Kate Beckinsale
File:Kate Beckinsale at 2008 TIFF cropped.jpg
Born Kathryn Bailey Beckinsale
(1973-07-26) 26 July 1973 (age 50)
London, England, UK
Occupation Actress
Years active 1991–present
Spouse(s) Len Wiseman (2004–present)

Kathryn Bailey "Kate" Beckinsale[1] (born 26 July 1973) is an English actress. She first gained notice, as a student at Oxford University, for making her debut in the film adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. Throughout the 1990s, she worked on both film and television, most notably by portraying the title character in the 1996 BBC television series Emma. In 2001, Beckinsale garnered international recognition when she was cast as the romantic lead opposite Ben Affleck in her breakthrough film, Pearl Harbor (2001). Since then, she has portrayed a variety of characters in projects such as Underworld (2003), The Aviator (2004), and Van Helsing (2004). In 2008, she earned a Critic's Choice Award nomination for her performance in Nothing But the Truth.

Early life[]

Born in Finsbury Park, London,[2] Beckinsale is the daughter of actor Richard Beckinsale, who died from a heart attack in 1979, and actress Judy Loe. She has a paternal half-sister, Samantha, who is also an actress. Her paternal great-grandfather was Burmese, and she has said that she was "very oriental-looking" as a child.[3]

Beckinsale attended the Godolphin and Latymer School, an all-girls' independent school in London.[4] In her teens, Beckinsale twice won the W. H. Smith Young Writers' competition—once for three short stories and once for three poems.[5] After a rebellious adolescence, including a period of anorexia and starting a smoking habit, she followed in the footsteps of her parents and began her acting career. Her first role was in One Against the Wind, a television film about World War II that was first aired in 1991. Having gained three language A levels, Beckinsale studied French and Russian literature at New College, Oxford University, though she did not finish her degree.[5] She thought that having an academic background studying foreign language and literature would broaden her range of acting roles.


During her first year at Oxford, Beckinsale was offered a part in Kenneth Branagh's big-screen film, Much Ado About Nothing, adapted from the Shakespeare play. She spent her last year of studies in Paris, after which she decided to leave the university and concentrate on her acting career.[5] In 1994, Beckinsale had a supporting role in Prince of Jutland, working alongside Christian Bale, with whom she would later reunite in the 2002 drama Laurel Canyon. Kate starred in Haunted (1995) with Aidan Quinn and John Gielgud and in the 1996 TV film adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma. She subsequently appeared in a few low-profile films, including Shooting Fish and The Last Days of Disco, both in 1998. During this time, Beckinsale also appeared in television films Alice Through the Looking Glass (1998) and in stage roles, including the well-received Cold Comfort Farm, opposite British film and television notables Ian McKellen, Rufus Sewell, Eileen Atkins, Joanna Lumley and Stephen Fry.

File:Kate Beckinsale.jpg

Beckinsale in the "54th Festival de Cine de San Sebastián"

Beckinsale's first major American film, Brokedown Palace (1999), was not a commercial success. Soon after, Beckinsale was cast in the 2001 film Pearl Harbor as the female lead opposite Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett. The film was one of the highest-grossing films of its year. In the years following, she appeared in a series of American films that, while high-profile, it was given mixed reviews, including Serendipity (2001), Underworld (2003) and Van Helsing (2004). In 2004, she portrayed Ava Gardner in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, a role for which she gained 20 pounds.

In 2006, Beckinsale was placed at #23 in FHM's "100 Sexiest Women in the World", after being #71 in 2005. She has also been placed at #16 in Maxim's "HOT 100" (2003), #63 in Stuff's "100 Sexiest Women in the World" (2002), and was chosen by the English magazine Hello! as "England’s #1 Beauty", also in 2002.

In January 2006, Beckinsale reprised her role as a vampire in the movie Underworld: Evolution, a sequel to her 2003 film, Underworld, again directed by her husband, Len Wiseman. The film opened in the #1 spot at the box office, grossing over $26 million in its first weekend of release.[6] Also in 2006, Beckinsale appeared in the comedy Click, starring Adam Sandler, which opened on 23 June. Next, Beckinsale replaced Sarah Jessica Parker[7] in the film Vacancy, released in 2007. Her next role was in Snow Angels, which was released in 2008.

At Comic-Con 2007, Beckinsale expressed interest in playing Catwoman in the current Christopher Nolan-directed Batman films. In April 2007, during an interview promoting Vacancy, Beckinsale claimed no knowledge of the rumors linking her to a remake of Barbarella. "I was told on the set yesterday, someone said, 'Oh I hear you're doing Barbarella,' one of the grips. So that's the most official it's become. Every woman would consider Barbarella for a moment, but I don't know."[8] Beckinsale eventually won a libel lawsuit against the Daily Express concerning the matter.[9]

Beckinsale is Esquire Magazine's Sexiest Woman Alive 2009.[10] She is signed to Independent Models in London.

