Charles Dance

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

Charles Dance

Dance at the July 2012 London Film and Comic Con
Walter Charles Dance

(1946-10-10) 10 October 1946
ResidenceIslington, London, UK
OccupationActor, screenwriter, film director
Years active1971–present
Joanna Haythorn
(m. 1970; div. 2004)
Parent(s)Walter Dance
Eleanor Marion Perks

Some of his highest 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). Most recently, he portrayed Lord Mountbatten in the third season of The Crown.

Early life

Charles Dance was born in Redditch, Worcestershire, the son of Eleanor Marion (née Perks, 1911–1984), a cook, and Walter Dance (1874–1949), an electrical engineer who had 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 some 26 years older than he had believed. The elder Dance was born in 1874. During filming of an episode for the genealogical series Who Do You Think You Are?[4] in 2016, 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". Other small parts followed, including a 1983 cameo as a South African assassin in The Professionals, but his big break came the following year 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] In summer 2018, Dance narrated a documentary entitled "Spitfire", which featured the legendary Supermarine Spitfire and recounted the efforts of the RAF pilots who flew them during the Second World War.

In 2019, he played an antagonist in Godzilla: King of the Monsters and appeared as Lord Mountbatten in series 3 of The Crown later in the same year.

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.


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



Viy 2: Journey to China

Title Year Role Notes Ref(s)
For Your Eyes Only 1981 Claus
Plenty 1985 Raymond Brock
The Golden Child 1986 Sardo Numspa
White Mischief 1987 Josslyn Hay
Good Morning, Babylon 1987 D. W. Griffith
Hidden City 1987 James Richards
Pascali's Island 1988 Anthony Bowles
Alien 3 1992 Clemens
Kalkstein 1992 Surveyor
Last Action Hero 1993 Benedict
Century 1993 Professor Mandry
China Moon 1994 Rupert Munro
Kabloonak 1994 Robert J. Flaherty Paris Film Festival Award for Best Actor
Shortcut to Paradise 1994 Quinn
The Surgeon 1995 Dr. Ed Mittlesbay
Space Truckers 1996 Nabel / Macanudo
Michael Collins 1996 Soames
The Blood Oranges 1997 Cyril
What Rats Won't Do 1998 Gerald
Hilary and Jackie 1998 Derek Du Pré
Don't Go Breaking My Heart 1999 Frank
Gosford Park 2001 Raymond Stockbridge
Jurij 2001 Padre di Jurij
Dark Blue World 2001 Wing Commander Bentley
Black and White 2002 Roderic Chamberlain
Ali G Indahouse 2002 David Carlton
Swimming Pool 2003 John Bosload
Labyrinth 2003 Charles Lushington
City and Crimes 2003 Cox William
Ladies in Lavender 2004 N/A Directed, wrote and executive produced
Dolls 2006 Narrator Voice; short film
Scoop 2006 Mr. Malcolm
Twice Upon a Time 2006 Master of Ceremonies
Starter for 10 2006 Michael Harbinson
The Contractor 2007 DCS Andrew Windsor Direct-to-DVD
Intervention 2007 Private Investigator
Paris Connections 2010 Aleksandr Borinski
The Commuter 2010 Traffic Warden Short film
Ironclad 2011 Archbishop Langton
Your Highness 2011 King Tallious
There Be Dragons 2011 Monsignor Solano
Midnight's Children 2012 William Methwold
Underworld: Awakening 2012 Thomas
St George's Day 2012 Trenchard
Patrick 2013 Doctor Roget
Justin and the Knights of Valour 2013 Legantir Voice [17]
Viy 2014 Lord Dudley Credited as Charlz Dens
Dracula Untold 2014 Master Vampire
The Imitation Game 2014 Commander Alastair Denniston
Victor Frankenstein 2015 Frankenstein
Michiel de Ruyter 2015 Charles II
Woman in Gold 2015 Sherman
Child 44 2015 Major Grachev
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 2016 Mr. Bennet
Me Before You 2016 Stephen Traynor
Ghostbusters 2016 Harold Filmore
Despite the Falling Snow 2016 Old Alexander
Underworld: Blood Wars 2016 Thomas
Euphoria 2017 Mr. Daren
That Good Night 2017 The Visitor
Johnny English Strikes Again 2018 Agent Seven Cameo
Happy New Year, Colin Burstead 2018 Bertie
Godzilla: King of the Monsters 2019 Alan Jonah [18]
2019 Lord Dudley
Fanny Lye Deliver'd 2019 John Lye
The King's Man 2020 Field Marshall Haig Filming [19]
Mank 2020 Filming [20]
Denotes films that have not yet been released


