Born December 31, 1937 in Margam, Neath Port Talbot, Wales, as Philip Anthony Hopkins the son of Muriel Anne (née Yeats) and Richard Arthur Hopkins, a baker, Sir Anthony Hopkins is considered to be one of the greatest living actors. 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, Anthony probably became best known in his Oscar winning performace of Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs.
He began his rise in theatre and became Lawrence 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 in theatre, Hopkins grew 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. He went on to have roles in 95 films, such as A River Runs Through It; Meet Joe Black; Hamlet, QB VII, Elephant Man; and scores of others and has been nominated three times for the Oscar for Best Actor, winning for Silence of the Lambs. This year he plays director Alfred Hitchcock, during the filming of Psycho, and rumour has it he will be nominted once again.
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.