Date of Birth: October 5, 1975
Place of Birth: Reading, Berkshire, UK
Height: 5' 6"
|Kate Winslet Biography
A luminous English rose with ivory skin and strawberry hair, Winslet made an impressive feature debut as Juliet Hulme, an intelligent, spoiled and sickly teenager who helps murder her best girlfriend's mother in Peter Jackson's acclaimed Heavenly Creatures (1994). A third-generation thespian, the Reading, England native began studying drama at the age of eleven. Winslet began her career almost immediately when she was cast as a spokesperson for a cereal in British TV commercials. Stage roles followed, including the female leads in a musical version of Adrian Mole. She made her TV debut in the drama Shrinks and her resume also includes a recurring stint on the sitcom Get Back.
Winslet landed the role of Juliet in Heavenly Creatures after an impressive audition. Her on screen performance marked her as one to watch: she was riveting as the tubercular, highly intelligent teen who develops a strong rapport with a fellow student, allowing the pair to create a fantasy world and, when threatened with separation, conspire to commit murder. Winslet then played a princess in Disney's A Kid in King Arthur's Court (1995) before winning raves and an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her subtle performance as the spirited Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility (also 1995). Winslet continued to appear in period pieces with Jude (1996). Adapted from Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy, the film featured Winslet as Sue, the title character's unconventional cousin whose mercurial nature creates problems. Later that year, she was Ophelia to Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet, in the actor-director's all-star feature version of the Shakespeare classic.
Moving from Shakespeare, Winslet adopted an American accent as a Philadelphia socialite who finds unlikely romance with a lower-class artist (Leonardo DiCaprio) in James Cameron's spectacular Titanic (1997). More than just a film, Titanic became a phenomenon: grossing more than $600 million and earning 14 Oscar nominations, including one for Winslet for Best Actress. Her onscreen chemistry with DiCaprio had a cross-generational appeal and the young actress found herself on magazine covers and fodder for the tabloids. Rather than become confined to Hollywood blockbusters, though, Winslet accepted roles in two rather small films that both shared some similarities in that they revolved around a spiritual search. Hideous Kinky (1999) cast the actress as the mother of two young daughters who packs up and heads to Marrakech seeking wisdom from a Sufi. Holy Smoke (also 1999) saw her portray a cult member whose family hires a deprogrammer. Both roles allowed the young actress to display her emotional intensity and daring range, as well as to play relatively contemporary characters.
In 2000, it was back to the petticoats as Winslet portrayed a laundress in the asylum of Charenton who colludes with the incarcerated Marquis de Sade to help smuggle out his writings in Quills. Once again, the actress demonstrated her remarkable gifts for playing intelligent and sensual characters, and to continue to reveal her utter fearlessness as an actress, unafraid to explore dark corners and push conventional boundaries. In Enigma (2001), the WWII-era spy drama in which she co-starred as a mathematician working on breaking the German code, she took a role that was less emotionally charged and edgy, instead more subtle. Again she showed a gift for believably thinking on screen in the contemplative drama. Iris (also 2001), in which she essayed the youthful incarnation of the British philosopher and novelist Iris Murdoch, was a return to form (although she split the role with Judi Dench, who played Murdoch in her Alzheimer's period, a juicier era for an actress to explore). Nevertheless, Winslet caught Murdoch's unconventional, free-spirited youth and realistically portrayed her romance with her eventual husband. Her work brought the actress a third career Academy Award nomination, this time as Best Supporting Actress. Winslet next appeared as Elizabeth "Bitesy" Bloom, an ambitious reporter investigating the case of a death row inmate in The Life of David Gale (2003). Winslet was praised for her performance, but it couldn't overcome the bad feelings engendered by the film's overwrought, unconvincing story and the overkill behind its anti-death penalty message.
The full-figured Winslet proudly refused to conform to the typical Hollywood standard for extreme thinness, and her fan base loved her for it—not only was she happy with her figure, she unabashedly displayed it in several films and spoke openly of defying her industry's physical expectations. A small firestorm erupted in 2003, however, when a radically thinned-down Winslet appeared on the cover of GQ magazine. It turned out that the actress was digitally slimmed by photo retouchers, but she blamed the controversy on herself for being so outspoken on the subject—still, she claimed she had no plans to change her own natural shape.
In 2004, Winslet took on another free-spirited role for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind playing Clementine, the ex-girlfriend with the multicolored hair whose break-up with her repressed boyfriend (Jim Carrey) prompts him to undergo a procedure to erase all trace of her from his memory. Again employing a flawless American accent, Winslet turned in a rich, multi-layered performance in one her best films to date, though it was not a major box office champion. The role did, however, earn the actress several award nominations: she was given nods by the Screen Actors Guild, the Golden Globes, and the Academy Awards. In Finding Neverland (2004), Winslet was on top of her game once more, playing Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, the widowed mother of four boys who, along with her sons, becomes the muse for Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) and whose life takes a tragic turn.
In 2005, Winslet appeared in an episode of Ricky Gervais' comedy series Extras, as a satirical version of herself. She memorably told Andy and Maggie, the two characters who star in the series, that she was doing a film about the Holocaust because she was tired of losing out on Oscars, as she's been nominated four times, and that everyone who does a film about the Holocaust wins an Oscar. She also (while dressed as a nun) was shown giving phone sex tips to the romantically challenged Maggie. Her performance in the episode earned her a nomination for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Performance in a Comedy Series.
In 2006, Winslet earned her 5th Oscar nomination, her 3rd in the Best Actress category, for her performance in Little Children. In the film, Winslet portrays Sarah Pierce, an unhappy housewife who finds joy and love with another parent played by Patrick Wilson. Also in 2006, Winslet appeared in All the King's Men, which was based on the Robert Penn Warren novel of the same name, was heard in the animated film Flushed Away, and starred alongside Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black in the disastrous romantic comedy, The Holiday.
In 2008, Winslet will again appear on screen with Titanic co-star Leonardo DiCaprio, in Revolutionary Road. They will be playing the Wheelers, a '50s couple who appear content on the surface but are withering internally. Also in 2008, Winslet will lend her voice to the animated feature Gnomeo and Juliet.Winslet married director Jim Threapleton on November 22, 1998. They have one daughter together, Mia Honey, who was born on October 12, 2000. Winslet and Threapleton divorced in 2001, and Winslet reportedly dated playwright Jeff Smeenge briefly before she met director Sam Mendes. She and Mendes married on May 24, 2003, on the island of Anguilla in the Caribbean. They have one son together, Joe Alfie, who was born on December 22, 2003.
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