The following biography
Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins CBE (born December 31,
1937) is a Welsh, Academy Award-, Golden Globe- and Emmy Award-winning film,
stage and television actor. He was born and raised in Wales, and also became a
U.S. citizen on April 12, 2000.
Birth name Philip Anthony Hopkins
Born December 31, 1937 (1937-12-31) (age 70)
Port Talbot, Wales
Spouse(s) Petronella Barker
1991 The Silence of the Lambs
Best TV Actor
1973 War and Peace
1991 The Silence of the Lambs
Outstanding Lead Actor - Mini-series/Movie
1976 The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case
1981 The Bunker
Golden Globe Awards
Cecil B. DeMille Award
2006 Lifetime achievement
Saturn Award for Best Actor (film)
1991 The Silence of the Lambs
NYFCC Award for Best Actor
1991 The Silence of the Lambs
Hopkins was born in Margam, Port Talbot, Wales, the
son of Muriel Anne (née Yeats) and Richard Arthur Hopkins, a baker. His
mother is a distant relative of the Irish poet William Butler Yeats. His
schooldays were unproductive. A loner with dyslexia, he found that he would
rather immerse himself in art, such as painting and drawing or playing the
piano, than attend to his studies. In 1949, to instill some discipline, his
parents insisted he attend Jones' West Monmouth Boys' School in Pontypool,
Wales. He remained there for five terms and was then educated at Cowbridge
Grammar School, Cowbridge, Wales.
Hopkins was influenced and encouraged to become an
actor by Welsh compatriot Richard Burton, whom he met briefly at the age of 15.
To that end, he enrolled at the Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff,
Wales from which he graduated in 1957. After a two-year spell in the Army, he
moved to London where he trained at RADA.
In 1965, after several years in repertory, he was
spotted by Sir Laurence Olivier, who invited him to join the Royal National
Theatre. Hopkins became Olivier's understudy, and filled in when Olivier was
struck with appendicitis during a production of August Strindberg's The Dance of
Death. Olivier later noted in his memoir, Confessions of an Actor, that, "A new
young actor in the company of exceptional promise named Anthony Hopkins was
understudying me and walked away with the part of Edgar like a cat with a mouse
between its teeth".
Despite his success at the National, Hopkins tired
of repeating the same roles nightly and yearned to be in movies. In 1968, he got
his break in The Lion in Winter playing Richard I, along with future James Bond
star Timothy Dalton, who played Philip II of France.
Although Hopkins continued in theatre (most notably
in the Broadway production of Peter Shaffer's Equus, directed by John Dexter) he
gradually moved away from it to become more established as a television and film
actor. He made his small-screen debut in a 1967 BBC broadcast of A Flea in Her
Ear. He has since gone on to enjoy a long career, winning many plaudits and
awards for his performances. Hopkins was made a Commander of the British Empire
(CBE) in 1987, and a Knight Bachelor in 1993. In 1996, Hopkins was awarded an
honorary fellowship from the University of Wales, Lampeter.
Hopkins has stated that his role as Burt Munro,
whom he portrayed in his 2005 film The World's Fastest Indian, was his
favourite. He also asserted that Munro was the easiest role that he had ever
played because both men have a similar outlook on life.
In 2006, Hopkins was the recipient of the Golden
Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement.
Hopkins is renowned for his firm preparation for
roles. He has confessed in interviews that once he has committed to a project,
he will go over his lines as many times as is needed (sometimes upwards of 200)
until the lines sound natural to him, so that he can "do it without thinking".
This leads to an almost casual style of delivery that belies the amount of
groundwork done beforehand. While it can allow for some careful improvisation,
it has also brought him into conflict with the occasional director who departs
from the script, or demands what the actor views as an excessive number of
takes. Hopkins has also stated that after he is finished with a scene, he simply
discards the lines, not remembering them later on. This is unlike other actors
that usually remember their lines from a film even years later.
Richard Attenborough, who has directed Hopkins on
five occasions, found himself going to great lengths during the filming of
Shadowlands (1993) to accommodate the differing approaches of his two stars
(Hopkins and Debra Winger), who shared many scenes. Whereas Hopkins liked to
keep rehearsals to a minimum, preferring the spontaneity of a fresh take, Winger
rehearsed continuously. To allow for this, Attenborough stood in for Hopkins
during Winger's rehearsals, only bringing him in for the last one before a take.
The director praised Hopkins for "this extraordinary ability to make you believe
when you hear him that it is the very first time he has ever said that line.
It's an incredible gift."
In addition, Hopkins is a gifted mimic, adept at
turning his native Welsh accent into whatever is required by a character. He
duplicated the voice of his late mentor, Laurence Olivier, for additional scenes
in Spartacus in its 1991 restoration. His interview on the 1998 relaunch edition
of the British TV chat show Parkinson featured an impersonation of comedian
Hopkins' most famous role is the cannibalistic
serial killer Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (for which he won the
Academy Award for Best Actor in 1992) opposite Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling,
who also won for Best Actress. In addition, the film won Best Picture, Best
Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. It is the shortest lead performance to win
an Oscar, as Hopkins only appears for about seventeen minutes. Hopkins went on
to reprise his role as Lecter twice (Hannibal in 2001 and Red Dragon in 2002).
