GAME of Thrones star Peter Dinklage had his limbs pulled “like an Armstrong doll” in a bid to lengthen them as a child, his mum has revealed.
The 48-year-old’s family have given a rare insight into the actor’s early life, revealing how he overcame nasty taunts at school, dodgy haircuts and even getting trapped in a treasure chest to play Tyrion Lannister in the hit TV show.
Handout Peter Dinklage plays Tyrion Lannister in the world-famous Game Of Thrones series
In a world exclusive sit-down chat with The Sun Online at his childhood home in Morristown, New Jersey, family and friends told how he was treated like a “novelty” at school after being diagnosed with achondroplasia – a common form of dwarfism.
Standing at just 4ft 5in, he is the only dwarf in his family, but mum Diane said he was always determined his disability would not affect him.
But despite his positive attitude he had a hellish time with doctors as a child and was actually stretched in a bizarre attempt to cure his condition.
The former music teacher said: “When I gave birth to him I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. The doctor was unsure if Peter was a dwarf.
“It would have been better if he’d said he was, because I was always wondering about it.
Dinklage can be seen with a group of singing pals performing the Miami Vice theme song
Photos from New Jerseys Delbarton all boys prep school 1987 year book show a range of snaps featuring a young Dinklage
“They used to stretch out his little arms and legs like a Stretch Armstrong doll.”
Before he was old enough to walk, Peter was diagnosed with the genetic disorder where the arms and legs are shorter, but the torso is of average length.
Diane, 74, said: “There was no internet then, so we didn’t know much about the condition.
“I only knew dwarves to be in circuses and The Wizard of Oz movie.
Coleman-Rayner 2018 A yearbook shot shows a young Dinklage with an incredible 1980s mullet
Coleman-Rayner 2018 Dinklage performs in a school production at New Jersey’s Delbarton all boys prep school
Peter shows off his mullet in his 1987 official yearbook photograph“We went to the top geneticists in the country, and he had an operation on his legs, they were bowed and had to be straightened out.”
She told how they had to be creative at the family home to suit Peter’s needs – such as letting him climb up onto the kitchen counter to reach boxes of cereal with a pair of kitchen tongs.
Despite his diminutive stature Peter thrived at school and “never complained about kids teasing him”.
Diane Lopez, his former drama teacher at Delbarton – an all-male Roman Catholic school in Morristown – praised the way he dealt with people making fun of his height.
Coleman-Rayner 2018 A jokey Dinklage pulls a funny face in an informal shot with school friends
Coleman-Rayner 2018 A young, distinguished-looking Peter Dinklage as featured in his yearbook
Coleman-Rayner 2018 Peter is seen hanging around with his drama school pals
She said: “Peter always had extreme presence, right from the get-go.
“He was confident and hung around with a tight-knit group, but I don’t think it was easy for him.
“I think maybe some children saw him as a novelty, and I remember one of the teachers saying he should ‘get to know and hang out with other little people.’
“I’m glad he didn’t listen to that … he wanted to be recognised for his own worth.
Coleman-Rayner 2018 Peter Dinklage’s mom Diane Dinklage, a former elementary school teacher, and the star’s brother Jonathan outside of Peters childhood home in Morristown, New Jersey
EPA Peter poses with his 2015 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role in Game of Thrones
“Kids say stupid things, they don’t mean to, but it can really hit the core. I don’t think he showed it bothered him, he covered it well. I never saw him upset.”
Incredible photos from Peter’s official yearbooks in 1986 and 1987 show him horsing about with pals, performing a version of the Miami Vice theme song and showcasing a rather lustrous mullet haircut.
Peter went from strength to strength with his acting, playing the lead in his school production of The Velveteen Rabbit and going on to study drama at Bennington College.
He later moved to New York, living off friends’ sofas because he had so little money, before managing to launch his own theatre company with a friend.
