Page last updated at 17:32 GMT, Monday, 5 May 2008 18:32 UK

Hopkins returns to acting roots


Anthony Hopkins says it was important for him to return to Port Talbot

Oscar-winner Sir Anthony Hopkins has returned to the place where his acting career began - the YMCA in Port Talbot.

The 70-year-old Hollywood great visited the hall 53 years after he first took to the stage performing small roles in his hometown.

He said he was "moved" to be given a plaque of the Welsh dragon by the current young members of the YMCA.

The actor started there in Easter 1955 after being inspired by fellow local film star Richard Burton.

Hopkins' wife Stella had visited the YMCA when the couple came to Wales to celebrate the star's 70th birthday with old friends at Margam Park near Port Talbot on New Year's Eve.

YMCA in Port Talbot
Sir Anthony took on small parts at the YMCA in Port Talbot

Now it was his turn to visit the birthplace of his career, which is full of memorabilia and gifts from Sir Anthony, who has starred in films including Silence of the Lambs and The Elephant Man.

"This was where my whole life as an actor started," he said.

"I wasn't here that long - I went to Cardiff College of Music and Drama and from then on life unfolds itself and here we are 53 years later.

"I dream of Port Talbot quite a lot so obviously it has a significant meaning for me, Wales and Port Talbot."

Sir Anthony said he walked into the YMCA one day after being inspired by Richard Burton, who he met once and asked for an autograph.

"I wanted to become an actor although I had no dreams that I could become one," he said.

Sir Anthony Hopkins
Sir Anthony was "moved" to be given a plaque of the Welsh dragon

The actor, who now lives in the USA, said it was important for him to remember his past.

"I'm just drawn to my own past," he said.

"I don't think I'm obsessed with it but I think about my parents, my mother and father - they had a baker's shop down in Taibach.

"They were instrumental in pushing me on. My father had given up on me - he thought I was a hopeless case. No, he was very proud of me when I became successful."

Sir Anthony said he had told the youngsters who are now treading the boards at the YMCA to "dream big dreams."

"They gave me a wonderful plaque which says, to quote Einstein, "Imagination is everything. It's the preview of life's coming attractions. Albert Einstein".

"It's a beautiful plaque. I was quite moved by that. The story of my life!"

Sir Anthony turns 70 with friends
01 Jan 08 |  South West Wales
Hopkins back home for 70th bash
31 May 07 |  South West Wales
Hopkins weds for the third time
03 Mar 03 |  Entertainment


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