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Sir Anthony Hopkins turns 85 today

Sir Anthony Hopkins was born on New Year’s Eve 1937 in Port Talbot, Wales, as the only child of Muriel and Richard Arthur. “She was a strong, powerful woman. I think she was like all mothers, a bit possessive. I’m the only child,” he told the Washington Post in 2021. “But I wouldn’t be normal, I wouldn’t be anything without that bond or that connection.”

About his father, he told The Guardian, in 1998, that he was a man of colossal energy. “Just like his father was. He violent energy. I think that’s what killed my father, he was very nervous ”.

His time at school was not a bed of roses. “He was pathetic at school in Port Talbot. I don’t know if he was dyslexia or attention deficit disorder, or just a problem kid, but I sat in the back of the class and didn’t know what any of the teachers were talking about. I was the last of the class in everything. And they made me suffer, ”he confessed to the Daily Mail in 2013.

However, that anger that he felt became a motivation: “I thought: I will take revenge, I will become rich and famous and they will find out.”

At the age of 19, he found himself in a YMCA (Young Mens Christian Association) amateur theater class. He did not know what he was doing there, he told the media, he had not previously been interested in acting nor did he know what he was going to do with his life. “But I tried, I liked it and I continued with it.” After graduating from Cardiff College of Music And Drama, for which he was awarded a piano scholarship, he joined the Arts Council as a stage director and actor manager.

He was mobilized by the Royal Regiment of Artillery and was in the corps for two years. He then returned to acting and joined the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he studied for another two years. After going through the theater tables and being part of the National Theater company, in 1968 came his debut on the big screen, with “The Lion in Winter”.

DO YOU WANT TO LIVE OR DIE?

Hopkins had talent and a promising career ahead of him, but he was dragging his addiction to alcohol. A couple of days before his 38th birthday, he woke up in a hotel room. He didn’t know how he had gotten there. “45 years ago I received a wake-up call. I was headed for disaster. I was drinking myself to death,” the actor said on social media in 2020. “I’m not a preacher, but I got a message, a little thought, that said: do you want to live or die? I said that I wanted to live. And suddenly the relief came and my life has been incredible.

After several films and good words for his work on titles like “Magic” and “The Elephant Man”, his big push in Hollywood came with Gene Hackman’s refusal to play Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs”. Hopkins accepted the commission to get into the skin of Dr. Lecter in the film adaptation of the novel by Thomas Harrys.

“I was in London, in 1989, doing a play called ‘M.Butterfly’. My agent sent the script,” the actor recalled in a conversation with Jodie Foster for Variety. According to the outlet, after reading ten pages he called his agent to ask her if it was a real offer, because she had thought it was a great script. “I couldn’t believe how lucky I was, and I was scared to talk to you,” he told Foster. “I thought: he just won an Oscar.” This performance earned Hopkins his first Academy Award.

“I DON’T FEEL DIFFERENT”

Throughout his career, the Welshman has added close to 90 film titles among which are, in addition to those mentioned, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, “The Remains of the Day”, “Titus”, “The Two Popes” and “Surviving Picasso”, among others.

The actor has been married three times. The last one, in 2003, with his current wife, Stella Arroyave. Hopkins has an only daughter, Abigail, whom he abandoned as a child, after separating from his then-wife, actress Petronella Barker. In the nineties they approached positions only to distance themselves again later. “People separate. Families break up and you go on with your life, ”he told the Radio Times in 2018, according to various media outlets.

A few years ago he was diagnosed with mild Asperger’s Syndrome, a condition on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. “I think a doctor contacted me… I don’t know. Actually, I don’t believe in it. I don’t feel different. I think they are decorated. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m ignorant, ”he said about it in an interview with GQ.

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