Charles Dance

After a brief dalliance with leading-man status in the 1980s, Charles Dance built a career of playing highborn heels with a distinctive capacity to menace more heroic types with a suave, icy indifference. The English-born Dance honed his skills with the Royal Shakespeare Company before scoring his breakthrough screen role in the epic miniseries "The Jewel in the Crown" (ITV/PBS, 1984). Able to mix dashing and savoir faire with layered vulnerability, he landed a flurry of above-title bills in award-bait dramas such as "Plenty" (1985), "White Mischief" (1987) and "Pascali's Island" (1988). As of his turn in "The Golden Child" (1986), however, he developed a niche playing frosty yet textured villains in big-ticket projects such as "Last Action Hero" (1993), "Michael Collins" (1996) and the miniseries "Bleak House" (BBC, 2005), as well as lighter fare a la "Ali G Indahouse" (2002) and "Terry Pratchett's Going Postal" (Sky1, 2010). The early 2000s saw him increasingly bringing his arch-villainy to highbrow television projects such as the drama series "Trinity" (Channel 4, 2009), the international intrigue series "Strike Back" (Sky1/Cinemax, 2010-15) and, to much fanfare, HBO's fantasy phenomenon "Game of Thrones" (2011- ). Though he proved himself adept at many character types across stage and screen, Dance showed time and again that few could play the bad guy with such devilish aplomb.