Peter Hayden Dinklage (born June 11, 1969) is an American actor and producer.
He received acclaim for portraying Tyrion Lannister on the HBO television series Game of Thrones (2011—2019), for which he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series a record four times. He also received a Golden Globe Award in 2011 and a Screen Actors Guild Award in 2020 for the role.
Born in Mendham Township, New Jersey, Dinklage has dwarfism (achondroplasia) and stands 4 ft 5 in (1.35 m) tall. He studied acting at Bennington College while working at a local guitar shop, starring in a number of amateur stage productions. His film debut was in Living in Oblivion (1995) and his breakthrough came with the comedy-drama The Station Agent (2003). He has since appeared in Elf (2003), Lassie (2005), Find Me Guilty (2006), Underdog (2007), Death at a Funeral (2007), Penelope (2008), The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008), Death at a Funeral (2010), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), Pixels (2015), and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017). In 2018, he appeared as Eitri in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Avengers: Infinity War and Hervé Villechaize in the biopic film My Dinner with Hervé.
Between 2011 and 2019, Dinklage portrayed Tyrion Lannister in HBO’s fantasy drama Game of Thrones, an adaptation of author George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels. Game of Thrones takes place on the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos and chronicles the power struggles among noble families as they fight for control of the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms. Tyrion is a member of House Lannister, one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in Westeros, and uses his status as a Lannister to mitigate the impact of the marginalization and derision he has received all of his life. In May 2009, he was the first actor to be cast, as showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss noted that Dinklage, whom they described as funny, smart and witty, was their first choice for the role, as the actor’s “core of humanity, covered by a shell of sardonic dry wit, is pretty well in keeping with the Unfamiliar with the source material, Dinklage was cautious in his first meeting with the producers; as a dwarf, “he wouldn’t play elves or leprechauns” and was choosy about genre roles. Benioff and Weiss told Dinklage that the character was “a different kind of fantasy little person,” or in the actor’s words, “No beard, no pointy shoes, a romantic, real human being.” Dinklage signed on to play Tyrion before the meeting was half over, in part because, he said, “They told me how popular he was.” Martin said of Dinklage’s casting, “If he hadn’t accepted the part, oh, boy, I don’t know what we would have done.” The series proved to be a commercial success; it was renewed for multiple seasons and concluded with its eighth season in May 2019.
Dinklage has received widespread praise for his performance, with Matthew Gilbert from The Boston Globe saying that Dinklage “gives a winning performance that is charming, morally ambiguous, and self-aware.” Dan Kois of The New York Times noted that Dinklage’s performance has made the character “all the more popular.” The Los Angeles Times wrote “In many ways, Game of Thrones belongs to Dinklage.” Tyrion has been called the “most quotable” character and “one of the most beloved characters” of the series. For his performance, he has gone on to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 2011, 2015, 2018, and 2019, as well as the 2012 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor. As a result of his performance and increased screen time, Dinklage was given top billing starting in the series’ second season. In 2014, he said on The Late Show with David Letterman that he had once tried to read the books the show is based upon, but had found them confusing. He joked, “George Martin, our author, is probably going to kill my character soon because I mentioned that.” In 2014, Dinklage and four of his Game of Thrones co-stars became some of the highest paid actors on television, although sources differ on the actors’ per-episode salaries. In 2015, Dinklage lent his voice for the role of Tyrion in Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series, a video game based on the show.
In 2012, Dinklage voiced Captain Gutt in Ice Age: Continental Drift, which earned over $877 million. Dinklage has said that because this was his first voiceover role, he prepared himself by making sure to rest his voice before the recording sessions, and that he prefers doing roles he has not done before. After appearing in an episode of NBC’s late-night sketch comedy Saturday Night Live in 2013, Dinklage hosted an episode of the show in April 2016; his appearances included a sketch of him and Gwen Stefani singing a new song called “Space Pants.” He received praise for his performance.
In 2014, Dinklage starred in the comedy horror film Knights of Badassdom opposite Ryan Kwanten and Steve Zahn. The film is about three best friends that go to the woods and reenact a live action Dungeons & Dragons role play, when they mistakenly conjure up a demon from Hell. The same year, he played the villain Bolivar Trask in the superhero film X-Men: Days of Future Past. The movie was the sixth highest-grossing film of 2014 with global revenues of $747.9 million. In preparation for his role, Dinklage stated that he did not want to approach the character necessarily as a villain, saying that Trask “actually sees what he’s doing as a good thing.” He also voiced the AI Ghost in the 2014 video game Destiny, but was replaced by Nolan North in August 2015.
In 2015, Dinklage starred in the science fiction comedy film Pixels as a former arcade champion named Eddie Plant, which was poorly received by critics. The movie had a global revenues of $244.9 million. In 2016, Dinklage provided the voice of The Mighty Eagle in The Angry Birds Movie, and recorded a song for the musical’s soundtrack. The film went on to become the second highest-grossing video game film of all-time, with a global revenues of $349.8 million, only behind Warcraft ($433.5 million). It also became the most successful Finnish film to date. His next release, the independent film Rememory (2017), failed to impress reviewers, but his role of Sam Bloom was praised. Freelance film critic Yasmin Kleinbart stated that “Dinklage deserves better than this film” and John DeFore in The Hollywood Reporter said that he “delivers a soulful lead performance that will attract fans’ attention.” Also in 2017, Dinklage had a supporting role in the drama-dark comedy film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, from director Martin McDonagh, and the drama Three Christs, both of which played at the Toronto International Film Festival, with the former receiving widespread critical success. In 2018, Dinklage produced and starred in I Think We’re Alone Now, a post-apocalyptic drama based on the companionship between Del, played by Dinklage, and Grace, played by Elle Fanning. The film premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and was later released to theaters on September 14, 2018.
In 2016, Dinklage and his longtime manager David Ginsburg founded their joint-venture production company Estuary Films. I Think We’re Alone Now is the first film under Estuary.
Dinklage appeared in the 2018 Marvel Studios film Avengers: Infinity War as the character Eitri, a giant dwarf, which became the fastest-grossing film to gross over $1 billion, and grossed $2.045 billion—his highest grossing release as of 2018.
Dinklage and writer-director Sacha Gervasi spent several years writing and producing a film based on the final days of actor Hervé Villechaize, who died by suicide shortly after his 1993 interview with Gervasi. In 2018, Dinklage starred and played the title role in My Dinner with Hervé. The movie was approved by HBO, with Dinklage co-starring alongside Jamie Dornan.
In August and September 2018, he starred in the title role of a new musical adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, a role he is scheduled to reprise with the Off-Broadway debut of the production during the 2019–2020 season.