As of 2009, Beckinsale's movies have grossed a total of $801,678,915 in the US.[11] In February 2010 was announced she will return in the Underworld Franchise.[12] She is scheduled to be part of the jury at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival in May.[13]

Personal life[]

Beckinsale and her former partner Michael Sheen have a daughter, Lily Mo Sheen (born 31 January 1999). She has reported in interviews that the only time she stopped smoking was while she was pregnant with her daughter Lily. Her daughter has acted, portraying a young version of her mother in most roles, including Underworld: Evolution and Everybody's Fine. During the Underworld shoot, Beckinsale split from Sheen, who was also starring in the film. She became involved with the director of the film, Len Wiseman.[14] In June 2003, Beckinsale became engaged to Wiseman, and the two were married on 9 May 2004 in Bel-Air, California.


Year Title Role Notes
1991 One Against the Wind Barbe Lindell
1993 Much Ado About Nothing Hero
1994 Uncovered Julia
1994 Prince of Jutland/Royal Deceit Ethel
1995 Cold Comfort Farm (1995) (TV) Flora Poste
Haunted Christina Mariell
1996 Emma Emma Woodhouse
1998 The Last Days of Disco Charlotte Pingress
Shooting Fish Georgie
Alice Through the Looking Glass Alice
1999 Brokedown Palace Darlene Davis
2001 Serendipity Sara Thomas
Pearl Harbor Nurse Lt. Evelyn Johnson
The Golden Bowl Maggie Verver
2002 Laurel Canyon Alex Elliot
2003 Underworld Selene
Tiptoes Carol
2004 The Aviator Ava Gardner
Van Helsing Anna Valerious
2006 Click Donna Newman
Underworld: Evolution Selene
2007 Vacancy Amy Fox
Snow Angels Annie Marchand
2008 Nothing But the Truth Rachel Armstrong (inspired by Judith Miller)
Fragments (aka Winged Creatures) Carla Davenport
2009 Underworld: Rise of the Lycans Selene Provided voice over in the beginning and end of the film and appeared in archive footage.
Whiteout Carrie Stetko
Everybody's Fine Amy
2010 One Last Wish Alicia Baker

Awards and nominations[]

Year Award Award ceremony Film Result
1997 Best Actress Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival Shooting Fish Template:Award-won
1999 British Supporting Actress of the Year (tied with Minnie Driver for Good Will Hunting) London Critics Circle Film Awards The Last Days of Disco Template:Award-won
2001 Film - Choice Chemistry (shared with Ben Affleck) Teen Choice Awards Pearl Harbor Template:Award-nom
2002 Best Actress Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA Serendipity Template:Award-nom
Best Female Performance MTV Movie Awards Pearl Harbor Template:Award-nom
Worst Screen Couple (shared with Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett) Razzie Awards Pearl Harbor Template:Award-nom
2004 Best Actress Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA Underworld Template:Award-nom
Best Trans-Atlantic Breakthrough Performer MTV Movie Awards Template:Award-nom
Choice Movie Actress - Drama/Action Adventure Teen Choice Awards Van Helsing (also for Underworld) Template:Award-nom
Choice Movie Chemistry (shared with Hugh Jackman) Teen Choice Awards Van Helsing Template:Award-nom
2005 Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (shared with the cast) Screen Actors Guild Awards The Aviator Template:Award-nom
Favorite Female Action Movie Star People's Choice Awards Template:Award-nom
2006 Best Hero MTV Movie Awards Underworld: Evolution Template:Award-nom
Movies - Choice Chemistry (shared with Adam Sandler) Teen Choice Awards Click Template:Award-nom
2007 Choice Movie: Scream Teen Choice Awards Vacancy Template:Award-nom
Favorite Female Action Star People's Choice Awards Template:Award-nom
2008 IGN Babe Election Template:Award-won
2008 Best Actress Critics' Choice Award Nothing But the Truth Template:Award-nom


  1. Das, Lina; Graham, Caroline. Who is Kate Beckinsale?, Daily Mail, 2001. Retrieved 2 July 2008.
  2. "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno". Interview with Jay Leno. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  3. "Beast in the beauty". The Telegraph Magazine. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  4. "Old Dolphins' Association". Godolphin and Latymer School. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Kate Beckinsale biography (page 3)". Tiscali. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  6. "Box Office Mojo". WEEKEND BOX OFFICE 20 January–22, 2006. Retrieved 5 July 2006. 
  7. Schneider, Karl (September 11, 2006). "Kate Beckinsale joins VACANCY". Mania Movies. Retrieved 14 April 2007. 
  8. "Kate Beckinsale Had Never Heard of 'Barbarella' Remake". April 20, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-14. 
  9. Grossberg, Josh (July 9, 2009). "Kate Beckinsale Wins Libel Award". E! Online. 
  10. Chiarella, Tom (October 2, 2009,). "Kate Beckinsale Is the Sexiest Woman Alive: Full Portfolio and Cover Story". Esquire (magazine). 
  11. "Kate Beckinsale". Box Office Mojo. 
  12. "Kate Beckinsale Confirmed for 'Underworld 3D', Some Exclusive Details". Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  13. "Hollywood Reporter: Cannes Lineup". hollywoodreporter. Retrieved 2010-04-15. 
  14. "Larger than life; Profile: Kate Beckinsale". Retrieved 2007-04-18. 

External links[]

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