Mostly Credited As: Anthony Daniels
Birth Name: Anthony Kingsley Daniels
Date Of Birth: February 21, 1946 (Age 69)
Country Of Birth: United Kingdom
Birth Place: Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Anthony Daniels was born in Salisbury, England on the 21st of February, 1946.
Educated at a minor public school in the middle of the Yorkshire countryside, his only interest was in the annual drama production. From his earliest memory he had wanted to be a professional actor. But protective middle class forces worked to persuade him otherwise. England in the 1950's and 60's was not a land where acting was considered a safe profession, except for the lucky and talented few. Parental influence guided him to a real career - studying to be a lawyer - a solicitor.
Two years of study confirmed in his mind that Daniels didn't want to be a lawyer at all. He abandoned that career in favour of his interest in the hotel industry, taking himself to management school. Finding the realities of that industry less than fulfilling, he found real satisfaction as a member of an amateur dramatic society. Eventfully one of its members, a teacher, suggested that Daniels should do what he really seemed to want - to be an actor. So one year later he took a small bequest and turned it into his ticket to acting school for the next three years. There Daniels was lucky to have particularly good teachers in the mime and radio departments, two fields of art that would stand him in good stead in the following years.
Leaving college in 1974 Daniels won the prestigious Carlton Hobbs BBC Radio Award which gave him precious membership of the actors' union - a valuable gift in those days - and a place in the BBC Drama Repertory Company. After hundreds of productions for the BBC, playing anything from a prince to a parrot, he finally left to go into theatre.
Curiously, his first role was as a 65-year-old in She Stoops to Conquer. But his next role as a fourteen year old in Forget-me-not Lane brought him the immediate offer to joining the National Theatre of Great Britain at The Young Vic. He toured abroad with them as well as acting in their London home in many popular productions. It was whilst a member of that company, playing in Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, that he got the call to meet George Lucas about a science fiction movie being filmed in England.
Daniels was one of hundreds called to meet the director. Given the difficulties of the proposed costume, it would require considerable abilities from an actor to create a character through and in spite of it. So particularly, Lucas was interested in Daniels' mime skills. Daniels on the other hand wasn't interested at all. Having once demanded his money back on seeing 2001 - A Space Odyssey, it was clear that he had never been attracted by the world of sci-fi (though he once made a sputnik out of a table tennis ball painted silver - at the age of ten). He refused the interview, not wishing to waste Lucas's time, or indeed his own.
Coerced by his agent, Daniels did meet the director. But it was in fact a conceptual painting by Ralph McQuarrie hanging behind the director that actually gained Daniels interest. Eventually, having read the incomprehensible script but liking the golden robot, he asked if he could play the role. The next day he was covered in plaster as the first step in creating the now globally recognised character. Six months later the costume was almost ready and filming began.
Since Lucas was distracted by all the problems of filming Star Wars - A New Hope, Daniels gave his performance without comment from the director. Sir Alec Guinness was the one who gave him support and encouragement throughout. Later, Lucas would spend months trying to replace Daniels' robotic character tones with the voices of various Hollywood actors. Eventually he decided nothing fitted the original like the original and asked Daniels to dub back his own character voice.
The success of the original Star Wars slightly eluded Daniels, as the production company decided to suppress the human input of the mechanical man. They maintained that C-3PO was a real robot, believing it would spoil the character's credibility in the eyes of the audience if they knew it was created by human means. This, and the physical problems of wearing such an uncomfortable and restrictive suit made Daniels reluctant to participate further. But adjustments were made so he happily filmed The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi. His participation in The Phantom Menace was as an off-camera voice. Finding this not to be a particularly successful method of characterisation, he took over the arduous puppetry of the 'naked' C-3PO for Attack Of The Clones, once again coordinating live action and voice. He has signed for Episode III, due to start filming in 2003.
Daniels has been involved in many of the spin-offs that follow such major movies. Amongst other events, as the character he performed in the three movie radio dramatisations, tap-danced on The Muppet Show, promoted the use of measles and polio vaccines, wrote and produced anti-smoking commercials, danced with Donny and Marie Osmond, took part in the Oscar Ceremonies, befriended Big Bird on Sesame Street, voiced the animated figure in Disney's Star Tours ride, became a breakfast cereal - Kellogg's C-3POs, conducted the London Symphony and the Boston Pops Orchestra and had his own cartoon series, Droids.
Daniels has written many articles about his sci-fi experiences especially in his 'New Improved Wonder Column' in the official fan club magazine, The Star Wars Insider, available in the 'Journalism' pages of this site. He produced his first comic book for Dark Horse, The Protocol Offensive. His writing skills were harnessed by Hasbro Interactive for their Monopoly Star Wars CD ROM.
Although the Star Wars saga has formed a major part of Daniels' career, he has interspersed those movies with a variety of television and stage appearances. These range from situation comedies such as Square Deal and Three Up Two Down to more serious dramas such as Prime Suspect and Priestly's Dangerous Corner.
Daniels also works as a presenter/producer of trade events and conferences and a surprising result of his being locked in a gold suit on set, surrounded by effect technicians, was his developing interest in special effects. He has worked as a producer/creative designer on The Westminster Experience, The Guinness Taste Sensation, Singapore's Volcanoland. Bahrain's Magic Island, Dubai's Encounter Zone and The London Dungeon.
Anthony Daniels lives in London, England.