Occupation : Actress
Birth Date : March 22, 1983
Birth Place : Teddington, London, England, UK
Birth Name : Kiera Knightley
Height : 5' 7"
Sex : F
Nationality : British
Relationship : Rupert Friend (actor; began dating on January 2006), Kaz James (Aussie DJ), Jamie Dornan (Irish model; broke up in 2005)
Father : Will Knightley (actor; born on April 23, 1946)
Mother : Sharman Macdonald (writer; born in 1951)
Brother : Caleb Knightley (born in 1979)
Claim to fame : Soccer-playing tomboy Juliette Paxton in Bend it Like Beckham (2003)
A slender but lean brunette beauty, pixyish British actress Keira Knightley hitched herself to a star with memorable roles in such hits as Bend It Like Beckham (2002) and Pirates of the Caribbean (2003). Born in Teddington, London, England, in 1985, young Knightley was enticed by the lure of cinema at an early age. Reported to have asked her parents for a manager at the age of three, playwright mother Sharman McDonald and actor father Will Knightley were at first reluctant to let their daughter follow them into show business. Although they would accommodate her wish three years later, their strict demand that their daughter study through school holidays and only take jobs that didn't interfere with her education ensured that Keira would keep her priorities straight.
Schooling at a nearby comprehensive establishment remained her focal point, but acting as a career choice gradually became a reality.
Pursuing artistic integrity and the satisfaction derived from playing different characters, Knightley's hard work paid off at an early age. European made-for-TV movies and shows started to dot her resume by the age of 11, but it was a stroke of luck that helped her along the way.
Trained in dance from an early age, Knightley made her film debut when she was 12 in Moira Armstrong's romantic drama A Village Affair. Gradually climbing the credits with subsequent roles in Innocent Lies (1995) and the made-for-TV features Treasure Seekers (1996) and Coming Home (1998), she got her first big break when cast as the decoy queen in the eagerly anticipated Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Knightley resembled the actual queen (portrayed by Natalie Portman) so much that her mother couldn't distinguish the two and some fans still insist both were portrayed by Portman.
A close resemblance to star Natalie Portman, Knightley was cast as Portman's handmaiden in Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace. Her small but memorable performance garnered her attention in Britain and the U.S. After the release of the film in 1999, Knightley landed a role in an Oliver Twist TV miniseries, portraying Rose Fleming.
After Star Wars and Oliver Twist, things got even better. In 2001, Knightley starred in the successful British film The Hole, and spent three months in Slovakia and Prague filming a 2002 TV version of Doctor Zhivago, in which she played Lara, the same character Julie Christie played in the famous 1965 version. And this was all before her 18th birthday
Taking back her own face for the television miniseries Oliver Twist (2000), Knightley stayed with the small screen as Robin Hood's daughter in the 2001 adventure Princess of Thieves. Although audiences would truly begin to take note of her talent in the thriller The Hole that same year, her star-making turn in the sleeper comedy drama Bend It Like Beckham endeared her to audiences everywhere and ultimately served as her breakthrough role. Playing the best friend to star Parminder K. Nagra, Knightley proved that she could turn what might have been little more than a noteworthy supporting role into a truly memorable, scene-stealing performance.
As Lara Antipova in the 2002 miniseries Doctor Zhivago, Knightley gracefully slipped into a role that was previously made famous by Julie Christie, and the timeless romantic drama proved a hit with U.K. television viewers. With the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, audiences marveled at eccentric actor Johnny Depp's quirky portrayal of pirate Jack Sparrow, although, as the beautiful young maiden whose blood may hold the key to life for a group of undead pirates, Knightley once again turned in a memorable performance.
While King Arthur (2004) and Domino (2005) were high-profile flops, Knightley's status as a movie-star on both sides of the pond was firmly cemented in early 2006 when she was nominated for a Best-Actress Oscar for her role in 2005's Pride Prejudice.
2006 also saw the release of the sequel Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which was shot back-to-back with the franchise's third entry