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Timothy Dalton
Timothy Dalton
Timothy Dalton
Timothy Dalton will always be remembered for bringing a tougher, more serious edge to the famous role of James Bond.

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Timothy's next appearance will be in the film 'Looney Tunes: Back in Action' which also stars Brendan Fraser and Heather Locklear.

Timothy Dalton recently popped up on BBC1 on 'A BAFTA tribute to James Bond.'

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Despite being born in Colwyn Bay, North Wales, Timothy Dalton actually grew up in Milford near Belper whilst his dad worked in advertising in Manchester.

A mixture of Italian, Irish and English, Dalton excelled in acting from an early age. It was when he saw a performance of Macbeth at the age of 16 that he decided to pursue a career as a performer.

After finishing high school in 1964, Dalton joined Michael Croft's National Youth Theatre and spent subsequent summers touring the country.

During term time he was enrolled at RADA but left just before he'd completed two years to join the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton
Timothy Dalton poses with his predecessor, Roger Moore
In a later interview, Dalton admitted: "It took a year to undo the psychological damage done by the oppresive teachers at RADA."

With his ability and classical good looks, Dalton began to find his niche as an old-fashioned, swashbuckling style actor.

It wasn't long before he found TV work appearing regularly with Malcolm McDowell in the series Sat'Dee While Sunday.

Over the next few years he broke into films, starring as King Philip of France in The Lion of Winter whilst mixing in a number of key roles in BBC dramas.

It was at this time he was approached to play James Bond in 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' but he turned down the role as he felt he was too young for the part.

Instead he took on the role of Oliver Cromwell in the Ken Hughes film of the same name and then appeared in another costume drama, Wuthering Heights.

As the 70s progressed, Dalton made the decision to further hone his skills by heading back into the theatre full time.

He joined both the Royal Shakespeare Society and the Prospect Theatre Company and toured the world with both groups.

In this period he took the lead in Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, Henry V, Love's Labour Lost and Henry IV.

Reviews of Dalton's performances in Licence to Kill:

"Dalton makes an effective Bond - lacking Sean Connery's grace and humor, and Roger Moore's suave self-mockery, but with a lean tension and a toughness that is possibly more contemporary."

Roger Ebert

"Dalton plays the part as if it were an unpleasant chore -- he doesn't seem to be having any fun -- and there's an air of condescension in his performance, as if somehow his classical training made the character beneath him."

Hal Hinson, Washing Post
During the late 70s he returned to films appearing in a number of low-profile features and even a US mini-series 'Centennial'.

This rose his profile in the US and over the next few years, Dalton specialised in TV appearances - including a guest appearance in Charlie's Angels.

He also resumed his penchant for playing royalty in the camp Flash Gordon and put in a fantastic performance as Rochester in the BBC's highly acclaimed adaptation of Jane Eyre.

In 1983, with rumours that Roger Moore was to quit the role of James Bond, Dalton was once again approached, but turned it down because of his busy schedule.

A couple of years later, Roger Moore officially stepped down as James Bond but Dalton was still trapped by theatre commitments.

Instead the role was offered to popular choice Pierce Brosnan who accepted the part.

Yet there came another twist. When Brosnan was unable to get out of his Remington Steele contract at the 11th hour, the role was offered to Dalton once again. This time he was able to work it into his busy schedule and he agreed to take on the role.

Dalton made two Bond films. The first, The Living Daylights, was a 1987 box office success and is generally credited as being one of the best in the franchise.

But Licence to Kill, a darker, brooding film written specially to suit Dalton's strengths suffered from a lack of marketing which seemed to kill it out of the starting gate.

Despite this, the film was well received by the critics and is credited as being one the closest to Ian Fleming's literary Bond.

When the Bond franchise disintegrated into a lengthy legal battle between EON and MGM, Dalton returned to other projects, most notably playing a swashbuckling Erroly Flynn-style character in 1991's The Rocketeer.

In the years since, Dalton has taken on a variety of projects, some more successful than others.

In 1994, he played Rhett Butler in the 8-hr behemoth TV series Scarlett and he appeared in the IRA drama The Informant in 1997.

He continues to put in strong performances in often undeserving productions but has gradually sunk from the public gaze since leaving the role of James Bond.

An intense private man, Dalton's hobbies include fishing, reading, jazz, opera and antique fairs.
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