His original portrayal of the character in The Silence of the Lambs has been
labelled by the American Film Institute as the number-one film villain. At
the time he was offered the role, Hopkins was making a return to the London
stage, performing in M. Butterfly. He had come back to Britain after living for
a number of years in Hollywood, having all but given up on a career there,
saying, "Well that part of my life's over; it's a chapter closed. I suppose I'll
just have to settle for being a respectable actor poncing around the West End
and doing respectable BBC work for the rest of my life."
The character first appeared in the film Manhunter,
which was loosely based on Red Dragon. Lecter (spelled "Lektor" in the film) was
played by British actor Brian Cox. Since Red Dragon was considered a remake of
Manhunter, it allowed Hopkins to play the iconic villain in adaptations of all
three of the best-selling Lecter novels by Thomas Harris. The author was
reportedly very pleased with Hopkins' portrayal of his antagonist. However,
Hopkins stated that Red Dragon would feature his final performance as the
character, and that he would not reprise even a narrative role in the latest
addition to the series, Hannibal Rising.
As of 2007, Hopkins resides in the United States.
He had moved to the country once before during the 1970s to pursue his film
career, but returned to Britain in the late 1980s. However, he decided to return
to the U.S. following his 1990s success. He became a naturalized citizen on
April 12, 2000, and celebrated with a 3,000-mile road trip across the country.
As a dual national, despite having forgone his knighthood at the time, he later
chose to retain it and uses the title "Sir" in the UK. Hopkins has also
stated that he only accepted the knighthood to make his wife happy. Some
disappointment and outrage ensued over his American citizenship although very
little of this came from his native Wales. In common with other
British theatrical knights, the title is omitted for professional credits.
Hopkins has been married three times. His first two
wives were Petronella Barker (1967 – 1972) and Jennifer Lynton (1973 – 2003). He
is now married to Colombia-born Stella Arroyave. He has a daughter from his
first marriage, Abigail Hopkins (born 1967), an actress and singer.
He has offered his support to various charities and
appeals, notably becoming President of the National Trust's Snowdonia Appeal,
raising funds for the preservation of the Snowdonia National Park and to aid the
Trust's efforts to purchase parts of Snowdon. A book celebrating these efforts,
Anthony Hopkins' Snowdonia, was published together with Graham Nobles. Hopkins,
who can speak some Welsh, also takes time to support various philanthropic
groups. He was a Guest of Honour at a Gala Fundraiser for Women in Recovery,
Inc., a Venice, California-based non-profit organization offering rehabilitation
assistance to women in recovery from substance abuse. He is also a volunteer
teacher at the Ruskin School of Acting in Santa Monica, California, where he
Hopkins is an acknowledged
alcoholic who has been sober since 1975. Hopkins is known to be a joker while on
set, lightening the mood during production by barking like a dog when filming
for a scene is started, according to a Tonight Show interview broadcast on 9
When Hopkins was asked by director Martin Campbell
to star in The Mask of Zorro, he initially turned it down as he was suffering
from back problems, but then received corrective laser surgery and agreed to
appear in the film.
Hopkins is a talented pianist. In 1986, he released
a single called "Distant Star". It peaked at #75 in the UK charts. In 2007, he
announced he would retire temporarily from the screen to tour around the
In 1996, Hopkins directed his first film, August,
an adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. His first screenplay, an experimental
drama called Slipstream, which he also directed and scored, premiered at the
Sundance Film Festival in 2007.
Hopkins is a fan of the BBC sitcom Only Fools and
Horses, and once remarked in an interview how he'd love to appear in the series.
Writer John Sullivan saw the interview, and with Hopkins in mind created the
character Danny Driscoll, a local villain. However, filming of the new series
coincided with the filming of The Silence of the Lambs, making Hopkins
unavailable. The role instead went to his friend Roy Marsden.
has played many famous historical and fictional characters including:
John Quincy Adams (Amistad, 1997)
William Bligh (The Bounty, 1984)
Charles Dickens (The Great Inimitable Mr Dickens,
John Frost (A Bridge Too Far, 1977)
Bruno Hauptmann (The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case,
Abraham Van Helsing (Bram Stoker's Dracula, 1992)
Adolf Hitler (The Bunker, 1981),
C.S. Lewis (Shadowlands, 1993),
David Lloyd George (Young Winston, 1972)
Pierre Bezukhov (War and Peace, 1972)
Frederick Treves (The Elephant Man, 1980)
Richard Nixon (Nixon, 1995)
St. Paul (Peter and Paul, 1981)
Othello (Othello, 1981)
Pablo Picasso (Surviving Picasso, 1996)
Quasimodo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1982)
Yitzak Rabin (Victory at Entebbe, 1976)
Richard Lionheart (The Lion in Winter, 1968)
Marcus Crassus (Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of
Titus Andronicus (Titus, 1999)
Don Diego de la Vega/Zorro (The Mask of Zorro,
Burt Munro (The World's Fastest Indian, 2005)
Besides his win for The Silence of the Lambs,
Hopkins has been Oscar-nominated for The Remains of the Day (1993), Nixon (1995)
and Amistad (1997).
