Born in Chiswick, London, 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. Beckinsale's paternal great-grandfather was Burmese, and Beckinsale has said that she was "very oriental-looking" as a child.
Beckinsale attended the Godolphin and Latymer School, an all-girls independent school in London. In her teens, Beckinsale 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 leave the university and concentrate on her acting career. 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 and in stage roles, including the well-received Cold Comfort Farm, opposite British film and television 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). In 2005, 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 Maxims "HOT 100" (2003), #63 in Stuffs "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 ex-husband, Len Wiseman. The film opened at the #1 spot at the box office, grossing over $26 million in its first weekend of release. On 24 January 2006, Beckinsale was featured on the MTV series, Punk'd. The set-up for the segment took place at the Avalon Hotel in Los Angeles.
Also in 2006, Beckinsale appeared in the comedy Click, starring Adam Sandler, which opened on 23 June. Next, Beckinsale replaced Sarah Jessica Parker in the film Vacancy, released in 2007. Her next role was in Snow Angels, which was released in 2008.
At Comic-Con 2007, she 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."
Beckinsale is signed to Independent Models in London.
Beckinsale and her ex-boyfriend Michael Sheen have a daughter, Lily Mo Sheen (born 31 January 1999). She reported in interviews that during her pregnancy with Lily was the only time she has ever stopped smoking. 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. In June 2003, Beckinsale became engaged to Wiseman, and the two were married on 9 May 2004 in Bel-Air, California. In November 2015, Beckinsale and Wiseman announced their separation, and Wiseman filed for divorce in 2016. She is currently dating actor and comedian Pete Davidson.
- ↑ "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno". Interview with Jay Leno. Retrieved on 2008-03-17.
- ↑ "Beast in the beauty". The Age.com. Telegraph Magazine. Retrieved on 2008-08-25.
- ↑ "Old Dolphins' Association". Godolphin and Latymer School. Retrieved on 2008-08-25.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Kate Beckinsale biography (page 3)". Tiscali. Retrieved on 2008-08-25.
- ↑ "Box Office Mojo". WEEKEND BOX OFFICE 20 January–22, 2006. Retrieved on 5 July, 2006.
- ↑ "Kate Beckinsale joins VACANCY". Mania Movies. Retrieved on 14 April, 2007.
- ↑ "Kate Beckinsale Had Never Heard of 'Barbarella' Remake". Archived from the original on 2007-10-14.
- ↑ Template:Cite journal
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