6 MAY 2008

When Anthony Hopkins took part in a play at the YMCA in the Welsh town of Port Talbot 53 years ago even he couldn't have imagined the glittering career that lay ahead of him. On Monday the Oscar winner took a trip down memory lane when he visited the site where he first stepped onto the stage.

"I can still remember the smell of the place, and that terrazzo floor at the entrance... it still has the same pattern!" he laughed as he entered the building.

The Silence Of The Lambs star paid the visit to his hometown during a break in lensing thriller flick The Wolfman in Wiltshire. "The filming is only just over the Severn Bridge and I wanted to come and give a bit of support to a place which did a lot for me," he explained.

The 70-year-old actor, who has lived in the US since taking out American citizenship in 2000, spent his time chatting to youngsters and explaining how the YMCA helped kick-start his career over five decades ago.

"One night, when I was 18 years old, my father insisted I get out of the house and make some friends. I was completely without direction and he was fed up of me hanging around the house," explained the star. "He sent me to the YMCA. I'd gone to learn snooker, but I discovered an acting group was preparing a play. That's where the acting business all began for me!"

Photo: ©
At the YMCA where he took his first steps as an actor, the Oscar winner was shown a montage of photos from his movies. "It’s a bit of an ego trip!" he joked Photo: © Rex
Photo: ©
Sir Anthony was accompanied on the trip by his Colombia-born wife Stella Photo: © Rex
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