From Hannibal to Philanthropist – the Many Roles of Anthony Hopkins

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It’s but one glance at those ice blue eyes, cutting through you like a dagger. One stealthy turn of his now balding head, one smile like the crack of a bullwhip and you instantly know you are looking at none other than Anthony Hopkins.

He ranks among a generation of actors as steadfast and serious as their steely gazes. Men like Sean Connery and Jack Nicholson, actors who can deliver stellar performances with an unmatchable grace and air of professionalism. A man who is preceded only by the characters he has portrayed, decades of roles that have created an unshakeable career. Instantly recognizable in his Oscar winning role as one of the most maniacal, mentally perverse villains Hollywood has ever encountered, Hannibal Lecter, a role which he revisited two more times in the 2001 film, “Hannibal” and 2002’s “Red Dragon”. In 1984 Hopkins showed his remarkable flexibility to take on any role when he depicted an entirely different kind of criminal. None other than Adolf Hitler in the film “The Bunker”, a gripping look at Hitler’s last days on earth as the end of World War 2 loomed on the horizon (for which Hopkins received an Emmy nod).

Taking to controversial roles like a fish to water, Hopkins is easily identifiable as the man who portrayed Richard Bruno Hauptmann in “The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case”, and William Bligh in “The Bounty”. He is the face many filmgoers tie to the screen versions of John Quincy Adams, Othello and even US President Richard M. Nixon.

Off screen Hopkins has stepped up to the altar three times and is tied to a string of other women – like so many of Hollywood’s leading gents. With an almost implausible number of roles under his belt (one hundred plus and rising), stints into film direction and composition, as well as a forthcoming role as an executive producer for the 2005 film “Bobby”, that will look at the 1968 assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy. Like many in the spotlight of fame he is involved with various philanthropist causes, though unlike many who simply sign cheques, the causes Hopkins helps out often tie directly into his own life. Evident in the work that he does for numerous charities both in his childhood stomping grounds, the UK, and his current homeland of America (he became a naturalized American citizen in 2000). In Wales, where Anthony was born he has donated over one million pounds sterling to the Snowdonia National Park. As well Hopkins regularly contributes his time and well-honed skills to teach young actors the craft at the Ruskins School of Acting in Santa Monica, California.

Anthony Hopkins has made an unforgettable career made of harsh characters, British personalities, wise men and troubled souls. Yet beneath the gruff, and at times secluded manner, the undeniable wit and personifying charm that only a Welsh fellow can offer, Hopkins is a man who, like so many of the roles he has portrayed, has lead a life of personal struggle, a journey to overcome his demons and perhaps a desire to be known for more than just his astonishing acting skills.

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