Hopkins, Sir Anthony

born Dec. 31, 1937, Port Talbot, West Glamorgan, Wales

British actor.

He joined London's National Theatre in 1965, where he starred in Shakespearean roles. A subtle actor able to convey volcanic emotion with a small gesture, he made an acclaimed Broadway debut in Equus (1974). Hopkins stayed on in the U.S. for films such as The Elephant Man (1980) and television productions such as The Bunker (1981, Emmy Award). At the National Theatre he triumphed in King Lear and Antony and Cleopatra. He won an Oscar for his chilling performance as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (1991), a role he played in two sequels. He also starred in Howards End (1992), The Remains of the Day (1993), and Amistad (1997).

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▪ 1995

      Having overcome alcohol and other personal demons to attain in midlife the stature so long predicted for him, British actor Anthony Hopkins secured a place in the firmament with an Oscar for his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and with two more extraordinary performances in 1993-94 films: as writer C.S. Lewis in Shadowlands and as Stevens the butler, whom Hopkins described as "pathologically afraid to love," in The Remains of the Day.

      Repressed emotion has been central to Hopkins' best performances but not always to his stormy life. The son of a baker, he was born on Dec. 31, 1937, in Port Talbot, Wales, the hometown of actor Richard Burton, who was both Hopkins' inspiration and the standard against which his career had often been measured. After a lonely, undistinguished youth, Hopkins attended the Cardiff (Wales) College of Music and Drama and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London. Following a stint in regional theatre, he was asked in 1965 to join the National Theatre (NT), where, understudying Laurence Olivier in The Dance of Death (1967), he won rave reviews and was designated by critics as the heir apparent to Burton and Olivier. (He had the temerity to audition for Olivier's company with an Othello monologue at a time when Olivier himself was playing the role.) In 1968 he made his film debut in The Lion in Winter.

      An early 1970s clash with an NT director sent Hopkins to the U.S., first to New York City, where he triumphed on Broadway in Equus, then to Los Angeles, where, increasingly self-destructive, he finally faced his alcoholism, supported by his second wife, Jennifer. A decade of mixed performances in film and on television followed—strong work in Magic (1978) and The Elephant Man (1980) and an Emmy for his portrayal of Adolf Hitler in "The Bunker" (1981) were compromised by appearances in films unworthy of his talent. In the mid-1980s Hopkins made a triumphant return to the NT, alternating the roles of King Lear and Antony in 200 performances and winning accolades as the unscrupulous media magnate in Pravda. That role, like his postfeminist powder keg in the film The Good Father (1986), set the stage for his portrayal of the gentlemanly psychopath Lecter, which resulted in international stardom and another plum role in Howards End (1992).

      Where once Hopkins' obsession with technique had been too obvious, these later performances were seamless, his smallest gestures and looks conveying layers of meaning, volcanic emotion percolating beneath the surface ("the lava doesn't erupt but it moves," Lauren Bacall once said of Hopkins). A Method actor known to read over his part as many as 150 times, Hopkins found a way to express what he called the "black anger" within him with great brilliance. For his achievements he was made a Knight of the British Empire in 1987. In the latter part of 1994 Hopkins appeared in the film The Road to Wellville and made his stage directorial debut in August, in which he also acted. (JEFF WALLENFELDT)

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▪ British actor
in full  Philip Anthony Hopkins 
born December 31, 1937, Port Talbot, West Glamorgan, Wales

      Welsh stage and film actor of burning intensity, often seen at his best when playing pathetic misfits or characters on the fringes of insanity.

      Hopkins had early ambitions to be a concert pianist. He began acting at age 18, when he joined a YMCA dramatic club. He received a scholarship to the Cardiff College of Music and Drama, and he toured with the Arts Council as a stage manager and actor after his graduation, then spent two years with the Royal Artillery. Upon his demobilization he resumed his acting career, making his professional debut in 1960. A self-described “actor of instinct,” he gained needed training by enrolling at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1961, graduating as a silver medalist two years later. He first appeared on the London stage in Lindsay Anderson (Anderson, Lindsay)'s production of Julius Caesar (1964). It was during this period that he appeared in his first film, the Anderson-directed short subject The White Bus (released in 1967).

      Accepted into Laurence Olivier (Olivier, Laurence, Baron Olivier of Brighton)'s National Shakespeare Company in 1965, he understudied Olivier in several productions before attracting critical attention with his performances as Edgar in The Dance of Death and Andrey Prosorov in The Three Sisters (both 1967). At last attracting the attention of the critics, he soon found himself being promoted as the “new Olivier,” and it was during this initial burst of adulation that he landed the juicy role of Prince Richard Plantagenet in the 1968 film version of The Lion in Winter. In 1974 he enjoyed a double professional triumph when he starred in the American television miniseries QB VII and also played the role of Dr. Martin Dysart in the original Broadway production of Equus.

