Real name: Timothy Dalton
Birthdate: March 21, 1946
Partner: Oksana Grigorieva
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Timothy Peter Dalton (born March 21, 1946) is a British actor of stage and screen, best known for portraying James Bond in The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989) and in his roles in Shakespearean related films and plays.
After a few more films, Dalton took a break in 1971 to concentrate on the theatre, performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company and other troupes throughout the world. With the exception of the 1975 film Permission to Kill, he remained a theatre actor until 1978. That year he starred in Sextette as the husband of 85-year-old Mae West, hailing his return to cinema and the beginning of his American career. While in the United States, Dalton worked mainly in television, although he starred in several films (including the cult classic Flash Gordon, in which he played the role of Prince Barin) and gave notable performances for the BBC, particularly as Mr. Rochester in the 1983 miniseries adaptation of Jane Eyre.
In 1986, after Roger Moore's retirement from the role of James Bond, the lean, 6'2" green-eyed Dalton was the first choice to replace Roger Moore, and become the first Welsh James Bond, but obligations to the film Brenda Starr and the stage productions of Antony & Cleopatra and The Taming of The Shrew kept him from accepting the role. Sam Neill was then screen-tested for the part of Bond, but was ultimately rejected by Albert Broccoli. Pierce Brosnan was then approached for the role, but was forced by NBC to turn it down (after initially accepting it) because of his commitment to the television revival of Remington Steele. Meanwhile, Dalton had completed the filming of Brenda Starr and was now able to accept the role of James Bond.Timothy Dalton as James Bond in Licence to Kill.
This approach proved to be a double-edged sword. Film critics and fans of Fleming's original novels welcomed a more serious interpretation after more than a decade of Moore's approach. However, the reaction of Moore aficionados and those who had been introduced to Bond during Moore's 12-year tenure (as well as Sean Connery before) was mixed, as most of them were generally unfamiliar with Fleming's novels, while Desmond Llewelyn, who played gadget master Q, stated that he favored Dalton's performance as being truer to Fleming's stories. Dalton's serious interpretation was not only in portraying the character, but also in performing most of the stunts of the action scenes himself, with the assistance of stunt coordinator Jonas Carp. This is noticeable, for example, in Licence to Kill (Ultimate Edition with the film restored to director John Glen's uncut version), where it is clearly Dalton who sets fire to the villain and flees the ensuing explosion at the climax.
It may be observed that this return to Fleming's grittiness is a direction attempted by EON Productions periodically for its James Bond film series, for example with For Your Eyes Only, rather than just during Dalton's era as Bond and now with Craig in the role.