Sir Ben Kingsley (born Krishna Pandit Bhanji; 31 December 1943) is an English actor with a career spanning over 50 years. He has won an Oscar, Grammy, BAFTA, two Golden Globes, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. He is known for his starring role as Mohandas Gandhi in the 1982 film Gandhi, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. He has 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), Iron Man 3 (2013), The Boxtrolls (2014), and The Jungle Book (2016).
Kingsley was appointed Knight Bachelor in 2002 for services to the British film industry. In 2010, he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2013, he received the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Filmed Entertainment.
Kingsley at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con
Krishna Pandit Bhanji
31 December 1943
|Home town||Pendlebury, Salford, Greater Manchester|
|Children||4, including Ferdinand Kingsley|
Kingsley was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji in Snainton, near Scarborough in the North Riding of Yorkshire. He is the son of Anna Lyna Mary (born Goodman; 1914–2010), an actress and model who appeared in films in the 1920s and 1930s, and Rahmitulla Harji Bhanji (1914–1968), a doctor.
Kingsley's mother was British; she was born out of wedlock, and "was loath to speak of her background". Kingsley's father, born in Kenya, was of Gujarati ancestry. Kingsley's paternal grandfather was an extremely successful spice trader who had moved from India to Zanzibar, where Kingsley's father lived until moving to Britain at the age of 14. Kingsley's maternal grandfather was believed by the family to have been of Russian- or German-Jewish descent, while Kingsley's maternal grandmother was of English background, and worked in the garment district of East London. 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."
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. He took his stage name from his father's nickname (at Dulwich College) of "Benji" and his paternal grandfather's nickname of "King Cloves". He also starred in the role of Willy Loman in a 1982 Sydney production of Death of a Salesman opposite Mel Gibson.
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.
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.
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.
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).
In 2015, Kingsley played a driving instructor in the film Learning to Drive. He voiced Bagheera in Disney's reboot of The Jungle Book, and recorded Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi in book-on-tape format.
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. He divorced Alexandra Christmann, originally from Germany, in 2005, having been "deeply, deeply shocked" after pictures of her kissing another man surfaced on the internet. On 3 September 2007, Kingsley married Daniela Lavender, a Brazilian actress, at Eynsham Hall, in North Leigh, Oxfordshire.
Kingsley was created a Knight Bachelor in the 2002 New Year Honours for services to the British film industry. The award was announced on 31 December 2001, which happened to be Kingsley's 58th birthday. 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." 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 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. 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."
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. In May 2010, Kingsley was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In April 2013, Kingsley was honoured with the Fellowship Award at The Asian Awards in London.
|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||"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|
|2001||Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor||Sexy Beast||Nominated|
|2001||Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture||Nominated|
|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|
|2003||Academy 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|
|subscription=(help): "The grandmother of the knighted Royal Shakespeare Company alum spoke Yiddish she picked up while a garment worker in London's East End a century ago. "She was violently opposed to talking about this, so my poor mother was at the receiving end of a rage attack every time my grandmother was asked about her husband, her lover, whoever it was, but it's believed that he was a Russian Jew or a German Jew called Goodman", Kingsley told The Jerusalem Post".
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 …
A Common Man is a 2013 American-Sri Lankan thriller film directed by Sri Lankan filmmaker Chandran Rutnam, starring Ben Kingsley and Ben Cross. The film is an official remake of the Indian film, A Wednesday! (2008).A Common Man won Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor awards at the Madrid International Film Festival and bronze medal in the Feature Films category at the New York Festivals’ International Television and Film Awards, three of the 119 Gold World Medals, 145 Silver, 104 Bronze, and 327 Finalist Certificates awarded that day.A Therapy
A Therapy is a 2012 comedy short film created by Prada to promote their brand. The short was written and directed by Roman Polanski and stars Ben Kingsley and Helena Bonham Carter.Biographical film
A biographical film, or biopic (; abbreviation for biographical motion picture), is a film that dramatizes the life of a non-fictional or historically-based person or people. Such films show the life of a historical person and the central character's real name is used. They differ from films "based on a true story" or "historical drama films" in that they attempt to comprehensively tell a single person's life story or at least the most historically important years of their lives.Because the figures portrayed are actual people, whose actions and characteristics are known to the public (or at least historically documented), biopic roles are considered some of the most demanding of actors and actresses. Ben Kingsley, Johnny Depp, Jim Carrey, and Jamie Foxx all gained new-found respect as dramatic actors after starring in biopics: Ben Kingsley as Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhi (1982), Depp as Ed Wood in Ed Wood (1994), Carrey as Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon (1999), Foxx as Ray Charles in Ray (2004), and Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything (2014).