Title Year(s) Role Notes Ref.
Father Brown 1974 Commandant Neil O'Brien Episode: "The Secret Garden"
The Inheritors 1974 Simon Leadbetter Episode: "Fathers and Sons"
Edward the Seventh 1975 Prince Eddy 2 episodes
Raffles 1977 Teddy Garland Episode: "Mr. Justice Raffles"
Play for Today 1980, 1984 Colin / Captain John Truman 2 episodes
Nancy Astor 1982 Edward Hartford-Jones Episode: "Guest for the Weekend"
The Professionals 1983 Parker Episode: "The Ojuka Situation"
The Last Day 1983 Alan Television
The Jewel in the Crown 1984 Guy Perron 5 episodes
The Secret Servant 1984 Harry Maxim Mini-series
Time for Murder 1985 James Latimer Episode: "This Lightning Always Strikes Twice"
Out on a Limb 1987 Cpt. Truman 2 episodes
Tales of the Unexpected 1987 Robert Smythe Episode: "Skeleton in the Cupboard"
First Born 1988 Edward Forester 3 episodes
Out of the Shadows 1988 Michael Hayden Television film
Goldeneye: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming 1989 Ian Fleming 2 episodes
Mission: Impossible 1989 Prime Minister Episode: "Command Performance"
The Phantom of the Opera 1990 Erik/The Phantom 2 episodes
Undertow 1996 Lyle Yates Television film
Rebecca 1997 Maxim de Winter 2 episodes
In the Presence of Mine Enemies 1997 Captain Richter Television film
Chrono-Perambulator 1999 James "Dougie" Douglas Television short
The Real Spartacus 2000 Narrator Voice
Mysteries of the Real Sherlock Holmes 2000 Sir Henry Carlyle Episode: "The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes"
A History of Britain 2000 Winston Churchill Voice
Episode: "The Two Winstons"
Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) 2000 Kenneth Crisby Episode: "Drop Dead"
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby 2001 Ralph Nickleby Television film
Foyle's War 2002 Guy Spencer Episode: "The White Feather"
Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future 2002 Col. Simon Lasker Voice
Episode: "Pilot of the Future"
Henry VIII 2003 Duke of Buckingham Television film
Trial & Retribution 2003 Greg Harwood Television film
Looking for Victoria 2003 [[Charles Greville] Television film
When Hitler Invaded Britain 2004 Narrator Documentary
Saint John Bosco: Mission to Love 2004 Marquis Clementi Television film
Fingersmith 2005 Mr. Lilly 2 episodes
Bleak House 2005 Mr. Tulkinghorn 12 episodes
To the Ends of the Earth 2005 Sir Henry Somerset Episode: "Close Quarters"
Last Rights 2005 Richard Wheeler 3 episodes
Titanic: Birth of a Legend 2005 Narrator Documentary
Marple: By the Pricking of My Thumbs 2006 Septimus Bligh Episode: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"
Fallen Angel 2007 David Byfield 3 episodes
Consenting Adults 2007 John Wolfenden Television film
Merlin 2009 Aredian Episode: "The Witchfinder"
Trinity 2009 Dr. Edmund Maltravers 8 episodes
Going Postal 2010 Havelock Vetinari 2 episodes
Rosamunde Pilchers's Shades of Love 20102011 Edmund Aird 4 episodes
Game of Thrones 20112015 Tywin Lannister 27 episodes [21]
Neverland 2011 Dr. Richard Fludd Episode: "Part 1"
Secret State 2012 John Hodder 4 episodes
Strike Back: Vengeance 2012 Conrad Knox 10 episodes
Bones of the Buddha 2013 Narrator Voice
The Great Fire 2014 Lord Denton 4 episodes
Childhood's End 2015 Karellen 3 episodes [22]
Deadline Gallipoli 2015 General Ian Hamilton 2 episodes
And Then There Were None 2015 Justice Lawrence Wargrave 3 episodes
The Woman in White 2018 Mr. Fredrick Fairlie 4 episodes
Hang Ups 2018 Jeremy Pitt 4 episodes
The Little Drummer Girl 2018 Commander Picton 2 episodes
The Widow 2019 Martin Benson 7 episodes
The Crown 2019 Lord Mountbatten 4 episodes

