Charles Dance

Charles Dance

Birth name: Walter Charles Dance
Born: October 10, 1946
Age: 77
Birthplace: Rednal, West Midlands, England
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Walter Charles Dance, OBE (born 10 October 1946) is an English actor, screenwriter, and film director. Some of his most high-profile roles are Tywin Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones (2011-2015), Guy Perron in The Jewel in the Crown (1984), Sardo Numspa in The Golden Child (1986), Jonathan Clemens in Alien 3 (1992), Benedict in Last Action Hero (1993), the Master Vampire in Dracula Untold (2014), Lord Havelock Vetinari in Terry Pratchett's Going Postal (2010), Alastair Denniston in The Imitation Game (2014), and Emperor Emhyr var Emreis in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015).

Charles Dance was born in Rednal, West Midlands, the son of Eleanor Marion (née Perks), a cook, and Walter Dance (1874-1949), an electrical engineer who had previously served during the Boer War in South Africa.[1][2] Growing up in Plymouth, he attended Widey Technical School for Boys (it closed when known as Widey High School in 1988) in Crownhill. Dance later attended The Leicester College of Arts (now known as De Montfort University), where he studied Graphic Design and Photography.[3]

When Dance was about 3 years old, his father died. He had always thought that his father had been in his early fifties when this happened, but discovered that Walter was actually born 26 years earlier in 1874. In 2016 during filming of an episode for the genealogical series Who Do You Think You Are?.[4] Dance also discovered that through his maternal line, he is of partial Belgian ancestry, descended from a family whose roots lay in Spa. His immigrant ancestor Charles François Futvoye (1777-1847) had been a pioneer in the art of Japaning during the early half of the 19th century, and a resident of Marylebone in London.



Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)

Dance was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company during the mid-to-late 1970s and was in many of their productions in London and Stratford-upon-Avon. Later he returned to the RSC to take the title role in Coriolanus at Stratford-upon-Avon and Newcastle in 1989, and at the Barbican Theatre in 1990. He received rave reviews and a Critics' Circle Best Actor award for his performance as the Oxford don C. S. Lewis in William Nicholson's Shadowlands, in the 2007 stage revival.[5]

Television and film

Dance made his screen debut in 1974, in the ITV series Father Brown as Commandant Neil O'Brien in "The Secret Garden", but his big break came ten years later when he played the major role of Guy Perron in The Jewel in the Crown (Granada Television, Christopher Morahan 1984), an adaptation of Paul Scott's novels that also made stars of Geraldine James and Art Malik. He appeared in Paris Connections (2010) as the Russian oligarch Aleksandr Borinski. Dance made one of his earliest big screen appearances in the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only as evil henchman Claus. Though he turned down the opportunity to screen test for the James Bond role,[6] in 1989 he played Bond creator Ian Fleming in Anglia Television's dramatised biography directed by Don Boyd, Goldeneye (the name of Fleming's estate in Jamaica and a title later used for a James Bond film).

He has also starred in many other British television dramas such as Edward the Seventh (as dissolute Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, Edward VII's oldest son, and heir to the throne), Murder Rooms, Randall and Hopkirk, Rebecca, The Phantom of the Opera, Fingersmith and Bleak House (for which he received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie). He was name-checked in the British comedy series Absolutely Fabulous, as being slated to play the title character in The Life of Jesus Christ 2, which was filming in Morocco at the same time as the main characters of the series were there for a photo shoot. He also played Guy Spencer, the pro-Hitler propagandist, in the second instalment of Foyle's War, and had an ongoing role as Dr. Maltravers in the ITV drama Trinity.[7]

Dance made a guest appearance on the BBC drama series Merlin as the Witchfinder Aredian,[8] and as a vainglorious version of himself in the third series of Jam & Jerusalem. He played Havelock Vetinari in the 2010 Sky adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Going Postal.[9] He played the role of Tywin Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones, based on the Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R. R. Martin. Dance was wooed for the role by the producers while filming Your Highness in Belfast.[10] Dance also played Conrad Knox on the British television series Strike Back: Vengeance as the primary villain in the series.[11]

On 30 June 2013, Dance appeared with other celebrities in an episode of the BBC's Top Gear as a "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" for the debut of the Vauxhall Astra.[12]

Dance is represented by Tavistock Wood Management.[13]

Screenwriting and directing

Dance's debut film as a writer and director was Ladies in Lavender (2004), which starred Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. In 2009, he directed his own adaptation of Alice Thomas Ellis's The Inn at the Edge of the World.

Personal life

Dance married Joanna Haythorn in 1970. They have two children.[14][15] Haythorn and Dance divorced in 2004. He and Eleanor Boorman have a daughter, Rose Boorman, though the two subsequently separated.

