15 August 1935
Rothwell, Northamptonshire, England, UK
|Spouse(s)||Patricia Dale (m. 1957; div. 1977)
Julia Schafler (m. 1980)
Jim Dale, MBE (born 15 August 1935) is an English actor, narrator, singer, director, and composer. In the United Kingdom, he is best known as a pop star of the 1960s who became a leading actor at the National Theatre. In the British film world he became one of the comedic icons in the Carry On series. In the United States, he is most recognised as a leading actor on Broadway, where he had roles in Scapino, Barnum, Candide and Me and My Girl, as well as for narrating all seven of the Harry Potter audiobooks (for which he received two Grammy Awards out of six nominations) and the ABC series Pushing Daisies (2007–2009); he also starred in the Disney film Pete's Dragon (1977). He was nominated for a BAFTA Award for portraying a young Spike Milligan in Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall (1973).
Dale was born James Smith to William Henry and Miriam Jean (née Wells) Smith in Rothwell, Northamptonshire. He was educated at Kettering Grammar School. He trained as a dancer for six years, before his debut as a stage comic in 1951. He did two years of national service in the Royal Air Force.
As a songwriter, Dale is best remembered as the lyricist for the film theme "Georgy Girl", for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song in 1966. The song (performed by the Seekers) reached number 2 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart the following year, it also made number 3 in Dale's native UK and Number 1 in Australia, going on to sell over 11 million records around the world. He also wrote lyrics for the title song of the films The Winter's Tale, Shalako, Twinky (Lola in the United States), and Joseph Andrews.
At the age of 22 he became the first pop singer to work with George Martin, who produced all his hit records. Several of his songs entered the UK Singles Chart, including "Be My Girl" (1957, UK No.2), "Just Born (To Be Your Baby)" (1958, UK No.27), "Crazy Dream" (1958, UK No. 24) and "Sugartime" (1958, UK No. 25).
Dale's film debut was in Six Five Special (1958), a spin-off from the BBC TV series of the same name. This film was also released under the name 'Calling All Cats'. He then had a tiny role as a trombone player who thwarts orchestral conductor Kenneth Williams in the comedy Raising the Wind (1961). However, he is best known in Britain 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 in small roles: first as an expectant father in Carry On Cabby (1963), and was followed by Carry On Jack (1963). From Carry On Spying (1964) onwards, his roles were more substantial. Following Carry On Cleo (1964), his first principal role was Carry On Cowboy (1965), set in the Wild West, where he played an immigrant English sanitary engineer called Marshall P. Knutt who is mistakenly hired as a police marshal. Then came Carry On Screaming! (1966), Don't Lose Your Head (1966), Follow That Camel (1967), Carry On Doctor (1967), Carry On Again Doctor (1969) and the 1992 revival Carry On Columbus. Dale played Harold, the policeman in the 1965 comedy film The Big Job with two of his regular Carry On co-stars: Sidney James and Joan Sims. He played Dr. Terminus in Walt Disney's Pete's Dragon (1977). He was the star of the Walt Disney comedy film Hot Lead and Cold Feet (1978), whilst 1973 saw him co-star in The National Health.
At the age of 18, Dale became one of the youngest professional comedians in Britain, touring all the variety music halls.
In 1970 Sir Laurence Olivier invited Dale to join the National Theatre Company in London, then based at the Old Vic. At the Young Vic Theatre, he created the title role in Scapino (ca. 1970), which he co-adapted with Frank Dunlop, and played Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew.
His other UK credits include The Card (1973), and The Wayward Way in London. He appeared in The Winter's Tale as Autolycus and A Midsummer Night's Dream as Bottom at the Edinburgh Festivals in 1966 and 1967 for Frank Dunlop's Pop Theatre. He took over the part of Fagin in Cameron Mackintosh’s Oliver! at the London Palladium in September 1995.
For his Broadway performances, Dale has been nominated for five Tony Awards, winning one for Barnum (1980) for which the New York Times described him as "The Toast of Broadway", also winning the second of five Drama Desk Awards, and the second of five Outer Critics Awards.. Other work includes Scapino (1974) (Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Award, Tony Award Nomination), Joe Egg (1985) (Outer Critics Award, Tony Award Nomination), Me And My Girl (1986) Candide (1997) (Tony Award Nomination), The Threepenny Opera (2006) for the Roundabout Theatre Company. Dale played Mister Peacham and won a Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics' Award, The Richard Seff Award and a Tony Award nomination.
Credits Off-Broadway include Travels With My Aunt (1995) (Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Award, Outer Critics Award), Privates On Parade (1989), Comedians (2003) (Drama Desk Award nomination and a Lucille Lortel Award nomination) and Address Unknown (2004).
Dale's other stage work includes The Taming of the Shrew as Petruchio with the Young Vic, London (1970) and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York (1974); The Music Man U.S. tour (1984), and The Invisible Man at the Cleveland Play House (1998). He played the part of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol: The Musical at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York City, from 28 November to 27 December 2003.
In November 2006 Dale starred as Charlie Baxter in a one-night only concert version of the Sherman brothers musical, Busker Alley alongside Glenn Close. This was a benefit for the York Theatre Company, and was held at Hunter College in New York City. He wrote and appeared in his one-man show, Just Jim Dale, looking back over nearly sixty years in show business. It opened on 15 May 2014 at the Roundabout Theatre Company Laura Pels Theatre, winning Dale his fifth Outer Critics Circle Award, and his fifth Drama Desk Award.
Source: The New York Times
In the United States, Jim Dale is known as the "voice" of Harry Potter. He has recorded all seven books in the Harry Potter series as audiobooks, and as a narrator he has won two Grammy Awards (in 2001 and 2008) and received 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 and the Prisoner of Azkaban) and 23 Audio File Earphone Awards.
He narrates the Harry Potter video games and many of the interactive "extras" on the Harry Potter DVD releases. He also holds three Guinness World Records. One for occupying the first six places in the Top Ten Audio Books of America and Canada 2005. His second for creating 134 different voices for one audiobook, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. and his third for breaking his own record with 146 voices for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2007. Dale opened every episode of the ABC drama Pushing Daisies as the unseen narrator.
In 2017, Dale narrated Spin: The Rumpelstiltskin Musical by Edelman and Fishman, noted as being the first audiobook musical.
In December 2009, for their annual birthday celebration to Noël Coward, the eponymous Noël Coward Society invited Dale to be the guest celebrity to lay flowers in front of Coward's statue at New York City's Gershwin Theatre on Broadway, thus commemorating Coward's 110th birthday.
Source: The New York Times
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