In rare cases, sometimes called auto biopics, the subject of the film plays himself or herself: Jackie Robinson in The Jackie Robinson Story; Muhammad Ali in The Greatest; Audie Murphy in To Hell and Back; Patty Duke in Call Me Anna; Bob Mathias in The Bob Mathias Story, Arlo Guthrie in Alice's Restaurant; Fantasia Barrino in Life Is Not a Fairytale; and Howard Stern in Private Parts.
Biopic scholars include George F. Custen of the College of Staten Island and Dennis P. Bingham of Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. Custen, in Bio/Pics: How Hollywood Constructed Public History (1992), regards the genre as having died with the Hollywood studio era, and in particular, Darryl F. Zanuck. On the other hand, Bingham's 2010 study Whose Lives Are They Anyway? The Biopic as Contemporary Film Genre shows how it perpetuates as a codified genre using many of the same tropes used in the studio era that has followed a similar trajectory as that shown by Rick Altman in his study, Film/Genre. Bingham also addresses the male biopic and the female biopic as distinct genres from each other, the former generally dealing with great accomplishments, the latter generally dealing with female victimization. Ellen Cheshire's Bio-Pics: a life in pictures (2014) examines UK/US films from the 1990s and 2000s. Each chapter reviews key films linked by profession and concludes with further viewing list. Christopher Robé has also written on the gender norms that underlie the biopic in his article, "Taking Hollywood Back" in the 2009 issue of Cinema Journal. Roger Ebert defended The Hurricane and distortions in biographical films in general, stating "those who seek the truth about a man from the film of his life might as well seek it from his loving grandmother. ... The Hurricane is not a documentary but a parable." Some biopics purposely stretch the truth. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind was based on game show host Chuck Barris' widely debunked yet popular memoir of the same name, in which he claimed to be a CIA agent. Kafka incorporated both the life of author Franz Kafka and the surreal aspects of his fiction. The Errol Flynn film They Died with Their Boots On tells the story of Custer but is highly romanticized. The Oliver Stone film The Doors, mainly about Jim Morrison, was highly praised for the similarities between Jim Morrison and actor Val Kilmer, look-wise and singing-wise, but fans and band members did not like the way Val Kilmer portrayed Jim Morrison, and a few of the scenes were even completely made up.Casting can be controversial for biographical films. Casting is often a balance between similarity in looks and ability to portray the characteristics of the person. Anthony Hopkins felt that he should not have played Richard Nixon in Nixon because of a lack of resemblance between the two. The casting of John Wayne as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror was objected to because of the American Wayne being cast as the Mongol warlord. Egyptian critics criticized the casting of Louis Gossett, Jr., an African American actor, as Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in the 1982 TV miniseries Sadat. Also, some objected to the casting of Jennifer Lopez in Selena because she is a New York City native of Puerto Rican descent while Selena was Mexican-American.The musical biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, based on the life of Queen singer Freddie Mercury, became the highest-grossing biopic of all time in 2018.Camille (1984 film)
Camille is a 1984 television film based on the 1848 novel and play La Dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas, fils. It was adapted by Blanche Hanalis and directed by Desmond Davis. It stars Greta Scacchi, Colin Firth, John Gielgud, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Ryecart, Denholm Elliott and Ben Kingsley.Crime and Punishment (1998 film)
Crime and Punishment is a 1998 American made-for-television drama film directed by Joseph Sargent. It stars Patrick Dempsey and Ben Kingsley.Elegy (film)
Elegy is a 2008 American romantic drama film directed by Isabel Coixet. Its screenplay is adapted by Nicholas Meyer from the novel The Dying Animal by Philip Roth. The film stars Penélope Cruz, Ben Kingsley, and Dennis Hopper, and features Patricia Clarkson and Peter Sarsgaard in supporting roles. The film was set in New York City but was shot in Vancouver. The film's score was composed and conducted by Cliff Eidelman.Gandhi (film)
Gandhi is a 1982 epic historical drama film based on the life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the leader of India's non-violent, non-cooperative independence movement against the United Kingdom's rule of the country during the 20th century. The film, a British-Indian co-production, was written by John Briley and produced and directed by Richard Attenborough. It stars Ben Kingsley in the title role.
The film covers Gandhi's life from a defining moment in 1893, as he is thrown off a South African train for being in a whites-only compartment, and concludes with his assassination and funeral in 1948. Although a practising Hindu, Gandhi's embracing of other faiths, particularly Christianity and Islam, is also depicted.