 Despite years of promise and glowing reviews, Hopkins found his career impeded by his recalcitrant attitude and battles with alcoholism. After waking up in a Phoenix, Arizona, hotel room in 1975 and not being able to remember how he got there, Hopkins resolved to reform: “I led a pretty self-destructive life for a few decades. It was only after I put my demons behind me that I was able to fully enjoy acting.” His career gained momentum, and his subsequent film and TV credits included his Emmy-winning performances as Bruno Richard Hauptmann in The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case (1976) and as Adolf Hitler in The Bunker (1981), as well as his sharply etched portrayals of two roles previously associated with Charles Laughton (Laughton, Charles): Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1982) and Captain Bligh in The Bounty (1984). In 1979 he won a Golden Globe nomination for his performance as a schizophrenic ventriloquist in the American film Magic (1978), and in 1989 he made his West End stage debut in the musical drama M. Butterfly.

      While critical acclaim has been lavished upon Hopkins's rich, full-blooded characterizations of such real-life personalities as Yitzhak Rabin, John Quincy Adams, Richard Nixon, C.S. Lewis, and Pablo Picasso, the film role with which he is most identified, and for which he received an Academy Award, was that of the horrifyingly brilliant serial killer Hannibal (“the Cannibal”) Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (1991). He received subsequent Oscar nominations for his roles as a duty-bound butler in Remains of the Day (1993), as Richard M. Nixon (Nixon, Richard M.) in Nixon (1995), and as John Quincy Adams (Adams, John Quincy) in Amistad (1997).

      Hopkins continued his prolific acting career in Hannibal (2001) and Red Dragon (2002), where he revived his Oscar-winning portrayal of Hannibal Lecter. He starred opposite Gwyneth Paltrow as a brilliant mathematician afflicted with mental illness in Proof (2005). In 2006 Hopkins appeared in Bobby, about the day of Robert F. Kennedy (Kennedy, Robert F.)'s assassination, and in All the King's Men, based on the novel by Robert Penn Warren (Warren, Robert Penn). The following year he played Hrothgar in Beowulf (2007). Hopkins was knighted in 1993.

Additional Reading
Michael Feeney Callan, Anthony Hopkins: In Darkness and Light (1993; also published as Anthony Hopkins: The Unauthorized Biography, 1994); Quentin Falk, Anthony Hopkins: The Authorized Biography (1993, reissued 2000).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hopkins, Sir Anthony — (n. 31 dic. 1937, Port Talbot, West Glamorgan, Gales). Actor británico. Se unió al Nacional Theatre de Londres en 1965, donde protagonizó obras shakespeareanas. Es un actor de sutilezas, capaz de expresar profundas emociones plenas de vehemencia… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Sir Anthony Hopkins — noun Welsh film actor (born in 1937) • Syn: ↑Hopkins, ↑Anthony Hopkins, ↑Sir Anthony Philip Hopkins • Instance Hypernyms: ↑actor, ↑histrion, ↑player, ↑thespian, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Sir Anthony Philip Hopkins — noun Welsh film actor (born in 1937) • Syn: ↑Hopkins, ↑Anthony Hopkins, ↑Sir Anthony Hopkins • Instance Hypernyms: ↑actor, ↑histrion, ↑player, ↑thespian, ↑role …   Useful english dictionary

  • Sir Anthony Hopkins — Anthony Hopkins Pour les articles homonymes, voir Hopkins. Anthony Hopkins Nom de naissance Philip Anthony Hopkins …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hopkins — Hopkins, Frederick Gowland Hopkins, Gerard Manley * * * (as used in expressions) Gallaudet, Thomas Hopkins Hopkins, Esek Hopkins, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Harry L(loyd) Hopkins, Johns Hopkins, Mark Hopkins …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Hopkins — noun 1. United States educator and theologian (1802 1887) • Syn: ↑Mark Hopkins • Instance Hypernyms: ↑theologian, ↑theologist, ↑theologizer, ↑theologiser, ↑educator, ↑peda …   Useful english dictionary

  • sir — /serr/, n. 1. a respectful or formal term of address used to a man: No, sir. 2. (cap.) the distinctive title of a knight or baronet: Sir Walter Scott. 3. (cap.) a title of respect for some notable personage of ancient times: Sir Pandarus of Troy …   Universalium

  • Hopkins — /hop kinz/, n. 1. Anthony, born 1937, English actor, born in Wales. 2. Sir Frederick Gowland /gow leuhnd/, 1861 1947, English physician and biochemist: Nobel prize for medicine 1929. 3. Gerard Manley /man lee/, 1844 89, English poet. 4. Harry… …   Universalium

  • Anthony Hopkins — noun Welsh film actor (born in 1937) • Syn: ↑Hopkins, ↑Sir Anthony Hopkins, ↑Sir Anthony Philip Hopkins • Instance Hypernyms: ↑actor, ↑histrion, ↑player, ↑thespian, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Anthony — /an teuh nee/ for 1, 2; /an theuh nee/ for 3; /an theuh nee/ or, esp. Brit., / teuh / for 4, n. 1. See Antony, Mark. 2. Saint, A.D. 251? 356?, Egyptian hermit: founder of Christian monasticism. 3. Susan Brownell /brow nel/, 1820 1906, U.S.… …   Universalium

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