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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Who is Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins?

Who is Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins? The entertainment and acting world knows him as Anthony Hopkins,  a Welsh actor of film, stage and television. Considered to be one of the greatest living actors,[1][2][3] Hopkins is perhaps best known for his portrayal of cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (for which he received the Academy Award for Best Actor), its sequel Hannibal, and its prequel Red Dragon. Other prominent film credits include The Lion in Winter, Magic, The Elephant Man, 84 Charing Cross Road, Dracula, Legends of the Fall, The Remains of the Day, Amistad, Nixon, and Fracture. Hopkins was born and brought up in Wales. Retaining his British citizenship, he became a U.S. citizen on 12 April 2000.[4] Hopkins' films have spanned a wide variety of genres, from family films to horror. As well as his Academy Award, Hopkins has also won three BAFTA Awards, two Emmys, a Golden Globe and a Cecil B. DeMille Award.
Hopkins was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1993 for services to the arts.[5] He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003, and was made a Fellow of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2008.[6][7]

Early life

Hopkins was born 31 December 1937 in Margam, Port Talbot, Wales, the son of Muriel Anne (née Yeats) and Richard Arthur Hopkins, a baker.[8] His schooldays were unproductive; 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 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 in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales.[9]
Hopkins was influenced and encouraged to become an actor by Welsh compatriot Richard Burton (who was also born at Neath Port Talbot), whom he met briefly at the age of 15. To that end, he enrolled at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff, Wales, from which he graduated in 1957.[5] After two years in the British Army doing his national service, he moved to London where he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.[10]



Hopkins made his first professional stage appearance in the Palace Theatre, Swansea in 1960 with Swansea Little Theatre's production of Have A Cigarette.
In 1965, after several years in repertory, he was spotted by Sir Laurence Olivier, who invited him to join the Royal National Theatre.[5] 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."[11]
Hopkins as Richard I in The Lion in Winter
Despite his success at the National, Hopkins tired of repeating the same roles nightly and yearned to be in films. He made his small-screen debut in a 1967 BBC broadcast of A Flea in Her Ear. In 1968, he got his break in The Lion in Winter playing Richard I, along with Peter O'Toole, Katharine Hepburn, and future James Bond star Timothy Dalton, who played Philip II of France.
Although Hopkins continued in theatre (most notably at the National Theatre as Lambert Le Roux in Pravda by David Hare and Howard Brenton and as Antony in Antony and Cleopatra opposite Judi Dench as well as 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. His Pierre Bezukhov for the BBC War and Peace (1972) was particularly memorable. 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.[12][13] In 1996, Hopkins was awarded an honorary fellowship from the University of Wales, Lampeter.[14] Hopkins received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003.[6]
 Hopkins as Burt Munro in The World's Fastest Indian
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 played because both men have a similar outlook on life.[15]
In 2006, Hopkins was the recipient of the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement.[16] In 2008, he received the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award.[7]
Hopkins portrayed Odin, the father of Thor, in the film adaptation of Marvel Comics' Thor.[17] On 24 February 2010, it was announced that Hopkins had been cast in the supernatural thriller The Rite, which was released on January 28, 2011. He played a priest who is "an expert in exorcisms and whose methods are not necessarily traditional".[18] An agnostic, he wrote a line--"Some days I don't know if I believe in God or Santa Clause or Tinkerbell"--into his character in order to identify with it.[19]

Acting style

Hopkins is renowned for his preparation for roles. He has indicated 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 stated that after he is finished with a scene, he simply discards the lines, not remembering them later on. This is unlike others who usually remember their lines from a film even years later.[20] 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, preferring the spontaneity of a fresh take, liked to keep rehearsals to a minimum, 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."[11]
Renowned for his ability to remember lines, Hopkins keeps his memory supple by learning things by heart such as poetry, and Shakespeare.