Coleman-Rayner 2018 Dinklage’s former drama teacher remembers a confident youngster who had ‘extreme presence, right from the get-go’
Rex Features Dinklage has won international stardom as Game of Thrones’ Tyrion Lannister, but his family says he dislikes fame
He refused to play “demeaning roles” like elves and leprechauns and paved the way for other smaller actors to succeed in Hollywood.
Although he endured hard times, brother Jonathan said he would only take on the right roles in productions and movies – grittier characters with more emotional depth.
He said: “Dwarf roles have always been typically exploitative. Peter was the guy who knocked that down forever, he was a trailblazer.”
Their dad John, a violinist, passed away from cancer early on in his son’s career, but not before he got the chance to tell him how “incredibly proud” he was of his achievements.
Recalling the moment his mum found out Peter had been cast in Games of Thrones, she said: “Peter didn’t even have to audition, he was the first one they cast.
“It’s so well-written. I know the torture scenes aren’t real, but I have to leave the room when they’re on.”
But fame has not been easy for Peter, who has two young children with his wife, theatre director Erica Schmidt.
French Pm Vows To Combat Slow-burn Threat Of Radical Islam
PARIS – France’s prime minister on Friday announced steps including prison isolation zones and more stringent licensing rules for faith-based schools to combat what he called a slow-burning threat from Islamist radicalization.
In a traditionally Catholic country that is home to Europe’s largest Muslim community, President Emmanuel Macron has already imposed tougher legislation after attacks by Islamist militants killed more than 230 people in the past three years.
But he is under pressure to address voter fears of broader radicalization at mosques manned by radical preachers and prisons that offer fertile ground for proselytizers of a hardline Islam at odds with France’s secular foundations.
Among the measures promised by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe were the creation of isolation zones for Islamist militants in France’s prisons and more scrutiny on the licensing of faith-based schools that opt out of the state-funded system.
“We cannot ignore this slow-burn process,” he told a news conference in Lille, northern France.
“Islamist radicalization is a threat to our society, and not just when it leads to violence. It’s a challenge every time the law of the state is respected only if compatible with religious tenets.”
Philippe also promised better screening of people hired as coaches sports centers.
The scale of the challenge was highlighted by a report for the Interior Ministry.
The report by a senior civil servant warned that sectarian sentiment or behavior was rising in parts of France, notably in poor urban areas where Muslims more openly resented or challenged obligations of secular public life.
He cited examples of young Muslim girls being kept away from school swimming, sculpture classes and choir activities frowned upon by some of the country’s estimated 5 million Muslims.
The report also highlighted fears about the number of young people being taken out of secular state-funded schools to teach them at home or put them in strictly faith-based schools.
Philippe said some 74,000 pupils entered schools outside of state system last year, calling the trend worrying if small compared with 12 million in education. The report said the number concerned had doubled in five years.
Such opt-out schools need licensing and that would be made tougher by law shortly, Philippe said.
Reporting by Brian Love;
Us Imposes Largest Package Of Sanctions Against North Korea
SEOUL/WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday the United States would impose the “largest-ever” package of sanctions on North Korea, intensifying pressure on the reclusive country to give up its nuclear and missile programs.
In addressing the Trump administration’s biggest national security challenge, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned one person, 27 companies and 28 ships, according to a statement on the U.S. Treasury Department’s website.
The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced the measures, which are designed to disrupt North Korean shipping and trading companies and vessels and to further isolate Pyongyang.
The ships are located, registered or flagged in North Korea, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Marshall Islands, Tanzania, Panama and Comoros.
Washington “also issued an advisory alerting the public to the significant sanctions risks to those continuing to enable shipments of goods to and from North Korea.”
“Today I am announcing that we are launching the largest-ever set of new sanctions on the North Korean regime,” Trump said in excerpts of a speech he was to deliver on Friday to a conservative activist group.
