Kate Beckinsale: Snapshot

Name
Kate Beckinsale
Date of Birth
July 26, 1973
Birth Place
London, England
Drop-dead gorgeous – she was voted "England's #1 Beauty" by Hello magazine in 2002 – Kate Beckinsale is equally well known for her intelligence and acting range. The Oxford-educated scion of a family of actors got off to a rough start, though, losing her father at age five and struggling with anorexia as a teenager.

Beckinsale's star turn in Kenneth Branagh's 1993 adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing established her as a screen presence at the age of 20 and led to such high-brow projects as 2001's Pearl Harbor with Ben Affleck and the Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator with Leonardo DiCaprio.

At the box office, though, Beckinsale's knack for horror and vampire flicks, notably Van Helsing with Hugh Jackman and Underworld, has proven successful in both her career and personal life. In 2004, she married Underworld director, Len Wiseman.

Kate Beckinsale:From the PEOPLE TV Archive

Kate Beckinsale: Five Fun Facts

  1. Kate Beckinsale does not drive. "I rely heavily on favors from my husband and friends," she told Playboy in 2006. "It's getting ridiculous now, though...I decided that since I mastered the golf cart on the lot, I would progress to a grow-up vehicle."
  2. Not a fan of gratuitous nude scenes, Kate Beckinsale once urinated into the Thermos of a director who browbeat her into doing a nude scene.
  3. When asked by Glamour whose body she would switch with for a day, Kate Beckinsale answered: "Someone with gigantic real breasts, like Queen Latifah…If I had them, I'd run up and down a flight of stairs!"
  4. As a teen Kate Beckinsale appeared in a training video for industrial safety, playing a factory worker who skids on cleaning fluid and becomes a paraplegic. "It's hideous...fantastically bad," she told Playboy. "It's one of those things I put every boyfriend through...It's like telling them I've had a sexually transmitted disease and asking, 'How do you feel about me now?'"
  5. Kate Beckinsale wears three rings on her wedding finger to signify her family: herself, husband Len Wiseman and daughter Lily. "It's a cunning way of getting more ice if I have any more children," she told PEOPLE. "It's completely calculated."

Kate Beckinsale: Biography

1979

Kate Beckinsale

March

Tragedy Hits

Kate is just 5 years old when her father, British comedian Richard Beckinsale, dies of a heart attack in his sleep. Richard, 31, was at the height of his acting career as the star of the English sitcoms Rising Damp and Porridge. "It stayed with me, the incredible shock and huge loss," she tells PEOPLE. "I started expecting bad things to happen, that friends will leave, that loved ones will die. It kept building until I had a nervous breakdown when I was a teenager."

1993

Kate Beckinsale

May 07

Much Ado About Kate

Beckinsale stars in Kenneth Branaugh's Much Ado About Nothing, in which she plays Hero, a maiden who is the sole heiress to her father's fortune. Two years later, Beckinsale drops out of the University of Oxford to focus on acting, before heating up across the pond with roles in The Last Days of Disco and Brokedown Palace.

1995

Kate Beckinsale

April

Love at Work

While performing in the touring play, The Seagull, Beckinsale meets Welsh actor Michael Sheen. The couple begins a nine-year relationship.

Read More on Kate Beckinsale's Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: Splash News Online

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Chris Capstick/REX USA; Samuel Goldwyn/Everett; Ken McKay/REX USA

Edited by Julia Wang

Kate Beckinsale

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