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Sir Ben Kingsley, CBE (born 31 December 1943) is an Englishmarker actor. He has won four major motion picture acting awards, receiving Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards throughout his career. He is known for starring as Mohandas Gandhi in the film Gandhi in 1982, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Early life

Kingsley was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji in Snaintonmarker, near Scarboroughmarker, Yorkshiremarker, Englandmarker, the son of Annalyna Mary (née Goodman), an actress and model, and Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji, a medical doctor.

Kingsley's father was born in Kenyamarker of Indian Khoja Muslim Gujarati descent, as Kingsley's paternal grandfather was a spice trader who had moved from Indiamarker to Zanzibarmarker, where Kingsley's father lived until moving to Englandmarker at the age of 14. Kingsley's mother, born out of wedlock, was "loath to speak of her background"; she was the daughter of an English East Londonmarker garment worker mother and a father who was believed by the family to have been a Russian or German Jew.

Kingsley grew up in Pendleburymarker, near Salfordmarker, where he studied at University of Salfordmarker. He studied at Pendleton College, which later became home to the Ben Kingsley Theatre. Kingsley began his acting career on the stage at Manchester Grammar Schoolmarker, alongside Robert Powell, but made a transition to film roles early on. Despite this focus on film, he continued to act on the stage, playing Mosca in Peter Hall's 1977 production of Ben Jonson's Volpone for the Royal National Theatremarker, and in Peter Brook's acclaimed production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. At about this time, he changed his name from Krishna Bhanji to Ben Kingsley, fearing that a foreign name would hamper his career.

Film and television career

Kingsley's first film role was a supporting turn 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 Streetmarker 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. He found fame only years later, starring as Mohandas Gandhi in the Academy Award-winning film Gandhi in 1982, his best-known role to date. The audience also agreed with the critics, and Gandhi was a box-office success. Kingsley won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal.

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, which led to an Oscar nomination 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 yet another 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.

In 1997, he provided voice talent for the video game Ceremony of Innocence. 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 the show, Christopher Moltisanti and Carmine Lupertazzi offer him a role in the fictional slasher film "Cleaver", which he turns down. Lupertazzi offers him the role on the basis of Kingsley's real-life performance in Sexy Beast. In 2007, Kingsley appeared as a Polish American mobster in the Mafia comedy You Kill Me, and a Middle Eastern oil minister in War, Inc. Kingsley was asked to play Vulture in Spider-Man 3, but was cut out of the storyline.

Kingsley announced SBK-Pictures is bringing the story of the Native American Conley Sisters to the big screen in Whispers Like Thunder. Kingsley will be playing the role of Charles Curtis, the first part-Native American to become vice-president of the United Statesmarker.

Honours

Kingsley was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2000. He was knighted in the 2001 New Years Honours list. On promotional material for the 2006 film Lucky Number Slevin, Kingsley was referred to as "Sir Ben Kingsley." At first, the actor was singled out for some criticism, as such titles had generally come to be omitted from professional credits by that time. It was claimed that the inclusion of "Sir" was a mistake by a studio executive.

His demand to be called 'Sir' was documented by the BBC, to some criticism. Since then, Kingsley appears to have altered his stance; credits for his latest films refer to him only as 'Ben Kingsley'. Penelope Cruz was 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 rest of the shoot.

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 honor Padma Shri in 1985.

In addition, in 2008, Kingsley was awarded the "Cinema for Peace Honorary Award", for the portrayal of the humanitarian role-models Simon Wiesenthal, Itzhak Stern and Gandhi.

Personal life

Kingsley has been married four times and has four children. Thomas Bhanji and artist Jasmin Bhanji are his children with actress Angela Morant; Edmund Kingsley and Ferdinand Kingsley, both of whom became actors, with theatrical director Alison Sutcliffe. In 2005 he divorced Germanmarker-born Alexandra Christmann, after pictures of her kissing another lover surfaced on the internet. The actor was "deeply, deeply shocked" that his wife was seen kissing a man in a nightclub. On 3 September 2007, Kingsley married Daniela Barbosa de Carneiro, a Brazilian actress, in North Leighmarker, Oxfordshire.

