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Hopkins, Anthony (1937-)

Actor, Director, Producer

Main image of Hopkins, Anthony (1937-)

Born in Port Talbot, Wales, Anthony Hopkins trained at the Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff, and RADA. In 1965 he auditioned for the National Theatre before Laurence Olivier who was to become his mentor. Critically acclaimed for his stage work, including his award-winning role in Pravda (1985) and, at the National, King Lear (1986) and Antony and Cleopatra (1987), as well as playing the psychiatrist in Equus on Broadway (1974-75).

He made his film debut in The White Bus (d. Lindsay Anderson, 1967) and has shown his versatility many times since: as Richard the Lionheart in The Lion in Winter (d. Anthony Harvey, 1968), Claudius in Hamlet (d. Tony Richardson, 1969), John Avery in The Looking Glass War (d. Frank R.Pierson, 1970) and an explosive Captain Bligh in The Bounty (d. Roger Donaldson, 1984).

He is possibly best known for his mesmerising portrayal of Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (US, d. Jonathan Demme, 1991), for which he won an Oscar and a BAFTA, but he won less praise for the sequel, Hannibal (US, d. Ridley Scott, 2001). He has great ability to transform himself and to penetrate the emotional depths of his characters: witness his portrayal of C.S. Lewis in Shadowlands (UK/US, d. Richard Attenborough, 1993), for which he won a BAFTA, and his other BAFTA-winning performance as Stevens the butler in The Remains of the Day (d. James Ivory, 1993).

In 1990 he starred in and directed August (1994), a Welsh-set version of Uncle Vanya, and over three decades has done much noteworthy TV work. Made a CBE in 1987 and knighted in 1993, he became an American citizen in 2000, and much of his recent film work, including the title roles in Nixon (US, d. Oliver Stone, 1995) and Titus (UK/US, d. Julie Taymor, 2000), was US-produced.

Quentin Falk, Anthony Hopkins - Too Good to Waste, 1989
Michael Feeney Callan, Anthony Hopkins, 1989.

Anne-Marie Thomas, Encyclopedia of British Film

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From the BFI's filmographic database

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Thumbnail image of Anthony Hopkins: The Guardian Interview (1989) Anthony Hopkins: The Guardian Interview (1989)

On the techniques of film acting and his love of the medium

Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Elephant Man, The (1980)Elephant Man, The (1980)

Moving drama starring John Hurt as a grotesquely deformed man

Thumbnail image of Othello (1981)Othello (1981)

Controversial BBC adaptation with Anthony Hopkins and Bob Hoskins

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Producer, Director