Happy Birthday Anthony Hopkins: Timeline of the Oscar Winner’s Career

by Matthew Wilson

Somebody get the fava beans. Anthony Hopkins rings out 2020 by celebrating his birthday. The famed actor turns 83 years young today and he’s just as distinguished as ever.

Hopkins has had a long and storied career. It would take an entire book to cover all the films and roles he’s portrayed over the years. But Outsider has singled out some of his most iconic roles and important moments from across his six-decade career.

The Early Days of Anthony Hopkins

1960: A young Hopkins catches the acting bug. The actor made his stage debut at the Palace Theatre, Swansea for the production of “Have a Cigarette.” This was the start of his fascination with the stage. Hopkins performed several years before renowned thespian Laurence Olivier discovered him.

1965: Oliver is impressed with Hopkins’ talent. The stage actor asked Hopkins to join the prestigious Royal National Theatre as his understudy.

1967: Hopkins fills in for Oliver himself during a production of “The Dance of Death” after Oliver experiences a brush with death himself. Oliver had appendicitis, and though Hopkins felt nervous, the show must go on. Hopkins found himself in the spotlight. The actor also got his first real taste for television, appearing in the BBC’s “A Flea in Her Ear.”

1968: Hopkins graduates to film and motion pictures. The actor appeared as Richard I in “The Lion in Winter,” opposite Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn. For the role, Hopkins was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

Anthony Hopkins Gravitates to Film

1970: Hopkins continues to gravitate towards film while keeping his stage career alive. He appeared as famed author Charles Dickens himself in “The Great Inimitable Mr. Dickens,” a TV biopic about the author’s life. Hopkins struggles with an addiction to alcohol.

1972: Continuing his career as a character actor, Hopkins portrayed literary figure Pierre Bezukhov in an adaptation of “War and Peace” for the BBC. For the role, Hopkins won the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor. That same year he also portrayed politician David Lloyd George in “Young Winston.”

1976: For his role as Bruno Richard Hauptmann in “The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case,” Hopkins won the first Emmy of his career. He was also a year sober after attending Alcohol Anonymous in 1975.

1980: Yes, that is a young Hopkins in “The Elephant Man.”

While John Hurt provides the heavy lifting and vulnerable soul as the title character, Hopkins portrays the kindly doctor Frederick Treves. Treves rescues John Merrick from life in a freak show and invites him to work and live at a hospital. The film focuses in part on the relationship between the two.

The Actor Becomes a Movie Star

1991: At the start of the 1990s, Hopkins portrayed his most iconic character in Hannibal Lecter. He appeared opposite Jodi Foster as the manipulative, suave cannibal that eats the rude. In “Silence of the Lambs,” Hopkins became a bonafide star with a performance that captured the public imagination. For the role, Hopkins won an Academy Award.

1993: Not resting on his laurels, Hopkins followed up his success with “The Remains of the Day.” For the film, Hopkins was nominated for another Oscar. That same year, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

1995: The actor went to the White House. Though physically dissimilar, Hopkins channeled President Richard Nixon in a biopic by Oliver Stone that examined his fall from grace. The role would earn Hopkins yet another Academy Award nomination.

1997: But Hopkins also knew how to have fun with his roles. How else do you describe “The Edge,” which co-starred Alec Baldwin?

Hopkins isn’t the obvious choice when making a survival movie about a man’s fight against a rampaging bear. But he certainly classes up what could have been a forgettable film. The actor is downright eloquent in this commentary on the extremes a person will go through to survive.

Hopkins Continues to Act to This Day

2000: Though he doesn’t appear on camera, Hopkins played an important role in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in 2000. He acted as the film’s narrator, commenting on the Grinch’s dastardly deeds and his ultimate redemption.

2001: In 2001, Hopkins reprised his iconic role as Hannibal Lecter in an expanded role for “Hannibal.” Though not as well-received as the original, Hopkins remained just as captivating as ever. He would reprise the role one last time for 2002’s “Red Dragon.”

2007: For the action-adventure, “Beowulf” Hopkins made his foray into animation and CGI. He lent his gravitas to the role as king in the film. A year prior in 2006, Hopkins accepted the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement.

2011: Hopkins continued classing up blockbusters with “Thor” as King Odin. Hopkins portrayed the king as a kind but weary king, trying to teach his sons a lesson. He would reprise the role two more times with “Thor: The Dark World” and “Thor: Ragnarok.”

2016 through Present: With HBO’s “Westworld,” Hopkins made his return to television. He portrayed the enigmatic inventor of the park’s robots. After his stint on the show, Hopkins followed that role with another TV show. He appeared on “The Two Popes” as Pope Benedict XVI. Earlier this year, he portrayed a man struggling with slowly losing his memories in the poginant “The Father.”