Related CoverageU.S. Treasury targets firms, vessels for North Korea sanctionsU.S. targets shipping companies, vessels in new North Korea sanctionsNorth Korea’s missile and nuclear program is seeking to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have taunted each other through the media and in August Trump threatened to go beyond sanctions by bringing “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
Tougher sanctions may jeopardize the latest detente between the two Koreas, illustrated by the North’s participation in the Winter Olympics in the South, amid preparations for talks about a possible summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence had hinted at such a sanctions package two weeks ago during a stop in Tokyo that preceded his visit to South Korea for the Pyeongchang Olympics.
North Korea last year conducted dozens of missile launches and its sixth and largest nuclear test in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions. It defends the weapons programs as essential to deter U.S. aggression.
It has been more than two months since North Korea’s last missile test.
Kim said he wants to boost the “warm climate of reconciliation and dialogue” with South Korea, which hosts 28,500 U.S. troops, after a high-level delegation, including his sister, returned from the Olympics.
NORTH-SOUTH PARALYMPICS TALKS
In an extension of that rapprochement, the North agreed on Friday to hold working-level talks on Tuesday for the Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics on the North’s side of the border village of Panmunjom.
In December the United Nations approved U.S.-drafted limiting North Korea’s access to refined petroleum products and crude oil, which the North Korean Foreign Ministry said amounted to an act of war.
The new U.S. sanctions were to be announced while Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, is visiting South Korea. She had dinner with Moon after a closed-door meeting with the president.
Ivanka Trump’s visit to South Korea coincides with that of a sanctioned North Korean official, Kim Yong Chol, blamed for the deadly 2010 sinking of a South Korean navy ship that killed 46 sailors. His delegation will attend the closing ceremony and also meet Moon.
The South Korean president said South Korea cannot acknowledge North Korea as a nuclear state and talks with the North on denuclearization and improving inter-Korean relations must go hand in hand, Moon said, cited by his spokesman, Yoon Young-chan, at a news conference.
He said close cooperation between the United States and South Korea is important for the talks.
“President Moon also said out of all countries, South Korea has the strongest will to say it cannot acknowledge North Korea as a nuclear state,” he said.
Moon made the comments to Ivanka.
The Blue House has said there are no official opportunities for U.S. and North Korean officials to meet.
Kim Yong Chol is the vice chairman of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Committee and was previously chief of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, a top North Korean military intelligence agency that South Korea blamed for the sinking of its navy corvette, the Cheonan. North Korea has denied any involvement.
Seoul said it approved the pending visit by Kim Yong Chol in the pursuit of peace and asked for public understanding in the face of opposition protests.
“Under current difficult circumstances, we have decided to focus on whether peace on the Korean peninsula and improvement in inter-Korean relations can be derived from dialogue with (the visiting North Korean officials), not on their past or who they are,” said Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun in a media briefing.
Kim Yong Chol currently heads the United Front Department, the North’s office responsible for handling inter-Korean affairs.
South Korea’s decision on Thursday to allow in Kim Yong Chol, currently sanctioned by the United States and South Korea, sparked protest from family members of the dead sailors and opposition parties.
Many have been angered at the North’s participation at the Games, which they say has been a reward for bad behavior with no quid pro quo from Pyongyang.
Reporting by Christine Kim in SEOUL and Steve Holland in WASHINGTON; Writing by Yara Bayoumy;
Us Expected To Open Embassy In Jerusalem In May Official Says
WASHINGTON – The United States is expected to open its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem in May, a U.S. official told Reuters on Friday, a move from Tel Aviv that reverses decades of U.S. policy.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced last year that the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, infuriating even Washington’s Arab allies and dismaying Palestinians who want the eastern part of the city as their capital.
A May opening appears to represent an earlier time frame than what had been expected. While speaking in the Israeli parliament last month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said the move would take place by the end of 2019.
The opening will coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding, said the U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Reporting by Yara Bayoumy and Mary Milliken;
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