Keira Knightley: Snapshot

Keira Knightley
Date of Birth
March 26, 1985
Birth Place
Teddington, England
America got a $650 million introduction to Keira Knightley with the Disney megahit Pirates of the Caribbean, making her the most successful British import in Hollywood since Kate Winslet (Titanic).

The striking actress, who got her start in the indie flick Bend It Like Beckham, showed her true acting chops in 2005's Pride & Prejudice–which earned her a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Re-teaming with director Joe Wright, Knightley cemented her status as an adept period piece actress with more critically-acclaimed roles in 2007's Atonment and 2012's Anna Karenina.

Off-screen, the actress dated Pride & Prejudice costar Rupert Friend for five years, before settling down with The Klaxons keyboardist James Righton, whom she married in 2013.

Keira Knightley: Video

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The Atonement star reveals her fashion ups and downs (01:23)

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Keira Knightley: Five Fun Facts

  1. Despite her good looks, Keira Knightley says she wasn't exactly Miss Popularity in high school. "I didn't have any boyfriends at all when I was in school," she told PEOPLE.
  2. Though Keira Knightley had dyslexia, she overcame it with encouragement from her parents. "My mom said, 'If you come to me with a book in your hand and a smile on your face all summer, I'll get you an agent,'" she told Vogue.
  3. Keira Knightley has a sentimental streak. She keeps souvenirs from her movies, including Lara's coats from Doctor Zhivago and Elizabeth Bennett's striped socks from Pride & Prejudice.
  4. When Keira Knightley started training for her role as Guinevere in King Arthur, "I went up a dress size," she says. "It was all muscle."
  5. While filming Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3 back-to-back, Keira Knightley spent a lot of time working on her tan. "They just love to tan me up, which is hilarious," Keira Knightley told Vogue. "I look like an Oompa Loompa."

Keira Knightley: Biography


Keira Knightley

'Precocious Little Brat'

Knightley is sure she wants to be an actress from early on. At age 3, she demands her own agent from her parents because they both have one. (Her father Will is a stage actor, and her mother Sharman MacDonald is a playwright.) They persuade her to wait a few years and she signs with an agent at age 6. "That was the kind of precocious little brat I was," she later tells PEOPLE.


Keira Knightley


A Clever Disguise

After Knightley's parents allow her to act full-time, she lands a small role in George Lucas' blockbuster Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. Knightley plays a handmaiden that disguises herself as Queen Amidala, who is portrayed by Natalie Portman.


Keira Knightley


Bending It

The summer before her final year of high school, Knightley takes a brief hiatus to film Bend It Like Beckham, a boisterous cross-cultural comedy about an Anglo-Indian teenage girl who idolizes soccer star David Beckham. Knightley plays the main character's soccer-playing, tomboy, best friend. "Everything's changed for me since Beckham," Knightley says to PEOPLE. "It's been rather mad, but lovely."

Read More on Keira Knightley's Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: Marc Hom/Art and Commerce

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): BBC; Photofest; Everett

Edited by Julia Wang

Keira Knightley

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