Timothy Leonard Dalton Leggett (born March 21, 1946 in Colwyn Bay, Wales) is a Welsh-born British actor.
He has done Shakespeare for the Royal Shakespeare Company, was Philip II in The Lion in Winter, played a supermarket manager in Hot Fuzz, Prince Barin in Flash Gordon, Neville Sinclair in The Rocketeer, Heathcliff in a 1970 adaptation of Wuthering Heights and Rochester in a 1983 adaptation of Jane Eyre. He played Hercules' adoptive father Amphitryon in Hercules. He voiced Mr. Pricklepants the toy hedgehog in Toy Story 3 and played a deliciously nutty villain in Chuck. He appears in the Doctor Who story "The End of Time" as Rassilon. David Tennant and he "sang" each other's theme tunes on set. He also played Sir Malcolm Murray in Showtime's Penny Dreadful. He even voiced Sparrowhawk in the English dub of Tales from Earthsea.
OK, we've got to mention it eventually. He played James Bond twice in the late 1980s, in The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill. His serious take on the role, based on the books' portrayal of the character divides Bond fans to this day - some love him, some hate him. What cannot be denied is that until Daniel Craig showed up he certainly had the most grounded and serious take on the role.
Tropes related to Timothy Dalton:
- Badass Baritone: There are few voices more powerful or commanding than The Daltonator's. However, he somehow combines this with Vocal Dissonance.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Has a noticeable pair that has grown considerably over the years. Goes great with his aforementioned beard, moustache and voice.
- Classically Trained Extra:
- Cool Old Guy: Quite a few of his later roles have him playing characters like this.
- Large Ham: His characters are normally reserved and stoic but, when the situation calls for it, he can ham it up with the best of them. See his performances in Hot Fuzz and Doctor Who for some truly epic scenery chewing.
- Old Shame: You would be advised never to ask him about Sextette where he played the husband of then 85-year-old Mae West, fifty-three years older than him at the time.
- Reality Subtext: His take on James Bond is much less sex-obsessed than his predecessors, and his relationships with the Bond Girls are more romantic in tone. This is because Dalton's tenure as Bond was in the late 80's and the filmmakers didn't want to glorify promiscuity at the height of the AIDS crisis.
- Silver Fox: Spoken of very admirably on Hot Fuzz's commentary track — particularly the part about how even at his age, Dalton can enter any pub and still turn the heads of every woman inside.
- Vocal Dissonance: While he does have quite the commanding voice, his voice can get jarringly high and squeaky whenever his characters are in a jovial mood.
- What Could Have Been:
- Dalton had been approached to play James Bond twice before his official debut in The Living Daylights. First, when Sean Connery quit after You Only Live Twice in 1967, but he declined because he felt he was too young for the role, being in his early 20's, when James Bond is at least 15 years older. And again in 1981, when Roger Moore considered quitting before For Your Eyes Only. He was going to take over before Moore changed his mindnote .
- Dalton was all set to reprise James Bond in a 17th film... then MGM and Eon Productions got into a legal dispute, which ground the franchise to a halt for a few years. Dalton officially stepped down from the role in 1994, and the script was scrapped in favour of what would become GoldenEye.
- To elaborate, he was initially interested in reprising the role for a third film and not any further films. Despite their great working relationship and friendship, producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli wanted Dalton to commit for a four-to-five film contract, which Dalton was unwilling to do. Not wanting to be contractually obligated to stick around for longer than he was willing to, Dalton announced his resignation from the role in April 1994.
- He also nearly didn't play Bond at all. Pierce Brosnan was set to take the role from Roger Moore, but a clause in his Remington Steele contract forced him to back out.
- He was also considered for Alfred in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice before Jeremy Irons was cast. He ended up getting another DC Comics role, Dr. Niles "The Chief" Caulder in DC Universe's Doom Patrol (2019).
- Both he and fellow former James Bond Sean Connery were considered for the role of Mufasa in The Lion King (1994).