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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jim Dale

Dale with his Barnum co-star Glenn Close performing in Busker Alley in 2006
James Smith

(1935-08-15) 15 August 1935 (age 85)
  • Actor
  • composer
  • director
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • voice actor
Years active1951–present
Patricia Gardiner
(m. 1957; div. 1977)

Julia Schafler
(m. 1980)
Jim Dale Signature.png

Jim Dale MBE (born James Smith; 15 August 1935) is an English actor, composer, director, narrator, singer and songwriter. In the United Kingdom he is known as a pop singer of the 1950s who became a leading actor at the National Theatre. In the British film world he became one of the regulars in the Carry On films. He is one of the last surviving regular actors from the series – the others being Leslie Phillips, Bernard Cribbins, Valerie Leon, Kenneth Cope, Julian Holloway, Hugh Futcher, Anita Harris, Amanda Barrie and Patricia Franklin. 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).

As a lyricist, Dale was nominated for both an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for the song "Georgy Girl", the theme for the 1966 film of the same name.

Early life

Dale was born James Smith, to William Henry and Miriam Jean (née Wells) Smith in Rothwell, Northamptonshire.[1] He was educated at Kettering Grammar School. He trained as a dancer for six years before his debut as a stage comic in 1951.[2] He did two years of national service in the Royal Air Force.[2][3]



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[3] 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 songs 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).[4]

In 1957, Dale was one of the presenters on BBC Television's Six-Five Special.[2] He also wrote and recorded the song "Dick-a-Dum-Dum (King's Road)", which became a hit for Des O'Connor in 1969.[5]


Dale's film debut was in Six Five Special (1958), a spin-off from the BBC TV series of the same name.[6] This film was also released under the name Calling All Cats. He then had a tiny role as a trombone player[7] 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,[3] 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), which 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),[2] 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.

In 1973 he appeared in the role of Spike Milligan in Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall, the film adaptation of the first volume of Spike Milligan's autobiography. It starred Dale as the young Terence "Spike" Milligan, while Milligan himself plays the part of his father, Leo.[8] Dale was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles for his performance.

He played Dr. Terminus in Walt Disney's Pete's Dragon (1977).[9] In the 1978 Walt Disney comedy film Hot Lead and Cold Feet[2] he played three characters, including both lead male parts, whilst 1973 saw him co-star in The National Health.


At the age of 17, Dale became one of the youngest professional comedians in Britain, touring all the variety music halls.[10][11]

In 1970 Sir Laurence Olivier[12] 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,[13][14] and played Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew.[14]

His other UK credits include The Card (1973),[15] 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.[16] He took over the part of Fagin in Cameron Mackintosh's Oliver! at the London Palladium in September 1995.[17]

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",[12] also winning the second of five Drama Desk Awards, and the second of five Outer Critics Awards.[18] 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)[19] (Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Award, Outer Critics Award), Privates On Parade (1989),[20] Comedians (2003)[21] (Drama Desk Award nomination and a Lucille Lortel Award nomination) and Address Unknown (2004).[22]

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),[1] and The Invisible Man at the Cleveland Play House (1998).[23] 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.[2][24]

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.[25] 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.[26]


Source: The New York Times[27]

Dale opened every episode of the ABC drama Pushing Daisies (2009) as the unseen narrator.[12][33]

Voice work

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,[34] and as a narrator he has won two Grammy Awards (in 2001 and 2008) and received seven Grammy nominations[35] and a record ten Audie Awards[2] 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[12] (one of these was in 2001 for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)[36] and 23 AudioFile Earphone Awards.

He narrates the Harry Potter video games and many of the interactive "extras" on the Harry Potter DVD releases. He also holds one current and two former Guinness World Records. He holds one current record for occupying the first six places in the Top Ten Audio Books of America and Canada 2005.[37] Previously he held records for creating the most character voices for an audiobook (134 for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in 2003, followed by 146 voices for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007),[38] though the record was later awarded to Roy Dotrice for his 2004 recording of A Game of Thrones.[39] Dale opened every episode of the ABC drama Pushing Daisies as the unseen narrator.[12][33]

In the mid 1960s, Dale presented Children's Favourites on BBC Radio, for a year.[40]

He narrated Peter and the Starcatchers (2004) audio book,[41] and its three sequels.

In 2018, Dale narrated SPIN: The Rumpelstiltskin Musical by Edelman and Fishman, noted as being the first audiobook musical of its kind. SPIN was released by Harper Audio on 9 January 2018.[42]

In 2019, Dale narrated Puss In Boots a Musical, by Edelman and Fishman, adapted for the audiobook by Edelman, Fishman, and Khristine Hvam, released by Harper Audio on 27 August 2019.