Dance was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) on 17 June 2006.[16]



Title Year Role Director(s) Notes Ref(s)
For Your Eyes Only 1981 Claus John Glen
Plenty 1985 Raymond Brock Fred Schepisi
The Golden Child 1986 Sardo Numspa Michael Ritchie
White Mischief 1987 Josslyn Hay Michael Radford
Good Morning, Babylon 1987 D.W. Griffith Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
Hidden City 1987 James Richards Stephen Poliakoff
Pascali's Island 1988 Anthony Bowles James Dearden
Alien 3 1992 Clemens David Fincher
Kalkstein 1992 Surveyor Italian film
Last Action Hero 1993 Benedict John McTiernan
Century 1993 Professor Mandry Stephen Poliakoff
China Moon 1994 Rupert Munro John Bailey
Kabloonak 1994 Robert Flaherty Claude Massot Paris Film Festival Award for Best Actor
Shortcut to Paradise 1994 Quinn Spanish film
Space Truckers 1996 Nabel / Macanudo Stuart Gordon
Michael Collins 1996 Soames Neil Jordan
The Blood Oranges 1997 Cyril Philip Haas
What Rats Won't Do 1998 Gerald
Don't Go Breaking My Heart 1998 Frank Willi Patterson
Hilary and Jackie 1998 Derek Du Pré Anand Tucker
Gosford Park 2001 Raymond Stockbridge Robert Altman
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby 2001 Ralph Nickleby Stephen Whittaker
Dark Blue World 2001 Wing Commander Bentley Jan Svěrák
Black and White 2002 Roderic Chamberlain Craig Lahiff
Ali G Indahouse 2002 David Carlton Mark Mylod
Swimming Pool 2003 John Bosload François Ozon
Dolls 2006 Narrator Susan Luciani Voice
Scoop 2006 Mr. Malcolm Woody Allen
Starter for 10 2006 Michael Harbinson Tom Vaughan
The Contractor 2007 DCS Andrew Windsor Josef Rusnak Direct-to-video
Intervention 2007 Private Investigator
The Commuter 2010 Traffic Warden Short film to promote Nokia N8
Ironclad 2011 Archbishop Langton Jonathan English
Your Highness 2011 King Tallious David Gordon Green
Midnight's Children 2012 William Methwold Deepa Mehta
Underworld: Awakening 2012 Thomas Måns Mårlind
Björn Stein
Patrick 2013 Doctor Roget Mark Hartley
Justin and the Knights of Valour 2013 Legantir Manuel Sicilia Voice
Bones of the Buddha 2013 Narrator Voice
Viy 2013 Lord Dudley Oleg Stepchenko Credited as Charlz Dens
Dracula Untold 2014 Master Vampire Gary Shore
The Imitation Game 2014 Commander Alastair Denniston Morten Tyldum
Victor Frankenstein 2015 Frankenstein Paul McGuigan
Michiel de Ruyter 2015 Charles II Roel Reiné
Woman in Gold 2015 Sherman Simon Curtis
Child 44 2015 Major Grachev Daniel Espinosa
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 2016 Mr. Bennet Burr Steers
Me Before You 2016 Stephen Traynor Thea Sharrock
Ghostbusters 2016 Harold Filmore Paul Feig
Despite the Falling Snow 2016 Old Alexander Shamim Sarif
Underworld: Blood Wars 2016 Thomas Anna Foerster
Euphoria 2017 Lisa Langseth
That Good Night 2017 The Visitor Eric Styles
Fanny Lye Deliver'd 2017 John Lye Thomas Clay Post-production
Johnny English Strikes Again 2018 Agent Five David Kerr Cameo appearance
Viy 2: Journey to China 2019 Lord Dudley Oleg Stepchenko Post-production
Godzilla: King of the Monsters 2019 Michael Dougherty Filming [17]
Denotes films that have not yet been released


Title Year(s) Role Network Notes Ref.
Father Brown 1974 Commandant Neil O'Brien ITV Episode: "The Secret Garden"
Edward the Seventh 1975 Prince Eddy ITV 2 episodes
The Jewel in the Crown 1984 Guy Perron ITV 5 episodes
Out on a Limb 1987 Cpt. Truman BBC 2 episodes
First Born 1988 Edward Forester BBC 3 episodes
Goldeneye 1989 Ian Fleming ITV 2 episodes
The Phantom of the Opera 1990 Erik/The Phantom NBC 2 episodes
Rebecca 1997 Maxim de Winter ITV 2 episodes
The Real Spartacus 2000 Narrator Voice
A History of Britain 2000 Winston Churchill BBC Voice
Episode: "The Two Winstons"
Foyle's War 2002 Guy Spencer ITV Episode: "The White Feather"
Henry VIII 2003 Duke of Buckingham ITV Television film
Saint John Bosco: Mission to Love 2004 Marquis Clementi Television film
Fingersmith 2005 Mr. Lilly BBC 2 episodes
Bleak House 2005 Mr. Tulkinghorn BBC 12 episodes
To the Ends of the Earth 2005 Sir Henry Somerset BBC Episode: "Close Quarters"
Last Rights 2005 Richard Wheeler Channel 4 3 episodes
Marple: By the Pricking of My Thumbs 2006 Septimus Bligh ITV Episode: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"
Fallen Angel 2007 David Byfield 3 episodes
Consenting Adults 2007 John Wolfenden BBC Television film
Merlin 2009 Aredian BBC Episode: "The Witchfinder"
Trinity 2009 Dr. Edmund Maltraver ITV2 8 episodes
Going Postal 2010 Havelock Vetinari Sky 1 2 episodes
This September 2010 Edmund Aird 2 episodes
Game of Thrones 2011-2015 Tywin Lannister HBO 27 episodes [18]
Neverland 2011 Dr. Richard Fludd Syfy Episode: "Part 1"
Secret State 2012 John Hodder Channel 4 4 episodes
Strike Back: Vengeance 2012 Conrad Knox Sky 1 10 episodes
Was It Something I Said? 2013 Narrator Channel 4 Guest (one episode)
Rosamunde Pilchers's Shades of Love 2013 Edmund Aird
The Great Fire 2014 Lord Denton ITV 4 episodes
Childhood's End 2015 Karellen Syfy 3 episodes [19]
Deadline Gallipoli 2015 General Ian Hamilton Showcase 2 episodes
And Then There Were None 2015 Justice Lawrence Wargrave BBC One 3 episodes
The Woman in White 2018 Mr. Fredrick Fairlie BBC 1 5 episodes
Hang Ups 2018 Jeremy Pitt Channel 4
The Little Drummer Girl (miniseries) 2018 Picton BBC1/AMC 4 episodes

