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Keira Knightley
Celebrity biographies

Keira Knightley stars in Disney's 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movies
Keira Knightley - Born to actor/playwright parents in Teddington, Middlesex, England, Keira (who is also sometimes credited as Kiera) Knightley was born on March 22, 1985. At 3 years old, she asked her mother for an agent, feeling jealous that she never received the same amount of calls that her parents did. At age 6, the Knightleys agreed to let their daughter have an agent, provided that she'd study every day during summer holidays.

This was no small feat for young Keira, who is dyslexic, but she persevered. Although her parents had envisioned a more secure career for their daughter, Keira started to get various acting jobs. Schooling at a nearby comprehensive establishment remained her focal point, but acting as a career choice gradually became a reality.

Pursuing artistic integrity and the satisfaction derived from playing different characters, Knightley's hard work paid off at an early age. European made-for-TV movies and shows started to dot her resume by the age of 11, but it was a stroke of luck that helped her along the way.

Thanks to hard work, and a close resemblance to star Natalie Portman, Knightley was cast as Portman's handmaiden in Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace. Her small but memorable performance garnered her attention in Britain and the U.S. After the release of the film in 1999, Knightley landed a role in an Oliver Twist TV miniseries, portraying Rose Fleming.

After Star Wars and Oliver Twist, things got even better. In 2001, Knightley starred in the successful British film The Hole, and spent three months in Slovakia and Prague filming a 2002 TV version of Doctor Zhivago, in which she played Lara, the same character Julie Christie played in the famous 1965 version. And this was all before her 18th birthday.

Keira Knightley poses for a magazine photo shoot

But is was her other project in 2002 that served as her breakthrough role. Keira Knightley starred in Bend It Like Beckham, a hugely popular British comedy whose unexpected success has been likened to that of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

No longer an underground hit, the film made it big at the North American box office. Thanks to Knightley's portrayal of a determined soccer player, she can add the British Newcomer of the Year trophy courtesy of the London Critics Circle Film Awards, and a Best Actress award by the Bordeaux International Festival of Women in Cinema, to her mantle.

The summer of 2003 ushered in the release of the Hollywood blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, with Knightley as the romantic lead. The British comedy Love Actually, with a star-studded cast including Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson, was released in November 2003, while King Arthur has a summer 2004 release.

In 2005, she can add The Jacket, co-starring Adrien Brody, and the sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean to her resume -- which means Knightley will be stealing the spotlight for some time to come.

Barely into adulthood, this hot UK export has already won over fans across the Atlantic. The many diverse projects she has lined up prove that she is ready to take the world by storm, and we're waiting with open arms. For now, she keeps a level head and lives with her parents in Richmond, England.

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