Anthony Hopkins


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Hopkins was nervous prior to going on stage, but since that night he has relaxed, quoting his mentor: "He [Olivier] said: 'Remember: nerves is [sic] vanity – you’re wondering what people think of you; to hell with them, just jump off the edge’. It was great advice. " Despite his success at the National, Hopkins tired of repeating the same roles nightly and yearned to be in films. He made his small-screen debut in a 1967 BBC broadcast of A Flea in Her Ear. His first starring role in a film came in 1964 in Changes, a short directed by Drewe Henley, written and produced by James Scott and co-starring Jacqueline Pearce. In 1968, he got his break in The Lion in Winter playing Richard the Lionheart. Although Hopkins continued in theatre (most notably at the National Theatre as Lambert Le Roux in Pravda by David Hare and Howard Brenton and as Antony in Antony and Cleopatra opposite Judi Dench as well as in the Broadway production of Peter Shaffer's Equus) he gradually moved away from it to become more established as a television and film actor. He portrayed Charles Dickens in the BBC television film The Great Inimitable Mr. Dickens in 1970, and Pierre Bezukhov in the BBC's mini series War and Peace (1972). Making a name for himself as a screen actor, in 1972 he starred as British politician David Lloyd George in Young Winston, and in 1977 he played British Army officer John Frost in the World War II-set film A Bridge Too Far. Both of these films were directed by Richard Attenborough, who described Hopkins as "unquestionably the greatest actor of his generation".