Charles Dance

This article is about the contemporary English actor. For other uses, see Charles Dance (disambiguation).
Charles Dance

Dance at the London Film and Comic Con, July 2012.
Born Walter Charles Dance
(1946-10-10) 10 October 1946
Redditch, Worcestershire, England
Nationality British
Education Plymouth College of Art
Occupation Actor, screenwriter, film director
Years active 1974–present
Spouse(s) Joanna Haythorn
(m. 1970; div. 2004)
Children 3

Walter Charles Dance, OBE (born 10 October 1946) is an English actor, screenwriter, and film director.

Dance typically plays assertive bureaucrats or villains. Some of his most high-profile roles are Tywin Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones, Guy Perron in The Jewel in the Crown (1984), Sardo Numspa in The Golden Child (1986), Dr. 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) and Alastair Denniston in The Imitation Game (2014).

Early life

Charles Dance was born in Redditch, Worcestershire, the son of Eleanor (née Perks), a cook, and Walter Dance, an engineer.[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.


The 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.[3]

Television and film

Dance made his screen debut in 1974, in a BBC mystery 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 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 installment of Foyle's War, and had an ongoing role as Dr. Maltravers in the ITV drama Trinity.[4]

Dance made a guest appearance on the BBC drama series Merlin as the Witchfinder Aredian,[5] 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.[6] 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 whilst filming Your Highness in Belfast.[7] Dance also played Conrad Knox on the British television series Strike Back: Vengeance as the primary villain in the series.[8] 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,[9] in 1989 he played Bond creator Ian Fleming in Anglia Television's dramatised biography, Goldeneye (the name of Fleming's estate in Jamaica and a title later used for a James Bond film).

On 30 June 2013, Dance appeared amongst 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.[10]

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.[11][12] He became engaged to sculptor Eleanor Boorman in September 2010. They have a daughter, Rose, born in March 2012, though the two subsequently separated.[13]

Dance was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) on 17 June 2006.[14] He lives in Kentish Town in north London.[15]



Year(s) Film Character Notes
1981 For Your Eyes Only Claus
1985 Plenty Raymond Brock
1986 The Golden Child Sardo Numspa
1987 White Mischief Josslyn Hay
1987 Good Morning, Babylon D.W. Griffith
1987 Hidden City James Richards
1988 Pascali's Island Anthony Bowles
1992 Alien 3 Clemens
1992 Kalkstein Surveyor Italian film
1993 Last Action Hero Benedict
1993 Century Professor Mandry
1994 China Moon Rupert Munro
1994 Kabloonak Robert Flaherty Paris Film Festival Award for Best Actor
1994 Shortcut to Paradise Quinn Spanish film
1996 Space Truckers Nabel / Macanudo
1996 Michael Collins Soames
1997 The Blood Oranges Cyril
1998 What Rats Won't Do Gerald
1998 Don't Go Breaking My Heart Frank
1998 Hilary and Jackie Derek Du Pré
2001 Gosford Park Raymond Stockbridge
2001 The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Ralph Nickleby
2001 Dark Blue World Wing Commander Bentley
2002 Black and White Roderic Chamberlain
2002 Ali G Indahouse David Carlton
2003 Swimming Pool John Bosload
2006 Dolls Narrator Voice
2006 Scoop Mr. Malcolm
2006 Starter for 10 Michael Harbinson
2007 The Contractor DCS Andrew Windsor Direct-to-video
2011 Ironclad Archbishop Langton
2011 Your Highness King Tallious
2012 Midnight's Children William Methwold
2012 Underworld: Awakening Thomas
2013 Patrick Doctor Roget
2013 Justin and the Knights of Valour Legantir Voice
2013 Bones of the Buddha Narrator Voice
2013 Viy V roli lorda Dadli Credited as Charlz Dens
2014 Dracula Untold Master Vampire
2014 The Imitation Game Commander Alastair Denniston
2015 Victor Frankenstein Frankenstein
2015 Michiel de Ruyter Charles II
2015 Woman in Gold Sherman
2015 Child 44 Major Grachev
2016 Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Mr. Bennet
2016 Me Before You Stephen Traynor
2016 Ghostbusters Harold Filmore
2016 Despite the Falling Snow Old Alexander
2016 Underworld: Blood Wars Thomas


