Biography of Timothy Dalton
Timothy Dalton is a Hollywood actor of Welsh origin, whose name is known worldwide for his roles as James Bond ("The Living Daylights," "Licence to Kill") and Edward Fairfax Rochester ("Jane Eyre"). He is a representative of the classic English acting school, a distinctive and inimitable artist with the manners of a true aristocrat.
Childhood and Youth
Timothy Leonard Dalton Leggett was born in the spring of 1946 to a British Secret Service captain, Peter Dalton Leggett (1916-2004), and a housewife, Dorothy Scholes. They lived in Colwyn Bay, a town in Conwy County near the Irish coast. In addition to Timothy, the family had four other children: Suzanne, Annabelle, Mark, and Stephen. Timothy celebrated his fourth birthday in Belper, where the family moved after his father's retirement.
In the early 1950s, Peter Dalton started a career in advertising. Timothy, meanwhile, began his education and became a student at the Herbert Strutt School. In his youth, he also studied at an air cadet flight school and was a member of the Air Training Corps, intending to follow in his father's footsteps and pursue a military career. However, at the age of 15, he attended a performance of "Macbeth" and was thereafter captivated by theater. The actor recalled:
When it came time to choose what to do after school, I had two ideas: to go to university for biochemistry, or to join the Royal Air Force and become an astronaut. The latter, as I now realize, promised me nothing, because the British rocket never took off. Well, it did take off but only flew a short distance before it fell to pieces.
Timothy made his final decision after coming of age. In 1964, he was admitted to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. At the same time, he began performing in Michael Croft's National Youth Theatre's production of Shakespeare's "Coriolanus." The success that awaited the play at the Old Vic Theatre inspired the budding actor to leave the academy.
In the middle of 1960s, he joined the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, where he was considered a leading actor for over two years. Dalton was involved in productions of "Richard III," "Saint Joan," and "Love's Labour's Lost," and later played in the play "The Doctor's Dilemma." He was also invited to television for one of the main roles in a TV play based on Shakespeare's "Troilus and Cressida."
Timothy Dalton's career in the film industry began in 1968. His role as King Philip II of France in Anthony Harvey's historical drama "The Lion in Winter" drew attention from critics and directors alike. The story of an aging English King Henry II proclaiming his successor won two Golden Globes and an Oscar in 1969.
According to Timothy, what drew him to the set was the opportunity to work with the great actor he admired and learned from every minute. It's worth noting that the film was also significant for Anthony Hopkins, who played Richard the Lionheart. After such an impressive debut, Dalton was offered roles in historical films about various eras. He himself admitted that he suited the costumes of royalty, always feeling natural in them.
After "The Lion in Winter," Timothy played Prince Rupert in Ken Hughes's British drama "Cromwell" in 1970, and the following year, he appeared as Henry Darnley in Charles Jarrott's historical film "Mary, Queen of Scots."
The filming was notable not only for the abundance of lavish costumes but also because Dalton met Vanessa Redgrave, who played the lead role of Mary Stuart. Their relationship lasted until 1986.
Another drama starring Dalton as Heathcliff was Robert Fuest's gothic story "Wuthering Heights," about the eternal feud between two clans and the love of their children.
In the Italian-French psychological drama "Voyeur" by Franco Indovina, Marcello Mastroianni portrayed the jealous husband Sandro, who bought a movie camera to film everything around him. Timothy Dalton got the role of seducer Martin, who discreetly carries on an affair with Sandro's wife, played by Virna Lisi. The love triangle ends tragically and unpredictably.
In the Spanish drama "The Man Who Knew Love" (1978), Dalton portrayed Juan de Dios, and then he drastically changed roles to star in Ken Hughes's comedic musical "Sextette" as Sir Michael Barrington. Another memorable role from the late seventies was Archibald Christie in Michael Apted's thriller "Agatha" (1979), which tells its own version of the detective queen's mysterious disappearance for nearly two weeks.
A significant moment in the early 80s was the appearance of the sci-fi action film "Flash Gordon" by Mike Hodges, where Timothy played Prince Barin. However, Dalton considers his acting career to have truly begun with Julian Amyes's melodramatic TV series "Jane Eyre" in 1983. His Mr. Rochester is among the most natural and convincing of all adaptations, possibly because the film stayed true to every jot of Charlotte Brontë's original novel.
The eighties were very productive for the actor, who created nearly twenty memorable lead and supporting roles. These include Boy Capel in "Chanel Solitaire" in 1981, Colonel Francis Burke in "The Master of Ballantrae" in 1984, Mark Antony in "Antony and Cleopatra," Dr. Thomas Rock in "The Doctor and the Devils" in 1985, Edmond Junot in "Sins" in 1986, and Perry Kilkullen in "Mistral's Daughter."
Audiences also loved the tragicomedy "Hawks" (1988), where Dalton played a lawyer embarking on a final journey before dying of cancer. However, the role that made him world-famous (although Dalton is not particularly fond of it) was yet to come.
His aristocratic and elegant portrayal of Britain's super agent James Bond debuted in 1987. Dalton succeeded Roger Moore as the fifteenth film in the series, titled "The Living Daylights." Two years later, "Licence to Kill" followed. As the actor stated, he always considered Sean Connery the best James Bond, acknowledging that for the Welshman, such a role was a step onto the global stage.
