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Kate Beckinsale facts for kids

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Kate Beckinsale
Kate Beckinsale 2011 Comic-Con (truer color).jpg
Beckinsale at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2011
Kathrin Romany Beckinsale

(1973-07-26) 26 July 1973 (age 50)
London, England
Education New College, Oxford
Occupation Actress
Years active 1991–present
Len Wiseman
(m. 2004; div. 2019)
Partner(s) Michael Sheen
Children 1
  • Samantha Beckinsale (half-sister)
  • Roy Battersby (stepfather)

Kathrin Romany Beckinsale (born 26 July 1973) is an English actress and model. After some minor television roles, her film debut was Much Ado About Nothing (1993) while a student at the University of Oxford. She appeared in British costume dramas such as Prince of Jutland (1994), Cold Comfort Farm (1995), Emma (1996), Shooting Fish (1997) (a contemporary romantic crime comedy) and The Golden Bowl (2000), in addition to various stage and radio productions.

Early life

Beckinsale was born on 26 July 1973 in the Chiswick district of London, the only child of actors Richard Beckinsale and Judy Loe. She has an older paternal half-sister, actress Samantha Beckinsale, but they are not in regular contact. Her father was partly of Burmese descent. Her parents did not marry until 1977, prior to Beckinsale starting nursery school, when she made her first television appearance at age four, in an episode of This Is Your Life dedicated to her father. When she was five, her 31-year-old father died instantly of a heart attack; she was deeply traumatised by the loss and "started expecting bad things to happen." Her widowed mother moved in with director Roy Battersby when Beckinsale was nine, and she was brought up alongside his four sons and daughter. She has a close relationship with her stepfather, who was a member of the Workers Revolutionary Party during her youth. She helped to sell The News Line, a Trotskyist newspaper, as a little girl and has said the household phone was tapped following Battersby's blacklisting by the BBC. Family friends included Ken Loach and Vanessa Redgrave.

Beckinsale was educated at Godolphin and Latymer School, an independent school for girls in Hammersmith, West London, and was involved with the Orange Tree Youth Theatre. She was twice a winner of the WH Smith Young Writers Award for both fiction and poetry. She has described herself as a "late bloomer": "All of my friends were kissing boys and drinking cider way before me. I found it really depressing that we weren't making camp fires and everyone was doing stuff like that." She had a nervous breakdown and developed anorexia at age fifteen, and underwent Freudian psychoanalysis for four years.

Beckinsale read French and Russian literature at New College, Oxford, and was later described by contemporary journalist Victoria Coren Mitchell, as "whip-clever, slightly nuts, and very charming". She became friends with Roy Kinnear's daughter Kirsty. She was involved with the Oxford University Dramatic Society, most notably being directed by fellow student Tom Hooper in a production of A View from the Bridge at the Oxford Playhouse. As a Modern Languages student, she was required to spend her third year abroad, and studied in Paris. She then decided to quit university to focus on her burgeoning acting career: "It was getting to the point where I wasn't enjoying either thing enough because both were very high pressure." Beckinsale has stated she would like to complete her studies at Oxford University.


Beckinsale at the London premiere of Live Free or Die Hard in June 2007

Beckinsale decided at a young age she wanted to be an actress: "I grew up immersed in film. My family were in the business. I quickly realised that my parents seemed to have much more fun in their work than any of my friends' parents." She was inspired by the performances of Jeanne Moreau. She made her television debut in 1991 with a small part in an ITV adaptation of P. D. James' Devices and Desires. In 1992, she starred alongside Christopher Eccleston in Rachel's Dream, a 30‑minute Channel 4 short, and in 1993, she appeared in the pilot of the ITV detective series, Anna Lee, starring Imogen Stubbs.

In 1993, Beckinsale landed the role of Hero in Kenneth Branagh's big-screen adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. It was filmed in Tuscany, Italy, during a summer holiday from Oxford University. She attended the film's Cannes Film Festival premiere and remembered it as an overwhelming experience. "Nobody even told me I could bring a friend!" "I had Doc Martens boots on, and I think I put the flower from the breakfast tray in my hair." The film grossed over $22 million at the box office. She made three other films while at university. In 1994, she appeared as Christian Bale's love interest in Prince of Jutland, a film based on the Danish legend which inspired Shakespeare's Hamlet, and starred in the murder mystery Uncovered. In 1995, while studying in Paris, she filmed the French language Marie-Louise ou la Permission.