Year(s) Series Character Notes
1974 Father Brown Commandant Neil O'Brien Episode: "The Secret Garden"
1975 Edward the Seventh Prince Eddy 2 episodes
1984 The Jewel in the Crown Guy Perron
1987 Out on a Limb Gerry Stamford TV miniseries
1988 First Born Edward Forester TV miniseries
1990 The Phantom of the Opera' Erik/The Phantom of the Opera TV miniseries
1997 Rebecca Maxim de Winter TV miniseries
2000 The Real Spartacus Narrator Documentary
2000 A History of Britain Winston Churchill Voice (document reading)
Episode: "The Two Winstons"
2000 Foyle's War Guy Spencer Episode: "The White Feather"
2003 Henry VIII Duke of Buckingham TV movie
2004 Saint John Bosco: Mission to Love Marquis Clementi Italian film
2005 Fingersmith Mr. Lilly TV movie
2005 Bleak House Mr. Tulkinghorn
2005 To the Ends of the Earth Sir Henry Somerset Episode: "Close Quarters"
2005 Last Rights Richard Wheeler TV miniseries
2006 Marple: By the Pricking of My Thumbs Septimus Bligh Episode: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"
2009 Jam & Jerusalem Himself
2009 Merlin Aredian Episode: "The Witchfinder"
2009 Trinity Dr. Edmund Maltraver
2010 Going Postal Havelock Vetinari
2010 This September Edmund Aird 2 episodes
20112015 Game of Thrones Tywin Lannister
2011 Neverland Dr. Richard Fludd Episode: "Part 1"
2012 Secret State John Hodder TV miniseries
2012 Strike Back: Vengeance Conrad Knox
2013 Top Gear Himself Appeared in Series 20, Episode 1
2013 Was It Something I Said? Narrator Guest (one episode)
2013 Rosamunde Pilchers's Shades of Love Edmund Aird
2014 The Great Fire Lord Denton TV miniseries
2015 Childhood's End Karellen[16] TV miniseries
2015 Deadline Gallipoli General Ian Hamilton TV miniseries
2015 And Then There Were None Justice Lawrence Wargrave TV miniseries

Video games

Year(s) Series Character Notes
2015 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Emperor Emhyr var Emreis[17] Voice

Theatre credits


Further reading


  1. "Charles Dance Biography (1946-)". Retrieved 2012-11-12.
  2. "Charles Dance Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Retrieved 2012-11-12.
  3. Nicholas de Jongh (9 October 2007). "Dance is poignant perfection – Theatre & Dance – Arts – London Evening Standard". Retrieved 2012-11-12.
  4. Holmwood, Leigh (15 July 2008). "ITV2 plans 'sex, drugs and murder' drama to follow Billie Piper hit series". London. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
  5. 25 May 2009, 15:07 BST (25 May 2009). "Guest stars confirmed for 'Merlin' – Merlin News – Cult". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
  6. Gibson, Linda (2010-05-25). "Interview Extra". TV Choice Magazine.
  7. "Game of Thrones: News – Charles Dance Cast as Tywin Lannister". 29 July 2010. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
  8. "Strike Back: Vengeance on Sky 1 HD". 15 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
  10. "Top Gear returns to BBC Two at 8pm, featuring Warwick Davis, Charles Dance and Joss Stone". TV Newsroom. 2013-06-30. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
  11. Riggs, Thomas (2006). Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television, Volume 67. Gale / Cengage Learning. pp. 66–67. ISBN 978-0-7876-9040-3.
  12. Walker, Tim (24 September 2010). "Charles Dance is to marry his artist girlfriend". The Daily Telegraph. London: TMG. ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  13. Glennie, Alasdair (20 October 2012). "Dance splits from mother of his baby girl: Game of Thrones star ends relationship just months after daughter's birth". Daily Mail. London.
  14. The London Gazette: no. 58014. p. 10. 17 June 2006.
  15. Helliker, Adam Dance-ing to an older tune Daily Mail, 13 April 2004
  16. "'Game of Thrones' actor to star in major Syfy miniseries". Entertainment Weekly's
  17. "The Witcher - News". CD Projekt Red. Retrieved 2016-07-18.

External links

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