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Ben Kingsley

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Also Known As: Krishna Bhanji, Sir Ben Kingsley Died:
Born: December 31, 1943 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Yorkshire, England, GB Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Exuding an air of gravitas in whatever role he played, Academy Award winner Sir Ben Kingsley made a specialty of playing historical characters, ranging from Dmitri Shostakovich in "Testimony (1987) to mobster Meyer Lansky in "Bugsy" (1991). His most acclaimed performance, however, was in Sir Richard Attenborough's epic biopic "Gandhi" (1982), in which he played the title role of one of the 20th Century's most revered and influential figures. Thanks to that Oscar-winning performance, Kingsley went from being a relatively obscure character actor to an international star overnight. In the 1990s, Kingsley dramatically reinvented himself by taking on shadier, more morally ambiguous characters, such as the smarmy bad guy in "Sneakers" (1992), the trusted associate of Oskar Schindler in "Schindler's List" (1993), and the physician-torturer of "Death and the Maiden" (1994). Kingsley later delivered one of the most explosive performances of his career as the uninhibitedly ferocious criminal Don Logan in the British gangster feature "Sexy Beast" (2001), a role that transformed his image while earning a ton of award buzz. He went on to a variety of roles in the dark character drama "House of Sand and Fog"...

Exuding an air of gravitas in whatever role he played, Academy Award winner Sir Ben Kingsley made a specialty of playing historical characters, ranging from Dmitri Shostakovich in "Testimony (1987) to mobster Meyer Lansky in "Bugsy" (1991). His most acclaimed performance, however, was in Sir Richard Attenborough's epic biopic "Gandhi" (1982), in which he played the title role of one of the 20th Century's most revered and influential figures. Thanks to that Oscar-winning performance, Kingsley went from being a relatively obscure character actor to an international star overnight. In the 1990s, Kingsley dramatically reinvented himself by taking on shadier, more morally ambiguous characters, such as the smarmy bad guy in "Sneakers" (1992), the trusted associate of Oskar Schindler in "Schindler's List" (1993), and the physician-torturer of "Death and the Maiden" (1994). Kingsley later delivered one of the most explosive performances of his career as the uninhibitedly ferocious criminal Don Logan in the British gangster feature "Sexy Beast" (2001), a role that transformed his image while earning a ton of award buzz. He went on to a variety of roles in the dark character drama "House of Sand and Fog" (2003), Roman Polanski's adaptation of Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist" (2005), the high-energy crime thriller "Lucky Number Slevin" (2006), and Martin Scorsese's psychological thriller "Shutter Island" (2010). By the time he co-starred in the fantastical "Hugo" (2011), Kingsley was long established as one of Hollywood's most gifted and esteemed performers.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Jungle Book, The (2015)
2.
3.
 Boxtrolls, The (2014)
4.
5.
 Autobahn (2014)
6.
7.
 Eliza Graves (2014)
8.
 War Story (2014)
9.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Salford, England
1964:
Turned down by Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, accepted into the Children's Theatre
1966:
Cast as Ron Jenkins on the British soap opera "Coronation Street" (ITV)
1967:
Became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)
:
Moved to the Royal Court Theater in London in the early 1970s
1970:
Cast in Peter Brook's acclaimed production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
1973:
First small film role, "Fear is the Key"
1975:
Appeared in the BBC miniseries "The Love School"
1977:
Played Mosca in Peter Hall's production of Ben Jonson's "Volpone" for the Royal National Theatre
1979:
Originated the role of Squeers in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of "Nicholas Nickleby"; unable to reprise role on Broadway due to film commitments
1982:
Breakthrough role as Mohandas Gandhi in the Academy Award-winning film "Gandhi"
1983:
Acted in the film version of Harold Pinter's "Betrayal"
1984:
First TV-movie, "Camille" (CBS)
1984:
Broadway debut in the one-man show "Edmund Kean"
1985:
Re-teamed with screenwriter Pinter (opposite Glenda Jackson) for John Irvin's "Turtle Diary"
1985:
Offered outstanding turn in the title role of "Silas Marner" (PBS)
1987:
Acted the part of a flaky hypnotist in James Ivory's "Maurice"
1987:
Starred as Russian composer Dimitri Shostokovitch in "Testimony"
1988:
First American film, "Without a Clue" playing Dr. Watson to Michael Caine's Sherlock Holmes
1988:
Acted opposite Helen Mirren in James Dearden's "Pascali's Island"
1989:
Essayed the title role of "Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story" (HBO)
1991:
Earned a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination for his role as Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky in "Bugsy"
1991:
Narrated Showtime's "The Tiger and the Brahmin"
1992:
Delivered villainous turn as Cosmo in the high-tech thriller "Sneakers"
1993:
Played the mentor of a young chess prodigy in "Searching for Bobby Fischer"
1993:
Portrayed the trusted associate Itshak Stern to Liam Neeson's Oskar Schindler in Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List"
1994:
Portrayed a physician who once tortured Sigourney Weaver in Roman Polanski's "Death and the Maiden"
1995:
Cast in the Emmy Award winning TNT miniseries, "Joseph"
1996:
Played the title role in the TNT miniseries "Moses"
1997:
Appeared as Estragon in a West End stage production of "Waiting for Godot"
1997:
Delivered uninspired turn as Mossad commander Amos in Christian Duguay's "The Assignment"
1998:
Portrayed the titular Demon Barber in Showtime's "The Tale of Sweeney Todd"
1998:
Appeared in the NBC telefilm "Dostoevsky's 'Crime and Punishment'" as Magistrate Porfiry
1999:
Acted the part of Major Caterpillar in NBC's movie adaptation of "Alice in Wonderland"
2000:
Landed supporting role in "What Planet Are You From?"
2000:
Appeared as the Yemeni ambassador in "Rules of Engagement"
2000:
Delivered an acclaimed, scene-stealing turn as a British gangster in "Sexy Beast"; received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor
2001:
Played Otto Frank in the ABC miniseries "Anne Frank"; received Emmy nomination
2001:
Co-starred with Fiona Shaw and Mira Sorvino in "The Triumph of Love"
2002:
Cast in the family drama "Tuck Everlasting"
2003:
Portrayed an Iranian immigrant opposite Jennifer Connelly in Vadim Perelman's "House of Sand and Fog"; received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Male Lead; also earned Golden Globe, SAG and Academy Award nominations for Best Actor
2004:
Cast as The Hood in "Thunderbirds," based on the cult British television show from the 1960s
2004:
Starred opposite Aaron Eckhart in the thriller "Suspect Zero"
2005:
Cast as pickpocket kingpin Fagin in Roman Polanski's adaptation of "Oliver Twist"
2006:
Played 'The Rabbi,' a crime boss after Josh Hartnett in the thriller "Lucky Number Slevin"
2006:
Played famed cardiologist Herman Tarnower who was murdered by his jilted lover Jean Harris (Annette Bening) in the HBO movie "Mrs. Harris"; earned Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor in a Miniseries
2007:
Played an alcoholic hit man in the dark comedy "You Kill Me"
2008:
Co-starred with Famke Janssen and Josh Peck in "The Wackness"
2008:
Co-starred opposite Penélope Cruz in "Elegy"
2010:
Played the chief physician at a hospital for the criminally insane in Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island"
2010:
Co-starred opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time"
2010:
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
2011:
Cast in the family adventure "Hugo"; again directed by Scorsese
2012:
Acted opposite Sacha Baron Cohen in political satire "The Dictator"
2013:
Featured in "Iron Man 3"
2013:
Appeared in the sci-fi movie "Ender's Game"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Salford: -
Pendleton College: -
Manchester Grammar School: Fallowfield , Manchester -

