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Who Plays Donald Whitfield in 1923? Meet Timothy Dalton

Who Plays Donald Whitfield in 1923? Meet Timothy Dalton

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The new installment of Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone universe, 1923, is almost here, and Timothy Dalton has been cast as one of the show’s main villains–Donald Whitfield.

Timothy Dalton plays Donald Whitfield in 1923, an influential and wealthy man used to having his own way. He’s overflowing with greed and lacks empathy, which is handy when doing what’s necessary to retain his power.

So, will Whitfield be an excellent match for the Duttons in 1923’s lawless era ridden with pain and suffering? Only time will tell!

Timothy Dalton is a British actor born in Colwyn Bay, Wales, to Peter Dalton Leggett and Dorothy Scholes, on 21 March 1946. He’s among the legends in the film industry and is best known for playing James Bond.

Actor Timothy Dalton in 2014
DFree /
Born:21 March 1946, Colwyn Bay, Wales
Height: 1.87 m
Net Worth:$20 million (estimated)

Throughout his long professional acting career, Dalton has played various roles in 70+ movies and TV series.

Timothy Dalton’s Notable Movies and TV Shows

  • Sat’day While Sunday (1967) as Peter
  • The Lion in Winter (1968) as Philip II
  • Withering Heights (1970) as Heathcliff
  • Mary, Queen of Scots (1971) as Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
  • Charlie’s Angels (1979) as Damien Roth
  • Sins (1986) as Edmund Junot
  • The Living Daylights (1987) as James Bond
  • Licence to Kill (1989) as James Bond
  • Tales from the Crypt (1992) as Lokai
  • 30 Years of James Bond (1992) James Bond/Himself
  • Framed (1992) as Eddie Myers
  • The Beautician and the Beast (1997) as Boris Pochenko
  • Cleopatra (1999) as Julius Caesar
  • Possessed (2000) as Father William Bowdern
  • Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) as Damien Drake
  • Dunkirk (2004) as Narrator
  • Hercules (2005) as Amphitryon
  • Agatha Christie’s Marple (2006) as Clive Trevelyan
  • Hot Fuzz (2007) as Simon Skinner
  • Doctor Who (2009-2010) as The Narrator/ Lord President of the Time Lords (Rassilon)
  • The Tourist (2010) as Chief Inspector Jones
  • Chuck (2010-2011) as Hartley Winterbottom/Alexei Volkoff
  • Penny Dreadful (2014-2016) as Sir Malcolm
  • Doom Patrol (2019-present) as Chief/ Niles Caulder
  • The Crown (2022) as Peter Townsend
  • 1923 (2022) as Donald Whitfield

8 Facts about Timothy Dalton

His Father Was in a Secret Organisation

Dalton was born the year after World War II, when his father, Peter Dalton Leggett, had just begun building a career in advertising.

But before the actor’s birth, Leggett served as the captain of the Special Operations Executive, a dangerous secret British organization tasked with conducting sabotage and espionage across Europe during the war.

Actor Timothy Dalton at the Los Angeles premiere of American Outlaws
Featureflash Photo Agency /

Technically, Dalton’s father worked for spies. 

He Joined the Air Training Corps (ATC)

Dalton was a member of the ATC when he was a teen. The youth organization embraced volunteers interested in military training and other activities, such as flying and camping. After defending the UK against an Axis invasion, they were mainly perceived as heroes.

Most of Dalton’s fans have always assumed his father pushed him to join the ATC since he was a veteran. That could explain why he pursued acting instead of a military career.

He Settled for Acting in His Mid-Teens

Dalton was always captivated by Willian Shakespeare. When he was 16, he watched a production of the legendary playwright Macbeth and was so taken with it that he resolved to pursue acting.

The Tourist’s star was lucky enough to land a role in one of Macbeth’s productions at The Old Vic, a London-based theatre. And it marked the beginning of his successful career as an actor.

At 16, Dalton quit his studies to join the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He also wanted to tour with The National Youth Theatre of Great Britain (NYT) to help hone his acting skills.

Donald Whitefield in 1923

However, in 1966, Dalton left the academy before finishing his RADA studies to work with other acting enthusiasts at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

His Family Was Conflicted About His Acting Career

Despite Dalton’s surety of his passion for acting, his parents disagreed about it being the best profession for him.

