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Lecter was introduced in the 1981 thriller novel Red Dragon as a brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer. The novel and its sequel, The Silence of the Lambs, feature Lecter as the secondary antagonist after the two serial killers in both novels. In the third novel, Hannibal, Lecter becomes a main character. His role as the antihero occurs in the fourth novel, Hannibal Rising, which explores his childhood and development into a serial killer.
The first film adapted from the Harris novels was Manhunter (based on Red Dragon) which features Brian Cox as Lecter, spelled "Lecktor". In 1991, Anthony Hopkins won an Academy Award for his portrayal of the character in The Silence of the Lambs. He would reprise the role in Hannibal in 2001 and in a second adaptation of Red Dragon made in 2002 under the original title. In 2003, Hannibal Lecter (as portrayed by Hopkins) was chosen by the American Film Institute as the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AFI%27s_100_Years..._100_Heroes_and_Villains
- 1 movie villain]. Empire magazine lists Lecter as the fifth Greatest Movie Character of All Time. In June 2010, Entertainment Weekly named him one of the 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years.
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