Steven Spielberg
 In Steven Spielberg's Amistad, Hopkins astounded the crew with his memorisation of a seven-page courtroom speech, delivering it in one go. An overawed Spielberg couldn't bring himself to call him Tony, and insisted on addressing him as Sir Anthony throughout the shoot.[10]
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 talk show Parkinson featured an impersonation of comedian Tommy Cooper. Hopkins has said acting "like a submarine" has helped him to deliver credible performances in his thriller movies. He said, "It's very difficult for an actor to avoid, you want to show a bit. But I think the less one shows the better."[21]

Hannibal Lecter

Hopkins as Hannibal lecter in The Silence of the Lambs
Perhaps Hopkins' most famous role is as the cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1991, opposite Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling, who won for Best Actress. The film won Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. It is one of the shortest lead performances to win an Oscar, as Hopkins only appears on screen for little over 16 minutes.[9] Hopkins reprised his role as Lecter twice in Hannibal (2001) and Red Dragon (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.[22] 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."[11]
Hopkins played the iconic villain in adaptations of the first three of the 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.

Personal life

As of 2007, Hopkins resides in Los Angeles. He had moved to the United States once before during the 1970s to pursue his film career, but returned to London in the late 1980s. However, he decided to return to the U.S. following his 1990s success. Retaining his British citizenship, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen on 12 April 2000, and celebrated with a 3,000-mile road trip across the country.[14]
Anthony Hopkins and Stella Arroyave
Hopkins has been married three times. His first two wives were Petronella Barker (1967–1972) and Jennifer Lynton (1973–2002). He is now married to Colombian-born Stella Arroyave. He has a daughter from his first marriage, Abigail Hopkins (b. 20 August 1968), who is an actress and singer.
Hopkins daughter Abigail Hopkins

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 in North Wales, 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 has been a patron of the YMCA centre in his hometown of Port Talbot, South Wales for more than 20 years, having first joined the YMCA in the 1950s.[23] Hopkins also takes time to support other 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. Although he resides in Malibu, California he is also a volunteer teacher at the Ruskin School of Acting in Santa Monica, California.
Hopkins has attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings,[24] since suddenly stopping drinking in 1975. As stated to TMZ in October 2010, Hopkins is a vegetarian. In 2008, he embarked on a weight loss program, and by 2010, he had lost 80 pounds.[25]
Hopkins is a prominent member of environmental protection group Greenpeace and as of early 2008 featured in a television advertisement campaign, voicing concerns about Japan's continuing annual whale hunt.[26] Hopkins has been a patron of RAPt (Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust) since its early days and helped open their first intensive drug and alcohol rehabilitation unit at Downview (HM Prison) in 1992.
He is an admirer of the comedian Tommy Cooper. On 23 February 2008, as patron of the Tommy Cooper Society, the actor unveiled a commemorative statue in the entertainer's home town of Caerphilly, South Wales. For the ceremony, Hopkins donned Cooper's trademark fez and performed a comic routine.[27]

Other work

In 1986, he released a single called "Distant Star", which peaked at #75 in the UK Singles Chart.[28]

 In 2007, he announced he would retire temporarily from the screen to tour around the world.[29] Hopkins has also written music for the concert hall, in collaboration with Stephen Barton as orchestrator. These compositions include The Masque of Time, given its world premiere with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in October 2008, and Schizoid Salsa.[30]
In 1990, Hopkins directed "Dylan Thomas: Return Journey" which was his directing debut for the screen. In 1996, he directed August, an adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya set in Wales. 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 would 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 Roy Marsden.[31]


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.[32] He won the directing and the acting award, both for Slipstream, at Switzerland's Locarno International Film Festival.
Hopkins became a Fellow of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) at the Orange British Academy Film Awards in February 2008.[33]
In 1979, Anthony Hopkins became an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music, London.[34]


