Kate Beckinsale (born July 26, 1973 in London, United Kingdom)
is an English actress.
Beckinsale was born in London to Judy Loe, a stage and television
actress, and the late Richard Beckinsale, a well-known television
actor who died in 1979 at the age of 31. Kate's paternal great-grandfather
was Burmese, and Beckinsale claims that she was "very oriental-looking"
as a child.
Beckinsale won first prizes in several young writing competitions.
After completing school in London, 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. Beckinsale studied French and Russian literature
at New College, Oxford University, 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
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. She subsequently appeared in a few notable
but low-profile films, including Cold Comfort Farm (in 1995), Shooting
Fish and The Last Days of Disco (both in 1998). During this time,
Beckinsale also appeared in television films and in stage roles.
Her first major American film, Brokedown Palace (1999), was not
a commercial success. Soon after, Beckinsale was cast in the 2001
film Pearl Harbor, which 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 2006, Beckinsale was placed at #78 in FHM magazine's "100
Sexiest Women in the World", after being #71 in 2005. She has
also been placed at #16 in Maxim magazine's "HOT 100"
(2003), #63 in Stuff Magazine's "100 Sexiest Women in the World"
(2002), and was chosen by Hello magazine as "Englands
#1 Beauty", also in 2002.
In January 2006, Beckinsale reprised her role as a vampire who
shares a forbidden love for a lycan 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.
On January 24, 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. This will be her third appearance and first outside
from the Underworld series with her ex-boyfriend Michael Sheen.
Beckinsale dated Welsh actor Michael Sheen for a long period of time,
and the two have a daughter, Lily Mo Sheen (born 31 January 1999).
Sheen co-starred with Beckinsale in Underworld, and had a flashback
appearance in its sequel. In June 2003, a few months after she had
separated from Sheen, Beckinsale became engaged to the director of
Underworld, Len Wiseman, and the two were wed on 9 May 2004 in Bel-Air,
Interestingly, she has stated that she hates wearing knickers.
2006: Snow Angels
2006: Underworld: Evolution
2004: The Aviator
2004: Van Helsing
2003: Laurel Canyon
2001: Pearl Harbor
2001: The Golden Bowl
1999: Brokedown Palace
1998: The Last Days of Disco
1998: Shooting Fish
1995: Cold Comfort Farm
1993: Much Ado About Nothing
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