Ben Kingsley Biography (1943-)

Original name, Krishna Banji; born December 31, 1943, in Scarborough (one source says Snaiton, Yorkshire), England; son of Rahimtulla Harji (a physician)and Ann Lyna Mary (an actress and model; maiden name, Goodman) Banji; marriedAngela Morant (an actress), 1965 (divorced, 1971); married Gillian Alison Macaulay Sutcliffe (a theatre director), 1978 (divorced, c. 1992); children: (first marriage) Thomas, Jasmine; (second marriage) Edmund, Ferdinand. Addresses: Agent: International Creative Management, Ltd., Oxford House, 76 Oxford St., London W1N 0AX, England.

Birth Details
December 31, 1943
Scarborough, United Kingdom

Famous Works

  • Film Appearances
  • Royale, Fear Is the Key, Paramount, 1972
  • Title role (Mohandas K. "Mahatma" Gandhi), Gandhi, Columbia, 1982
  • Robert, Betrayal, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1983
  • Geoff Craven, Sleeps Six, 1984
  • Selim, Harem, Union Generale Cinematographique, 1985
  • William Snow, Turtle Diary, Samuel Goldwyn Company, 1986
  • Lasker-Jones, Maurice, Cinecom, 1987
  • Dimitri Shostakovich, Testimony, Mandemar Group, 1987
  • Dr. John Watson, Without a Clue (also known as Sherlock and Me), Orion, 1988
  • Basil Pascali, Pascali's Island (also known as L'isola di Pascali), Film Four International, 1988
  • Avatar, Slipstream, Virgin, 1989
  • Cunda, O quinto macaco (also known as The Fifth Monkey), RCA/Columbia, 1990
  • Voice of Father Capulet, Romeo-Juliet, 1990
  • Martin Boyle, The Children (also known as Meine liebe Rose), Hemdale Home Video, 1990
  • Governor, Una vita scellerata (also known as Cellini, una vitaviolenta and A Violent Life) [France, Germany, and Italy], 1990
  • Ernesto, L'amore necessario (also known as L'amour necessaire and Necessary Love) [Italy and France], 1991
  • Meyer Lansky, Bugsy, TriStar, 1991
  • Voice of Freddie the Frog, Freddie As F.R.O.7, Miramax, 1992
  • Cosmo, Sneakers, Universal, 1992
  • Vice President Nance, Dave, Warner Bros., 1992
  • Bruce Pandolfini, Searching for Bobby Fisher (also known as Innocent Moves), Paramount, 1993
  • Itzhak Stern, Schindler's List, Universal, 1993
  • Narrator, Liberation (documentary), 1994
  • Dr. Roberto Miranda, Death and the Maiden (also known as La jeune fille et la mort), Columbia/TriStar, 1994
  • Xavier Fitch, Species, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1995
  • Feste, Twelfth Night; or, What You Will, Fine Line, 1996
  • Amos, The Assignment (also known as Jackal), Sony PicturesEntertainment, 1997
  • Reverend Templeton, Photographing Fairies (also known as Apparition), PolyGram Video, 1997
  • War Symphonies--Sjostakovitsj (also known as The War Symphonies: Shostakovich against Stalin), 1997
  • Renzo Locatelli, Parting Shots, Scimitar Films, 1998
  • Harry Fertig, The Confession, New City Releasing, 1999
  • The Great Zamboni, Spooky House, Entertainment Highway, 1999
  • Narrator, Peace Is Every Step: Meditation in Action; The Life and Workof Thich Nhat Hanh (documentary), 1999
  • Narrator, A Force More Powerful, Santa Monica Pictures, 1999
  • Graydon, What Planet Are You From?, Columbia, 2000
  • Ambassador Mourain, Rules of Engagement (also known as Rules--Sekunden der Entscheidung and Les regles d'engagement), Paramount,2000
  • Don Logan, Sexy Beast, Twentieth Century-Fox, 2000, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2001
  • Narrator, Islam: Empire of Faith, DeVillier Donegan Enterprizes, 2000
  • Narrator, Artificial Intelligence: AI, DreamWorks, 2001
  • Hermocrates, The Triumph of Love (also known as Il trionfo dell'amore), Paramount Classics, 2001
  • Walter L. Shaw, All for Nothin', 2002
  • Man in the yellow suit, Tuck Everlasting, Buena Vista, 2002
  • Stage Appearances
  • Doolittle, Pygmalion, Stoke-on-Trent, England, 1965
  • Narrator, A Smashing Day, Arts Theatre, London, 1966
  • First murderer, Macbeth, Chichester Theatre Festival, Chichester,England, 1966
  • Party guest, The Cherry Orchard, Chichester Theatre Festival, 1966
  • The wigmaker, The Relapse, Royal Shakespeare Company, Aldwych Theatre, London, 1967
  • Amiens, As You Like It, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, England, 1967
  • Oswald, King Lear, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon,1968
  • Aeneas, Troilus and Cressida, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1968
  • Conrade, Much Ado about Nothing, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1968
  • The croucher, The Silver Tassie, Royal Shakespeare Company, Aldwych Theatre, 1969
  • Winwife, Bartholomew Fair, Royal Shakespeare Company, Aldwych Theatre, 1969
  • Ratcliff, Richard III, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1970
  • Claudio, Measure for Measure, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1970
  • Ariel, The Tempest, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1970
  • Demetrius, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1970, then Aldwych Theatre, 1971
  • Sinsov, Enemies, Aldwych Theatre, 1971
  • Gramsci, Occupations, Palace Theatre, London, 1971
  • Ippolit, Subject to Fits, Palace Theatre, 1971
  • Puck, The Faerie Queen, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, 1972
  • Johnnie, Hello and Goodbye, King's Head Theatre, London, then Palace Theatre, both 1973
  • Fritz, A Lesson in Blood and Roses, Palace Theatre, 1973
  • Antony and Cleopatra, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1973
  • Errol Philander, Statements, Royal Court Theatre, London, 1974
  • Slender, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1975