Leggett was impressed and encouraged his son’s desire to become a professional actor. Even so, his mother didn’t think it was a safe or reliable career for a man his age.

Still, Dalton was adamant about pursuing his dream. And judging from his tremendous success, it was worth it.

He Was Hesitant to Play James Bond

Dalton was presented with several opportunities to play James Bond, but he didn’t particularly jump at them.

As per Inside The Living Daylights, Dalton first received the offer to portray 007 for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1968. He refused the role because he felt too young and wasn’t ready to replace Sean Connery, who portrayed James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever.

Actor Timothy Dalton as James Bond in The Living Daylights (1987)
Timothy Dalton as James Bond in The Living Daylights (1987)

“Originally I did not want to take over from Sean Connery. He was far too good, he was wonderful. I was about 24 or 25, which is too young. But when you’ve seen Bond from the beginning, you don’t take over from Sean Connery.” Dalton revealed in an interview in 1987.

Second Offer

Between 1978 and 1980, producers requested Dalton to play 007 in preparation for For Your Eyes Only. He declined because he disliked their idea of James Bond and didn’t even think they were serious in the first place.

Dalton as James Bond

In 1986, Dalton received another offer to portray 007. Pierce Brosnan had other commitments. And Roger Moore had already left the professional acting scene, meaning the Penny Dreadful actor was the producers’ best, perhaps only, option for the role.

This time, Dalton said yes. 

He starred in The Living Daylights (1987) as James Bond for the first time. The film was a colossal success, bringing in more than the previous 007 films with Moore.

Dalton played the role of James Bond for the second time in Licence to Kill (1989).

He was set to appear as 007 in another Bond film, but it was canceled eventually.

He Enjoys Voice Acting

Dalton is among the most talented actors ever to grace the screen.

Impressively, he’s also a remarkable voice actor who has landed roles in several animated films and TV shows. These include Tales from Earthsea (2006), Toy Story 3 (2010), Small Fry (2011), Toy Story of Terror (2013), and Tangled: The Series (2019-2020).

Dalton has also narrated a few audiobooks, such as Christine Falls (2007), The Silver Swan (2008) and The Silver Swan (2010).

He’s Dated Several Celebrities

If you’re a famous actor like Dalton, your circle is filled with other household names, explaining why he’s dated a few celebrities.

For instance, Dalton was romantically involved with famous English journalist Kathryn Adie.

In 1971, he was cast as Vanessa Redgrave’s husband in the 1971 biographical movie Mary, Queen of Scots, and they were smitten with each other.

Soon after, the two stars began dating. They were on and off until 1986 when they broke up for good after Vanessa refused to spend a Sunday afternoon with Dalton.

Dalton also dated Hart to Hart alumni Stephani Powers and award-winning actress Whoopi Goldberg.

In 1995, Dalton met professional Russian pianist Oksana Grigorieva while she was working as Nikita Mikhalkov’s translator. They found love and had a son, Alexander, in 1997.

Although Dalton and Grigorieva split up in 2007, they remain close friends and great co-parents.

Also read: Who the 1923 Cast are Dating in Real-Life

Frequently Asked Questions about Timothy Dalton

Why did Dalton only portray James Bond in two films?

Legal disputes ensued between MGM and Eon Productions, delaying the production of the third James Bond movie for six years. Eventually, Dalton’s interest in the series waned as he got tired of playing the waiting game and decided to divert his attention to other projects.

Does Timothy Dalton still act?

Dalton is still active in the acting industry; he’s recently been cast as Donald Whitfield in Taylor Sheridan’s new Yellowstone prequel, 1923.

What happened between Timothy Dalton and Mel Gibson?

Dalton supported his ex-partner Oksana Grigorieva during her bitter child custody battle with Lethal Weapon actor Gibson. However, the former 007 actor was enraged when the latter involved his son, Alexander, in the dispute, as the young boy had allegedly witnessed Gibson physically abuse Grigorieva.

Dalton warned Gibson to stay away from Alexander, who was only 12 then.

Also read: Where Is 1923 Filmed? All Known Filming Locations