Charles Dance

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This article is about the contemporary English actor. For other uses, see Charles Dance (disambiguation).
Charles Dance (1st of his name)
Charles Dance 2012 (cropped).jpg
Dance at the London Film and Comic Con, July 2012.
Born Walter Charles Dance
(1946-10-10) 10 October 1946 (age 69)
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), known as Charles Dance, 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[edit]

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)[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Dance married Joanna Haythorn in 1970. They have two children.[11][12] After his marriage ended in 2004,[11] he had a brief relationship with actress Sophia Myles who was 34 years his junior.[12][13]

He became engaged to sculptor Eleanor Boorman in September 2010. They have a daughter, Rose, born in March 2012, though the two subsequently separated.[14]

Dance was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) on 17 June 2006.[15] He lives in Kentish Town in north London.[16]





Video games[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  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. 
  9. ^
  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. ^ a b Riggs, Thomas (2006). Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television, Volume 67. Gale / Cengage Learning. pp. 66–67. ISBN 978-0-7876-9040-3. 
  12. ^ a b 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. ^ Husband, Stuart (6 August 2007). "Curtain call for Miss Myles". The Guardian. London. 
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ The London Gazette: no. 58014. p. 10. 17 June 2006.
  16. ^ Helliker, Adam Dance-ing to an older tune Daily Mail, 13 April 2004
  17. ^ "'Game of Thrones' actor to star in major Syfy miniseries". Entertainment Weekly's 
  18. ^ "The Witcher - News". CD Projekt Red. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 

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