Kate Winslet Biography (1975-)

. Born October 5, 1975, in Reading, England. The grandaughter of two theater managers (her maternal grandparents founded Reading Repertory Theatre) and the daughter of two actors, Winslet began acting as a child, making her first appearance on British television at age seven in a cereal commercial. In 1988, she appeared in the TV series Shrinks; three years later, she left school to pursue her fledgling acting career.

Winslet appeared on the British stage in productions such as Adrian Mole and Peter Pan and had a recurring role on the British sitcom Get Back before landing her debut film role, in Heavenly Creatures (1994), directed by Peter Jackson. In the film, Winslet played Juliet Hulme, a schoolgirl with tuberculosis whose obsessive friendship with a classmate leads the two girls to murder the classmate’s mother in order to avoid separation.

Winslet attracted even more attention with her next role, as the winsome Marianne Dashwood in Ang Lee’s film adaptation of Sense and Sensibility (1995), costarring Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, and Alan Rickman. As the “sensibility” of the movie, Winslet earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. After several similarly high-brow roles, in such features as Jude (1995, based on the Thomas Hardy novel Jude the Obscure) and as Ophelia in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet (1996), Winslet landed squarely on the A-list of leading ladies with her performance as Rose DeWitt, the heroine of James Cameron’s record-breaking blockbuster Titanic. The film won numerous Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and launched costar Leonardo DiCaprio to heartthrob status. Winslet scored her second Academy Award nomination for acting, this time for Best Actress. (Her costar, Gloria Stuart, earned a nod in the supporting category for her portrayal of the older Rose DeWitt; the two actresses became the first ever to earn nominations for playing the same character.)

On the heels of her first Titanic hit, Winslet made two somewhat unlikely choices for her next projects: Hideous Kinky (1999), in which she played a free-spirited single mother who brings her two daughters along on a spiritual quest to Marrakech; and Holy Smoke (also 1999), the Jane Campion-directed film about a young woman who joins a religious cult. The film’s frank depiction of the sexual connection between Winslet and Harvey Keitel (as a man hired by the woman’s family to “deprogram” her) displayed Winslet’s unselfconsciousness and her talent for portraying physical and emotional nudity onscreen.

Winslet’s next film was no less daring, as she returned to period drama with Quills, about the incarceration of the notorious French novelist the Marquis de Sade in the mental asylum of Charenton. As the laundress who helps de Sade (Geoffrey Rush) smuggle his illicit writings out of the asylum for publication, Winslet becomes the object of sexual obsession for the asylum’s inmates, as well as the priest who is in charge, played by Joaquin Phoenix.

Actress. Born October 5th, 1975, in Reading, England. Winslet’s parents, Roger Winslet and Sally Bridges-Winslet were both stage actors, and her maternal grandparents founded Reading Repertory Theatre. Winslet followed in the family footsteps at the age of seven, when she appeared in a cereal commercial on British Television. In 1988, she appeared in the TV series Shrinks; three years later, she left school to pursue her fledgling acting career.

Winslet appeared on the British stage in productions such as Adrian Mole and Peter Pan, and had a recurring role on the British sitcom Get Back before landing her debut film role in Heavenly Creatures (1994), directed by Peter Jackson. In the film, Winslet played Juliet Hulme, a schoolgirl with tuberculosis whose obsessive friendship with a classmate leads the two girls to murder the classmate’s mother in order to avoid separation.

Winslet attracted even more attention with her next role in Ang Lee’s film adaptation of the Jane Austen novel, Sense and Sensibility (1995). The actress proved she could hold her own across from screen legends such as Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, and Alan Rickman. As the winsome Marianne Dashwood—the “sensibility” of the movie—Winslet earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. The film also earned high praise from critics.

In a similarly high-brow role, Winslet starred with Christopher Eccleston in the film Jude, a modern interpretation of the Thomas Hardy novel, Jude the Obscure. She then appeared as Ophelia in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet (1996), and landed squarely on the A-list of leading ladies with her performance as Rose DeWitt, the heroine of James Cameron’s record-breaking blockbuster Titanic. The film won numerous Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and scored Winslet her second Academy Award nomination for acting, this time for Best Actress. Her co-star, Gloria Stuart, also earned a nod in the supporting category for her portrayal of the older Rose DeWitt; the two actresses became the first ever to earn nominations for playing two versions of the same character.

On the heels of her first blockbuster hit, Winslet made two somewhat unlikely choices for her next projects: Hideous Kinky (1999) and Holy Smoke (1999). In Hideous Kinky, Winslet played a free-spirited single mother who brought her two daughters on a spiritual quest to Marrakech. For the Jane Campion-directed film, Holy Smoke, Winslet played Ruth Barron, a young woman who joined a religious cult. The film’s frank depiction of the sexual connection between Barron and PJ Waters (played by Harvey Keitel) displayed Winslet’s talent for portraying physical and emotional nudity onscreen. Winslet then returned to period drama in 2000 with the film Quills, a movie about the French novelist Marquis de Sade. In the movie, Winslet portrayed the laundress who helped the Marquis (Geoffrey Rush) smuggle his illicit writings out of an insane asylum during his committment there.

In 2001, Winslet lent her voice to the animated British feature, A Christmas Carol. A song from the movie, “What If,” featured Winslet as the lead vocalist and became a top ten single in Britain. Her most notable film that year was Iris, a screenplay based on John Bailey’s book, Elegy for Iris. Winslet played the young Iris Murdoch, an unconventional student. Judi Dench played the older Iris, whose husband (Jim Broadbent) tries to help her as she struggles with the growing effects of her Alzheimer’s disease. All three Iris  stars earned Academy Award nominations, making it the second time Winslet and a co-star both earned nominations for playing different versions of the same character.

That same year, Winslet co-starred as a code-breaker in the World War II-era spy drama Enigma (2002). She also appeared as a reporter interviewing a death-row inmate in The Life of David Gale, costarring Kevin Spacey and Laura Linney. In 2004, Winslet starred opposite Jim Carrey in Charlie Kaufman’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which earned her an Academy Award nomination for her performance. She also starred across from Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland (2004), which explored J.M. Barrie’s inspiration for his best-known work, Peter Pan. In the film, Winslet played the widowed mother of four boys whom Barrie befriended.

Again playing in a maternal role, Winslet starred as a frustrated suburban mother who became involved with a married man in the film, Little Children (2006). She earned both an Academy Award and Golden Globe nod for her performance. Next for the talented actress are the highly anticipated films Revolutionary Road (2008) and The Reader (2008). For Revolutionary Road, Winslet has teamed up with her Titanic co-star Leonardo DiCaprio as a struggling married couple in 1950s. The Reader explores the relationship between a young boy and an older woman (Winslet) and what happens when she is put on trial for war crimes. Winslet received an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the film.

Winslet is currently married to Sam Mendes, the noted British stage director and Academy Award-winning director of American Beauty. The couple welcomed their first child together, a son named Joe, in 2003. She has one daughter, Mia, from her first marriage to Jim Threapleton. The couple met on the set of Hideous Kinky, for which he was the assistant director. They married in late 1998 and were divorced in December 2001.

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