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Kate Winslet Biography

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Kate Winslet Biography

Ask Kate Winslet what she liked about any of her characters, and the word "ballsy" is bound to pop up at least once. The British actress has made a point of eschewing straightforward pretty-girl parts in favor of more devilish damsels; as a result, she's built an eclectic resume; that runs the gamut from Shakespearean tragedy to modern-day mysticism and erotica.

Born into a family of thespians -- parents Roger Winslet and Sally Bridges-Winslet were both stage actors, maternal grandparents Oliver and Linda Bridges ran the Reading Repertory Theatre, and uncle Robert Bridges was a fixture in London's West End theatre district -- Kate came into her talent at an early age. She scored her first professional gig at 11, dancing opposite the Honey Monster in a commercial for a kids' cereal. She started acting lessons around the same time, which led to formal training at a performing arts high school. Over the next few years she appeared on stage regularly and landed a few bit parts in sitcoms. Her first big break came at age 17, when she was cast as an obsessive adolescent in Heavenly Creatures (1994). The film, based on the true story of two fantasy-gripped girls who commit a brutal murder, received modest distribution but was roundly praised by critics.

Still a relative unknown, Winslet attended a cattle call audition the next year for Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility (1995). She made an immediate impression on the film's star, Emma Thompson, and beat out more than a hundred other hopefuls for the part of plucky Marianne Dashwood. Her efforts were rewarded with both a British Academy Award and an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Winslet followed up with two more period pieces, playing the rebellious heroine in Jude (1996) and Ophelia in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (1996).

The role that transformed Winslet from art house attraction to international star was Rose DeWitt Bukater, the passionate, rosy-cheeked aristocrat in James Cameron's Titanic (1997). Young girls the world over both idolized and identified with Winslet, swooning over all that face time opposite heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio and noting her refreshingly healthy, un-emaciated physique. Winslet's performance also garnered a Best Actress nomination, making her the youngest actress to ever receive two Academy nods.

After the swell of unexpected attention surrounding Titanic (1997), Winslet was eager to retreat into independent projects. Rumor has it that she turned down the lead roles in both Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Anna and the King (1999) in order to play adventurous soul searchers in Hideous Kinky (1998) and Holy Smoke (1999). The former cast her as a young single mother traveling through 1960s Morocco with her daughters in tow; the latter, as a zealous follower of a guru tricked into a "deprogramming" session in the Australian outback. The next year found her back in period dress as the Marquis de Sade's chambermaid and accomplice in Quills (2000). Kate holds the distinction of being the youngest actor ever honored with four Academy Award nominations (she received her fourth at age 29.)

Off camera, Winslet is known for her mischievous pranks and familial devotion. She has two sisters, Anna Winslet and Beth Winslet (both actresses), and a brother, Joss. In 1998, she married James Threapleton, whom she met on the set of Hideous Kinky (1998); the pair had a daughter, Mia, in October of 2000. They divorced in 2001. She later married director Sam Mendes in 2003 and has since given birth to their son Joe.

Kate Winslet Trivia

Daughter Mia was born (in England) on the 12th October 2000, weighing in at 8 pounds 9 ounces.

Kate met husband, James Threapleton, on the set of her movie Hideous Kinky (1998), where he was working as an assistant director.

Won Best Spoken Word Album for Children, Grammy Awards, shared with Graham Greene. [2000]

Turned down the Gwyneth Paltrow role in Shakespeare in Love (1998) and the Jodie Foster role in Anna and the King (1999).

Has very large feet and wears size 11 shoes.

At age 11, she began attending the acting school Redroofs in Maidenhead, England, UK.

Dated Rufus Sewell.

Sister of Anna Winslet and Beth Winslet.

The youngest actress ever to be nominated for two Academy Awards (for Sense and Sensibility (1995) and Titanic (1997)) (Aged 20 and 22 respectively). [1998]

Dated Stephen Tredre. [1991-1995]

Her first acting job was dancing with the Honey Monster in a commercial for Sugar Puffs cereal.

Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Manchester Evening News Award for her theatre role in "What the Butler Saw" as Geraldine Barclay. [1994]

Chosen by People (USA) magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world. [1996]

Younger brother, Joss.

Parents: Roger Winslet (actor) and Sally Bridges-Winslet.

After her first success in the film Heavenly Creatures (1994), a reviewer predicted that she would always be associated with that character and would never be a big star.

Recorded a song for the soundtrack for the movie Christmas Carol: The Movie (2001). Producers were so impressed at her efforts they have decided to release the ballad - called "What If?" - as a single. It reached the top ten in the UK, peaking at number six. [June 2001]

Announced that she and husband James Threapleton are splitting up. [3 September 2001]

[November 2001] Confirms that she is dating director Sam Mendes.

