15 August 1935
Rothwell, Northamptonshire, England, UK
(m. 1957; div. 1977)
Julia Schafler (m. 1980)
Jim Dale, MBE (born James Smith; 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 in the American market (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.
- Thank Your Lucky Stars (1965) - ITV (Host)
- Join Jim Dale (1969) - ITV (Host)
- Sunday Night at the London Palladium (1973) - (Host)
- Cinderella (Host) Ballet (1981)
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1986) - American Playhouse for PBS
- The American Clock (1993) - by Arthur Miller
- The Bill Cosby Show (1998)
- The Ellen Burstyn Show
- The Dinah Shore Show
- Six-Five Special - (Host)
- Meet Jim Dale - ATV London
- The Jim Dale Show - ATV London
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" for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, "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.
He narrated Peter and the Starcatchers (2004) audio book, and its three sequels.
In 2017, Dale narrated Spin: The Rumpelstiltskin Musical by Edelman and Fishman, noted as being the first audiobook musical.
In 2003, he was awarded the MBE, as part of the Queen's Birthday Honours List, for his work in promoting English Children's Literature.
- Six Five Special (1958) as Presenter
- Raising the Wind (1961) as Violinist
- The Iron Maiden (1962) as Bill
- Nurse on Wheels (1963) as Tim Taylor
- Carry On Cabby (1963) as Expectant Father
- Carry On Jack (1963) as Carrier
- Carry On Spying (1964) as Carstairs
- Carry On Cleo (1964) as Horsa
- The Big Job (1965) as Harold
- Carry On Cowboy (1965) as Marshall P. Knutt
- Carry On Screaming! (1966) as Albert Potter
- Don't Lose Your Head (1966) as Lord Darcy de Pue
- Follow That Camel (1967) as Bertram Oliphant (BO) West
- Carry On Doctor (1967) as Dr. Jim Kilmore
- The Plank (1967) as Painter
- Lock Up Your Daughters (1969) as Lusty
- Carry On Again Doctor (1969) as Dr. Jimmy Nookey
- Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World (1973) as Jeff Eldon
- The National Health (1973) as Barnet/ Dr. Boyd
- Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall (1973) as Terence "Spike" Milligan
- Pete's Dragon (1977) as Dr Terminus
- Joseph Andrews (1977) as Pedlar
- Hot Lead and Cold Feet (1978) as Jasper Bloodshy/Wild Billy Bloodshy/Eli Bloodshy
- Unidentified Flying Oddball (1979) as Sir Mordred
- Scandalous (1984) as Inspector Anthony Crisp
- Carry On Columbus (1992) as Christopher Columbus
- The Hunchback (1997) as Cloplin
Awards and nominations
- 1966 International Laurel Award - Best Song - Georgy Girl
- 1974 Drama Desk Award - Outstanding Performance - Scapino
- 1974 Outer Critics Circle Award - Outstanding Actor - Scapino
- 1980 Drama Desk Award - Outstanding Actor in a Musical - Barnum
- 1980 Tony Award - Best Actor in a Musical - Barnum
- 1984 Outer Critics Circle Award - Outstanding Actor - Joe Egg
- 1995 Drama Desk Award - Unique Theatrical Ensemble Experience - Travels With My Aunt
- 1995 Outer Critics Circle Award - Outstanding Actor - Travels With My Aunt
- 2001 Grammy Award - Best Spoken Word Album for Children - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- 2001 Audie Award - Narrator of the Year - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- 2004 Audie Award - Audiobook of the year - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- 2004 Audie Award - Children's Male Narrator of the Year - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- 2005 Audie Award - Classic Narrator - A Christmas Carol
- 2005 Audie Award - Male Narrator of the Year - Peter and the Star Catchers
- 2005 Audie Award - Children's Narrator - Peter and the Starcatchers
- 2006 Thespian Award - Friars Club, New York.
- 2006 Drama Desk Award - Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical - The Threepenny Opera
- 2006 Outer Critics Circle Award - Outstanding Actor - The Threepenny Opera
- 2006 The Richard Seff Award - The Threepenny Opera
- 2006 The Order of St. George's Society, New York
- 2007 Audie Award - Male Narrator of the Year - Peter and the Shadow Thieves
- 2008 Audie Award - Solo Narrator - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- 2008 Grammy Award - Best Spoken Word Album for Children - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- 2009 Audie Award - Children's male Narrator of the Year - James Herriot's Treasury For Children
- Twenty-three Audiofile Headphone Awards
- 2009 - Inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
- 2018 - Urban Stages' 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award
- 1967 Academy Award - Best Music, Original Song - Georgy Girl (shared with Tom Springfield for the song "Georgy Girl")
- 1967 Golden Globe Award - Best Music, Original Song - Georgy Girl (shared with Tom Springfield for the song "Georgy Girl")
- 1974 BAFTA Academy Award - Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles - Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall
- 1975 Tony Award - Best Actor in Play - Scapino
- 1985 Drama Desk Award - Outstanding Actor in a Play - Joe Egg
- 1985 Tony Award - Best Actor in Play - Joe Egg
- 1997 Drama Desk Award - Outstanding Actor in a Musical - Candide
- 1997 Tony Award - Best Actor in a Musical - Candide
- 2003 Drama Desk Award - Outstanding Actor in a Play - Comedians
- 2006 Tony Award - Best Featured Actor in a Musical - The Threepenny Opera
- "Jim Dale Biography" filmreference.com, accessed 18 June 2014
- "Jim Dale Biography" allmusic.com, accessed 16 June 2014
- "BFI ScreenOnline".
