Kate Beckinsale (born on July 26, 1973) is an English actress. She is the daughter of the late Richard Beckinsale and Judy Loe, both British television actors. Her father died in 1979, at the age of 32 years.
After finishing school in London, she began to act in a gradual way, thus following her parent's profession. In 1991 she played a role in a television film about World War II, which made her become widely known by the public in England. The film was also broadcast in America at the end of that year. Beckinsale then began studies of French and of Russian literature at Oxford University, in interviews she commented that she felt that the university background would be better for her than attending a school of performing arts.
During her first year at Oxford, Beckinsale was offered a part in Kenneth Branagh's big-screen film, Much Ado About Nothing, adapted from Shakespeare's famous comedy. This was her breakthrough in movies and opened her the doors to work in several other films, what she did while studying in Oxford. She spent her last year of studies in Paris, where she was acquainted with the French culture. There she decided to leave the university after three years and to concentrate on her acting career. Since then she has played in several major movies, but has worked also in television films and on the stage. Beckinsale's current partner is actor Michael Sheen. They have a daughter, Lily.