"If I knew I was going to win, I would not have gone dressed as a Waiter." Ben Kingsley on winning the Oscar for Best Actor (Gandhi).
Oscar-winning actor Ben Kingsley acquired international recognition after playing the character role of the martyred leader of India's quest for independence in Richard Attenborough's acclaimed biopic Gandhi (1981). As a result of his magnificent performance, Kingsley was highly praised with an Academy Award, Golden Globe Awards, a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, a New York Film Critics Circle Award, a National Board of Review Award, a London Evening Standard Award, BAFTA Awards, as well as a Grammy Award.
In more recent films, the British actor received rave reviews and critical acclaimed for the scene-stealing, scheming criminal Don Logan in Jonathan Glazer's Sexy Beast (2000). Additionally, he won a Golden Satellite Award, a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, a Florida Film Critics Circle Award, a Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award, a Southeastern Film Critics Association Award, a Toronto Film Critics Association Award, a San Diego Film Critics Society Award, a Boston Society of Film Critics, and received Academy Award, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations.
On the small screen, Kingsley also cemented his position as a television star with his significant portrayal of Otto Frank in the popular television film Anne Frank: The Whole Story (2001), where he earned a 2002 Screen Guilt Award and nabbed an Emmy nomination.
Off screen, Queen Elizabeth II awarded Ben Kingsley knighthood in the New Year's Eve honors of 2001. As for his private life, Kingsley first married actress Angela Morant, but the couple divorced in 1972.
6 years later Kingsley married director Alison Sutcliff, but again the marriage ended in divorce. Kingsley reportedly lived with Kate Townsend before he wed German-born beauty Alexandra Christmann on October 3, 2003. On February 8, 2005, however, Kingsley filed for divorce after seeing photos of Alexandra kissing her new boyfriend, estate agent Sammy Brauner, in a Berlin nightclub. Commenting about the breakup Kingsley shared, "It came at a very, very vulnerable time for me and I was deeply, deeply shocked because until then I had no idea. It's very difficult for a man to learn on the Internet that his wife has a new boyfriend. Tragically, I had to file for divorce. I love her and I don't know what the future holds. What can I say? I'm very hurt. I'm feeling terrible disappointment and grief."
Childhood and Family:
In Scarborough, Yorkshire, England, Krishna Banji, who would be famous as Ben Kingsley, was born on December 31, 1943, but was raised in Salford, England. His father is Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji, a Kenyan-born medical doctor of Indian origin, and his mother is Anna Lyna Mary Bhanji, an English-born actress and fashion model of Jewish-European descent. Ben attended Manchester Grammar School in Manchester and it was there he began acting on stage.
Ben, who loves all things Iranian, married actress Angela Morant in 1966, but they divorced after six years of marriage. He has two children from his first wife, son Thomas Kingsley and daughter Jasmine Kingsley. He next married theater director Alison Sutcliff (aka Gillian Alison Macauley Sutcliff, born in 1946) on July 1, 1978.
Though they had two sons, Edmund Kingsley (born in July 1982) and Ferdinand Kingsley, this marriage also ended in divorce, in 1992. On October 3, 2003, Ben married former advertising saleswoman Alexandra Christmann, whom he met in 2002 while attending the Berlin film festival. However, he currently has filed for divorce from Alexandra.
Young Ben Kingsley began acting in amateur theatres while studying at Manchester Grammar School and touring with the Children's Theater. In 1965, he worked on his acting at the Victoria Theater in Stoke-on-Trent, working with Peter Cheeseman's repertory company.
Kingsley eventually made his London stage debut in 1966 when he was the narrator in "A Smashing Day," produced by Beatles manager Brian Epstein. The same year, he also got his first TV role as Ron Jenkins in the television series "Coronation Street" (1966-1967). In 1967, Kingsley joined the prestigious Royal Shakespeare (RSC) and soon embarked in several productions including starring as Demetrius in Peter Brook's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," a role he reprised for a tour of US cities in 1971 and played the title character in "Hamlet" (1975). He also performed at the Royal Court Theater, working with Athol Fugard in "Dimetos," "Statements" and "Hello and Goodbye." Kingsley then moved to the National Theater in 1977, where he teamed up with Peter Hall to perform in such productions as "The Country Wife," "Volpone," "The Cherry Orchard" and "Judgment." After his two-season tenure with the National Theater, he rejoined RSC in 1979 when he played the role of Squeers in the production of "Nicholas Nickleby."
In addition to his stage work, Kingsley had his film debut in 1972, playing the small role Royale in Fear Is the Key (1972). He went on to take on roles in such television movies as A Misfortune (1973), Hard Labour (1973), Barbara of the House of Grebe (1973), Antony and Cleopatra (1974) and Thank You Comrades (1978). He also played Rossetti in the BBC series "The Love School" (1975) and Dr. John Elliotson in TV miniseries "Dickens of London" (1976).
Kingsley was launched to stardom with his starring role in Richard Attenborough's acclaimed biopic Gandhi (1981). His spectacular performance of the martyred leader of India handed him an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a Los Angeles Film Critics Association award, a New York Film Critics Circle, a National Board of Review, a London Evening Standard and a BAFTA for Best Actor. He also netted another BAFTA for Best Newcomer, a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year and the 1984 Grammy for Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Recording.
