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Welsh rare bits – 10 things you didn’t know about Anthony Hopkins

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During his long career Sir Anthony Hopkins has played everything from psycho killer to king, from Zorro to butler.

In The Human Stain, co-starring Nicole Kidman, the 66-year-old Oscar-winner plays a Jewish college professor with a secret past who is drummed out of his job for an idle comment that is construed as racist.

A strange role for a Welshman, but Sir Anthony has always taken the unusual path. Here’s 10 facts to prove it:

1) Hopkins’s father ran the family bakery business, AR Hopkins and Son, in Port Talbot.

2) Young Tony had no interest in the company and spent his time alone, sketching or playing the piano. He had considerable musical talent.

3) Hopkins on his education: “I was lousy at school. Real screwed-up. A moron. I was antisocial and didn’t bother with the other kids. A really bad student. I didn’t have any brains.”

4) The would-be actor was called up for National Service in 1958 and became Gunner Hopkins of the Royal Artillery. Any hopes of adventure were dashed and he spent “nearly two years typing”.

5) His movie debut came in Lindsay Anderson’s pop-art film The White Bus in 1967.

6) His work as a young Richard The Lionheart in the following year’s The Lion In Winter brought him notice and paved the way for future successes.

7) Hopkins made his first big impression in America in 1974 as an ex-Nazi doctor in QB VII, which is regarded as the first mini-series.

8) The same year he made his Broadway debut in Peter Schaffer’s play Equus, going on to direct the Los Angeles production in 1977.

9) It was at this stage of his career that he realised that he had to put an end to his battle with the bottle and in 1975 he gave up drinking.

10) When Spartacus (1960) was re-issued in 1991, a scene featuring Laurence Olivier was restored but the soundtrack was lost. As Olivier had died, Hopkins dubbed his dialogue.

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