After Bond, Dalton felt he had too much fame. He was constantly offered martinis on the house in bars, which he disliked because they made him want to sleep. Nonetheless, he still enjoys hearing friends say, "Shall I have some Vodka martinis sent up? Shaken, not stirred!"
In the 90s, Dalton's collection of interesting roles grew to include Vittorio Amadeo, Count Alessandro Verua in "The King's Whore," Eddie Myers in the crime mini-series "Framed," villain Neville Sinclair in the sci-fi action film "The Rocketeer," Jack Carver in the thriller "The Informant," Lester Parnell in the family drama "Salt Water Moose," Julius Caesar in the melodrama "Cleopatra." But the most awaited role for many female TV viewers was that of Rhett Butler in the continuation of the love story of Scarlett O'Hara and the freedom-loving Southerner in "Scarlett."
In the 2000s, Timothy Dalton continued to delight his fans. He played the father William Bowden, who exorcised demons in the horror film "Possessed" (2000), then starred as Damien Drake in the family comedy "Looney Tunes: Back in Action" (2003). He also played Chief Inspector Jones in the thriller "The Tourist" (2010) with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.
For his portrayal of Alexei Volkoff in the comedy series "Chuck" (2010-2011), Dalton received the "Favorite Villain" award from TV Guide magazine. The actor also starred in the mystical series "Penny Dreadful" (2014-2016), where he skillfully portrayed the aristocrat and sybarite Sir Malcolm Murray.
The Personal Life of Timothy Dalton
A confirmed bachelor and opponent of formal relationships, Dalton has never suffered from a lack of female attention. He has been romantically linked at various times to Denise D. Lewis, Kate Fitzpatrick, and Whoopi Goldberg. Timothy himself prefers not to divulge details about his personal life, although he has admitted in interviews that he enjoys romances with actresses:
They are beautiful, sexy, and speak the same language as you. But I am a «lone wolf.» I'm simply not made for lifelong love. Usually, my love only lasts for the duration of filming. Of course, there have been exceptions.
Among those charmed by the Welsh actor were Joan Collins (during the filming of "Sins"), Ornella Muti (while working on "Flash Gordon"), and rumors also suggested dalliances with Elizabeth Taylor and Romy Schneider. However, there were two women with whom Timothy lived and maintained relationships much longer than just a filming period.
One of them was Vanessa Redgrave. They met on the set of "Mary, Queen of Scots" in 1971. A seven-year age difference was not an obstacle to their romance, nor was Vanessa's partner Franco Nero. Initially, the over-forty woman tried to ignore the young hunk's advances. But when the last shooting day came, Timothy invited Vanessa to celebrate the end of the project and have a drink at the nearest pub. Surprisingly, Redgrave agreed.
They spent more than six hours talking, not noticing how time flew by. From then on, their meetings and life under one roof stretched over many years. Dalton wasn't always faithful, but Vanessa in her forties was not only stunningly beautiful but also intelligent.
Together, they performed on stage, with Timothy consistently calling her a great actress. Even when all of London was buzzing about their affair, Dalton never allowed himself to comment on their private life, and the couple preferred spending quiet time together over social events. The only thing that irked the actor was the regular visits from Redgrave's daughters and talks of potential children. During such times, he preferred to go fishing or read a book alone.
In 1986, Vanessa's patience ran out — due to a lack of prospects, the lovers parted ways. Dalton returned to his former lifestyle, engaging in brief romances from time to time. But when he saw Oksana Grigorieva, a singer and pianist, at the London Film Festival in 1995, the playboy's heart was touched once again. A whirlwind and passionate romance resulted in the birth of their son Alexander two years later, yet Timothy stuck to his principle and never formalized their relationship.
Nevertheless, those who knew Dalton well noted that even if he disliked being an official husband, he was nearly an ideal father. He spent every free moment with his child, teaching him music and sharing his favorite pastime — fishing.
Perhaps their life would have eventually become more family-oriented, but in 2007, tabloids began to report on the Russian beauty's romance with Peter Blomkvist, a Swedish national and a millionaire by wealth. Timothy did not comment on the alleged infidelity, but his cohabitation with the singer ended as a result.
Oksana moved to Los Angeles with her son, spent some time in a relationship with Mel Gibson, and had three children with him. Dalton continues to support his former partner and son Alexander. The actor himself does not engage in any serious relationships with women, preferring to focus on his favorite activities — traveling, acting, and voice work. In the summer of 2019, paparazzi caught him in Florence sharing a kiss. The identity of the unknown woman in the photo was not determined, but she was clearly much younger than the actor.
Timothy Dalton Now
In an interview, Timothy Dalton openly admitted that he enjoys solitude. He prefers opera or a book over any high-society gathering. Timothy feels happy when his phone is silent for more than a day, and these days he favors doing voice work for animated films and movies over being on set. He is content having an adult son, and he has enough money for both himself and his hobbies. Dalton does not engage with social media and does not run any personal blogs. He likes to be "the man behind the scenes," feeling free and at ease.
Among his most recent film work are the roles of the sinister tycoon Donald Whitfield in the TV series "1923," British RAF Colonel Peter Townsend in the fifth season of "The Crown," and the Chief in "Doom Patrol."
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