Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins, CBE (born 31 December 1937), best known as Anthony Hopkins, is a Welsh actor of film, stage and television. Considered to be one of the greatest living actors, 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. 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. 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.
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. 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 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. In 1980 he starred opposite Shirley MacLaine in A Change of Seasons and famously said â€œshe was the most obnoxious actress I have ever worked with.” ]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 received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003.
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.
In 2006, Hopkins was the recipient of the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. In 2008, he received the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award.
Hopkins portrayed Odin, the father of Thor, in the film adaptation of Marvel Comics’ Thor. 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”. An agnostic, he wrote a line–”Some days I don’t know if I believe in God or Santa Claus or Tinkerbell”–into his character in order to identify with it