At a consistently lean 6'2," green-eyed Timothy Dalton may very well be one of the last of the dying breed of swashbuckling, classically trained Shakespearean actors who have simultaneously forged successful careers in theater, television and film. He has been comparison-shopped roundly for stepping into roles played by other actors, first following Sir Laurence Olivier in Wuthering Heights (1970), then as James Bond in Living Daylights, The (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989), and even more brutally recently as Rhett Butler in "Scarlett" (1994) (mini).
Undaunted and good-natured, he has always stated that he likes the risk of challenges.
He was born on March 21, 1946 in Colwyn Bay, North Wales, where his father was stationed during WWII, and is the oldest of five children. Although born in Wales, he is quick to point out that he is mixture of Italian, Irish and English. His father moved the family to Manchester in the late 40's where he worked in advertising and raised the growing Dalton family in an upperclass neighborhood outside of Belper, Derbyshire, just south of Manchester.
Tim was enrolled in school for bright children where he excelled in sports and was interested in the sciences. He was interested in acting from a young age, perhaps due to the fact that both his grandfathers were vaudevillians, but it was when he saw a performance of Macbeth in 1962 at age 16 that his destiny was clinched.
After Secondary School at age 18, Dalton toured as a leading member of Michael Croft's National Youth Theater for for the summers of '64, '65 and '66. Between 1964 and 1966 he studied at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Just before completing two years, he quit RADA and joined the Birmingham Repertory Theater and played the lead in many productions under the direction of Peter Dews while at the same time turning professional. Dalton later said of RADA in an interview with Seventeen Magazine (Dec. '70) "It took a year to undo the psychological damage that was caused by the oppressive teachers."
Dalton's talent and classic good looks immediately landed him professional work in television, guest starring as well as a guest on an episode of the short-lived TV series, Judge Dee (1966), and as a regular on the 14 episode series Sat'day While Sunday with the young Malcolm McDowell. In late 1967, Peter O'Toole recommended the 21-year old Dalton for the role of the even younger King of Philip of France in The in Lion in Winter (1968). Coincidentally, this was also Anthony Hopkins's big break.
The following year he starred in the Italian film, Giochi particolari
(1970), with Marcello Mastroianni and Virna Lisi, although he was
dubbed entirely in Italian. Dalton also mixed in a healthy dose of
BBC work during this time, including The Three Princes (1968), Five
Finger Exercise (1970), and Candida (1971). Also during this time
he was approached and tested for James Bond in the film On Her Majesty's
Secret Service, but he turned it down feeling he was too young for
the part. Since then he has gone on to do countless other movies,
shows, and plays including finally playing 007 in The Living Daylights
and License To Kill.