Date of Birth
July 26, 1973
Place of Birth
Finsbury Park, London, England, UK
Kathrin Romany Beckinsale
5′ 7″ (1.7 m)
Expressive, piercing blue eyes
Len Wiseman (9 May 2004 – 2016) ( divorced)
Lily Mo Sheen (with actor Michael Sheen – born January 31, 1999)
Beckinsale was born in Chiswick, Borough of Hounslow, London, England. She is the only child of actors Richard Beckinsale and Judy Loe. She has an older paternal half-sister, actress Samantha Beckinsale, but they have not had regular contact. Her father was of one quarter Burmese descent. When she was five years old, her 31-year-old father died suddenly of a heart attack. Beckinsale 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 step-father, who was a member of the Workers Revolutionary Party during her youth. Beckinsale 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.” “I loathed being a young girl.” She had a nervous breakdown and developed anorexia at the age of 15 and underwent Freudian psychoanalysis for four years.
Beckinsale read French and Russian literature at New College, Oxford, and was later described by a 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 concentrate 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.”
– If someone had told me years ago that sharing a sense of humour was so vital to partnerships, I could have avoided a lot of sex!
– No one is more enslaved than a slave who doesn’t think they’re enslaved.
– Everybody likes the underdog, because everybody feels like the underdog. No matter how successful you are, you always think, No one’s being nice enough to me!
– I try and take lots of vitamins and I don’t drink. I do smoke, though, I’d be insufferable if I didn’t smoke, you’d have to push me off a balcony I’d be so boring.
– With every project you do, you bring out a part of yourself, and it seems to be quite a good way of expanding a person.
– Apparently, I get facials and manicures all the time. I read this and think, ‘Oh, I wish I did that!’ I don’t think I’ve had a facial since I was 19. When I shave my legs, I use my child’s shampoo and a razor – if I can find one. If I did everything they said I did, I would never see Lily.
– I dropped out of Oxford, and now I only speak Russian with the woman who gives me a bikini-wax. See what Hollywood does to you?
– I think, at 19, I was very grown-up in certain ways and extremely not so in others. If I had come on to a movie set at that 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.
– I look at how Keira Knightley is coiffed when she attends events. I remember going to Cannes with Much Ado About Nothing when I was 18, and nobody told me, ‘Oh, here’s a make-up artist or, ‘This person wants to dress you, what clothes are you wearing?’ It just wasn’t like that when I started. Nobody even told me I could bring a friend! I just sort of showed up in a very expensive pair of trousers I bought in Harvey Nichols, and something I bought in the Sock Shop at the airport. But Keira Knightley has like full hair and make-up and a proper outfit and I think, ‘Wow, she’s not going to have the before photos I had to endure!’ She’s really lucky
– It’s the only time my education has come in remotely handy. [on using her Russian literature studies for copying her Van Helsing script into Russian to acquire a Slavic accent.]
– She [Lily] already has some Americanisms: she says ‘pants’ instead of trousers and ‘elevator’ instead of lift. That’s more than enough for me.
– We had something recently when there were about 16 people in front of us taking pictures and Lily was enjoying the chance to legitimately shout at some grownups because normally she’s not allowed. But even when she shouted they didn’t stop. I find that shocking.
– I didn’t go looking to marry an American, it just kinda happened like that.
– I don’t think I fit the type of actress Michael Bay had met before. I think he was baffled by me because my boobs weren’t bigger than my head and I wasn’t blonde. I’d just had my daughter and had lost weight but was told that if I got the part, I’d have to work out. And I just didn’t understand why a 1940s nurse would do that. When we were promoting the film, Michael was asked why he had chosen Ben [Affleck] and Josh [Hartnett], and he said, ‘I have worked with Ben before and I love him, and Josh is so manly and a wonderful actor’. Then when he was asked about me, he’d say, ‘Kate wasn’t so attractive that she would alienate the female audience.’ He kept saying it everywhere we went, and we went to a lot of places.
– To me, you only went to the gym if you were really weird and obsessive.
– Attended New College, Oxford, England where she studied French and Russian Literature, before dropping out in her third year to pursue acting.
– Spent her teens reading French, Russian and German novels because of her studies, and completed A-levels in Russian, German and French, which resulted in her admission to Oxford University.
– She has never learned how to drive.
– Demonstrated on Larry King’s show her hidden talent for pretending to sneeze, which King called ‘phenomenal’.
– Supports various charities including The British Heart Foundation and Habitat for Humanity.
– Often brings a pantomime horse costume with her when she travels.
– Is known for her love of jokes and pranks, usually at the expense of her co-stars.
– Has a cat named Clive and a dog named Myf.
– She became a fan of comic books due to her ex-husband and daughter both being huge fans.
– Was anorexic as a teenager.
– She is a lifelong teetotaler and has never had an alcoholic drink.