Ben Kingsley

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Sir

Ben Kingsley
Ben Kingsley by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Kingsley at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con
Born
Krishna Pandit Bhanji

(1943-12-31) 31 December 1943 (age 76)
OccupationActor
Years active1966–present
Spouse(s)
Children4, including Ferdinand

Sir Ben Kingsley (born Krishna Pandit Bhanji; 31 December 1943) is an English actor with a career spanning over 50 years. He has garnered numerous awards and nominations, including a Grammy Award, two Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BAFTA Award, and an Academy Award from four nominations.

Contents

Kingsley is best known for his starring role as Mohandas Gandhi in the 1982 film Gandhi , for which he subsequently won the Academy Award for Best Actor at the 55th Academy Awards. He also appeared in Schindler's List (1993), Twelfth Night (1996), Sexy Beast (2000), House of Sand and Fog (2003), Lucky Number Slevin (2006), Shutter Island (2010), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), Hugo (2011), The Dictator (2012) and Iron Man 3 (2013). He has also voiced Snatcher in The Boxtrolls (2014), and Bagheera in the live action adaptation of Disney's The Jungle Book (2016).

Kingsley was appointed Knight Bachelor in 2002 for services to the British film industry. [1] In 2010, he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. [2] In 2013, he received the Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Filmed Entertainment. [3]

Early life

Kingsley was born as Krishna Pandit Bhanji on 31 December 1943 in Snainton, North Riding of Yorkshire, [4] [5] [6] the son of actress and model Anna Lyna Mary (née Goodman; 1914–2010) and doctor Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji (1914–1968). [7] [8] His mother was English; she was born out of wedlock, and "was loath to speak of her background". [9] [10] His father was born in Kenya and was of Gujarati Indian descent. [11] Kingsley's paternal grandfather was a successful spice trader who had moved from India to Zanzibar, where Kingsley's father lived until moving to the UK at the age of 14. [12] [13] [14] Kingsley grew up in Pendlebury, Lancashire. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School, where one of his classmates was actor Robert Powell. [15]

Kingsley's maternal grandfather was believed by the family to have been of Russian- or German-Jewish descent, while his maternal grandmother was English and worked in the garment district of London's East End. [16] Kingsley stated in 1994, "I'm not Jewish, and though there might be some Russian-Jewish heritage way back on my mother's side, the thread is so fine there's no real evidence." [17]

Career

Early career

Kingsley studied at De La Salle College in Salford, which later became home to the Ben Kingsley Theatre. While at college he became involved in amateur dramatics in Manchester, making his professional stage debut on graduation, aged 23. In 1967, he made his London West End theatre debut at the Aldwych Theatre. Later, he was spotted by music producer and manager Dick James, who offered to mould Kingsley into a pop star, but Kingsley chose to join the Royal Shakespeare Company after an audition before Trevor Nunn.

Devoting himself almost exclusively to stage work for the next 15 years, he made his Broadway debut in 1971 with the RSC. Kingsley played Mosca in Peter Hall's 1977 production of Ben Jonson's Volpone for the Royal National Theatre, and in Peter Brook's acclaimed production of A Midsummer Night's Dream . At about this time, he changed his name to Ben Kingsley, fearing that a foreign name would hamper his career. [18] [19] He also starred in the role of Willy Loman in a 1982 Sydney production of Death of a Salesman opposite Mel Gibson.

Film and television

Kingsley made the transition to film roles early on, with his first role coming in Fear Is the Key , released in 1972. Kingsley continued starring in bit roles in both film and television, including a role as Ron Jenkins on the soap opera Coronation Street from 1966 to 1967 and regular appearances as a defence counsel in the long-running British legal programme Crown Court . In 1975, he starred as Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the BBCs historical drama The Love School and appeared in the TV miniseries Dickens of London the following year. He found fame as Mohandas Gandhi in the Academy Award-winning film Gandhi in 1982. The film was a critical and financial success, and Kingsley won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance. [18]

Kingsley has since appeared in a variety of roles. His credits included the films Turtle Diary , Maurice , Pascali's Island , Without a Clue (as Dr. Watson alongside Michael Caine's Sherlock Holmes), Suspect Zero , Bugsy (nominated for Best Supporting Actor), Sneakers , Dave , Searching for Bobby Fischer , Schindler's List , Silas Marner , Death and the Maiden , Sexy Beast , for which he received another Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and House of Sand and Fog , which led to an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. He won a Crystal Globe award for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2001. [20]

In 1997, he provided a voice in the video game Ceremony of Innocence . In 1998, he was the head of the jury at the 48th Berlin International Film Festival. [21]

In July 2006, he received an Emmy nomination for his performance in the made-for-TV film Mrs. Harris , in which he played famed cardiologist Herman Tarnower, who was murdered by his jilted lover, Jean Harris. Later that year, Kingsley appeared in an episode of The Sopranos entitled "Luxury Lounge", playing himself. In 2007, Kingsley appeared as a Polish American mobster in the Mafia comedy You Kill Me , and a hitman in War, Inc.