  • Man Is Man, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1975
  • Title role, Hamlet, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1975
  • Danilo, Dimetos, Nottingham Playhouse, then Comedy Theatre, both London, 1976
  • Mosca, Volpone, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1979
  • Vukhov, Judgement, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon,1979
  • Trofimov, The Cherry Orchard, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1979
  • Frank Ford, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Royal Shakespeare Company,Stratford-upon-Avon, 1979
  • Iachimo, Cymbeline, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1979
  • Brutus, Julius Caesar, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1979
  • Title role, Baal, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon,1979, then Warehouse Theatre, London, 1980
  • Wackform Squeers, Nicholas Nickleby, Aldwych Theatre, 1980
  • Title role, Edmund Kean, Lyric Theatre-Hammersmith, then HaymarketTheatre, both London, 1983, later Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York City, 1984
  • Caracol, Melons, Royal Shakespeare Company, Barbican Centre, Pit Theatre, London, 1985
  • Title role, Othello, Royal Shakespeare Company, Barbican Centre Theatre, 1986
  • Kenneth Waterman, A Betrothal, Man in the Moon Theatre, London, 1986
  • Estragon, Waiting for Godot, London, 1997
  • Appeared as the title role, Dr. Faustus, Manchester Royal ExchangeTheatre, Manchester, England; and as Shylock, The Merchant of Venice;also appeared in The Country Wife, National Theatre.
  • Major Tours
  • Demetrius, A Midsummer Night's Dream, U.S. cities, 1971
  • Errol Philander, Statements, European cities, 1974
  • Appeared in a touring production with the Theatre Centre, 1964.
  • Television Appearances
  • Movies
  • Naseem, Hard Labour (also known as Play for today: Hard Labour), BBC, 1973
  • Remember Me, 1975
  • An Impeccable Elopement, 1975
  • Beata Beatrix, [Great Britain], 1975
  • The Artisan, [Great Britain], 1975
  • Thank You, Comrades, 1978
  • Duval, Camille, CBS, 1984
  • Silas Marner, Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe (also known as Silas Marner), BBC and Arts and Entertainment, 1985, broadcast on Masterpiece Theatre, PBS, 1986
  • V. I. Lenin, Lenin: The Train, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF),1988
  • Simon Wiesenthal, Murderers among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story,HBO, 1989
  • Pericles, The War That Never Ends, BBC, 1991
  • The Lost Portrait, [Great Britain], 1995
  • Julian Messenger, Weapons of Mass Destruction, HBO, 1997
  • Title role, The Tale of Sweeney Todd (also known as The Demon Barber), Showtime, 1998
  • Major Caterpillar, Alice in Wonderland, 1999
  • Also appeared as Lord Uplandtowers, Barbara of the House of Grebe(also known as Wessex Tales: Barbara of the House of Grebe); EveryGood Boy Deserves Favour; and Feel Free.
  • Miniseries
  • Himself, Playing Shakespeare, London Weekend Television, 1984
  • Il segreto del Sahara (also known as Secret of the Sahara),[Italy, Switzerland, and West Germany (now Germany)], 1988
  • Potiphar, Joseph (also known as The Bible: Joseph), TNT, 1995
  • Title role, Moses (also known as The Bible: Moses), TNT, 1996
  • Porfiry, Crime and Punishment (also known as Dostoevsky's Crimeand Punishment), NBC, 1998
  • Otto Frank, Anne Frank, ABC, 2001
  • Specials
  • Antony and Cleopatra, Associated Television, 1974
  • Frank Ford, "The Merry Wives of Windsor," BBC Television Shakespeare, BBC- 2, 1982
  • Our Finite World: India, PBS, 1986
  • Oxbridge Blues, Arts and Entertainment, 1986
  • Backstage at Masterpiece Theatre: A 20th Anniversary Special, PBS,1991
  • Michael Caine: Breaking the Mold, Cinemax, 1991
  • Narrator, Last Images of War, PBS, 1992
  • The king, The King and I: Recording a Hollywood Dream, 1993
  • Inside the Academy Awards, TNT, 1995
  • The American Film Institute Salute to Steven Spielberg (also knownas The 23rd Annual American Film Institute Life Achievement Award: A Salute to Steven Spielberg), NBC, 1995
  • The 47th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 1995
  • Narrator, Nazi Hunters: Stalking Evil, TNT, 1996
  • Host, Survivors of the Holocaust (also known as Survivors of the Shoah), TBS, 1996
  • The 70th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1998
  • Roman Polanski: The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 1998
  • The BBC and the BAFTA Tribute to Michael Caine, 2000
  • Presenter, The 74th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2002
  • Also appeared in Edmund Kean.
  • Episodic
  • Ron Jenkins, Coronation Street (two episodes), Granada Television,1965
  • Pierre, "Good Book," The Adventurer, Incorporated Television Company, 1972
  • Rossetti, The Brotherhood (also known as Love School: The Brotherhood), 1975
  • Rove Live, IO Network, 2001
  • "Oscar Nominations," Seitenblicke, 2002
  • Cast Albums
  • The King and I, Philips Classics, 1992
  • Taped Readings
  • The Words of Gandhi (spoken documentary), Caedmon, 1984
  • Religion, Scriptures & Spirituality: Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, Protestantism & Judaism, S & S Audio, 1998

Further Reference


    • International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, St. James Press, 1996
    • Entertainment Weekly, September 6, 1996, p. 62
    • Interview, February, 2002, p. 60
    • New York Times, April 3, 1996

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