Actor, director, composer. Born December 31, 1937, in Port Talbot, South Wales. Born in the same town in Wales as Richard Burton, Hopkins was the only child of two bakers. A dedicated pianist, he studied at the Cardiff College of Music & Drama in Cardiff, Wales, after his graduation from high school. He then spent two years in the Army before getting a job as an actor and assistant stage manager at the Library Theater in Manchester. In 1961, Hopkins won a scholarship to the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
Hopkins made his professional stage debut in a 1964 London production of Julius Caesar. In 1967, he joined the National Theater Company, where he understudied Laurence Olivier and later replaced him in the lead role in a production of Dance of Death. Hopkins’ various productions with the National Theater over the years included David Hare’s Pravda (1985) and the title roles in Antony and Cleopatra, King Lear, and Macbeth.
In 1974, Hopkins appeared on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning Equus, written by Peter Shaffer. Over the course of his career, he continued to work in theater as well as films, even though he eventually became better known for his film work.
Hopkins made his big-screen debut in 1968’s The Lion in Winter, starring Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn. He also appeared as Claudius in the 1969 film version of Hamlet, starring Nicol Williamson and directed by Tony Richardson. The 1972 film Young Winston was the first of five pictures Hopkins made with acclaimed director Richard Attenborough—the others included A Bridge Too Far (1977) and Magic (1978).
Initially, Hopkins gained more recognition among international audiences and critics for his edgy performances on television than for his film work. He first made a splash on American TV in 1971, when he played a doctor who collaborates with the Nazis in QB VII. In 1976, he won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, the accused murderer of Charles and Anne Lindbergh’s infant son, in The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case. He turned in another Emmy-winning performance as Adolf Hitler in the 1981 TV movie The Bunker. Hopkins’ other notable television works included the 1985 miniseries Hollywood Wives, The Tenth Man (1988), Heartland (1989), and One Man’s War (1991).
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Anthony Hopkins biography
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