Beckinsale rose to fame in 2001 with a leading role in the war film Pearl Harbor, as a nurse torn between two pilots (played by Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett). She was drawn to the project by the script: "It's so unusual these days to read a script that has those old-fashioned values to it. Not morals, but movie values. It's a big, sweeping epic....You just never get the chance to do that." Director Michael Bay initially had doubts about casting the actress: "I wasn't sure about her at first...she wore black leather trousers in her screen test and I thought she was a little nasty..." He eventually decided to hire her because she wasn't "too beautiful. Women feel disturbed when they see someone's too pretty." He asked her to lose weight during filming. In a 2004 interview, the actress noted that his comments were "upsetting". She felt grateful that she had not had to deal with such criticism at a younger age: "If I had come on to a movie set at [a younger] age and someone had said, 'You're a bit funny-looking, can you go on a diet?'—I might have jumped off a building. I just didn't have the confidence to put that into perspective at the time."

Kate Beckinsale TIFF, 2008
Beckinsale at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival

Beckinsale's second film appearance of 2001 was in the romantic comedy Serendipity, as the love interest of John Cusack. It was filmed directly after Pearl Harbor and Beckinsale found it "a real relief to return to something slightly more familiar." The film has grossed over $77 million at the worldwide box office.

Beckinsale became known as an action star after playing a vampire in 2003's Underworld. The film was markedly different from her previous work, and Beckinsale has said she was grateful for the change of pace after appearing in "a bunch of period stuff and then a bunch of romantic comedies," adding that "It was quite a challenge for me to play an action heroine and pull off all that training when [in real life] I can't catch a ball if it's coming my way." The film received negative to mixed reviews but was a surprise box-office hit and has gained a cult following. Also that year, she starred in the little seen Tiptoes with Gary Oldman and Matthew McConaughey. She then had starring roles in The Aviator (2004) and Click (2006). All these films established her as a protagonist in Hollywood.

Since playing the role of Selene in the Underworld film series (2003–2016), Beckinsale has become known for her work in action films, including Van Helsing (2004), Whiteout (2009), Contraband (2012), and Total Recall (2012). She continues to make appearances in smaller dramatic projects such as Snow Angels (2007), Nothing but the Truth (2008), and Everybody's Fine (2009). For the two first films she received positive reviews. In 2016, she received critical acclaim for her performance in the period comedy film Love & Friendship, for which she received a nomination for the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Actress in a Comedy. She returned in action films with Jolt (2021). She also starred in two television projects with The Widow (2019) and Guilty Party (2021).

Beckinsale starred in the ITV/Amazon Prime drama The Widow (2019), her first TV series for more than 20 years. The series stars Beckinsale as an Englishwoman who believes her husband, killed in a plane crash three years prior, is still alive in the Congo.

In 2021, Deadline announced that Beckinsale will star in the Catherine Hardwicke-helmed family drama Prisoner's Daughter.


Labelled an "English rose" by the BBC as early as 2001, Beckinsale has worked occasionally as a model. In 1997, she appeared in the music video for George Michael's "Waltz Away Dreaming". She starred opposite Orlando Bloom in a 2002 Gap television advertisement directed by Cameron Crowe. She appeared in a Diet Coke television advertisement in 2004, directed by Michel Gondry. She advertised Absolut Vodka in a 2009 print campaign photographed by Ellen von Unwerth. She has also promoted Lux shampoo in a Japanese television advertisement.

Personal life

Kate Beckinsale (29907748884) (cropped)
Beckinsale in 2016

Beckinsale was in a relationship with Welsh actor Michael Sheen from 1995 to 2003. They met when cast in a touring production of The Seagull in early 1995 and moved in together shortly afterwards. In 1997, they voiced an audiobook production of Romeo and Juliet. Their daughter, Lily, was born in 1999 in London. In 2001, Beckinsale said she was "embarrassed" that Sheen never proposed, but felt as though she was married. They broke up in early 2003, after the filming of Underworld. Beckinsale and Sheen remain close friends; she remarked in 2016, "He's really dear, close family. He's somebody I've known since I was 21 years old. I really love him a lot."

Beckinsale met American director Len Wiseman while working together on 2003's Underworld. She persuaded Wiseman to cast Sheen in the film, but while on set, the two fell in love. They married on 9 May 2004 in Bel-Air, California, but separated in November 2015. Wiseman filed for divorce in 2016, citing "irreconcilable differences", and their divorce was finalised in November 2019.

In January 2019, Beckinsale was reported to be dating American comedian Pete Davidson, but by April they had "called time on their romance".


Kate Beckinsale
Beckinsale at the 53rd San Sebastián International Film Festival in 2005

The British Heart Foundation has been Beckinsale's charity of choice "ever since [she] was six years old" when her father, who had a congenital heart defect, died of a massive heart attack. She has also donated film memorabilia to the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation, MediCinema, Habitat For Humanity and the Entertainment Industry Foundation. In 2008, she hosted the 4th Annual Pink Party to raise funds for the Women's Cancer Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and organised a screening of All About Eve for FilmAid International. In 2012, Beckinsale joined Nestlé's Share the Joy of Reading Program to raise awareness about the importance of people's literacy.


