Wales has produced some outstanding actors, but one actor in particular comes to mind: the incomparable Anthony Hopkins. An acting giant, his passionate performances never cease to stir audiences. Hopkins is always on the lookout for diverse and disparate roles, from his haunting portrayal of Dr. Frederick Treves in The Elephant Man to being a classy and handsomely remunerated addition to the already glittering cast of the MCU.
The actor, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1993, is renowned for his brooding charm and has been likened to fellow Welsh thespian Richard Burton. But there is so much more to Hopkins than his iconic acting roles, which often eclipse some important facts about him. Here are 10 facts about Hopkins that everyone forgets, from the inspiring to the unsettling.
10 He Is Married To A Much Younger Woman
As is common in Hollywood, Hopkins and his wife, Stella Arroyave, have a rather wide age gap. They married in 2003 when Stella was 47 and Hopkins was 65. Despite the age difference, they are still going strong 18 years later and appear to be loving and devoted partners. The couple live in a $4.9m Malibu mansion, which, surprisingly, was unaffected by California wildfires.
9 He Was Barely In The Silence Of The Lambs
The Silence of the Lambs is synonymous with Hopkins’ name, not to mention his infamous masked face. Despite this, he had a mere 16 minutes of screen time as Hannibal Lecter. Nevertheless, he went on to win the ‘Best Actor’ Oscar for his menacing depiction of Lecter. Clearly, this is a prime example of quality over quantity, as his disturbing portrayal of the serial killer has left an indelible mark on cinema history.
8 His Background Is Not What You Might Think
With his rich, thespian voice, one might be mistaken for thinking that Hopkins is from a well-to-do family. In actuality, he was raised in poverty in a working class family. As was the case for so many working class aspiring actors in the 1950s and 60s, he worked his way up through the theater world, eventually enrolling at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
7 He Knew About Harvey Weinstein
In an interview with the Guardian, Hopkins said that he knew Weinstein, who is currently serving a 23 year prison sentence, was sexually assaulting women and subsequently made a concerted effort not to work with him. Hopkins has appeared in a couple of Weinstein-produced films, though it is possible that he made the shocking discovery afterwards. However, despite his revulsion towards the now disgraced movie mogul, Hopkins did appear in the Woody Allen film You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger in 2010. With so many actors since expressing regret at working with the controversial director, Hopkins has not made a public denouncement against Allen, who has also been accused of sexual misconduct. Allen staunchly denies the allegations.
6 He Won’t Speak To His Daughter And Has No Idea If He’s A Grandpa
Considering the Welsh movie star’s affable persona, it is quite shocking to be reminded of his discordant relationship with his only child. Hopkins is estranged from his daughter, Abigail, who is a jazz musician and the daughter of his first wife Petronella Barker. Even more alarming is the fact that the two haven’t spoken in 20 years and Hopkins isn’t interested in knowing whether he has any grandchildren. When questioned as to why his response was so cold, he replied, ‘Because life is cold.’
5 He Is A Recovering Alcoholic
Hopkins has been open about his battle with alcoholism, telling students at the University of California that he ‘should have died in Wales, drunk’. He credits Alcoholics Anonymous with aiding his recovery. Since there is still so much misinformation and prejudice surrounding addiction, it is commendable that Hopkins has used his position of power to ease the stigma associated with this terrible illness.
4 He Once Played A Black Man
Yep, you heard that right. In this climate in which the oppression of black people is rightly receiving attention, it is difficult to conceive that a white actor would be given a role intended for a person of color. But back in 2003, Hopkins played a black man. An adaptation of the Philip Roth novel, The Human Stain features Hopkins as professor Coleman Silk, an African-American who has been ‘passing’ as white. The film received many negative reviews, which is no surprise considering the insensitive casting choice.
3 He Used To Be A Marxist
Considering his strong working class roots, it’s understandable that Hopkins was firmly to the far left in his youth. In an interview with The National, he elaborated on the staunch left-wing values imparted through generations in his family: ‘My father was an extremely left-wing Marxist, and so was his father, and I was raised in that atmosphere. Gradually, the years have passed, and now I just think, oh well.’
2 He Was Diagnosed With Asperger’s In His 70s
It wasn’t until 2014 that Hopkins was diagnosed with Asperger’s, aged 77. A form of autism, symptoms of Asperger’s include isolation and difficulties making friends. Reflecting on his diagnosis in an interview with The Daily Mail, Hopkins explained, ‘I didn’t go to parties, I don’t have many friends.’ Autism is still highly misunderstood, often resulting in people being diagnosed much later in life, or not at all. Hopkins proves that it is never too late to get a formal diagnosis.
1 He Released A Classical Music Album
Not only an accomplished actor, Hopkins is a talented musician. In 2012, he released his album, Composer. The album was a materialisation of his late mother’s ultimate ambition for her son and features various classical compositions, including waltzes, piano pieces, and an orchestral tribute to his home country of Wales. The album is a moving and fitting tribute to his mother, who would undoubtedly be proud of her multitalented son.