He currently lives in Spelsburymarker, Oxfordshire, Englandmarker, where he has lived for over ten years.

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1982 Gandhi Mohandas Gandhi film debut

Academy Award for Best Actor
1983 Betrayal Robert the film version of Harold Pinter's play
1985 Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe Silas Marner
Harem Selim
1986 Turtle Diary William Snow screenplay by Harold Pinter
1987 The Secret of the Sahara (TV) Sholomon
Maurice Lasker-Jones
1988 Pascali's Island Basil Pascali
Without a Clue Dr. John Watson
Testimony - The Story of Shostakovich Dmitri Shostakovich
1989 Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story Simon Wiesenthal
1990 The 5th Monkey Cunda
1991 Bugsy Meyer Lansky Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor
1992 Sneakers Cosmo
Freddie as F.R.O.7 Freddie The Frog Voice
1993 Searching for Bobby Fischer Bruce Pandolfini
Dave Vice President Gary Nance
Schindler's List Itzhak Stern
1994 Death and the Maiden Dr. Roberto Miranda
1995 Species Xavier Fitch
Joseph Potiphar
Moses Moses
1996 Twelfth Night Feste from the play by William Shakespeare
1997 Weapons of Mass Distraction (TV) Julian Messenger
The Assignment Amos
1998 The Tale of Sweeney Todd (TV) Sweeney Todd Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Best Actor
1999 Alice in Wonderland (TV) Major Caterpillar
The Confession Harry Fertig
2000 What Planet Are YOU From? Graydon
Rules of Engagement Ambassador Mourain
Islam: Empire of Faith Narrator voice only
2001 Anne Frank: The Whole Story Otto Frank Won Screen Actor's Guild Award
Sexy Beast Don Logan Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor
AI: Artificial Intelligence Specialist voice
2002 The Triumph of Love Hermocrates Marivaux's play
Tuck Everlasting Man in the Yellow Suit
2003 House of Sand and Fog Massoud Behrani Academy Award nomination for Best Actor
2004 Thunderbirds "The Hood" loosely based on the super-marionation programme created by Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson
Suspect Zero Benjamin O'Ryan
2005 A Sound of Thunder Charles Hatton
Oliver Twist Fagin
Mrs. Harris Herman Tarnower
BloodRayne Kagan
2006 The Sopranos (TV) Appearance as himself Season 6, Episode 72 - "Luxury Lounge"
Lucky Number Slevin The Rabbi
2007 You Kill Me Frank Falenczyk
The Last Legion Ambrosinus
The Ten Commandments Narrator (voice)
2008 Elegy David Kepesh
War, Inc. Walken
The Love Guru Guru Tugginmypudha
The Wackness Dr. Squires
Transsiberian Grinko
Fifty Dead Men Walking Fergus
2009 Noah's Ark: The New Beginning Narrator (voice) post-production
Whispers Like Thunder Vice President Charles Curtis pre-production
Teen Patti Perci Trachtenberg post-production
Journey to Mecca Narrator (voice)
2010 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Nizam post-production
Shutter Island Dr. John Cawley post-production
2011 Taj Shah Jahan pre-production


References

  1. .
  2. Film Reference.com Biography
  3. Bennetts, Leslie. Ben Kingsley’s Journey From Hamlet to Gandhi. New York Times: Best Pictures. 13 December 1982.
  4. von Busack, Richard. Sexy Beast. Metroactive movies. March 2005.
  5. Pathak, Rujul. Ben Kingsley's Chameleon Characters. Little India.com. 15 June 2005.
  6. Pfefferman, Naomi. Shoah dramas continue to compel actor Ben Kingsley. L.A. Jewish Journal. 18 May 2001.
  7. Tugend, Tom. Incidental Intelligence. JewishJournal.com. 13 April 2001.
  8. Stated in interview on Inside the Actors Studio
  9. Sir Ben's Sexy honour. BBC News. 31 December 2001.
  10. Ben Kingsley's SBK announces slate-Variety Nov 17, 2008
  11. Cruz Baffled By Kingley's Title - WENN News
  12. )
  13. Johnson, Richard. "Dear Sir". Sunday Telegraph. 15 August 2007.


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