TRIVIA PRESS QUOTES
Timothy Dalton (1944 - )
Date of Birth: 21 March 1944
Though born in Wales (to an American mother), Timothy Dalton spent much of his early life in Manchester - his 'Welsh' roots only came about because his father was stationed there during the war and Dalton can boast a complex British / American-Italian / Irish ancestry. The oldest of five children, Dalton was born into a family already familiar with show business - both of his grandfathers were active on the then still-thriving variety circuit.
Dalton's own interest in the stage was piqued when he attended a performance of Macbeth in 1962 and was so inspired that, at the age of 18, he joined the National Youth Theatre for three summers. At the same time, he was studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) but abandoned his studies before they were completed to join the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Dalton would later decry the teaching methods at RADA as psychologically damaging and clearly thought (rightly so) that he could do just as well - if not better - without them.
Dalton's professional career got off to a flying start and he was soon finding regular work both on the stage and on television. His first major role on TV was in the short-lived serial Sat'day While Sunday opposite Malcolm McDowell.
On the recommendation of Peter O'Toole, Dalton won the role of King Philip of France in The Lion in Winter (1968) which gave him his first major big screen role. It was the start of a long and fruitful career in movies which rubbed shoulders with a series of critically well received performances in prestigious BBC adaptations of classic works.
In 1969, Dalton was one of many young actors who were screen tested by producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman to replace Sean Connery as James Bond. He lost out to George Lazenby, but it was not the last time that their paths would cross.
During the early to mid 1970s, following an legal battle with the producers of Lady Caroline Lamb (1972), who had replaced him at the last minute with another actor, Dalton abandoned TV and cinema for a couple of years and returned to the stage full time. He joined both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Prospect Theatre Company and proved himself a formidable Shakespearean actor. His screen work throughout the rest of the decade was sporadic and undistinguished, though an appearance in the sprawling US TV mini-series Centennial (1978) gave him some welcome exposure to the American public.
As a consequence, Dalton began to spend more time in the States and was soon finding regular work on TV, none of which really flexed his considerable acting muscle but which at least kept bread on the table. Dalton was to work almost exclusively on the small screen through to the middle of the 1980s, including in 1983, a stunning performance as Rochester in the BBC's adaptation of Jane Eyre.
But in 1983, while Dalton enjoyed one of his most prolific periods, over at the James Bond franchise, Roger Moore was making plans to jump ship after nine years in the tuxedo. Casting their minds back to the On Her Majesty's Secret Service auditions, Broccoli and Saltzman approached Dalton again, but he had to turn them down because of his heavy work schedule. In the event Moore decided to stay on for a couple more films and when the time came for him to finally pack his bags, Dalton's hectic schedule had eased a little.
Dalton was again approached by the Bond producers and this time their timing was right - though at first, it looked as though a young Irish actor named Pierce Brosnan was going to get the part. Dalton had some contractual difficulties with some already agreed to TV work that he couldn't get out of, so Broccoli and Saltzman pursued Brosnan instead. When Brosnan proved unable to escape his own contract to continue in the title role on TV's Remington Steele, and Dalton was able to find a way to fit his debut appearance, The Living Daylights (1987) into his very busy schedule.
Sadly, Dalton's turn as Bond coincided with a marked downturn in the quality of the series - although The Living Daylights had been a commendable enough effort and Dalton himself had been quietly impressive as Bond, the follow up, Licence To Kill (1989) was a disaster. The series was 'rested' for a few years and by the time it was reactivated in 1995, Dalton was simply no longer interested in the role. He handed the baton to Brosnan and moved on to an eclectic group of film, TV and stage appearances.
During the early 1990s, Dalton again returned almost exclusively to television, though in September 1994, he played to capacity audiences for a two night stint reading Peter and the Wolf at the Hollywood Bowl and followed up with the hugely successful stage production of Scarlett which played to rapturous audiences around the world.
An intensely private man, Dalton continues
to quietly go about his business, turning in superb performances in
often undeserving material. Since the Bond
years, he hasn't enjoyed a major big screen success, but one suspects
that it doesn't bother him too much - he remains busy, admired by
his fans and respected by his peers and the critics and seems to have
successfully shaken off the mantle of Bond
once and for all.
All as performer
GQ vol.57 no.6 pp.186 - 189, 283 - 284
Troskompas no.24 (17 June 1989) pp.6 -
Playgirl vol.15 no.2 (July 1987) pp.26
- 28, 85, 90 (USA)
International Herald Tribune 31 July 1987
Last Updated: 1 January, 2009
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