List of acting performances in film and television
Title↓ Year↓ Role↓ Notes
A Flea in Her Ear 1967 Etienne Plucheux Television film
The White Bus 1967 Brechtian
The Lion in Winter 1968 Richard Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
The Looking Glass War 1969 John Avery
Hamlet 1969 Claudius
Department S 1969 Greg Halliday Television film
The Great Inimitable Mr. Dickens 1970 Charles Dickens Television film
Hearts and Flowers 1970 Bob
When Eight Bells Toll 1971 Philip Calvert
Young Winston 1972 David Lloyd George
War and Peace 1972 Pierre Bezukhov British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
A Doll's House 1972 Torvald Helmer
The Girl from Petrovka 1974 Kostya
QB VII 1974 Dr. Adam Kelno
Juggernaut 1974 Supt. John McCleod
All Creatures Great and Small 1974 Siegfried Farnon Television film
The Childhood Friend 1974 Alexander Tashkov Play for Today
Dark Victory 1976 Dr. Michael Grant Television film
The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case 1976 Bruno Richard Hauptmann Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
Victory at Entebbe 1976 Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
A Bridge Too Far 1977 Lt. Col. John D. Frost
Audrey Rose 1977 Elliot Hoover Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actor
Magic 1978 Charles "Corky" Withers/Voice of Fats
International Velvet 1978 Captain Johnson
Mayflower: The Pilgrims' Adventure 1979 Capt. Jones Television film
The Elephant Man 1980 Dr. Frederick Treves
A Change of Seasons 1980 Adam Evans
The Bunker 1981 Adolf Hitler Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
Peter and Paul 1981 Paul of Tarsus Television film
Othello 1981 Othello Television film
The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1982 Quasimodo
A Married Man 1983 John Strickland Television
The Bounty 1984 Lieutenant William Bligh
Hollywood Wives 1985 Neil Gray Television film
Arch of Triumph 1985 Dr. Ravic Television film
Guilty Conscience 1985 Arthur Jamison Television film
Mussolini and I 1985 Count Galeazzo Ciano
The Good Father 1985 Bill Hooper
84 Charing Cross Road 1987 Frank Doel Moscow International Film Festival Award for Best Actor
The Dawning 1988 Angus Barrie
Across the Lake 1988 Donald Campbell CBE Television film
A Chorus of Disapproval 1988 Dafydd Ap Llewellyn
The Tenth Man 1988 Jean Louis Chavel Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Great Expectations 1989 Abel Magwitch
Desperate Hours 1990 Tim Comell
The Silence of the Lambs 1991 Dr. Hannibal Lecter
One Man's War 1991 Joel Television film
Freejack 1992 Ian McCandless
Spotswood 1992 Errol Wallace
Howards End 1992 Henry J. Wilcox
Bram Stoker's Dracula 1992 Professor Abraham Van Helsing Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Chaplin 1992 George Hayden
The Trial 1993 The Priest
The Innocent 1993 Bob Glass
The Remains of the Day 1993 James Stevens
Shadowlands 1993 Jack Lewis
The Road to Wellville 1994 Dr. John Harvey Kellogg
Legends of the Fall 1994 Col. William Ludlow Western Heritage Awards—Bronze Wrangler for Theatrical Motion Picture (shared with Edward Zwick (director), William D. Wittliff (writer/producer) and Brad Pitt (principal actor)
Nixon 1995 Richard Nixon
August 1996 Ieuan Davies also directed, composed score
Surviving Picasso 1996 Pablo Picasso
The Edge 1997 Charles Morse
Amistad 1997 John Quincy Adams
The Mask of Zorro 1998 Don Diego de la Vega / Zorro
Meet Joe Black 1998 William Parrish Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actor
Instinct 1999 Ethan Powell
Titus 1999 Titus Andronicus Nominated—London Film Critics Circle Award for British Actor of the Year
Mission: Impossible II 2000 Mission Commander Swanbeck uncredited
How the Grinch Stole Christmas 2000 The Narrator Voice
Hannibal 2001 Dr. Hannibal Lecter Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actor
Hearts in Atlantis 2001 Ted Brautigan
Bad Company 2002 Officer Oakes
Red Dragon 2002 Dr. Hannibal Lecter
The Human Stain 2003 Coleman Silk Hollywood Film Festival Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting – Male Performer
Alexander 2004 Ptolemy I Soter
Proof 2005 Robert
The World's Fastest Indian 2005 Burt Munro New Zealand Screen Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Bobby 2006 John
All the King's Men 2006 Judge Irwin
The Devil and Daniel Webster 2007 Daniel Webster Television film
Slipstream 2007 Felix Bonhoeffer
Fracture 2007 Theodore "Ted" Crawford
Beowulf 2007 Hrothgar
The City of Your Final Destination 2007 Adam
Where I Stand: The Hank Greenspun Story 2008 Hank Greenspun
Immutable Dream of Snow Lion 2008

The Wolfman 2010 Sir John Talbot
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger 2010 Alfie Shepridge
The Rite 2011 Father Lucas
Thor 2011 Odin




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