Jim Dale with his Barnum costar Glenn Close performing Busker Alley, 2006
15 August 1935
Rothwell, Northamptonshire, England
|Occupation||Actor, lyricist, voice actor, singer|
|Spouse(s)||Patricia Dale (1957-1977)
Julia Schafler (1980-present)
Jim Dale, MBE (born 15 August 1935) is an English actor, voice artist, singer and songwriter. He is best known in the United Kingdom for his many appearances in the Carry On series of films and is known in the US for narrating the Harry Potter audiobook series, for which he received two Grammy Awards, and the ABC series Pushing Daisies.
Dale was born James Smith to William Henry Smith and Miriam Jean Wells in Rothwell, Northamptonshire, England. After attending Kettering Grammar School there, he performed two years national service in the Royal Air Force. He trained as a ballet dancer before his debut as a stage comic in 1951.
As a songwriter Dale is best remembered as the lyricist for the movie theme Georgy Girl, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1966. The song (performed by The Seekers) reached number 2 in the US charts the following year. He also wrote lyrics for the title song of the movie Shalako and for Joseph Andrews, Twinky and A Winter's Tale. Several of his songs entered the UK singles chart including Be My Girl (1957)(UK # 2in 1957), Just Born (1958), Crazy Dream (1958) and Sugartime (1958). As a singer he became the first artist under the wing of Sir George Martin who produced many hit records for him. In 1959 he was one of the presenters on the BBC TV's initial foray into the world of 'Rock and Roll'—Six-Five Special. Dale also wrote and recorded the song Dick-a-Dum-Dum (King's Road), which became a hit for Des O'Connor in 1969.
Dale's film debut was a tiny role as a trombone player who thwarts orchestral conductor Kenneth Williams in the comedy Raising The Wind (1961). However he is most famous in the UK for his appearances in eleven Carry On films, a long running series of comedy farces, generally playing the hapless romantic lead. His Carry on career began as an expectant father in Carry on Cabby followed by Carry on Spying (1964), Carry on Jack (1964), Carry on Cowboy (1965) where he played a character called Marshall P Knutt, soon followed by playing Horsa in 1965 film Carry on Cleo, then Follow That Camel, Carry on Screaming (both 1966), and the famous Carry on Doctor (1967). His last 'Carry On' appearance in the main series was in Carry On Again Doctor in 1969, where he broke his arm during filming, as he preferred to do his own stunts. However 23 years later he appeared in the title role in the last 1992 Carry On film, Carry on Columbus. He was in the silent short 1967 film The Plank, and played the young Spike Milligan in the film version of Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall. He starred in Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World, which also featured Milligan, The National Health directed by Jack Gold, and appeared in the 1984 film Scandalous. He also had a triple-role as twin brothers and their father in Disney's Hot Lead & Cold Feet, The Hunchback, as a tap dancing executive in Arthur Miller's 1993 The American Clock and a memorable performance as a comic villain in the 1977 Disney films Pete's Dragon and The Spaceman and King Arthur aka Unidentified Flying Oddball.
At the age of eighteen Dale became the youngest professional comedian in Britain, touring all the great Variety Music Halls. On stage he appeared in both straight and musical roles, and has been nominated for five Tony Awards, winning one for Barnum when in 1980 he became “The Toast of Broadway” (N.Y.Times), also winning the second of four Drama Desk Awards. In 2006, Dale performed on Broadway (at Studio 54) in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of The Threepenny Opera, as Mr. Peachum. In 1970, at the request of Lord Olivier, he joined the The National Theatre in London as a leading actor. Over the next two years he appeared in Love's Labour's Lost, The Merchant of Venice, The National Health, The Good Natured Man, The Captain of Kopenick, and a two hander play with Anthony Hopkins, The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria. At the Young Vic Theatre, he created the title role in Scapino, which he co-adapted with Frank Dunlop, and played Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew. His other West End theatre credits include The Wayward Way, The Card, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Winter's Tale, and most recently the part of Fagin in Cameron Mackintosh’s Oliver! at the London Palladium.
His Broadway successes include Scapino (Drama Desk Award/Outer Critics Award/Tony Award Nomination), Joe Egg (Outer Critics Award /Tony Award Nomination). Me And My Girl and Candide (Tony Award Nomination). Other credits Off-Broadway include Travels With My Aunt (Drama Desk Award / Lucille Lortel Award / Outer Critics Award), Privates On Parade, The Taming of the Shrew, The Invisible Man, The Music Man, Comedians (Drama Desk Award nomination and a Lucille Lortel Award nomination), A Christmas Carol – The Musical, Address Unknown and The Threepenny Opera (Drama Desk Award / Outer Critics Award / The Richard Seff Award and a Tony Award nomination). In November, 2006 Dale starred as "Charlie Baxter" in the Sherman Brothers' musical, Busker Alley alongside Glenn Close.
To millions of fans in the United States and Canada, Jim Dale is the "voice" of Harry Potter. (In Britain the audiobooks are produced by Bloomsbury, and Stephen Fry reads them.) He has recorded all seven books in the Harry Potter series, and as a narrator he has won two Grammy Awards, seven Grammy Nominations and a record ten Audie Awards including "Audio Book of the Year 2004," "Best Children's Narrator 2001/2005/2007/2008," "Best Children's Audio Book 2005," two Benjamin Franklin Awards from the Independent Book Publishers Association (one of these was in 2001 for Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban) and eleven Audio File Earphone Awards. He is also the narrator for the Harry Potter video games, and for many of the interactive "extras" on the Harry Potter DVD releases. He also holds two Guinness World Records: one for having created and recorded 146 different character voices for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and one for occupying the first six places in the Top Ten Audio Books of America and Canada 2005.
Dale also did voice work for the Walgreens "perfect" ads.
Queen Elizabeth II made him a member of the Order of the British Empire for his work in promoting English children’s literature.
Dale has lived in New York since 1980. He was married to Patricia from 1957 until their divorce in 1977. They had 4 children, one of whom, Murray Dale, was briefly an actor in the 1970s children's television series Boy Dominic. His youngest son, Toby Dale, is also an actor living in London. Another son Adam is an award winning helicopter camera man. Jim's only daughter Belinda died of leukemia in December 1995. In 1980, Jim married Julia Schafler, the owner of Madison Avenue’s prestigious "Julie: Artisan’s Gallery."
|Awards and achievements|
for Sweeney Todd
Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical
for The Pirates of Penzance