Notes

Named chairman of jury at the 1998 Berlin Film Festival.

Awarded knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in the New Year's Eve honors 2001.

"I don't want to do theater work until people stop saying, and apologize to us cinema actors for saying, and assuming, that we should really go back to the theater, because actually it is more noble. The more they say that, the more I will say I'm not going to do theater for a while. It's patronizing bunk." --Ben Kingsley in Daily News, July 6, 1995.

"People think if you play a man like Gandhi, somehow it rubs off on you. They were convinced I must have evolved spiritually when I did that film. I didn't. I worked my socks off, learned my lines, lost alot of weight and acquired probably the most eccentric set of mannerisms ever see on screen. I had no time to evolve spiritually." --Ben Kingsley to Los Angeles Times, April 5, 1996..

"The role of an actor is to constantly remind us of our humanity"---Kingsley to Premiere December 2003

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Angela Morant. Actor. Married in 1966; divorced in 1972; mother of Kingsley's two older children.
wife:
Alison Sutcliffe. Theater director. Born c. 1946; married on July 1, 1978; separated c. 1992; divorced; worked with her on developing his one-man stage show "Edmund Kean"; mother of Kingsley's two younger sons.
companion:
Kate Townsend. Living together since 1993.
wife:
Alexandra Christmann. Model. Born c. 1975; married in Fall 2003.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji. Physician. Of Indian extraction; born in Kenya; while attending college had been nicknamed "Ben"; Kingsley's first name is a tribute to his father.
mother:
Anna Lyna Mary Bhanji. Fashion model, actor. Of English extraction.
son:
Thomas Kingsley. Mother, Angela Morant.
daughter:
Jasmine Kingsley. Mother, Angela Morant.
son:
Edmund Kingsley. Born in July 1982, mother, Alison Sutcliffe; attending RADA as of 2000.
son:
Ferdinand Kingsley. Mother, Alison Sutcliffe.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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