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Keira Knightley is a British actress who had her first major role in Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace and became well-known for her role in Bend It Like Beckham.
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Actress Keira Knightley was born on March 26, 1985, in London, England. She made her film debut at the age of 9 in A Village Affair (1994). Her first major part came in Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace and she became well-known for her role as tomboy footballer Juliette "Jules" Paxton in Bend It Like Beckham. Her later films include Pride and Prejudice, Atonement, Pirates of the Caribbean and Anna Karenina (2012).
"Doll houses were a big thing in my childhood. I was always making up stories, playing with them for hours. I guess that's why I'm an actress: I never stopped wanting to play."
Born in London, England, on March 26, 1985, Keira Christina Knightley grew up in a show-business family. Her father is actor Will Knightley and her mother is playwright Sharman Macdonald. She grew up in a London suburb with her older brother Caleb. Knightley later told Marie Claire that playing with doll houses may have influenced her career choice: "Doll houses were a big thing in my childhood," she said. "I was always making up stories, playing with them for hours. I guess that's why I'm an actress: I never stopped wanting to play."
Knightley first asked for her own agent at the age of three and finally got one when she was six years old. School was not easy for Knightley as she struggled with dyslexia.
Knightley had her first professional acting job at the age of 7, and went to make a string of appearances on British television. In her mid-teens, she landed her first major role in the film Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace (1999). That same year, Knightley had a supporting role in the television miniseries Oliver Twist with Sam Smith, Julie Walters and Robert Lindsay.
In 2002, Knightley had a career breakthrough with Bend It Like Beckham. She played tomboy soccer player Juliette "Jules" Paxton in this surprise hit. She also showed herself to be a risk-taker that same year, playing the female lead in the TV film Doctor Zhivago. Knightley tackled a role that Julie Christie made famous in the 1962 feature film.
Knightley landed her first blockbuster hit in 2003 with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Based on a ride at Disneyland, this adventure tale starred Johnny Depp as the notorious pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow. Knightley's character, Elizabeth Swann, got caught up in the action along with Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), and she reprised her role in the film's 2006 and 2007 sequels.
With her classic good looks, Knightley became the go-to girl for period dramas. She played Guinevere in 2004's King Arthur with Clive Owen and Ioan Gruffudd. The following year, Knightley starred in the film adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. She earned an Academy Award nomination for her work in the film. In 2008, Knightley played the title character in The Duchess, a biopic of an 18th century royal.
Knightley has also handled contemporary and futuristic roles with equal ease. She appeared in the popular ensemble dramatic comedy Love Actually (2003). Knight also co-starred science fiction tale Never Let Me Go (2010) with Andrew Garfield and Carey Mulligan.
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After the Britpop music scene of the early 90's, a new genre of celebrities stepped into the London spotlight from athletic superstars such as David Beckham to pop culture phenomenons like Simon Cowell and Susan Boyle. Alternative rock acts like Elastica and Oasis were replaced with soulful songstresses like Amy Whinehouse and Adele, and actors like Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley and Robert Pattinson became international superstars. The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton also became a royal, social and fashion icon, as well as a defining figure of the decade. Biography celebrates these cultural icons of the new post-Britpop era.
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