Keira Christina Knightley (born March 26, 1985) is an Academy
Award-nominated English actress. She began her career as a child
actress, and came to international fame in 2003, after major roles
in the films Bend It Like Beckham, Pirates of the Caribbean: The
Curse of the Black Pearl and Pride and Prejudice. Knightley has
since become a notable lead actress, having starred in several Hollywood
films and receiving an Academy Award nomination for "Best Actress"
in 2005. Her most recent film is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead
Knightley was born in Teddington, Middlesex, England to Sharman
Macdonald, a Scottish actress turned award-winning playwright, and
Will Knightley, an English theatre and television actor. She has
an older brother, Caleb (b. 1979). Knightley lived most of her life
in Richmond upon Thames, attending Teddington School and Esher College.
She performed in a number of local amateur productions including
After Juliet (written by her mother) and United States (written
by her then drama teacher, John Ian "Macca" McShane).
Knightley began her acting career at the age of seven, making her
television debut in Royal Celebration (1993) and also appearing
on the television series, The Bill (1995). She appeared in several
more made-for-television films in the mid to late 1990s, before
being cast as Sabé, Padmé Amidala's decoy, in the
1999 science fiction blockbuster Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom
Menace. Knightley was cast in the role due to her close resemblance
to Natalie Portman, who played Padmé; the two actresses'
mothers had difficulty telling their daughters apart when they were
heavily made up. Knightley's first starring role followed in 2001,
when she played the daughter of Robin Hood in a made-for-television
Walt Disney Productions feature, Princess of Thieves. During this
time period, Knightley also appeared in The Hole, a thriller that
received a direct-to-video release in the United States, and in
a mini-series remake of Doctor Zhivago that was first aired in 2002.
Knightley's breakthrough role was in the English football-themed
film, Bend It Like Beckham, which was a major success in its August
2002 UK release, and did fairly at the box office upon its United
States release in March 2003, grossing $32 million. After Bend It
Like Beckham's UK release raised her profile, she was cast in the
big budget action film, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the
Black Pearl, which was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and opened
in July 2003 to positive reviews and a high box office gross, becoming
one of the biggest hits of summer 2003 and cementing Knightley as
a leading actress.
Knightley had a role in the British romantic comedy Love Actually,
which opened in November 2003. Her next film, King Arthur, opened
in July 2004 and received mixed reviews, but was praised by critic
Roger Ebert for "the considerable production qualities and
the charisma of the actors, who bring more interest to the characters
than they deserve", Knightley being described as looking "simultaneously
sexy and muddy". In the same month, Knightley was voted by
readers of Hello! magazine as the movie industry's most promising
teen star. She was also voted the sexiest movie star of all time
by the readers of Empire magazine, was ranked #79 by FHM in the
magazines UK Edition 2004 100 Sexiest Women in the World list,
#18 in 2005, and was ranked the sexiest woman in the world in 2006.
The U.S. Edition ranked her #54 in 2004, #11 in 2005 and #5 in 2006.
Additionally, Time magazine noted in a 2004 feature that Knightley
seemed dedicated to developing herself as a serious actress rather
than a film star.
Knightley starred in three 2005 films; The Jacket, a dark thriller
that opened in March; director Tony Scott's film Domino, which opened
in October, was an action film inspired by the life of bounty hunter
Domino Harvey; and finally Pride and Prejudice, an adaptation of
Jane Austen's novel, in which Knightley played regency Englishwoman
Elizabeth Bennet. The Jacket and Domino received mixed critical
receptions and performed poorly at the box office, but Pride and
Prejudice did well in the U.S. and opened at No. 1 in the UK box
office, and is Knightley's sixth film to do so. She received a Best
Actress - Comedy/Musical Golden Globes nomination and an Academy
Award for Best Actress nomination for the role, though she did not
win either. Her Valentino gown at the 2006 Golden Globe Awards won
her much acclaim and even landed her the top spot on Steven Cojocaru's
"Best Dressed List" on Entertainment Tonight, while the
dress she wore to the 2006 Academy Awards was recently donated to
the charity Oxfam, where it raised £4,300.
Knightley was the celebrity face for the luxury goods brand Asprey,
as well as Lux haircare products in Japanese TV commercials. In
April of 2006, she was confirmed as the new celebrity face of Chanel's
perfume "Coco Mademoiselle". Knightley appeared nude on
the cover of Vanity Fair magazine's March 2006 'Hollywood' issue,
with Scarlett Johansson, and was voted the World's Sexiest Woman
by FHM (UK) in their FHM 100 Sexiest Women in the World 2006 poll.
In May of 2006, Knightley was #9 on Maxim's 2006 Hot 100.
Knightley recently completed filming on a Pirates of the Caribbean
sequel, which is due for release in July of 2006. She has recently
finished filming Silk, an adaptation of the novel by Alessandro
Baricco, currently slated for a 2007 release date. In the summer
of 2006, Knightley will start work on Atonement and Pirates Of The
Caribbean 3, which is due for release in May of 2007. Knightley
was also recently cast in the role of Caitlin Thomas, wife of Welsh
poet Dylan Thomas, in a film entitled The Best Time Of Our Lives,
from a screenplay by Knightley's mother.
Knightley, who currently lives in Central London, is dating her Pride
and Prejudice co-star, Rupert Friend; the two have moved in together.
She has previously dated Irish model Jamie Dornan, as well as actor
Del Synnott, who according to some reports, attempted suicide after
their relationship ended, although Synnott and Knightley deny these
In May of 2006, Knightley was reported to be a member of the Jewish
1999: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
2001: Princess of Thieves
2001: The Hole
2002: Bend It Like Beckham
2003: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
2003: Love Actually
2004: King Arthur
2005: The Jacket
2005: Pride and Prejudice
2006: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
2007: Pirates of the Caribbean 3
2008 The Best Time Of Our Lives
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