Timothy Dalton Biography

Actor, Film Actor (1946–)
Timothy Dalton is a versatile stage and film actor. He succeeded Roger Moore in the James Bond franchise in the 1980s and played Prince Barin in Flash Gordon.


Timothy Dalton was born March 21, 1946 in Colwyn Bay, Wales. An accomplished Shakespearean actor, Dalton got his start in film in The Lion in Winter (1968). He caught the attention of sci-fi fans in Flash Gordon (1980) then catapulted to international fame in the 1980s as James Bond. Dalton has appeared in a host of American television shows and was the voice of Mr. Pricklepants in Toy Story 3 (2010).

Early Years

Timothy Peter Dalton was born on March 21, 1946 in Colwyn Bay, Wales, United Kingdom. As a young teenager Dalton's career path seemed destined toward military service. His father had served in Special Operations during World War II, and the youthful Dalton had his eye on becoming an Air Cadet.

But at the age of 16, Timothy Dalton saw a performance of Shakespeare's Macbeth that changed his life. He connected with a national youth theater group and spent his summers traveling around England. After high school, Dalton enrolled at the esteemed Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. But restless and eager to break free from what he'd later describe as the "oppressive" nature of the school's teachers, Dalton left RADA after just two years of study.

It didn't take long for him to find work. Dalton, with his tall frame and classic dark looks, became a darling of a number of BBC dramas and in 1968 broke into film with The Lion in Winter, which featured an all-star cast of Peter O'Toole, Katherine Hepburn, and a young Anthony Hopkins.

At the age of 22, Dalton was approached about succeeding Sean Connery in the James Bond series. Feeling as though he was too young for the part, the actor turned the offer down.

Instead, the perfectionist in Dalton returned him to the theater, where for much of the first half of the 1970s he stayed busy and continued to further hone his craft.

Hollywood Success

By the early 1980s, Dalton had raised his profile again. He had a number of guest appearances on American television, including the program Charlie's Angels, and ingratiated himself with sci-fi fans as Prince Barin in Flash Gordon (1980).

In the mid-1980s, Dalton was again approached about playing James Bond. Coming off of a disappointing box-office showing with A View to a Kill (1985), the franchise was stumbling and needed an injection of energy. This time Dalton said yes.

His first Bond film, The Living Daylights (1987), recast the series in a grittier light and proved to be an international hit with significant commercial success at American theaters.

But Dalton's second Bond film, License to Kill (1989), which proved even darker than Dalton's debut 007 flick, struggled at the box office. When a legal battle between MGM and the film's producers ruptured over the ownership of the franchise, Dalton, who had three movies left to fulfill on his deal, called it quits.

Versatile Performer

In the years since the Bond films, Dalton has explored a range of different kinds of projects. In 1994 he stepped in as Rhett Butler in the CBS miniseries and Gone With the Wind sequel, Scarlett, then donned the role of Julius Caesar in the ABC miniseries Cleopatra (1999). More recently he had a semi-regular role opposite Linda Hamilton in the NBC series Chuck.

On the big screen, Dalton has continued to stay busy. He co-starred in the comedy flick Hot Fuzz (2007), and was the voice of Mr. Pricklepants in Toy Story 3 (2010). In 2014, Dalton returned to series television on the cable drama Penny Dreadful.

Personal Life

Over the years, Timothy Dalton's romantic companions have included such stars as Vanessa Redgrave and Whoopi Goldberg. He also has a son, Alexander Dalton, with former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. 

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