Purchased a $3 million (US) home in London with boyfriend (later husband) Sam Mendes. They also bought a home in New York City.

Holds a unique position in Academy Awards history: only twice have two actresses been nominated for playing the same character in the same film. The first was Gloria Stuart and Kate in Titanic (1997). The second was Judi Dench and Kate in Iris (2001/I).

Married director Sam Mendes in a private ceremony whilst on holiday in the West Indies in May, 2003.

Daughter Mia's name is Italian for "mine".

Has sung in 5 of her films.

Prefers to wear boots rather than ordinary shoes because it makes her feel that her feet are "firmly on the ground."

Missed the premiere of Titanic (1997) because she was attending the funeral of close friend and former boyfriend, Stephen Tredre.

Son, Joe Alfie Winslet Mendes, was born on December 22, 2003, in New York, and weighed 7 pounds and 13 ounces.

Resides in both London, England, and New York City, America. Her main home, however, is in Cotswolds, England.

Has a nephew, George.

Sprained her ankle on the set of Romance & Cigarettes (2005) in May 2004.

She sold her North London home in Belsize Park to Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin.

Was considered for the role of Bridget in Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) but it was then decided she was too young to portray the role.

On the day she had to film the straightjacket scene in Hamlet (1996), she learned she had won the role of Rose in Titanic (1997).

While serving as host of "Saturday Night Live" (1975) one week after Ashlee Simpson's "recorded song malfunction," she opened the show by singing and dancing live.

Bust size 1996 - 34C.

Born in the same year and on the same day as Parminder Nagra.

Is the first actress to receive four Oscar nominations before turning 30.

Recently bought a home in New York City. Her main home, however, is in Cotswolds, England.

Was born in the same hospital as her husband, Sam Mendes.

Filmed her 2005 American Express commercial in Camden Town, London, England.

First screen kiss was with Melanie Lynskey in Heavenly Creatures (1994).

Her performance as Clementine Kruczynski in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) is ranked #81 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).

Her daughter Mia had to be delivered by Cesearian section, which made Kate feel she hadn't given birth properly. She only admitted to it after giving birth to her son Joe (who had been delivered naturally).

Was offered the role of Eowyn in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002).

Offered the role of Tessa in The Constant Gardener (2005) but turned it down to do Finding Neverland (2004).

Kate married Sam Mendes, who was the childhood friend of Tom Hollander, with whom he went to Cambridge University and directed him in several plays. Tom and Kate were both in the film Enigma (2001).

Very close friends with actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Premiere Magazine for Sense and Sensibility (1995)). [1995]

Won Best Film Actress, Smash Hits Magazine. [1998]

Won Sexiest Actress, Entertainment Insider Awards. [1998]

Won Film Actress of the Year, Variety Club of Great Britain. [1999]

Nominated for Best Actress, Roughcut.com Internet Movie Award for Holy Smoke (1999). [2000]

When interviewed on "Good Morning America" (1975) to promote her film The Holiday (2006), they surprised her by showing a clip which was supposedly Winslet on the Sugar Puff Commercial in 1987. However, the girl in the clip shown was not her. Winslet did not point out the error because she did not want to embarrass the researcher and get the person fired. She was then praised by the media for her caring and consideration of other people. [2006]

Her performance in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) is her personal favorite.

Along with Vanessa Redgrave (for Julia (1977)) and Mare Winningham (for Georgia (1995)), she is the only performer to be nominated for an Supporting Oscar (for Iris (2000)) for playing the title role in a movie. As of 2006, Redgrave is the only one to win.

As of 2007, she is the youngest actress to rack-up 5 Oscar nominations.

Won Best Actress, Toronto Film Festival for Heavenly Creatures (1994), shared with Melanie Lynskey. [1995]

Runner-Up for Best Actress, New York Film Critics Circle for Holy Smoke (1999). [1999]

Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Rec.Arts.Movies.* Critics Circle for Quills (2000). [2000]

Runner-Up for Best Actress, National Society of Film Critics for Holy Smoke (1999). [2000]

Runner-Up for Best Actress, New York Film Critics Circle for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). [2004]

Chris Tookey, of the British newspaper "Daily Mail" chose her as Best Actress of the Year for her two roles in The Holiday (2006) and Little Children (2006). [2006]

Is a fan of Rufus Wainwright's CD, "Poses" (mentioned in one of her ads for AmEx).

Nominated for Best Actress in a Dramatic Performance, Excellent Dynamic Activism (EDA) Awards/The Alliance of Women Journalists for Little Children (2006). [2006]

In an interview for the London Evening Standard, she revealed she has taken a year off (from April 2006 to April 2007) from her career, to spend more time with her family. [2007]

Official Celebrity Spokesperson for Lanc? [2007]

Her children refer to close friend Leonardo DiCaprio as "Uncle Leo".

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