Kate Beckinsale
Kate Beckinsale

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Birth Name: Kathryn Bailey Beckinsale

Date of Birth: July 26, 1973

Place of Birth: London, England, UK

Occupation: Actress

Height: 5' 8"

Best Known For: Pearl Harbor, Van Helsing and Underworld

Kate Beckinsale Biography

Kate Beckinsale was born on July 26, 1973, in London, England. Her mother, Judy Loe, is a stage and television actress, and her father, Richard Beckinsale, was a television actor. Richard died of heart failure in 1979 at the age of 31, when Beckinsale was just 6-years-old. She has a paternal half-sister, Samantha, who is also an actress.

Beckinsale attended the private institution Godolphin and Latymer School, and in her teens twice won the W. H. Smith Young Writers' competition — once for three short stories and once for three poems. 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, though she did not finish her degree. 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 quit the university and concentrate on her acting career. Kate starred in a 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 and in stage roles, including the well-received Cold Comfort Farm, opposite British silver and small screen notables Rufus Sewell, Eileen Atkins, Joanna Lumley and Stephen Fry.

Her 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, after actress Charlize Theron turned down the part. 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 were high-profile, but were given a somewhat poor critical reception, including Serendipity (2001), Underworld (2003) and Van Helsing (2004). Notably, she appeared as Ava Gardner in The Aviator, a role for which she gained 20 pounds.

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 at the #1 spot at the box office, grossing over $26 million in its first weekend of release. Also in 2006, Beckinsale appeared in the Adam Sandler starring comedy-drama, Click, which opened on June 23. Next, Beckinsale replaced Sarah Jessica Parker in the film Vacancy, released in 2007. Her next role will be in Snow Angels, which is in post-production and scheduled for release some time in 2008.

Beckinsale and her ex-boyfriend Michael Sheen have a daughter, Lily Mo Sheen (born January 31, 1999). She reported in interviews that during her pregnancy with Lily was the only time she's ever stopped smoking. During the Underworld shoot, Beckinsale split from Sheen, who starred as her mortal enemy, Lucian, leader of the Lycans. She became involved with the director of the film, Len Wiseman. In June 2003, Beckinsale became engaged to Wiseman, and the two were married on May 9, 2004 in Bel-Air, California.
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