Keira Christina Knightley was born on March 26, 1985 in Teddington, London, England. Her parents are Will Knightley, a theatre and television actor, and Sharman MacDonald, an award-winning playwright. Knightley has one older brother named Caleb. Knightley attended Stanley Junior School, Teddington School, Waldegrave School For Girls, and Esher College. Knightly always wanted to be an actress and got her first agent at the age of six.
Knightley began starring in minor television films in the 1990s. One of Knightley’s first big screen roles came when she was cast as Sabé, Padmé Amidala’s decoy, in the 1999 blockbuster Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Padmé Amidala was played by young actress Natalie Portman.
Knighley landed her first lead role in 2001, when she played the daughter of Robin Hood in the made-for-television Walt Disney Productions feature, Princess of Thieves. However her breakout role came in 2002. Knightley starred in the film Bend It Like Beckham, which was a hit in its August 2002 UK release, grossing $18 million, and in its March 2003 U.S. premier, grossing $32 million.
Bend It Like Beckham raised Knighley’s profile. She was cast in the big budget film, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl in 2003. The film did great at the box office, becoming one of the top hits of the summer of 2003. The film also sealed Knightley’s fame. Since 2003 Knightley has appeared in multiple Hollywood pictures. She earned nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her role as Elizabeth Bennet in the 2005 adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice.
In 2007 Knightley was again nominated for a Golden Globe. This time for her performance in Atonement. In 2008 Knightley was estimated to be the second highest paid actress in Hollywood. She reportedly earned $32 million in 2007, making her the only non-American on the list of highest paid actresses.
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