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London, UK: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 138. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London, UK: Guinness World Records Ltd. p. 403. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- " Raising the Wind Cast" tcm.com, accessed 17 June 2014
- " Pete's Dragon Cast" tcm.com, accessed 17 June 2014
- "Jim Dale" masterworksbroadway.com, accessed 16 June 2014
- Scapino samuelfrench-london.co.uk, accessed 17 June 2014
- Billington, Michael. "Young Vic at 40: the Young and the restless" The Guardian, 19 October 2010
- " The Card Synopsis and Production" guidetomusicaltheatre.com, accessed 17 June 2014
- Dunlop, Frank and Dale, Jim. "About the Authors. Jim Dale" Scapino!. Special BookDramatic Publishing, 1975, ISBN 0871293749, p. 119
- "Reviewing the situation" ebscohost.com, article from Variety, 4 September 1995, accessed 16 June 2014
- "Jim Dale Credits and Awards" playbillvault.com, accessed 17 June 2014
- Brantley, Ben. "Theater Review; When the Perfect Gesture Is Everything" The New York Times, 13 April 1995
- Stasio, Marilyn. "Jim Dale Taps a Bawdy Tradition for Inspiration" The New York Times, 20 August 1989
- Ehren, Christine. "Jim Dale to Star in New Group's 'Comedians' Jan. 3, Judith Ivey in 'Women of Lockerbie' " playbill.com, 1 November 2002
- "Jim Dale Listing Off-Broadway" Archived 15 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Internet Off-Broadway Database, accessed 16 June 2014
- Jones, Kenneth. "Jim Dale Stars In Cleveland Play House's Illusion-Filled 'Invisible Man', Dec. 4-Jan. 9" Archived 15 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine. playbill.com, 3 December 1998
- Hernandez, Ernio. "Ghosts Lead Scrooge in 'A Christmas Carol' for Final MSG Staging, Nov. 28-Dec. 27" Archived 16 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine. playbill.com, 28 November 2003
- Gans, Andrew. "Jim Dale and Glenn Close Reunite for Busker Alley Benefit Nov. 13" playbill.com, 13 November 2006
- Hetrick, Adam. "From 'Barnum' to 'Harry Potter,' 'Just Jim Dale 'Arrives Off-Broadway May 15" Archived 7 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine. playbill.com, 15 May 2014
- "Filmography" The New York Times, accessed June 16, 2014
- " Thank Your Lucky Stars" televisionheaven.co.uk, accessed 17 June 2014
- " Sunday Night At The London Palladium " televisionheaven.co.uk, accessed 17 June 2014
- " Cinderella Overview and Cast" tcm.com, accessed 17 June 2014
- " Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Cast and Overview" tcm.com, accessed 17 June 2014
- " Pushing Daisies Overview" allmovie.com, accessed 17 June 2014
- Rich, Motoko. "The Voice of Harry Potter Can Keep a Secret" The New York Times, 17 July 2007
- "Best Spoken Word Album" awardsandshows.com, accessed 17 June 2014
- Benjamin Franklin Award Winners & Finalists 2001 Archived 27 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine., Independent Book Publishers Association (accessed 1 August 2009)
- Macmillan Publishers. "Jim Dale". Macmillan Publishers. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
- "Not A Blog - Roy Sets a Record". livejournal.com. Archived from the original on 2014-09-08.
- "Review. Peter And The Starcatchers" publishersweekly.com, 09/13/2004
- "An Interview with Jim Dale" ign.com, 16 June 2003
- "Audies, Winners and Finalists, 2001-2014" Archived 25 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine. audiopub.org, accessed 16 June 2014
- Dale inducted into American Theatre Hall of Fame Archived 3 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine., Playbill.com; accessed 26 February 2014.
- BWW News Desk. "Photo Flash: Urban Stages Presents Jim Dale with Lifetime Achievement Award" Broadwayworld.com, Wisdom Digital Media, 15 May 2018; accessed 16 May 2018.