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.
Dale was born James Smith to William Henry and Miriam Jean (née Wells) Smith in Rothwell, Northamptonshire. He was educated at Kettering Grammar School. He trained as a dancer for six years, before his debut as a stage comic in 1951. He did two years of national service in the Royal Air Force.
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 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 song 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).
In 1957, Dale was one of the presenters on BBC Television's Six-Five Special. He also wrote and recorded the song "Dick-a-Dum-Dum (King's Road)", which became a hit for Des O'Connor in 1969.
Dale's film debut was in Six Five Special (1958), a spin-off from the BBC TV series of the same name. This film was also released under the name 'Calling All Cats'. He then had a tiny role as a trombone player 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, a long-running series of comedy farces, generally playing the hapless romantic lead. His Carry On career began as an expectant father in Carry On Cabby (1963), and was followed by Carry On Jack (1963), Carry On Spying (1964), Carry On Cleo (1964) and Carry On Cowboy (1965) - where he played a character called Marshall P Knutt. Then came Carry On Screaming! (1966), Don't Lose Your Head (1966), Follow That Camel (1967), Carry On Doctor (1967) and Carry On Again Doctor (1969) and the 1992 Carry On Revival film 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. He played Dr. Terminus in Walt Disney's Pete's Dragon (1977). He was the star of the Walt Disney comedy film Hot Lead and Cold Feet (1978).
At the age of 18, Dale became one of the youngest professional comedians in Britain, touring all the variety music halls.
In 1970 Sir Laurence Olivier 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, and played Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew.
His other UK credits include The Card (1973), 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. He took over the part of Fagin in Cameron Mackintosh’s Oliver! at the London Palladium in September 1995.
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", also winning the second of five Drama Desk Awards, and the second of five Outer Critics Awards.. 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) (Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Award, Outer Critics Award), Privates On Parade (1989), Comedians (2003) (Drama Desk Award nomination and a Lucille Lortel Award nomination) and Address Unknown (2004).
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), and The Invisible Man at the Cleveland Play House (1998). 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.
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. 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.
Source: The New York TimesThank Your Lucky Stars (1965) - ITV (Host)
Join Jim Dale (1969) - ITV (Host)
Sunday Night at the London Palladium (1973) - (Host)
Cinderella (Host) Ballet (1981)
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1986) - American Playhouse for PBS
The American Clock (1993) - by Arthur Miller
The Bill Cosby Show (1998)
The Ellen Burstyn Show
The Dinah Shore Show
Six-Five Special - (Host)
Meet Jim Dale - ATV London
The Jim Dale Show - ATV London
Dale opened every episode of the ABC drama Pushing Daisies (2009) as the unseen narrator.
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, and as a narrator he has won two Grammy Awards (in 2001 and 2008) and received seven Grammy nominations and a record ten Audie Awards including "Audio Book of the Year 2004," "Best Children's Narrator 2001/2005/2007/2008," "Best Children's Audio Book 2005," two Benjamin Franklin Awards from the Independent Book Publishers Association (one of these was in 2001 for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) and 23 Audio File Earphone Awards.
He narrates the Harry Potter video games and many of the interactive "extras" on the Harry Potter DVD releases. He also holds three Guinness World Records. One for occupying the first six places in the Top Ten Audio Books of America and Canada 2005. His second for creating 134 different voices for one audiobook, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. and his third for breaking his own record with 146 voices for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2007. Dale opened every episode of the ABC drama Pushing Daisies as the unseen narrator.
In the early 1960s, Dale presented Children's Favourites on BBC Radio, for a year.
He narrated Peter and the Starcatchers (2004) audio book, and its three sequels.
In 2003, he was awarded the MBE, as part of the Queen's Birthday Honours List, for his work in promoting English Children's Literature.
In December 2009, for their annual birthday celebration to Noël Coward, the eponymous Noël Coward Society invited Dale to be the guest celebrity to lay flowers in front of Coward's statue at New York City's Gershwin Theatre on Broadway, thus commemorating Coward's 110th birthday.
Source: The New York TimesSix Five Special (1958) as Presenter
Raising the Wind (1961) as Violinist
The Iron Maiden (1962) as Bill
Nurse on Wheels (1963) as Tim Taylor
Carry On Cabby (1963) as Expectant Father
Carry On Jack (1963) as Carrier
Carry On Spying (1964) as Carstairs
Carry On Cleo (1964) as Horsa
The Big Job (1965) as Harold
Carry On Cowboy (1965) as Marshall P. Knutt
Carry On Screaming! (1966) as Albert Potter
Don't Lose Your Head (1966) as Lord Darcy de Pue
Follow That Camel (1967) as Bertram Oliphant (BO) West
Carry On Doctor (1967) as Dr. Jim Kilmore
The Plank (1967) as Painter
Lock Up Your Daughters (1969) as Lusty
Carry On Again Doctor (1969) as Dr. Jimmy Nookey
Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World (1973) as Jeff Eldon
The National Health (1973) as Barnet/ Dr. Boyd
Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall (1973) as Terence "Spike" Milligan
Pete's Dragon (1977) as Dr Terminus
Joseph Andrews (1977) as Pedlar
Hot Lead and Cold Feet (1978) as Jasper Bloodshy/Wild Billy Bloodshy/Eli Bloodshy
Unidentified Flying Oddball (1979) as Sir Mordred
Scandalous (1984) as Inspector Anthony Crisp
Carry On Columbus (1992) as Christopher Columbus
The Hunchback (1997) as Cloplin
Sources: allmusic.com; Playbillvault; Audio PublisherAwards
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.
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