Born in 1937 in Port Talbot, South Wales, Philip Anthony Hopkins was the only child of Dick and Muriel Hopkins. At age 17, he joined a community junior drama club and quickly realized that acting was to be his fate. Hopkins went on to attend the Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, and in 1961, he won a scholarship to London's prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, from which he graduated two years later. He became a member of the Phoenix Theater Company in Leicester in 1963, and in 1965 had the honor of auditioning before one of his idols, Laurence Olivier, for a position with the company of the National Theatre, which he won. Hopkins enjoyed tremendous success, and in time moved on to undertake the roles in films that have earned him a place among the greatest actors of our time. You would never know that this accomplished actor was a raging alcoholic until 1975. He gave up alcohol when he woke up in a Phoenix hotel room with no recollection of how he came to be in Arizona. He is eccentric to say the least, it is reported that he's been known to spend his free time driving aimlessly through the United States, alone, for hours, days, even weeks at a time. Hopkins' first film role of note was that of Richard the Lionheart in the acclaimed The Lion in Winter (1968), in which he starred with legendary actors Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn. He has appeared in some 90 movies since then, all of which have garnered him critical acclaim, even in those films that were not so successful. The role he is most popularly known for is his portrayal of Dr. Hannibal The Cannibal Lecter in Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs. The 1991 film brought Hopkins into the American spotlight, as he brought to life one of the most powerfully attractive villains in film history. Since then, America has not taken its eyes off Anthony Hopkins. After winning the Academy Award for Best Actor for that performance, he starred in the 1992 Merchant-Ivory film Howard's End. Then went on to an Oscar-nominated performance in Remains of the Day (1993). In 1995 he created an uncanny portrait of Richard Nixon in Oliver Stone'sNixon, a portrayal that also garnered an Academy nod. In subsequent roles, Hopkins has continued to astonish with his almost frightening ability to transform himself into each character he essays, even going so far as to alter his physical appearance to the point that he is almost unrecognizable. His performance as the title painter in Surviving Picasso (1996)was no less remarkable for his acting ability than for the fact that he looked just like the visionary Spaniard. 1996 saw Hopkins's first foray into directing, with August, an adaptation of the brilliant Anton Chekov play Uncle Vanya. The multi-talented Hopkins also starred in the movie and wrote the musical score. The next year brought another Oscar-nominated performance as former U.S. President John Quincy Adams in director Steven Spielberg'sAmistad. The next few years brought The Mask of Zorro (1998) with Antonio Banderas,Meet Joe Black with Brad Pitt (1998), Instinct (1999), and Titus (1999). Most recently, Hopkins reprised his role as Dr. Lecter in the much-hyped sequel Hannibal (2001), which set an opening weekend box office record. Even though Hopkins received the honor of Commander, Order of the British Empire in 1987, he became an American citizen in 2000. He will still be formally recognized as a British national in his native country.