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THE name's Dalton, Timothy Dalton - the last of our top 30 North Walians.

Dalton was born in March 1946, and is best known for portraying James Bond in The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989), as well as Rhett Butler in the 1994 TV mini-series Scarlett.

Born in Colwyn Bay, to an American mother of Italian and Irish descent, and a Welsh father, who was a captain in the Special Operations Executive during World War II, the Manchester City fan fell in love with acting at 16 years old after seeing a production of Macbeth.

In 1964 he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and toured with the National Youth Theatre. Dalton did not complete his RADA studies, leaving the academy in 1966 to join the ensemble of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

He quickly moved into television and theatre but his connection with Bond came soon after, as producers considered him for the role almost 20 years before being taken on by the Broccoli family.

In 1968, Albert 'Cubby' Broccoli asked the 22-year-old to take over from Sean Connery in the role, but he turned it down, saying he was too young.

He again turned it down in 1986, having been first choice to replace the retiring Roger Moore, but obligations to the film Brenda Starr and the stage productions of Antony and Cleopatra and The Taming of The Shrew kept him from accepting the part.

Timothy Dalton remained a theatre actor until 1978 before embarking on a successful career in America, including an appearance in Flash Gordon (1980), as Prince Barin.

But the former partner of Whoopi Goldberg and Vanessa Redgrave will always be remembered as James Bond, having played the role to great acclaim, particularly in The Living Daylights.

The movie grossed more than the franchise's previous two offerings - around $191million -more than Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.

However, his second film, Licence to Kill, proved to be his last as Bond.

Despite having signed a three-film deal and the movie proving to be a huge worldwide box office smash, it did not perform as well as expected in the US and his association with the company ended.

Supporters said the fact the title changed from Licence Revoked at the last minute will have harmed its publicity campaign.

Dalton himself was delighted to have played such a legendary part, but devastated to miss out on the third film, saying: "I was supposed to make one more but it was cancelled because MGM and the film's producers got into a lawsuit which lasted for five years. After that, I didn't want to do it anymore."

Thus Pierce Brosnan was chosen as the new 007, and the Welshman moved on, though many people - Broccoli included - referred to Dalton as being the best of the bunch in terms of realising Ian Fleming's vision for the character - a burn-out who did not want to kill and was at odds with the world, rather than a slapstick hitman with a penchant for one-liners and innuendo.

Dalton added: "I think Roger was fine as Bond, but the movies had become too much techno-pop and had lost track of their sense of story. I mean, every movie seemed to have a villain who had to rule or destroy the world.

"If you want to believe in the fantasy on screen, then you have to believe in the characters and use them as a stepping-stone to lead you into this fantasy world. That's a demand I made, and Albert Broccoli agreed with me."

On the Her Majesty's Secret Servant website, Peredur Glyn refers to 'the Bond of Colwyn Bay' and pays a glowing tribute to Dalton.

Dalton He said: "If someone made a survey then it is likely that Timothy Dalton will not be rated the best Bond. Sadly, he will probably not land in second place either. This, however, would be among casual Bond audiences who may not remember Timothy's performances over Sean's or Roger's. Fans, however, are more inclined to take his outings more seriously, and many rank him top of the pile of five, or just below Sean Connery.

Peredur added: "It is the undoubted similarity in Timothy Dalton's 007 to Ian Fleming's James Bond that makes him stand above the rest."

After Bond, Timothy Dalton's career slowed down in terms of Hollywood success, with Made Men, The Rocketeer and Hot Fuzz among his most notable turns.

He has mostly been out of the limelight in recent years, but is set for a return to the big time in 2010, as Mr Pricklepants in the third Toy Story movie, which will be released this summer.


Timothy Dalton Timothy Dalton as James Bond
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 11, 2010
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