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The Most Famous British Actresses #7

UK Keira Knightley

Finishing this week’s 'Ladies First film week', is another young but very talented and well known actress; Keira Knightley. Starring in “Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace”, “Bend It Like Beckham”, “Pride and Prejudice”, recently in “Anna Karenina” but is probably best known for her role in “Pirates of the Caribbean”.

UK Keira Knightley 2

"Doll houses were a big thing in my childhood. I was always making up stories, playing with them for hours. I guess that's why I'm an actress: I never stopped wanting to play."
– Keira Knightley
Born in London, England on March 26, 1985, Keira grew up in a show-business family; her father is an actor and her mother is a playwright. She first asked for her own agent at the age of three and actually got one when she was six years old!

Keira got her first professional acting job at the age of 7, and then went on to make a string of appearances on British television, too. In her mid-teens, she landed her first major role in “Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace”. That same year, brought her a supporting role in the TV mini-series “Oliver Twist”.

In 2002, she had another career breakthrough with “Bend It Like Beckham” ~ she played a tomboy soccer player called Juliette "Jules" Paxton ~ it was a surprise hit! That same year, she played the female lead in the TV film “Doctor Zhivago”, taking her repertoire to an even higher level.

As we all know, since the blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl” in 2003 with Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom, and the sequels in 2006 and 2007, she is definitely a “wanted actress”!

In addition to acting, she has also worked as a model ~ not surprising with those elegant and feminine looks, even appearing in ads for Chanel.

This down-to-earth and very capable actress is another great example of special talent - not just from the UK but that each country has.

Look forward to next week’s “Famous British Actors” . . .

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The Most Famous British Actresses #6

UK Carey Mulligan DONE 3:9:13

Carey Mulligan

One of the UK’s youngest, promising stars, is Carey Mulligan. In 2005, she starred in her first major film, “Pride & Prejudice” with Keira Knightley, and has also earned an Oscar nomination for her lead role in the film “An Education”.

Born on May 28, 1985, in London, England, she spent her youth between England and Germany. While in school, Mulligan performed in a number of theatrical productions, and one day met screenwriter Julian Fellowes, who put her in touch with a casting agent. That agent helped her land a role in the 2005's famous film “Pride & Prejudice”, and things have just grown since then...

Several Broadway shows and films later, she has starred with numerous stars like Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren, to name but a few ~ she is definitely a star to keep your eyes on.

Tune in tomorrow for Sunday’s special star actress ~

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The Most Famous British Actresses #5 -> "M"

UK Judi Dench DONE 3:8:13

Dame Judi Dench was born on December 9th, 1934 in York, Yorkshire, England. She made her stage debut in 1957 as Ophelia in “Hamlet”, and performed in several musical roles throughout the years. She won an Oscar for her role as Queen Elizabeth I in “Shakespeare in Love”, but is currently best known as James Bond's boss 'M' in the “007” film series.

Even as a young girl, she showed a passion for performance. She loved to dress up, and with her mother at the piano, she would sing alongside her. This was the beginning of her life-career ...

In 1961 she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, the start of a 30-year run that would see her take on every leading female Shakespeare role ~ that is very impressive!

But she wasn't just content with Shakespeare or drama. In 1959 she made her television debut in the BBC series “Hilda Lessways”. She stretched herself even more by taking on comedy work, and even had a starring role as Sally Bowles in “Cabaret”.

She started to become a household name once taking the role of M ~ James Bond’s boss in “GoldenEye” (1995), and continues that position, including the 2012 release, “Skyfall”.
Not just “007” but she has had memorable roles in films such as “Chocolat”, “Iris” and “Notes on a Scandal”.

The same year she won her first Oscar, she also earned a ‘Tony Award’ for best actress for her role in “Amy's View”, and the list goes on and on ...
six Academy Award nominations, two Golden Globes, six Lawrence Olivier Awards, was named an Order of the British Empire in 1970 and honoured with the title of Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1988, and in 2006 she was recognised with a Fellowship at the Royal Society of Arts.

Keep your eyes open for Judi’s great acting roles ~ you will definitely enjoy them ~

Our next showing starts tomorrow at the same time ...

