criminal informant Eddie Myers in the acclaimed 1992 British miniseries ‘‘Framed’’.

During the second half of the 1990s he starred in several cable movies, most notably the Irish Republican Army drama The Informant and the action thriller Made Men. He led an all star cast, including Billy Zane, Sean Pertwee and Bruce Payne, in the 1999 TV movie Cleopatra in which he played Julius Caesar .

In 2003, he played a parody of James Bond named Damian Drake in the film Looney Tunes: Back in Action. At the end of that year and the beginning of 2004, he returned to theatre to play Lord Asriel in the stage version of His Dark Materials. (The same character is played in the 2007 movie version by one of Dalton's successors in the Bond role, Daniel Craig.) In 2007, Dalton played villain Simon Skinner in the highly acclaimed action/comedy movie Hot Fuzz. This was his most prominent appearance in mainstream cinema for several years.

In the realm of television, Dalton has filmed a guest role for Doctor Who. He will appear in the final special featuring David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor. He narrated the clip shown at the 2009 Comic Con and the official website lists him as playing The Narrator.

Dalton will voice the character Mr. Pricklepants in the new film Toy Story 3. The film will be released June 2010.

Personal life

Dalton, who is unmarried, lives in Chiswick, London. He has one son, Alexander (b. 1997), with Russian musician Oksana Grigorieva Dalton is also a fan of Manchester City. He had a relationship with actress Vanessa Redgrave, from 1971 to 1986.




Stage work


  1. Some Internet sites (including IMDB) indicate that he was born in 1944; which is probably incorrect. His official sites and the official James Bond sites indicate his year of birth as 1946. Refer to this link in his chat group site for confirmation: The Biography of Timothy Dalton, and read the celebration of his 61st birthday at MI6 in 2007: MI6 on Dalton's Birthday, and at CommanderBond: Dalton's 61st Birthday.
  2. Timothy Dalton Biography (1944-)
  3. MI6 :: The Home Of James Bond 007
  4. james bond multimedia | Timothy Dalton (James Bond) images
  5. The third outing of Timothy Dalton as James Bond
  6. Goldeneye — The Road to production
  7. [1]
  8. Interview with Rebecca Hardy, London Daily Mail, 24 February 2007

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