Kathryn Bailey "Kate" Beckinsale (born July 26, 1973) is an English actress, known for her roles in the films Pearl Harbor (2001), Van Helsing (2004), and Underworld (2003).Beckinsale was born in London to Judy Loe, a stage and television actress, and Richard Beckinsale, a television actor who died in 1979 at the age of 31. She has a paternal half-sister, Samantha, who is also an actress. Beckinsale's paternal great-grandfather was Burmese, and Beckinsale has said that she was "very oriental-looking" as a child.Beckinsale attended the private Godolphin and Latymer School,and in her teens twice won the W. H. Smith Young Writers' competition — once for three short stories and once for three poems. After a rebellious adolescence, including a period of anorexia and starting a smoking habit, she followed in the footsteps of her parents and began her acting career. Her first role was in One Against the Wind, a television film about World War II that was first aired in 1991. Having gained three language A levels, Beckinsale studied French and Russian literature at New College, Oxford, though she did not finish her degree. She thought that having an academic background studying foreign language and literature would broaden her range of acting roles.
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