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The Most Famous British Actresses #4

UK Julia Andrews DONE 3:7:13

“The hills are alive, with the sound of music.”

Anyone and everyone has seen the film or sung along to a song or two in the “Sound of Music” at sometime in their life ~ whether as a child or even as an adult. My friend for example, started playing ‘Edelweiss’ and other songs from this incredible and historic film, as soon as I mentioned the name “Julia Andrews”. One surprise to her was that yes, Julia Andrews is also from the UK!

She was born on October 1, 1935, in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England and is best known for her roles in "Mary Poppins" and "The Sound of Music".

Her mother was a pianist and her stepfather was a singer, so she grew up with music being a large and important part of her childhood. This attributed to her first-found success on the stage in England in the late 1940, that then moved to America in the 1950s, where she starred in “The Boyfriend” and “My Fair Lady”, and then in “Camelot” in 1960.

Julie Andrews made the leap to film stardom in 1964 with leading roles in "The Americanization of Emily”, starring opposite James Garner; and in “Mary Poppins”. It was as the lovable, magical nanny in “Mary Poppins” that she won her first Academy Award for best actress. The following year, she was nominated for her part in “The Sound of Music”. As we all know, both films were hugely successful, winning her fans from around the globe, and still remain popular, even after all these years.

In the 1980s, she took on new challenges and starred in 1981's “S.O.B.”, and then “Victor/Victoria” a year later ~ that was an interesting film of as she was a woman who pretended to be a man pretending to be a woman -> yes I know, it’s a little confusing!?!

Interestingly in 1996, she returned to Broadway in the stage production of “Victor/Victoria”. For her performance in the musical, she earned her third Tony Award nomination, but refused the nomination, stating that she felt the rest of the cast had been overlooked.

A nice quote that she is known for is this:

"If you hold on to your words, your voice will pull through for you when you're singing. So be true to your vowels."
– Julie Andrews

See you tomorrow for another incredible actress ...

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The Most Famous British Actresses #3

UK Elizabeth Taylor DONE 3:6:13

Elizabeth Taylor was the Queen of Hollywood, with a career spanning six decades. She was as famous for her colourful personal life, which included eight marriages and seven husbands, as she was for her acting career.

Although she was born in England, her parents were American art dealers. Her mother had been an actress on the stage until she married, and the family relocated to Los Angeles when she was seven.
A family friend suggested Elizabeth be taken for a screen test, and she signed a contract with Universal Studios. Her first foray onto the silver screen was when she was ten.

She was then signed by MGM to make ‘Lassie Come Home’. Her next two films were minuscule parts, but then came the film that made Taylor a star, ‘National Velvet’, in 1944. The film was a smash hit, grossing over $4 million.

Throughout the 1940s and into the early 1950s, she appeared in film after film, with mostly good results. 1954 proved her busiest year to date, with roles in ‘Rhapsody’, ‘Beau Brummell’, ‘The Last Time I Saw Paris’ and ‘Elephant Walk’.

In 1963, she starred in ‘Cleopatra’, which was the most expensive production up to that time, and her enormous salary of $1,000,000 made her the highest paid woman in Hollywood and the first ever million dollar actress.
Her personal life has been as colourful as her acting career, having gone through seven husbands and eight marriages over the years. Her most famous union was with seven-time Academy Award nominee Richard Burton, whom she married and divorced twice.

Taylor then married Burton in 1964, which the Vatican condemned as they were both married when they started seeing each other. The marriage lasted ten years before they divorced. After being apart for 16 months, they married again but redivorced in 1975.

In February 1997, she was hospitalised for the removal of a brain tumour and, although the operation was successful, her health remained an ongoing concern. Taylor had a wide range of other medical issues over the years and in February 2011, at the age of 78, she was admitted into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for treatment related to congestive heart failure, which she disclosed in 2004.

Sadly she passed away on 23 March 2011 at the age of 79 from congestive heart failure.

Paying tribute to his mother, son Michael said in a statement: "We will always be inspired by her enduring contribution to our world. My Mother was an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest, with great passion, humour, and love."

On her death, her jewellery collection was worth a reported $150 million as she loved collecting pieces and was seen as a fashion icon throughout her career.

More showing tomorrow ~ same time, same place ...