Born to Diane and John Carl Dinklage, an elementary school music teacher and a retired insurance salesman, respectively, Dinklage was born with the medical condition achondroplasia. Dinklage grew up in Mendham Township, a town in New Jersey, and is of German and Irish descent: his German forefathers were relatives of the Westphalian noble family "von Dincklage". During World War II, Dinklage's family removed "von" from their name, changing it to "Dinklage". Dinklage graduated from Delbarton School in Morristown in 1987 and from Bennington College in 1991. Dinklage made his film debut in the film Living in Oblivion, in which he portrayed an agitated dwarf actor bemoaning his clichéd role. Dinklage has since earned both Independent Spirit and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Best Actor for his performance in the film The Station Agent. Along with his appearances in films, Dinklage has acted a number of times in Off-Broadway productions. He currently plays Tyrion Lannister in the emmy award-winning high fantasy HBO series "Game of Thrones".
In 2005, Dinklage was wed to theatre director Erica Schmidt, having their first child, a daughter, in 2011.