Sir Anthony Hopkins opened up on his battle with alcoholism and said he was “very difficult to work with” because he was usually hung over.
The Oscar-winning star of films including The Silence Of The Lambs, The Elephant Man and Legends Of The Fall spoke to an audience in Los Angeles about his life and career.
Sir Anthony, 80, discussed his problems with alcohol and the impact it had on his early career on stage.
He said: “Because that’s what you do in theatre, you drink. But I was very difficult to work with, as well, because I was usually hungover.”
Sir Anthony added he had been “disgusted, busted and not to be trusted” while he was drinking.
The Welsh actor told how he turned his life around following a talk with a woman from Alcoholics Anonymous in December 1975.
He said the woman asked him, “why don’t you just trust in God?” and from then on the urge to drink was “never to return”.
Speaking to about 500 students at the University Of California, Los Angeles on Wednesday, Sir Anthony, who was knighted in 1993 for services to the arts, said he got into acting “because he had nothing better to do”, adding he was “not at all bright” in school and was often bullied.
Sir Anthony told the students at the 11th annual Leap, Leadership, Excellence and Accelerating Your Potential, conference: “I believe that we are capable of so much.
“From my own life, I still cannot believe that my life is what it is because I should have died in Wales, drunk or something like that.”
He now lives in Malibu with his actress wife, Stella Arroyave, and advised students to, “say yes to everything. Say yes and take the risk”.
Sir Anthony is widely considered to be one of the world’s greatest living actors and is perhaps best known for his portrayal of cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter in 1991’s The Silence Of The Lambs, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, its sequel Hannibal and its prequel Red Dragon.
He recently starred in HBO drama Westworld and will appear in the Netflix’s The Pope where he stars as Pope Benedict.