being born in Colwyn Bay, North Wales, Timothy Dalton actually grew
up in Milford near Belper whilst his dad worked in advertising in
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.
term time he was enrolled at RADA but left just before he'd completed
two years to join the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
In a later
interview, Dalton admitted: "It took a year to undo the psychological
damage done by the oppresive teachers at RADA."
Dalton poses with his predecessor, Roger Moore
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
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.
this period he took the lead in Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, Henry
V, Love's Labour Lost and Henry IV.
the late 70s he returned to films appearing in a number of low-profile
features and even a US mini-series 'Centennial'.
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."
"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
Hal Hinson, Washing Post
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
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
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.