Video games

Title Year(s) Voice role Notes Ref.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 2015 Emperor Emhyr var Emreis English Dub [23][17]
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 2018 The Butler "Dead of the Night" Zombies Map [24][25]


Title Year(s) Author Voice role ISBN Notes Ref.
The Fourth Protocol 1985 Frederick Forsyth Narrator 0886461340 Voice [26]

Theatre credits


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


  1. "Charles Dance Biography (1946–)". Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  2. "Charles Dance - Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  3. "Winter is coming. DMU Alumnus is back on our screens with the return of Game of Thrones".
  4. "TheGenealogist featured article on Charles Dance". TheGenealogist. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  5. Nicholas de Jongh (9 October 2007). "Dance is poignant perfection – Theatre & Dance – Arts – London Evening Standard". Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. Holmwood, Leigh (15 July 2008). "ITV2 plans 'sex, drugs and murder' drama to follow Billie Piper hit series". London. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
  8. 25 May 2009, 15:07 BST (25 May 2009). "Guest stars confirmed for 'Merlin' – Merlin News – Cult". Digital Spy. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  9. Gibson, Linda (25 May 2010). "Interview Extra". TV Choice Magazine.
  10. "Game of Thrones: News – Charles Dance Cast as Tywin Lannister". 29 July 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  11. "Strike Back: Vengeance on Sky 1 HD". 15 August 2012. Archived from the original on 21 April 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  12. "Top Gear returns to BBC Two at 8pm, featuring Warwick Davis, Charles Dance and Joss Stone". TV Newsroom. 30 June 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  13. "British Film Council: Charles Dance".
  14. Riggs, Thomas (2006). Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television, Volume 67. Gale / Cengage Learning. pp. 66–67. ISBN 978-0-7876-9040-3.
  15. 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.
  16. London Gazette issue 58014 17 June 2006 page 10
  17. "Charles Dance - 2 Character Images". Behind The Voice Actors.
  18. N'Duka, Amanda (18 May 2017). "'Game Of Thrones' Alum Charles Dance Joins 'Godzilla: King Of The Monsters'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 18 May 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  19. Sneider, Jeffrey (29 November 2018). "Exclusive: 'Game of Thrones' Star Joins 'Kingsman' Prequel; Rhys Ifans in Talks". Collider. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  20. ‘Mank’: Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, ‘Downton Abbey’s Tuppence Middleton & More Join David Fincher Pic
  21. "Game of Thrones: Cast". HBO. Archived from the original on 1 September 2016. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  22. "'Game of Thrones' actor to star in major Syfy miniseries". Entertainment Weekly's
  23. "The Witcher – News". CD Projekt Red. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  24. Wade, Jessie (12 December 2018). "Game of Thrones, Metal Gear Stars among Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Zombies Mode Cast". IGN. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  25. McWhertor, Michael (13 December 2018). "Black Ops 4's new Zombies mode stars Kiefer Sutherland, Helena Bonham Carter". Polygon. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  26. "The Fourth Protocol". Dh Audio. 1985.
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