In 2010, Kingsley worked voicing a character named Sabine in Lionhead Studios game Fable III and starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island , directed by Martin Scorsese. He also appeared in Scorsese's next film, Hugo , and signed up to appear in a new feature by Neil Jordan and John Boorman entitled Broken Dream. [22]

In 2013, he appeared as Trevor Slattery in Iron Man 3 , and as the hero Mazer Rackham in Ender's Game .

Kingsley's 2014 film roles included Exodus: Gods and Kings , as Nun, a Hebrew slave, and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb , as Merenkahre, a simulacrum of an Egyptian pharaoh and father of Ahkmenrah (in one scene, the character discusses his Hebrew slaves). [23]

In 2015, Kingsley played a driving instructor in the film Learning to Drive . [24] He voiced Bagheera in the live-action adaptation of Disney's The Jungle Book , directed by Jon Favreau [25] and recorded Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi in book-on-tape format.

Personal life

Kingsley has been married four times and has four children: Thomas Bhanji and artist Jasmin Bhanji, with actress Angela Morant, and Edmund Kingsley and Ferdinand Kingsley, both of whom became actors, with theatrical director Alison Sutcliffe. [26] He divorced Alexandra Christmann in 2005, having been "deeply, deeply shocked" after pictures of her kissing another man surfaced on the internet. [27] On 3 September 2007, Kingsley married Brazilian actress Daniela Lavender at Eynsham Hall in North Leigh, Oxfordshire. [28]

Kingsley is a Quaker. [29] [30]

Honours

Kingsley was made a Knight Bachelor in the 2002 New Year Honours for services to the British film industry. [1] [31] The award was announced on 31 December 2001, which happened to be Kingsley's 58th birthday. [32] After receiving his award from Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, Kingsley stated; "I told the Queen that winning an Oscar pales into insignificance – this is insurmountable. I'm fascinated by the ancient, by mythology, by these islands and their tradition of story telling. I feel that I am a story teller and to receive a knighthood is really recognition of that." [1] His demand to be called 'Sir' in film and TV show credits was documented by the BBC, to some criticism. [33] Since then, Kingsley appears to have altered his stance; credits for his latest films refer to him as Ben Kingsley. Co-star Penélope Cruz was reportedly unsure what to call him during the filming of Elegy as someone had told her she needed to refer to him as "Sir Ben". One day it slipped out as such, and she called him that for the remainder of the shoot. [34] Kingsley has denied accusations that he prefers to be referred to by his title, saying, "If I've ever insisted on being called 'Sir' by colleagues on a film set then I am profoundly sorry. I don't remember ever doing that and I tend not to forget." [35]

In 1984, he won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word or Nonmusical Recording for The Words of Gandhi. He was awarded the Indian civilian honour Padma Shri in 1984. [36] In May 2010, Kingsley was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. [2] In April 2013, Kingsley was honoured with the Fellowship Award at The Asian Awards in London. [37]

Filmography

Awards and nominations

YearCategoryWorkResult
1982 Academy Award for Best Actor Gandhi Won
1982 BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role Won
1982 Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Won
1982 Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture – Male Won
1985 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album [38] "The Words of Gandhi"Won
1991 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor Bugsy Nominated
1991 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Nominated
1993 BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role Schindler's List Nominated
2001Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor Sexy Beast Nominated
2001Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion PictureNominated
2001 Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting Actor Won
2001 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie Anne Frank: The Whole Story Nominated
2001 Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Nominated
2001 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Won
2003Academy Award for Best Actor House of Sand and Fog Nominated
2003 Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Nominated
2003 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role Nominated
2003 Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead Nominated
2011 Saturn Award for Best Actor Hugo Nominated
2013 Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor Iron Man 3 Won
2015 Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production The Boxtrolls Won

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References

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  17. Pollack, Joe (3 January 1994). "He's No Stranger to Holocaust". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 28 November 2011. I'm not Jewish," he said, "and though there might be some Russian-Jewish heritage way back on my mother's side, the thread is so fine there's no real evidence...
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