In 2003, Dale was awarded the MBE, as part of the Queen's Birthday Honours List, for his work in promoting children's English literature.[43]

Selected filmography

Source: The New York Times[27]

Awards and nominations

Sources:;[2] Playbillvault;[18] Audio Publisher[44]

  • 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.[45]
  • 2018 – Urban Stages' 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award[46]
  • 2019 Audie Award – Original Work – SPIN – The Rumpelstiltskin Musical
  • 2019 SOVAS Awards - Audiobook Narration (Infant to 12) - Puss in Boots: A Musical[47]
  • 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


  1. ^ a b "Jim Dale Biography" Retrieved 18 June 2014
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Jim Dale Biography" AllMusic. Retrieved 16 June 2014
  3. ^ a b c "BFI ScreenOnline".
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London, UK: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 138. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London, UK: Guinness World Records Ltd. p. 403. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  6. ^ "Six-five Special (1958)". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  7. ^ " Raising the Wind Cast", Retrieved 17 June 2014
  8. ^ The New York Times
  9. ^ " Pete's Dragon Cast" Retrieved 17 June 2014
  10. ^ Artist Spotlight: Jim Dale, retrieved 1 April 2021
  11. ^ "JIM DALE: NARRATING HARRY POTTER". ChildressInk. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  12. ^ a b c d e "Jim Dale" Retrieved 16 June 2014
  13. ^ Scapino Archived 14 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 17 June 2014
  14. ^ a b Billington, Michael. "Young Vic at 40: the Young and the restless" The Guardian, 19 October 2010
  15. ^ " The Card Synopsis and Production" Retrieved 17 June 2014
  16. ^ Dunlop, Frank and Dale, Jim. "About the Authors. Jim Dale" Scapino!. Special BookDramatic Publishing, 1975, ISBN 0871293749, p. 119
  17. ^ "Reviewing the situation", article from Variety, 4 September 1995. Retrieved 16 June 2014
  18. ^ a b "Jim Dale Credits and Awards" Retrieved 17 June 2014
  19. ^ Brantley, Ben. "Theater Review; When the Perfect Gesture Is Everything" The New York Times, 13 April 1995
  20. ^ Stasio, Marilyn. "Jim Dale Taps a Bawdy Tradition for Inspiration" The New York Times, 20 August 1989
  21. ^ Ehren, Christine. "Jim Dale to Star in New Group's 'Comedians' Jan. 3, Judith Ivey in 'Women of Lockerbie' " Playbill, 1 November 2002
  22. ^ "Jim Dale Listing Off-Broadway" Archived 15 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine Internet Off-Broadway Database. Retrieved 16 June 2014
  23. ^ 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, 3 December 1998
  24. ^ 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, 28 November 2003
  25. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Jim Dale and Glenn Close Reunite for Busker Alley Benefit Nov. 13" Playbill, 13 November 2006
  26. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "From 'Barnum' to 'Harry Potter,' 'Just Jim Dale 'Arrives Off-Broadway May 15" Archived 7 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine, 15 May 2014
  27. ^ a b "Filmography" The New York Times. Retrieved 16 June 2014
  28. ^ " Thank Your Lucky Stars" Archived 30 June 2017 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 17 June 2014
  29. ^ "TVBrain – Kaleidoscope – Lost shows – TV Archive – TV History". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  30. ^ " Sunday Night At The London Palladium " Retrieved 17 June 2014
  31. ^ " Cinderella Overview and Cast" Retrieved 17 June 2014
  32. ^ " Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Cast and Overview" Retrieved 17 June 2014
  33. ^ a b " Pushing Daisies Overview" Retrieved 17 June 2014
  34. ^ Rich, Motoko. "The Voice of Harry Potter Can Keep a Secret" The New York Times, 17 July 2007
  35. ^ "Best Spoken Word Album" Retrieved 17 June 2014
  36. ^ Benjamin Franklin Award Winners & Finalists 2001 Archived 27 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Independent Book Publishers Association (accessed 1 August 2009)
  37. ^ Macmillan Publishers. "Jim Dale". Macmillan Publishers. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  38. ^ New York Historical Society. "An Evening with Jim Dale". Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  39. ^ Martin, George R. R. "Not A Blog – Roy Sets a Record". Archived from the original on 8 September 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  40. ^ "Jim Dale presenting Children's Favourites on the BBC Light Programme 1965/6".
  41. ^ "Review. Peter And The Starcatchers" Publishers Weekly, 13 September 2004
  42. ^ "Jim Dale Narrates New Rumpelstiltskin Audiobook Musical 'SPIN', Out This Winter". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  43. ^ "An Interview with Jim Dale",, 16 June 2003
  44. ^ "Audies, Winners and Finalists, 2001–2014" Archived 25 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 16 June 2014
  45. ^ Dale inducted into American Theatre Hall of Fame Archived 3 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  46. ^ "Photo Flash: Urban Stages Presents Jim Dale with Lifetime Achievement Award", Wisdom Digital Media, 15 May 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  47. ^ "2019 Winners". Retrieved 17 July 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 9 April 2021, at 08:36
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