Keira Knightley is a British actress. She has been nominated for two British Academy Film Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and two Academy Awards.
Knightley began acting as a child on television and made her feature film debut in 1995, before making her breakthrough with the 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham, for which she won the London Film Critics’ Circle Award for Best Newcomer.
She then starred in the 2003 fantasy swashbuckler film Pirates of the Caribbean, playing Elizabeth Swann, a role that she would reprise in the subsequent films of the franchise.
She went on to appear in the Christmas film Love Actually (2003) and portrayed Guinevere in King Arthur (2004).
A significant turning point came in her career when Knightley received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for starring as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice (2005).
She became known for starring in several other period dramas, earning a BAFTA and Golden Globe Award nomination for Atonement (2007), and earning critical praise for her performances as Georgiana Cavendish in The Duchess (2008), Sabina Spielrein in A Dangerous Method (2011), and the titular characters in Anna Karenina (2012) and Colette (2018).
Knightley received her second Academy Award nomination for portraying Joan Clarke in the historical drama The Imitation Game (2014).
Her contemporary film roles were in the romantic comedy Begin Again (2013), the action thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014), the adventure film Everest (2015), and the docudrama Official Secrets (2019).
On stage, Knightley has appeared on the West End in Martin Crimp’s 2009 production of The Misanthrope, which earned her a nomination for a Laurence Olivier Award.
She also starred as the eponymous heroine in the 2015 Broadway production of Thérèse Raquin. Knightley is known for her outspoken stance on social issues, and has worked extensively with Amnesty International, Oxfam, and Comic Relief.
She was appointed an OBE in the 2018 Birthday Honours for services to drama and charity.
- Full name: Keira Christina Knightley, OBE
- Profession: British actress
- Born: 26 March 1985 (age 35 years), Teddington
- Height: 1.7 m
- Spouse: James Righton (m. 2013)
- Children: Edie Knightley Righton
About Keira Knightley
Keira Christina Knightley was born on 26 March 1985, in Teddington, within Richmond, a suburban area of London, to theatre actors Sharman Macdonald and Will Knightley. Her mother is Scottish, her father is English.
She was meant to be named “Kiera”, the anglicized form of “Kira”, after Kira Ivanova, whom her father admired.
However, Macdonald misspelled the name when she went to register her daughter, writing the “e” before the “i”. Knightley has an elder brother, Caleb.
Macdonald also worked as a playwright after her career as an actress came to an end. She introduced her children to theatre and ballet at an early age. This furthered Knightley’s interest in acting, and she requested an agent at the age of three.
Knightley attended Teddington School. At the age of six, she was diagnosed with dyslexia but by the time she was eleven, with her parents’ support, Knightley said, “they deemed me to have got over it sufficiently”. She is still a slow reader and cannot read out loud.
Knightley said she was “single-minded about acting” during her childhood. At the age of three, she expressed the desire for an agent like her parents and got one at age six. This led to her taking a number of small parts in TV dramas throughout her childhood.
While growing up, Knightley performed in a number of local amateur productions, which included After Juliet, written by her mother, and United States, written by her drama teacher.
She focused on art, history, and English literature while studying at the Esher College, but left after a year to pursue an acting career.