Peter Dinklage is an actor of American origin, perhaps best known for his cromulent performance as "The Imp" Tyrion Lannister on HBO's adaptation of George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels, known on TV as "Game of Thrones". In 2012, after the airing of the first season of that series, he has twice (2011 and 2015) won the rather cumbersomely-titled Golden Globe Award for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television" and the Emmy Award for "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series". He won the same award for season seven of Game of Thrones. ...And season eight (2019)!
Born June 11, 1969 in Morristown, New Jersey, Peter is not what most would consider a typical actor. He was born with achondroplasia, a condition that commonly results in dwarfism—his adult height is 4'5" (1.35m). Both his parents and an older brother are of average height. He has been married to theatre director Erica Schmidt since 2005; they have a daughter, Zelig, who, like his wife, is of average height as well.
Not that being short has slowed him down. Peter Dinklage is perhaps the most well-respected dwarf actor and is giving Warwick Davis and the late Billy Barty a run for being the most recognized, particularly after "Game of Thrones" became so popular. Reportedly, he was Martin's first and only choice for the role of Tyrion Lannister, the second son of a high-born, wealthy family who is perhaps best described as driven by a general desire to do good (which is at odds with his amoral relatives) but at times is hindered by his love of wine and women. "I'm the god of tits and wine," this character says to his disdainful father during Tyrion's forced wedding to 14-year-old Sansa Stark, one of the last remnants of a destroyed noble family from the far north. In the beginning of the series, Tyrion was presented mostly drinking and patronising prostitutes, but his character gradually deepened and became a fan favourite. Up until the third season, he was more or less the only Lannister to show any shred of honour or decency.
Peter's other ventures are quite varied, and haven't included very many stereotypical dwarf roles, although he did play Trumpkin in one of the Chronicles of Narnia movies. His first role was in 1995's Living In Oblivion, in which he memorably played Tito, a dwarf entertainer who laments the station of little people in general and his lot as an entertainer in particular. In 2003's The Station Agent, considered to be his breakout role, he played the main character: Finbar McBride, whose only friend dies suddenly, prompting him to move to a rural area and strike up a friendship with a talkative hot dog vendor who is attempting to cope with a loss of her own. The Station Agent won or was at least nominated for a number of film festival awards and a SAG Award. That role lead Peter to broader acclaim and exposure as a serious actor, and he has appeared quite regularly in movies and television since its release. His biggest movie role as of 2014 is that of Bolivar Trask, creator of the mutant-hunting Sentinels, in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Additionally, he's a voice actor, lending his adaptable voice to the Ice Age animated franchise as Captain Gutt. Peter starred in a biopic of the late Hervé Villechaize, My Dinner With Hervé, for HBO in 2018, along with Jamie Dornan.
Further television work includes "Nip/Tuck", "Threshold", "I'm With Her" and "Life As We Know It", along with a memorable turn on "30 Rock" as one of Liz Lemon's boyfriends.
Peter is an activist for little people-related causes as well as vegetarianism and animal rights. He has a activist relationship with the animal rights group Farm Sanctuary. He graduated from Bennington College in Vermont in 1991, and was invited back as their commencement speaker in 2012. His family is descended from the von Dincklage noble family of Germany.
Peter Dinklage is the pre-eminent dwarf actor of our times, and certainly one of the best actors of the 21st century. He's got a magnetic personality on-screen, and I'll watch anything he's in. Fortunately for me (and the film world), he's got plenty of movies in development and surely more to follow, perhaps most prominently in Avengers: Infinity War, where he plays the giant dwarf (really!), Eitri, who stands at about 20 feet tall. This makes him one of a growing number of actors who have played multiple roles in Marvel movies. Another example would be Josh Brolin, who appears as Cable in the Deadpool/X-Force movies and as Thanos in the Avengers movies.
Peter's philosophy on the concept of luck is right on the mark:
"I hate that word—'lucky'. It cheapens a lot of hard work. Living in an apartment without any heat and paying for dinner with dimes—I don't think I felt myself lucky back then. Doing plays for fifty bucks and trying to be true to myself as an artist and turning down commercials where they wanted a leprechaun. Saying I was lucky negates the hard work I put in and spits on that guy who's freezing his ass off back in Brooklyn. So I won't say I'm lucky. I'm fortunate enough to find or attract very talented people. For some reason, I found them, and they found me."
Some notable works:
Peter has also appeared on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" (in which he gave a hilarious five-minute interview) and as "Peter Drunklage", the brother-in-law of Bobby Moynihan's "Drunk Uncle" character, on a surprise appearance during an episode of "Saturday Night Live"; the two gave a drunken rendition of "I Wanna Know What Love Is" in between ill-informed pot-shots at pop culture talking points.
Peter was tabbed to host SNL in April 2016, with musical guest Gwen Stefani. The two performed together in a memorable and hilarious skit entitled "Space Pants" that has since become a meme. Another great skit on Peter's episode was a parody of the reality show "Naked and Afraid". Paired with the Leslie Jones, both naked in a forest, which is silly even without context given that Leslie is a loud, towering, outspoken black woman while Peter is half her size and more than a little intimidated. The skit ends with the pair spooning (with Peter as the little spoon, of course) together for warmth, a look of unbridled terror on Peter's face the whole time.
Reddit IAmA with Peter Dinklage