Today is Timothy Dalton’s 62nd birthday.

I doubt anyone will argue with me if I say that Dalton is the most controversial Bond actor. True, Craig generated an enormous shitstorm when he was first cast, but Casino Royale is so fantastic that fan criticism is no longer a major factor. I mean, no one can generate 100% fan approval—there are even fans who think Connery wasn’t very good—but no actor divides fans with more vitriol than Timothy Dalton.

Whom I adore, by the way.

Dalton is responsible for me writing The Ultimate James Bond Fan Book. I had been a Bond fan as a kid, and then lost interest because I really wasn’t a Moore fan. Or to be precise, my father wasn’t, and so he stopped taking me to see Bond movies. So one day about 9 years ago I was on the IMDb message boards and someone asked “Who is your favorite Bond actor?” I realized I’d never seen Dalton and so I couldn’t answer the question. So I rented The Living Daylights. And that was it. I was in love. I was in love with James Bond, with Bond movies, and with Timothy Dalton (yum).

I started rewatching all the Bond films. I also started poking around on the ‘net for Bond message boards. One small board I liked had a moderator who HATED HATED HATED Timothy Dalton. He’d write long, well-thought-out, eloquent posts about The Horror Of Dalton. Naturally, this compelled me to respond and I got very active in writing about Bond on the ‘net. I saved many of those essays and they formed the basis of my book.

So, thanks, Tim.