Interesting facts about Ben Kingsley

ben kingsley

Ben Kingsley is an English actor.

His birth name is Krishna Pandit Bhanji.

Kingsley was born on December 31, 1943 in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England.

He is the son of Anna Lyna Mary (born Goodman; 1914–2010), an actress and model who appeared in films in the 1920s and 1930s, and Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji (1914–1968), a doctor.

Kingsley studied at Pendleton College, which later became home to the Ben Kingsley Theatre.

While at college he became involved in amateur dramatics in Manchester, making his professional stage debut on graduation, aged 23. He soon became a successful stage actor, and also began to have roles in films and television.

His birth name was Krishna Bhanji, but he changed his name to “Ben Kingsley” soon after gaining fame as a stage actor, fearing that a foreign name could hamper his acting career.


He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1967 and debuted on Broadway with the company in 1971. During the remainder of the 1970s, Kingsley acted in plays, most notably Hamlet.

Kingsley made his film debutin Fear Is the Key (1972).

He continued starring in bit roles in both film and television.

He found fame as Mohandas Gandhi in the Academy Award-winning film Gandhi in 1982. The film was a critical and financial success, and Kingsley won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance. To prepare for the role of the legendary Indian leader, he did extensive research, including adopting Gandhi’s habits of practicing yoga and eating a vegetarian diet.


His success as an actor continued as he appeared in many other celebrated movies like Turtle Diary (1985), Maurice (1987), and Bugsy (1991) – for which he was nominated as Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars.

After a villainous performance in the thriller Sneakers (1992), co-starring Robert Redford, he essayed a trio of more benevolent roles, including a patient coach to a chess prodigy in Searching for Bobby Fischer, a U.S. vice president in the comedy Dave, co-starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver.

Than he appeared a child’s chess coach in Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993).

His performance as Itzhak Stern in the drama movie Schindler’s List (1993) earned him a BAFTA nomination for best supporting actor. Schindler’s List won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

schindlers list

In 1994 Kingsley appeared as man taken captive by his neighbour in Roman Polanski’s Death and the Maiden (1994).

Than he appeared the science-fiction thriller Species (1995) adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (1996) and the spy drama The Assignment (1997).

He played Sweeney Todd in the television movie The Tale of Sweeney Todd (1997), for which he was nominated for the Screen Actors’ Guild Award.

For his scene-stealing performance in Sexy Beast (2000), in which he played an acerbic over-the-top gangster, he earned a third Academy Award nomination.

His other notable role was as Otto Frank in the television movie Anne Frank (2001), for which he won the Screen Actors’ Guild Award.

anne frank

In 2002, Kingsley was appointed Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s New Years Honours for his services to drama.

Kingsley garnered another Oscar nomination for his role as an Iranian immigrant being harassed by the former owner of his new home in House of Sand and Fog (2003).

Convincing performances followed in the television movie Mrs. Harris (2005) and in the films Oliver Twist (2005), You Kill Me (2007), and Transsiberian (2008).

In 2010, Kingsley worked voicing a character named Sabine in Lionhead Studios game Fable III and starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island, directed by Martin Scorsese.

He also appeared in Scorsese’s next film, Hugo (2011), and signed up to appear in a new feature by Neil Jordan and John Boorman entitled Broken Dream.


In 2013, he appeared as Trevor Slattery in Iron Man 3, and as the hero Mazer Rackham in Ender’s Game.

Kingsley’s 2014 film roles included Exodus: Gods and Kings, as Nun, a Hebrew slave, and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, as Merenkahre, a simulacrum of an Egyptian pharaoh.

In 2015, Kingsley played a driving instructor in the film Learning to Drive.

In director Robert Zemeckis’s The Walk (2015), he played the mentor of high-wire artist Philippe Petit, who in 1974 traversed the space between the towers of the World Trade Center on a cable.

Kingsley voiced a computer-animated version of the panther Bagheera in the 2016 live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.

In 2013, he received the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Filmed Entertainment. That same year, he also received the Fellowship Award at the Asian Awards in London, England.

Ben Kingsley has an estimated net worth of $60 million.


Kingsley has been married four times and has four children: Thomas Bhanji and artist Jasmin Bhanji, with actress Angela Morant; and Edmund Kingsley and Ferdinand Kingsley, both of whom became actors, with theatrical director Alison Sutcliffe. On 3 September 2007, Kingsley married Daniela Lavender, a Brazilian actress, at Eynsham Hall, in North Leigh, Oxfordshire.

Kingsley derived his stage name from his grandfather’s nickname “Clove King”. His grandfather was a spice trader in Zanzibar.

He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6931 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on May 27, 2010. Offering their support at the event were his son Edmund Kingsley, wife Daniela Lavender, friends Bruce Willis and Jerry Bruckheimer.