Gandhi was released in India on 30 November 1982, in the United Kingdom on 3 December, and in the United States on 10 December. It was nominated for Academy Awards in eleven categories, winning eight, including Best Picture and Best Director for Attenborough, Best Actor for Ben Kingsley, and Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for Briley. The film was screened retrospectively on 12 August 2016 as the opening film at the Independence Day Film Festival jointly presented by the Indian Directorate of Film Festivals and Ministry of Defence, commemorating the 70th Indian Independence Day. The screenplay of Gandhi is available as a published book.Learning to Drive (film)
Learning to Drive is a 2014 American comedy drama film. Directed by Isabel Coixet and written by Sarah Kernochan based on a New Yorker article by Katha Pollitt, the film stars Patricia Clarkson as Wendy, a successful book critic taking driving lessons with instructor Darwan (Ben Kingsley) after the breakup of her marriage to Ted (Jake Weber) forces her to become more self-sufficient. This is the second collaboration between Ben Kingsley, Patricia Clarkson, and Isabel Coixet.The film was named first-runner up for the People's Choice Award at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was released on August 21, 2015.Moses (film)
Moses is a 1995 internationally produced Biblical drama TV movie. It was directed by Roger Young, written by Lionel Chetwynd and starred Ben Kingsley, Frank Langella and Christopher Lee. Moses was filmed in Morocco and was film aired in the United States on the TNT Network and internationally on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. The film is part of TNT's Bible Collection.Sexy Beast
Sexy Beast is a 2000 crime film directed by Jonathan Glazer and written by Louis Mellis and David Scinto. It stars Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley and Ian McShane. It follows Gal Dove (Winstone), a retired ex-gangster visited by an aggressive gangster (Kingsley) who demands he accept a heist job.
Kingsley's performance earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In 2004 the magazine Total Film named Sexy Beast the 15th greatest British film of all time.Stonehearst Asylum
Stonehearst Asylum, previously known as Eliza Graves, is an American Gothic film directed by Brad Anderson and written by Joseph Gangemi. It is loosely based on the short story "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether" by Edgar Allan Poe. The film, starring Kate Beckinsale, Jim Sturgess, Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley, and David Thewlis, was released on October 24, 2014.Testimony (1988 film)
Testimony: The Story of Shostakovich is a 1988 British musical drama film directed by Tony Palmer and starring Ben Kingsley, Sherry Baines and Robert Stephens. The film is based on the memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–1975) as dictated in the book Testimony (edited by Solomon Volkov, ISBN 0-87910-021-4) and filmed in Panavision. Some consider the book to be a fabrication.The Love Guru
The Love Guru is a 2008 American romantic comedy film directed by Marco Schnabel in his directorial debut, written and produced by Mike Myers, and starring Myers, Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, Romany Malco, Meagan Good, Verne Troyer, John Oliver, Omid Djalili, and Ben Kingsley. The film was also Myers and Timberlake's second collaboration after Shrek the Third (2007). The film was a financial flop and was derided by critics.The Tale of Sweeney Todd
The Tale of Sweeney Todd is a 1998 American crime-drama/horror television film directed by John Schlesinger and starring Ben Kingsley and Joanna Lumley. The teleplay by Peter Buckman was adapted from a story by Peter Shaw. It was broadcast in the United States by Showtime on April 19, 1998 and released on videotape in France the following month. It later was released as a feature film in select foreign markets.The Ten Commandments (2007 film)
The Ten Commandments is a 2007 American computer animated film directed by John Stronach and Bill Boyce, and released by Promenade Pictures. The film follows Moses from his childhood, as the adopted son of Pharaoh, to his adulthood, as the chosen one of Yahweh and liberator of his people.
The film is narrated by Ben Kingsley, and stars Christian Slater as Moses, Alfred Molina as Ramses and Ellott Gould as God. It was released to theaters on October 19, 2007, and received negative reviews, with criticism directed towards the animation and acting. The film was released on DVD on February 5, 2008.Trevor Slattery
Trevor Slattery is a character portrayed by Ben Kingsley in the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). An actor hired to portray the legendary terrorist the Mandarin, he first appeared in the 2013 film Iron Man 3. General response to the character was mixed, with many comic fans criticizing the character and how his reveal affected the film's Mandarin portrayal, while others defended the twist by noting its social commentary and how it avoided the racist caricature of the comics' Mandarin. Kingsley reprised the role in All Hail the King, a 2014 Marvel One-Shots short film also set in the MCU.Turtle Diary
Turtle Diary is a 1985 British film directed by John Irvin and starring Glenda Jackson, Ben Kingsley, and Michael Gambon. Based on a screenplay adapted by Harold Pinter from Russell Hoban's novel Turtle Diary, the film is about "people rediscovering the joys of life and love". The film contains elements of romance, comedy, and drama and has been described as a romantic comedy.
Awards for Ben Kingsley