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T H E   P R E M I E R   J A M E S   B O N D   W E B S I T E       ianfleming.org
Timothy Dalton

Born: March 21, 1946 in Colwyn Bay, Wales.

Timothy Dalton

Timothy Dalton brought his classical style to the Bond series in The Living Daylights and License to Kill.

Dalton, the eldest of five children, started his acting career in his Teens. He traveled with several acting companies and studied at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. In 1967, he broke into the public eye with his portrayal of King Phillip in the historical drama A Lion in Winter. He followed up this breakthrough with a critically acclaimed performance as Heathcliff in 1970's Wuthering Heights.

Dalton didn't make his first American film until 1978, the comedy Sextette with Mae West. Until his stint with Bond he had only moderate success in the States in such films as Agatha (1979), the cult sci-fi version of Flash Gordon (1980) and several acclaimed TV mini-series.

When Roger Moore retired from the role after A View To A Kill, it looked like Pierce Brosnan would become the fourth Bond, but when a contract dispute arose Dalton was picked for the job.

With his hard-nosed approach to the James Bond character, Dalton radically reversed the on-screen image of Bond and returned to the 007 Ian Fleming wrote about. This came as a shock to Roger Moore fans who were quite at ease with Moore's laid-back approach to the character. Dalton publicly announced a desire to get back to "Fleming's Bond" and was quite successful at it: Most all fans agree that Dalton's version was the closest to the character set forth in the novels; whether or not this a good thing is a point of great controversy.

In 1987's The Living Daylights Bond saw action in the streets of Moscow to the deserts of Asia. The movie also brought a truly romantic element, last seen in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, back to the series with the appearance of Kara Milovy (Maryam d'Abo). The film was originally written for Moore, then adjusted for Brosnan when it appeared he would take the role. Finally, when Dalton was cast, the film was again tweaked for his style.

Bond Actors
Sean Connery
George Lazenby
Roger Moore
Timothy Dalton
Pierce Brosnan

Two years later, in Licence to Kill, the series took a dramatic turn by changing the mission from saving the world to avenging the brutal attack on Bond's longtime CIA friend, Felix Leiter. The movie was the first Bond film to receive an PG-13 rating because of violent shark attack scene, villains being burned alive, forklifts impaling the errant henchman and a cocaine shredder making quick work of a would-be assailant.

Sadly, Licence to Kill was crippled by a weak marketing campaign and stiff competition, so it performed poorly at the box office.

Dalton never gained widespread appeal as Bond and the movies never achieved the economic success the previous films enjoyed. The debate as to why rages on. Was Dalton's interpretation too much of a shock after Moore's relatively comic turn? Were the Bond films losing their magic after 25 years on the screen? Did the relative grittiness of Dalton's films turn audiences off?

In 1994, while finishing filming the min-series "Scarlett" and watching the Bond films mire themselves in legal hassles for five years, Dalton announced that he would not return as Bond. Rumors flew that he was forced out of the role (see the FAQ for more on this), but none have stood under serious scrutiny. EON has stated that they were disappointed by Timothy's departure and that he was the "Bond of record" for the film that would become GoldenEye.

Casual fans, or those new to the series, often dislike his performance when compared with those of Moore, Connery, and Brosnan. However, more ardent fans -- especially those who have read Fleming's novels -- generally hold a fonder recollection of his two films. Dalton himself has looked back on his stint fondly, though his memories are tainted by the turmoil the series was undergoing and a fear he'd be typecast in the role.

Since Bond, Dalton's career has continued unabated, with films like The Rocketeer, The Beautician and the Best, and television productions like the epic 1999 mini-series "Cleopatra" and the acclaimed HBO film Made Men.

Timothy Dalton’s James Bond Films
The Living Daylights (1987) (VHS)
Licence to Kill (1989) (DVD, VHS)

Notable Non-Bond Films
A Lion in Winter (1967) (DVD, VHS)
Wuthering Heights (1970)
Agatha (1979) (VHS)
Flash Gordon (1980) (VHS)
The Rocketeer (1991) (DVD, VHS)
The Beautician and the Beast (1997) (VHS)
Cleopatra (1999) (DVD, VHS)

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