Ben Kingsley

Sir Ben Kingsley, British actor
AP
One of the great actors of his generation, Kingsley received a best actor Oscar in 1983 for the title role of "Ghandi." He received three additional Academy Award nominations for his work in "Bugsy," "Sexy Beast" and "House of Sand and Fog."

Kingsley is nominated for an Emmy in the outstanding lead actor in a movie or miniseries category for his portrayal of Dr. Herman Tarnower, inventor of the Scarscale Diet, opposite Annette Bening in "Mrs. Harris." He has been nominated three times before, but has yet to win.

The actor was born Krishna Bhanji in England on New Year's Eve 1943. He had planned to study medicine and become a doctor like his father, but after seeing a Royal Shakespeare Company performance of "Richard III" the then-19-year-old decided to pursue acting.

He started out with a drama troupe that toured schools and made his first appearance on the London stage in the 1966 musical "A Smashing Day." The play was produced by Beatles manager Brian Epstein. According to Kingsley's official biography, Ringo Starr and John Lennon enjoyed his performance so much that they insisted he launch a music career, but the actor chose to continue acting.

Kingsley was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company for several years and performed in other stage productions through the 1980s. He also appeared in numerous television shows in England throughout his career, starting with a brief stint on the hit series Coronation Street.

He made his film debut in 1972 in the thriller "Fear Is Key." Other notable films include "Schindler's List," "Searching for Bobby Fischer" and "Death and the Maiden."