Kate Beckinsale is one of the biggest action movie stars around, even though she doesn't pal around much with Sly and Arnold. As the lead in the "Underworld" films, Kate has carved out a legendary career as one of the sexiest vampires in cinema history. However, there's a lot more to Kate than just her role Selene. Let's learn a little more about this delightful little bloodsucker.
Kate's full name is Kathrin Romary Beckinsale. She was born on 26 July 1973 in Chiswick, London, England. Both of her parents were actors.
Kate's ancestry is one-eighth Burmese on her father's side.
Kate got an early start to acting. She was on television by the age of four for an episode of "This Is Your Life" that profiled her father, Richard Beckinsale (star of various BBC and other British shows). Unfortunately, he passed away about a year later.
Kate was raised by her mom and new dad director Roy Battersby.
Beckinsale has a sister, Samantha, who is also an actress. Samantha is her first father's child with another mother. The two reportedly do not interact much.
Kate went to Oxford. Yes, that Oxford, New College to be exact.
However, Kate did not graduate from Oxford. Really, once you've been, there's little point to sticking around to graduation.
The acting bug bit whilst she was at Oxford, so Kate started out in television. She had a bit part in an ITV production of "Devices and Desires" (1991).
She then was in a Hallmark film about Nazis. Yes, Hallmark made films about Nazis.
More television films followed, but her big break was being cast in Kenneth Branagh's film production of "Much Ado About Nothing" (1993). She got to go to Italy and Cannes. Really, when you are having that much success, it makes sense to give Oxford the boot.
More ITV work followed. She was Emma in, well, "Emma." "You shouldn't necessarily like Emma. You do love her, but the way the family of a teenage girl could be exasperated by her outrageous behavior and still love her."
After a while, the classy British productions weren't cutting it any longer for Kate, so she loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly. Hills, that is. Swimming pools and movie stars.
Naturally, Kate quickly got choice parts. She was in "The Last Days of Disco" (1998), "Brokedown Palace" (1999), and "The Golden Bowl" (2000). They weren't box office smashes, but Kate made her presence felt.
Kate's next big break - how many can a girl have? - was being cast as a nurse in "Pearl Harbor" (2001). She played the usual role of a nurse torn between two lovers. Has there ever been a war film about Pearl Harbor where there wasn't a girl torn between two lovers?
"Pearl Harbor" was a big Michael Bay film which did well at the box office. As usual, Bay made his starlet a ton of money whilst also making snarky little comments about her. In Kate's case, he implied that she wasn't particularly pretty, was a little overweight, and looked like an escort - and he wasn't talking about her film role.
However, if you want to call me names when casting me as a lead in a Michael Bay film, that's AOK. Mike - give me a jingle.
After Pearl Harbor, things really took off for Kate. She was in "Serendipity" (2001) and "Laurel Canyon" (2002). The films were successful and established Kate once and for all as a leading lady.
It is at this point that Kate became iconic. She was cast as Selene in "Underworld" (2003). In one stroke, Kate Beckinsale became a true household name and an action film star.
"Underworld" was a monster hit. After that, she could do what she pleased. She took some smaller films for fun.
Now seen as "the action film girl," which is not such a terrible thing to be seen as, Kate starred in "Van Helsing" (2004). This also made a ton of money.
Some prestige projects followed. For instance, Kate starred in Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator" with Leonardo DiCaprio.
The action films beckoned, however. Kate starred in "Underworld: Evolution" (2006). It was another success.
Once again, Kate turned to independent projects. these included "Snow Angels," "Vacancy," "Winged Creatures" and other films that had a low profile. You can do that sort of thing when you have a string of blockbusters behind you and people won't think that you are a failing actor.
Kate could not escape "Underworld." She made a cameo appearance in "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans" in 2009. That was not the end of the underworld for her, however.
After some more films, Kate was in "Underworld: Awakening." But that also was not the end of the road for the Underworld films.
A fifth installment of the series lies ahead as of this writing: "Underworld: Next Generation." That title sounds like a hand-off, so perhaps this will be Kate's last appearance as Selene. However, I wouldn't bet on it.
Through it all, Kate has done some modelling, appearing in music videos, the usual. She was in a Diet Coke spot, a Gap spot, and others.
Kate also has had a full personal life. She dated Michael Sheen up until her "Underworld" days. They had a daughter, Lily Mo Sheen, in 1999.
|Who says people don't dress up to fly any more? Here's Kate in May 2016, visiting LA to see Michael Sheen and their daughter.|
While the two long ago split up, Kate and Micheal still get along famously. In fact, they get along famously, and Kate loves Sheen's current girlfriend Sarah Silverman.
Kate dated her "Underworld" director, Len Wiseman, next. This was a bit awkward because Sheen also was in the film. Sheen and Kate broke up after that.
All ended well for Kate, however. She wound up marrying Wiseman in 2004.
Kate since has commenced divorce proceedings. However, they were married for a decade, and that counts for something in Hollywood.
Kate's involvement with Wiseman was controversial. He was married at the time. His wife accused him of infidelity, but both Kate and Len denied it.
Kate also had some scuffles with the press. She has been awarded judgments and apologies from the press for various things written about her.
One must admit, though, that she can be a little devil at times.
Before we take our leave of Kate, let's mention her charity work. She has helped out the British Heart Foundation, Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, MediCinema, and Entertainment Industry Foundation (wow, some of those were hard to spell!). She has helped out with cancer research and worked with Nestlé's Share the Joy of Reading Programme for children's literacy. Not bad for a lady vampire.