Keira Knightley (1985-) b. Teddington, London, England.
Brunette beauty Keira Knightley was born in 1983 in Teddington, Middlesex to thespian parents. She trained in dance from an early age and made her film debut age the age of twelve in A Village Affair (1994). George Lucas chose the 14-year-old Knightley for the part of the decoy Queen in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) due to her resemblance to Natalie Portman. She dropped out of college when offers poured in and came to greater public attention in the school thriller The Hole (2001). That same year, she gained her breakthrough role as a tomboy footballer in Gurinder Chadha‘s sleeper hit-comedy Bend It Like Beckham (2002). Blockbuster, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) thrust Knightley into the Hollywood mainstream due to her memorable performance. She recently completed Richard Curtis’ latest romantic comedy, Love Actually (2003).
Following Tony Scott’s Domino (2005), an overblown and unsuccessful biopic loosely on the life of professional bounty hunter Domino Harvey, the daughter of actor Laurence Harvey, Knightley returned to more genteel settings with Pride and Prejudice (2005), a slow-burning adaptation of the Jane Austen novel. Her turn as the free-thinking Elizabeth Bennett, who seeks to determine her own life path, earned her an Academy Award nomination. During this incredibly busy period, Knightley returned to the “Pirates” franchise for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), which proved to be a box-office success bit was mauled by critics as unimaginative and overlong. The film was shot back to back with a second sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), which turned out to be a joyless bore that attempted to tie up all the loose ends of the story.
Knightley then co-starred with James McAvoy in the period drama, Atonement (2007), based on the novel by Ian McEwan, portraying the elder sister of a fledgling writer whose life is irrevocably changed when her lover is accused of a crime he did not commit. The film received a Best Picture nomination from the Academy Awards and won Best Film at the BAFTA Awards. Knightley remained in period garb to portrayed Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire in the feature adaption of the best-selling biography, The Duchess (2008), but despite being handsomely mounted the film struggled to be anything other than a familiar well-executed period piece.