Mostly Credited As: Ben Kingsley
Sometimes Credited As: Sir Ben Kingsley
Birth Name: Krishna Pandit Bhanji
Date Of Birth: December 31, 1943 (Age 72)
Country Of Birth: United Kingdom
Birth Place: Scarborough, Yorkshire, England
Height: 5' 8" (1.72 m)
Prodigiously talented British leading man of Indian descent. Kingsley was born to an Indian physician and English fashion model, and as a young man gravitated toward the theater. He honed a subtle acting style in numerous Shakespearean productions, but his film debut, in Fear Is the Key (1972), was disappointing by comparison. One year later he had a small part as a Pakistani taxi company owner in Mike Leigh's Hard Labour Kingsley was content to remain on stage until winning the title role in Sir Richard Attenborough's epic Gandhi (1982). His subtle, heartfelt performance as the pacifist leader not only brought international fame, but a Best Actor Academy Award in his first major leading role. Kingsley has since appeared in many "smaller" pictures, including several written by Harold Pinter. Among them are Betrayal (1983), Turtle Diary, Harem (both 1985), Testimony, Maurice (both 1987), Pascali's Island, Without a Clue (a rare stab at comedy, playing a brilliant Dr. Watson to Michael Caine's inept Sherlock Holmes, both 1988), Slipstream (1989), The Children (1990), and Bugsy (1991, in an Oscar-nominated turn as gangster Meyer Lansky). Since then he has turned up in a number of films, in an impressive variety of character parts: as the voice of Freddie in the animated Freddie as F.R.O.7 the onetime student radical in Sneakers (both 1992), the timid but honest Vice President of the United States in Dave the quietly determined chess master in Searching for Bobby Fischer the title character's Jewish accountant (and conscience) in Schindler's List (all 1993), and the accused torturer in Death and the Maiden (1994). He also starred in the 1989 TV movie Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story as the fabled Nazi-hunter.