Golden Globe gong for lifetime work of 'Hannibal' Hopkins

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Sir Anthony Hopkins is to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes, joining an elite band of Hollywood stars including Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson and Robert Redford.

The actor, born near Port Talbot in Wales, will be presented with the Cecil B DeMille award for outstanding contributions to entertainment at the ceremony in Los Angeles on 16 January. The award is voted for by the board of directors of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

The 67-year-old star has been nominated for six Golden Globes for his performances in films including Remains of the Day and Nixon, but has never won, although he won an Oscar for playing Hannibal Lecter in Jonathan Demme's 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs.

One of the most talented actors of the post-war generation, Hopkins is also a controversial figure, who chose to take up US citizenship despite being knighted in Britain and preferred to star in television and film rather than exploit his talent for the stage.

As well as reprising his most famous role, that of the cannibalistic serial killer Lecter, twice - in Hannibal and Red Dragon - Hopkins is one of the few actors to have played two American presidents on screen - Richard Nixon, and John Quincy Adams in Amistad.

Never one to shy away from controversial characters, he also tackled the roles of Adolf Hitler in the 1981 television film The Bunker and Bruno Hauptmann in the 1976 TV movie The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case, earningEmmy awards for both.

Other well-known roles include the part of C S Lewis in the 1993 film Shadowlands, which tells the story of the Narnia author's love affair in later life with American Joy Gresham. In the same year, Hopkins earned critical acclaim for playing the uptight butler in the film adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel Remains of the Day.

Ian Freer, assistant editor of Empire magazine, said: "He is a consummate film actor. He can do big show-off things like Silence of the Lambs, but he can do quiet things like Remains of the Day and Shadowlands. He can do light comedy as in The Mask of Zorro and heavy drama."

Born on 31 December, 1937 in Margam, near Port Talbot - his father was a baker and his mother a distant relative of William Butler Yeats - Hopkins was inspired to act by his fellow Welshman Richard Burton. After winning scholarships to the Welsh College of Music and Drama and Rada, he became Laurence Olivier's understudy at the National Theatre.

Although he was lauded for his theatrical performances, including King Lear directed by David Hare, Hopkins soon carved out a successful career in TV films and mini-series, and later in cinema.

Peter Hepple, consultant editor of The Stage, said: "He really deserted the theatre in favour of Hollywood films. He was undoubtedly a notable actor in practically any field and in particular Shakespeare."

Hopkins also developed a preference for Los Angeles over the UK, becoming an American citizen in 2000, even though he had been knighted in 1993.

Following a period of alcoholism, Hopkins has been on the wagon since 1975.