Hopkins won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in 1973
for his performance as Pierre Bezukhov in the BBC's production of War and Peace,
and additionally for The Silence of the Lambs and Shadowlands. He received
nominations in the same category for Magic and The Remains of the Day and as
Best Supporting Actor for The Lion in Winter.
He won Emmy Awards for his roles in The Lindbergh
Kidnapping Case and The Bunker, and was Emmy-nominated for The Hunchback of
Notre Dame and Great Expectations. He won the directing and the acting
award, both for Slipstream, at Switzerland's Locarno International Film
Year Film Role Other notes
1967 A Flea in Her Ear Etienne Plucheux TV
1968 The Lion in Winter Richard
1969 The Looking Glass War John Avery
Department S Greg Halliday TV
1970 The Great Inimitable Mr. Dickens Charles
The Three Sisters
Hearts and Flowers Bob TV – Play for Today
1971 When Eight Bells Toll Philip Calvert
1972 Young Winston David Lloyd George
War and Peace Pierre Bezukhov
A Doll's House Torvald Helmer
1974 The Girl from Petrovka Kostya
QB VII Dr. Adam Kelno
Juggernaut Supt. John McCleod
The Childhood Friend Alexander Tashkov TV – Play
1976 Dark Victory Dr. Michael Grant TV
The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case Bruno Richard
Hauptmann Emmy Award
Victory at Entebbe Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
1977 A Bridge Too Far Lt. Col. John D. Frost
Audrey Rose Elliot Hoover
1978 Magic Charles "Corky" Withers/Voice of Fats
International Velvet Captain Johnson
1979 Mayflower: The Pilgrims' Adventure Capt.
1980 The Elephant Man Dr. Frederick Treves
A Change of Seasons Adam Evans
1981 The Bunker Adolf Hitler Emmy Award
Peter and Paul Paul of Tarsus
Othello Othello TV
1982 The Hunchback of Notre Dame Quasimodo TV
1983 A Married Man John Strickland TV
1984 The Bounty Lieutenant William Bligh
1985 Hollywood Wives Neil Gray TV
Arch of Triumph Dr. Ravic TV
Guilty Conscience Arthur Jamison TV
Mussolini and I Count Galeazzo Giano TV
The Good Father Bill Hooper
1987 84 Charing Cross Road Frank P. Doel
1988 The Dawning Robert Knights
1989 Great Expectations Abel Magwitch
1990 Desperate Hours Tim Comell
1991 The Silence of the Lambs Dr. Hannibal Lecter
Academy Award for Best Actor
Howards End Henry J. Wilcox
One Man's War Joel
1992 Freejack Ian McCandless
Chaplin George Hayden
Spotswood Errol Wallace
Bram Stoker's Dracula Professor Abraham Van
1993 The Trial The Priest
The Remains of the Day James Stevens
The Innocent Bob Glass
Shadowlands Jack Lewis BAFTA Award for Best Actor
in a Leading Role
1994 Legends of the Fall Col. William Ludlow
1995 The Road to Wellville Dr. John Harvey Kellogg
Nixon Richard M. Nixon
1996 August Ieuan Davies also directed, composed
Surviving Picasso Pablo Picasso
1997 Amistad John Quincy Adams
The Edge Charles Morse
1998 The Mask of Zorro Don Diego de la Vega /
Meet Joe Black William Parrish
1999 Instinct Ethan Powell
Titus Titus Andronicus
2000 Mission: Impossible II Mission Commander
The Grinch The Narrator
2001 The Devil and Daniel Webster Daniel Webster
Hannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter
Hearts in Atlantis Ted Brautigan
2002 Red Dragon Dr. Hannibal Lecter
Bad Company Officer Oakes
2003 The Human Stain Coleman Silk
2004 Alexander Old Ptolemy
2005 Proof Robert
The World's Fastest Indian Burt Munro
2006 All the King's Men Judge Irwin
2007 Fracture Theodore ‘Ted’ Crawford’
The City of Your Final Destination Adam
Slipstream Felix Bonhoeffer
2008 The Wolf Man Sir John Talbot pre-production —
begins filming in 2008
Harry and the Butler
Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho Alfred
^ a b Stated in interview on Inside the
Actors Studio, 2007
^ a b c Falk, Quentin (2004). Anthony
Hopkins: The Biography, 4th, Virgin Books. ISBN 0-7535-0999-7.
^ The World's Fastest Indian.
Solarnavigator.net. Retrieved on 2007-05-21.
^ "Anthony Hopkins: Lecter and Me" — Red
Dragon DVD interview
^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains.
AFI.com. Retrieved on 2007-05-21.
^ Hopkins renounces knighthood. IMDb.
Retrieved on 2006-08-13.
^ A Knight or not?. IMDb. Retrieved on
^ Associated Press (December 3, 2007). De
gira como pianista.
^ Clark, Steve (1998). The Only Fools and
Horses Story. BBC Books, p. 125. ISBN 0-563-38445-X.
^ Anthony Hopkins: Awards. IMDb. Retrieved
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