Timothy Dalton was born in Colwyn Bay, Wales on Mar 21 1944. He is the first actor from Wales to portray 007, although he is part Irish and Italian as well. Timothy, and his family did not stay long in Colwyn Bay. Dalton`s childhood was in Manchester, Eng. He first got into acting because of both his grandfathers were involved with vaudeville. He continued to love the stage and joined the National Youth Theatre for 3 summers, and eventually found his way to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art for 2 years. He finally got his first leading role while at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
Dalton burst onto the big screen for the first time in 1968 with The Lion in Winter, which pit the future star against big name talent, such as Peter O`Toole, Katharine Hepburn and Antony Hopkins.
By 1970, Cubby Brocolli had his first meeting with a young Timothy Dalton. Almost instantly, Cubby, not wanting to ever make another George Lazenby-like mistake asked Timothy if after Diamonds Are Forever, would he like to become James Bond, in 1973! Although only Dalton and Brocolli know exactly what was said, apparently this was his reply: “No one follows Sean
Connery. He is James Bond.”
It was left at that for at least 9 years. Dalton hit the stage, doing television and movies; essentially anything he pleased. He costarred with future Bond sidekick Topol in the 1980 sci-fi film “Flash Gordon” as Prince Baron. Throughout the years Broccoli courted Dalton and his interest in returning the Bond series to a more serious tone, much like the novels. His big break finally came in 1986 when Pierce Brosnan, who was the front runner for the role of Bond, was unable to take the role. Broccoli turned to Dalton, who was, at the time, filming “Brenda Starr” with Brooke Shields (he played the character of Basil St. John). Dalton said yes, and immediatetly the writers got to work reshaping a script filled with gags and throw away lines originally written with Roger Moore in mind.
To impress Brocolli, Dalton went to every bookstore he could find and bought most, if not all, of Fleming`s books in an effort to humanize James Bond. In 1986, shooting his first Bond movie, `The Living Daylights`, many thought that he would be the man who could carry Bond into the 1990`s. Dalton`s portrayal of Bond was that almost dead on to the writings of Fleming and was a step back 25 years to the Bond of Dr. No and From Russia With Love. `The Living Daylights` was a hit in 1987, making more than $250 million world-wide. And, like any sucessful movie, instantly, there was talk of another in the line of Bond movies.
In 1988, Dalton once again started work on a new Bond film, this time in the sweltering heat of Mexico. `Licence to Kill` would prove to be his last film, though no one at the time knew this. The movie had a hard edge and Dalton`s performance was dead on, but audiences weren`t impressed with the movie. The film debuted at number four at the box office, by the second week tumbling to the number seven position, and by the third week was out of the Top 10 altogether. While the movie didn`t tank worldwide, it was a huge disappointment in the United States, and many began to blame Dalton`s portrayal of Bond as the reason. While it may not have been to everyone`s taste, Dalton was not the problem. Neither was he the answer.
Legal troubles for financially barren MGM studios, Bond`s lifelong film partner, proved to be overwhelming. In an effort to avoid having the Bond franchise devalued, EON began litigation to protect it`s interests, a court battle which lasted several years. In 1992, there was talk of using Fleming`s last remaining title, “Property of a Lady”, with Whoopi Goldberg, then Dalton`s girlfriend, as Bond`s nemesis; but eventually that fell through. . By the time the legal mess was sorted out, both sides, Dalton and EON, agreed to move on. In April 1994, Dalton officially resigned the role, citing an 8 year association with the role as being long enough. He never wanted for work. While distancing himself from James Bond, he was busy filming his role as Rhett Bulter in the film “Scarlett”, the sequel to “Gone With The Wind”.,
Dalton is still amazed at the power of 007,even 10 years after his last Bond movie, and two movies at that. Dalton is very quiet about his personal life. He is currently living with the mother of his two year old son, and has been linked in the past with a few of Hollywood`s leading ladies. He claims not to have had any regrets over leaving the James Bond series and has since added the role of Julius Caesar to his resume in the ABC mini-series “Cleopatra.”
Colwyn Bay, Wales England