Video games

Title Year(s) Voice role Notes Ref.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 2015 Emperor Emhyr var Emreis English Dub [20][21]

Audio Books

Title Year(s) Author Voice role ISBN Notes Ref.
The Fourth Protocol 1985 Frederick Forsyth Narrator 0886461340 Voice [22]

Theatre credits


  • Toad of Toad Hall as Badger (1971)
  • The Beggar's Opera as Wat Dreary (Chichester Festival Theatre, 1972)
  • The Taming of the Shrew as Philip (Chichester, 1972)
  • Three Sisters as Soliony (Greenwich Theatre, 1973)
  • Hans Kohlhaus as Meissen (Greenwich, 1973)
  • Born Yesterday as Hotel Manager (Greenwich, 1973)
  • Saint Joan as Baudricourt (Oxford Festival, 1974)
  • The Sleeping Beauty as Prince (1974)
  • Travesties as Henry Carr (Leeds Playhouse, 1977)
  • Hamlet as Fortinbras / Reynaldo / Player (RSC The Other Place 1975; The Roundhouse, 1976)
  • Perkin Warbeck as Hialas / Astley / Spanish Ambassador (RSC The Other Place, 1975)
  • Richard III as Catesby / Murderer (RSC The Other Place, 1975)
  • Henry V as Henry V (RSC Glasgow and New York, 1975)
  • Henry IV, Part One and Henry IV, Part Two as Prince John of Lancaster (RSC Stratford, 1975; Aldwych Theatre, 1976)
  • As You Like It as Oliver (RSC Stratford, 1977; Aldwych, 1978)
  • Henry V as Scroop / Williams (RSC Stratford, 1977)
  • Henry VI, Part 2 as Buckingham (RSC Stratford, 1977; Aldwych, 1978)
  • The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs as Whistling Guard / Freeman (RSC Donmar Warehouse, 1978; The Other Place, 1979)
  • Coriolanus as Volscian Lieutenant (RSC Stratford, 1977)
  • Coriolanus as Tullus Aufidius (Aldwych, 1978 and 1979)
  • The Women Pirates as Blackie / Vosquin (RSC Aldwych, 1978)
  • The Changeling as Tomazo (RSC Aldwych, 1978)
  • Irma la Douce as Nestor (Shaftesbury Theatre, 1979)
  • The Heiress as Morris Townsend (1980)
  • Turning Over as Frank (Bush Theatre, 1983)
  • Coriolanus as Coriolanus (RSC Stratford and Newcastle upon Tyne, 1989; Barbican Theatre, 1990)
  • Three Sisters as Vershinin (Birmingham Rep, 1998)
  • Good as John Halder (Donmar Warehouse, 1999)
  • Long Day's Journey into Night as James Tyrone (Lyric Theatre, 2000)
  • The Play What I Wrote as a guest star (Wyndham's Theatre, 2001-2002)
  • Celebration as Richard (Gate Theatre, Dublin; Albery Theatre, 2005)
  • The Exonerated (Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, London, 2006)
  • Eh Joe as Joe (Parade Theatre, Sydney, 2006)
  • Shadowlands as C. S. Lewis (Wyndham's Theatre, 2007 and Novello Theatre 2007-2008)

Further reading

  • Who's Who in the Theatre, 16th/17th editions, edited by Ian Herbert, Pitman/Gale 1977/1981
  • Theatre Record and Theatre Record Indexes
  • Halliwell's Who's Who in the Movies Fourth edition by John Walker, HarperCollins 2006 ISBN 978-0-00-716957-3
  • Charles Dance's own CVs in various theatre programmes

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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