Kate Beckinsale 2006
Beckinsale in 2006
Not yet released Denotes works that have not yet been released


Year Title Role Notes
1991 One Against the Wind Barbe Lindell
1992 Rachel's Dream Rachel Short Film
1993 Much Ado About Nothing Hero
1994 Prince of Jutland Ethel
Uncovered Julia
1995 Cold Comfort Farm Flora Poste
Marie-Louise ou la Permission Marie-Louise French-language film
Haunted Christina Mariell
1996 Emma Emma Woodhouse
1997 Shooting Fish Georgie
1998 The Last Days of Disco Charlotte Pingress
Alice through the Looking Glass Alice
1999 Brokedown Palace Darlene Davis
2000 The Golden Bowl Maggie Verver
2001 Pearl Harbor Nurse Lt. Evelyn Johnson
Serendipity Sara Thomas
2002 Laurel Canyon Alex Elliot
2003 Underworld Selene
Tiptoes Carol
2004 Van Helsing Anna Valerious
The Aviator Ava Gardner
2006 Underworld: Evolution Selene
Click Donna Newman
2007 Snow Angels Annie Marchand
Vacancy Amy Fox
2008 Winged Creatures Carla Davenport
Nothing but the Truth Rachel Armstrong
Vacancy 2: The First Cut Amy Fox Archive footage
2009 Underworld: Rise of the Lycans Selene Cameo role
Whiteout Carrie Stetko
Everybody's Fine Amy Goode
2012 Contraband Kate Farraday
Underworld: Awakening Selene
Total Recall Lori Quaid
2013 The Trials of Cate McCall Cate McCall
2014 Stonehearst Asylum Eliza Graves
The Face of an Angel Simone Ford
2015 Absolutely Anything Catherine West
2016 Love & Friendship Lady Susan Vernon
The Disappointments Room Dana
Underworld: Blood Wars Selene
2017 The Only Living Boy in New York Johanna
2018 Farming Ingrid Carpenter
2019 Untouchable Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)
2021 Jolt Lindy Lewis
2022 Prisoner's Daughter Maxine
TBA The Untitled Charlie Day Movie Not yet released TBA Post-production

Canary Black Not yet released

CIA agent Avery Graves Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1991 Devices and Desires Young Alice Mair (voice) Miniseries; episode 2
1991 One Against the Wind Barbe Lindell Television film
1992 Rachel's Dream Rachel Short
1993 Anna Lee Thea Hahn Pilot series: "Headcase"
1995 Cold Comfort Farm Flora Poste Television film
1996 Emma Emma Woodhouse Television film
1998 Alice through the Looking Glass Alice Television film
2019 The Widow Georgia Wells Main role
2021 Guilty Party Beth Burgess Executive producer, Main role

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Underworld: The Eternal War Selene N/A
2014 The Elder Scrolls Online Queen Ayrenn N/A
2017 The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind N/A
2022 The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle N/A


Year Title Role Venue
1995 Seagull, TheThe Seagull Nina Zarechnaya Theatre Royal, Bath and Tour
1996 Sweetheart Toni Royal Court Theatre
1996 Clocks and Whistles Anne The Bush


Year Title Role Publisher
1997 Emma Narrator Hodder & Stoughton AudioBooks
1997 Proposal, TheThe Proposal Narrator BBC Radio 4
1997 Romeo and Juliet Juliet Capulet Naxos AudioBooks ISBN: 0521625629

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Film Result Ref.
1997 Sitges - Catalan International Film Festival Best Actress Shooting Fish Won
1999 London Film Critics' Circle Awards British Supporting Actress of the Year (tied with Minnie Driver) The Last Days of Disco Won
2002 MTV Movie Awards Best Female Performance Pearl Harbor Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Actress Serendipity Nominated
2004 Underworld Nominated
2005 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (shared with rest of cast) The Aviator Nominated
2006 MTV Movie Awards Best Hero Underworld: Evolution Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite Female Action Star Nominated
2008 Critics' Choice Awards Best Actress Nothing But the Truth Nominated
2012 Spike Guys' Choice Awards Jean-Claude Gahd Dam Underworld: Awakening Won
2016 Gotham Awards Best Actress Love & Friendship Nominated
Critics' Choice Awards Best Actress in a Comedy Nominated
2017 London Film Critics' Circle Awards Actress of the Year Nominated
British/Irish Actress of the Year Won
Evening Standard British Film Awards Best Actress Won
2021 National Film Awards UK Best Actress Farming Won
2022 National Film Awards UK Best Actress Jolt Won

See also

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