Dec. 31st, 1943
Snainton, Yorkshire, England, UK
Ben Kingsley's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Sir Ben Kingsley, CBE (born Krishna Pandit Bhanji; December 31, 1943) is an English actor. In a career spanning over 40 years, he has won an Oscar, Grammy, BAFTA, two Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards. He is perhaps most well known for his starring role as Mohandas Gandhi in the 1982 film Gandhi, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. He is also known for his performances in the films Schindler's List (1993), Sexy Beast (2000), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), Hugo (2011), and Iron Man 3 (2013). In 2013 he received the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles 'Albert R. Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Filmed Entertainment.'
Kingsley was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2000, and was made a Knight Bachelor by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002. In 2010, Kingsley was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Kingsley was born in Snainton, the then-North Riding of Yorkshire. He is the son of Anna Lyna Mary (née Goodman), an actress and model who appeared in films in the 1920s and 1930s, and Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji, a medical doctor.
Kingsley's father, born in Kenya, was of Gujarati Indian Ismaili Muslim Khoja descent. Kingsley's paternal grandfather was a spice trader who had moved from India to Zanzibar, where Kingsley's father lived until moving to Britain at the age of 14. Kingsley's mother was British; she was born out of wedlock, and "was loath to speak of her background". Kingsley's maternal grandfather was believed by the family to have been of Russian- or German-Jewish descent, while Kingsley's maternal grandmother was of English background, and worked in the garment district of East London. Kingsley stated in 1994: "I'm not Jewish... and though there might be some Russian-Jewish heritage way back on my mother's side, the thread is so fine there's no real evidence".
Kingsley grew up in Pendlebury, near Manchester. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School, where one of his classmates was the actor Robert Powell.
Kingsley made the transition to film roles early on, with his first role coming in Fear Is the Key, released in 1972. Kingsley continued starring in bit roles in both film and television, including a role as Ron Jenkins on the soap opera Coronation Street from 1966 to 1967 and regular appearances as a defence counsel in the long-running British legal programme Crown Court. In 1975, he starred as Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the BBCs historical drama The Love School.
Kingsley has since appeared in a variety of roles. His credits included the films Turtle Diary, Maurice, Pascali's Island, Without a Clue (as Dr. Watson alongside Michael Caine's Sherlock Holmes), Suspect Zero, Bugsy (nominated for Best Supporting Actor), Sneakers, Dave, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Schindler's List, Silas Marner, Death and the Maiden, Sexy Beast, for which he received another Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and House of Sand and Fog, which led to an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. He won a Crystal Globe award for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2001.
In 2013, he appeared as Mazer Rackham in the movie adaptation of Ender's Game.
Kingsley has been married four times and has four children: Thomas Bhanji and artist Jasmin Bhanji, with actress Angela Morant, and Edmund Kingsley and Ferdinand Kingsley, both of whom became actors, with theatrical director Alison Sutcliffe. In 2005, he divorced German-born Alexandra Christmann, having been "deeply, deeply shocked" after pictures of her kissing another man surfaced on the Internet. On September 3, 2007, Kingsley married Daniela Lavender, a Brazilian actress, at Eynsham Hall, in North Leigh, Oxfordshire.
- Was listed as a potential nominee on both the 2005 and 2006 Razzie Award nominating ballots. He was suggested in the Worst Supporting Actor category on the 2005 ballot for his role in the film _Thunderbirds (2004)_ (qv). And he was suggested again the next year in the Worst Supporting Actor category of the 2006 Razzie nominating ballot for his performance in the film _A Sound of Thunder (2005)_ (qv). He failed to receive either nomination. The very next year (2007) though, he got a Worst Supporting Actor Razzie Nomination for his performance in the film _BloodRayne (2005)_ (qv).
- Educated at Manchester Grammar School.
- Son of a GP.
- At the age of ten he went busking outside a cinema in Llanelli, South Wales, with his friend Shirley Edwards.
- Is of half Indian and half English descent. His father, Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji, was a Kenyan-born physician of Indian descent while his mother, Anna Lyna Mary Bhanji, was an English-born fashion model of Jewish-European extraction.
- His performance as Don Logan in _Sexy Beast (2000)_ (qv) is ranked #97 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
- One of eight actors of Asian descent nominated for an Academy Award in an acting category. The others are 'Miyoshi Umeki' (qv), 'Sessue Hayakawa' (qv), 'Mako (I)' (qv), 'Haing S. Ngor' (qv), 'Pat Morita' (qv), 'Ken Watanabe (I)' (qv), and 'Rinko Kikuchi' (qv).
- Made his London stage debut in 1966 as the narrator of "A Smashing Day" produced by 'The Beatles' (qv) manager, 'Brian Epstein (I)' (qv). He wrote the music for the production as well as sang and played guitar for same. After one performance, 'John Lennon (I)' (qv) and 'Ringo Starr' (qv) came backstage and told him that he should go into music and that if he didn't, "he would regret it for the rest of his life." He was subsequently offered a deal by the same publishers who handled 'The Beatles' (qv), but he chose to remain an actor. The next year, he was invited to join the Royal Shakespeare Company and his choice was made.