An English actress. After some minor television roles, she made her film debut in Much Ado About Nothing (1993) while still a student at Oxford University. She then appeared in British costume dramas such as Prince of Jutland (1994), Cold Comfort Farm (1995), Emma (1996) and The Golden Bowl (2000), in addition to various stage and radio productions. She began to seek film work in the United States in the late 1990s and, after appearing in small-scale dramas The Last Days of Disco (1998) and Brokedown Palace (1999), she had a breakout year in 2001 with starring roles in the war film Pearl Harbor and the romantic comedy Serendipity. She built on this success with appearances in the bio-pic The Aviator (2004) and the comedy Click (2006).
Beckinsale became known as an action star following an appearance in 2003's Underworld and has since starred in many action films, including Van Helsing (2004), Underworld: Evolution (2006), Whiteout (2009), Contraband (2012), Underworld: Awakening (2012) and Total Recall (2012). She also makes occasional appearances in smaller dramatic projects such as Snow Angels (2007), Winged Creatures (2008), Nothing but the Truth (for which she earned a Critic's Choice Award nomination in 2008) and Everybody's Fine (2009). She will next appear in the legal drama The Trials of McCall.
Born and raised in London, Beckinsale is the child of actor Richard Beckinsale (1947–1979) and actress Judy Loe. She had an eight-year relationship with Welsh actor Michael Sheen from 1995 until 2003; they have one daughter. She married American film director Len Wiseman in 2004 and they live in Brentwood, Los Angeles. Publications such as Esquire and People Magazine have repeatedly included Beckinsale in their annual rankings of the world's sexiest and most beautiful women. She has worked occasionally as a model in television and print campaigns to promote Gap denim, Diet Coke, Absolut Vodka and Lux shampoo.
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