He turned heads again with his role of Robert in Betrayal (1983, also starring Jeremy Irons), where his bright acting won the London Evening Standard Award for Best Actor. Avoiding being typecast with Gandhi, Kingsley next played a wide range of characters like born loser William Snow in John Irvin's Turtle Diary (1985, opposite Glenda Jackson), Arab potentate Selim in Harem (1985), blistering hypnotist Lasker-Jones in James Ivory's Maurice (1987) and secret agent Basil Pascali in Pascali's Island (1988, opposite Helen Mirren) before making his U.S. film in Without a Clue (1988), portraying the talented Dr. Watson to Michael Caine's lumbering Sherlock Holmes. On the small screen, Kingsley played Duval in the made-for-TV movie Camille (1984), delivered an excellent turn in the title role of Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe (1985), as Stanley Spencer in the television film Stanley's Vision (1986) and portrayed Sholomon in "The Secret of the Sahara" (1987).
After starring as Russian composer Dimitri Shostokovitch in Testimony (1988) and played Avatar in Slipstream (1989), Kingsley once more ventured into historical biopic territory as the title character of the HBO television film Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story (1989). He received positive reviews for his good portrayal of the well-known Holocaust survivor who steadfastly sought revenge against the Nazis.
In the 1990s, Kingsley kept busy with roles in television and the wide screen. He received nominations at the Oscars and Golden Globe for his razor-blade supporting role of Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky in the Warren Beatty vehicle Bugsy (1991). He costarred with Robert Redford in the high-tech thriller Sneakers (1992, played evil Cosmo), found himself acting opposite Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline in Ivan Reitman's comedy Dave (1993) and played tolerant coach Bruce Pandolfini in Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993). Playing Itzhak Stern, Liam Neeson's trusted friend, in Steven Spielberg's acclaimed Holocaust epic Schindler's List (1993), Kingsley earned the London Evening Standard Award as well as received a nomination at BAFTA.
From 1994 to 1999, the actor was seen in Roman Polanski's Death and the Maiden (1994), the fiction thriller Species (1995), Twelfth Night: Or What You Will (1996), War Symphonies - Sjostakovitsj (1997), the spy drama The Assignment (1997), Photographing Fairies (1997), The Confession (1999) and Parting Shots (1999). Additionally, Kingsley acted in several high-status television films like TNT's Emmy-winning series Joseph (1995), Moses (1996), Weapons of Mass Distraction (1997), Showtime's The Tale of Sweeney Todd (1998), and NBC's movies Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment (1998) and Alice in Wonderland (1999).
Playing the Great Zamboni in Spooky House (2000) was Kingsley's opening film in the new millennium. He had the supporting role of Graydon in the alien comedy What Planet Are You From? (2000), opposite Annette Bening and Garry Shandling, and was featured as Ambassador Mourain in the military thriller Rules of Engagement (2000).
Kingsley delivered another breakthrough in 2000 by playing the supporting role of tightly wound British gangster Don Logan in Jonathan Glazer's critically acclaimed Sexy Beast (2000). Through his terrifying, sizzling and outrageous performance in the film, Kingsley took home several awards including a Golden Satellite, a Broadcast Film Critics Association, a Florida Film Critics Circle, a Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, a Southeastern Film Critics Association, a Toronto Film Critics Association, a San Diego Film Critics Society and a Boston Society of Film Critics for Best Supporting Actor. Moreover, he nabbed nominations at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
As for television, Kingsley continued to make a name for himself when he was cast as Otto Frank in the well-received ABC film Anne Frank: The Whole Story (2001). Due to his outstanding performance, Kingsley won the 2002 Screen Guilt Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries and received an Emmy nomination.
Kingsley provided his voice for the Spielberg-directed science fiction film Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001), and was seen acting in The Triumph of Love (2001), costarring Mira Sorvino and Fiona Shaw, and appeared as Man in the Yellow Suit in the family drama-feature Tuck Everlasting (2002).
In 2003, Scarborough, Yorkshire native Kingsley again drew attention with the starring role, opposite Jennifer Connelly, in the film adaptation of Andre Dubus III's acclaimed novel, House of Sand and Fog (2003). Delivering another outstanding performance as arrogant Arab-American patriarch Behrani, Kingsley was honored with Academy Award, Golden Globe, Independent Spirit and Screen Actors Guild nominations.
Kingsley followed his success with roles in Thunderbirds (2004), playing Benjamin O'Ryan in Suspect Zero (2004), as Charles Hatton in A Sound of Thunder (2005) and portrayed Dr. Herman Tarnower in Mrs.
Harris (2005). The sixty-two year old actor will soon play pickpocket kingpin Fagin in Roman Polanski's upcoming version of Oliver Twist (2005). 6 more films he is involved with are: Bloodrayne (2005), Lucky Number Slevin (2005), Knights of Impossingworth Park (2005), Oskur Fishman (2005), The Last Legion (2006) and Gambit (2006).