Anthony Hopkins ranks as one of the most versatile and challenging actors of our time. In either box-office returns or career longevity he has outpaced all the British luminaries to whom he has been likened and, even now, in his 70th year, the unparalleled dynamism of his performance continues to impress. But, undeniably, it is his dark and seductive portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991) with which he remains globally associated.Born in Wales in 1937, the son of a baker, Hopkins was a misfit growing up. He failed at school, immersing himself in various forms of art rather than attending to his studies; walked out on the National Theatre; and lost himself in years of alcohol abuse. But this all a million miles away from the spectacular success Hopkins has gone on to achieve. Over the years he has won a multitude of awards, including an Oscar, and in 1993 a knighthood.