Peter Dinklage reflects on the attention he receives over his height: 'My whole life I've had stares'

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  • Peter Dinklage
    Peter Dinklage
    American actor
Actor Peter Dinklage, 52, rose to superstardom on Game of Thrones. In a new interview, he speaks about becoming a leading man and the achondroplasia, a form of short-limbed dwarfism, that he was born with. (Photo: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Actor Peter Dinklage, 52, rose to superstardom on Game of Thrones. In a new interview, he speaks about becoming a leading man and the achondroplasia, a form of short-limbed dwarfism, that he was born with. (Photo: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Peter Dinklage is used to receiving attention. 

“Being my size, I get second looks quite often,” the 52-year-old actor, who stands at 4 feet 5 inches, told U.K. newspaper the Times in a new interview. “My whole life I’ve had stares.”

Dinklage was born with achondroplasia, a form of short-limbed dwarfism, and is the only member of his family with the condition. At age 5, he had to undergo a corrective leg operation. As a child, it was difficult to experience being different from everyone around him. While some people still react to his size, Dinklage says it doesn't influence him the way it used to.

“Now there’s an ownership to someone looking at me or approaching me. It’s because of something positive," he shared. “It’s not just my size. It’s the work I’ve done that has afforded them a second look.”

Video: Peter Dinklage on starring role in 'Cyrano'

While Dinklage had success in films like The Station Agent, it was his role as Tyrion Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones that catapulted him to superstardom. These days, he's scoring major award consideration for his role as Cyrano de Bergerac in Cyrano, an adaptation written by his wife, Erica Schmidt, with whom he shares two children.

“Nine times out of 10,” Dinklage said, “Cyrano is played by a handsome actor with a fake nose and you know that he takes it off when they wrap.”

But the transition away from the typical Cyrano role is a sign of the changing face of the entertainment industry, said Dinklage. 

“The idea of a leading actor is changing now,” he said. “Whether racially or whatever. It’s about time. We’ve been stuck with this stereotype of a leading man and it’s healthy to open that up. Love life is not the domain of pretty people — everybody has a love life.”

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