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BEN KINGSLEYBorn: December 31, 1943 as Krishna Bhanji in Snaiton, Yorkshire, England
Raised: Pendleton, Salford, Manchester
Education: Manchester Grammar School
Now Lives: in an 1849 home set in 4 acres in Oxfordshire, UK. He has still kept his links with Manchester and is a regular visitor to The Ben Kingsley Theatre in Pendleton where he holds workshops. He is also a patron of The Lowry in Salford.
Father: A Kenyan-Asian Doctor: Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji, (nicknamed"Ben" at Dulwich College)
Mother: A British Actress
Grandfather: A Zanzibari "aristocratic" trader
1st Wife: Angela Morant (married 1965 divorced 1971)
2nd Wife: Alison Sutcliffe (Theatre director) (married 1978)
Current Partner: Kate Townsend (from 1993)
Children: Thomas & Jasmine from first marriage Edmund & Ferdinand from second marriage (Edmund entered RADA in 2000)
Latest UK Release: Sexy Beast, a low-budget UK independent film, made by debut director Jonathan Glazer, opens in UK on 12th January 2001. (Glazer has previously done music videos and adverts, including Guinness). Kingsley plays Don, a nasty low-life thug, co-starring with Ray Winstone, in a wickedly funny movie about a bank robbery. The opening credits are said to be the best since 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' !
Other recent film: Rules of Engagement, a big-budget commercial drama about a marine officer who stands trial for opening fire on civilians during a rescue operation at an American Embassy in Yemen. Kingsley only appears in a few scenes and is billed well below stars Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones, but he brings a touch of class to the proceedings
Upcoming: Will play Anne Frank's father in a four-hour epic.
Recent Work: Played Estragon at the Old Vic in Sir Peter Hall's Waiting for Godot Performed a DH and Frieda Lawrence Anthology at his local village hall by candlelight to an audience of 100
Ben Kingsley followed in his actress mother's footsteps when he began a professional stage career in 1964 at the age of 20. In 1967, having earlier been inspired by watching Ian Holm's performance as Richard III, he began working with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He made his first movie in 1972, but his breakthrough came when he shed twenty pounds to take the title role in Gandhi, and beat Paul Newman and Dustin Hoffman
to the 1982 Oscar. This was a piece of inspired casting by the director, Richard Attenborough, advised by his son Michael who had seen Kingsley's excellent stage performance as Hamlet.
Subsequently he has thrived on challenging roles such as alleged torturer Dr Richard Miranda in Death and the Maiden, Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal in Emmy-winner Murderers Among Us, Holocaust survivor Itzhak Stern in Schindler's List and Shakespearean fool Feste in Twelfth Night.
Apart from his Ghandi Oscar, he was also nominated as Best Supporting Actor for his role as gangster Meyer Lansky in Bugsy
Recent years have presented a mixed bag of roles for the actor, including a regrettable turn as a scientist chasing an alien (in the poor sci-fi film Species); a role as the leader of an alien force bent on conquering Earth (in the comedy What Planet Are You From?); and a sober portrayal of a U.S. ambassador (in Rules of Engagement).
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