Keira Christina Knightley is an English actress and model. After getting an agent at 6, she did work mostly on commercials and small TV roles. Her first role was "Little Girl" in Royal Celebration, a 1993 TV movie. She began acting as a child on television and made her film debut in 1995. Knightley had a supporting role as Sabe in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) and her first significant role came in The Hole (2001). She gained widespread recognition in 2002 after co-starring in the film Bend It Like Beckham and achieved international fame from 2003 as a result of her appearances in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series (2003–07). In 2008, Forbes claimed Knightley to be the second highest-paid actress in Hollywood, having reportedly earned $32 million in 2007, making her the only non-American on the list of highest-paid actresses.
Knightley, the daughter of Sharman Macdonald, an award-winning playwright, and Will Knightley, a theatre and television actor. Knightley lived in Richmond, attending Stanley Junior School, Teddington School and Esher College. She was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of six, but nevertheless was successful in school and was thus permitted to acquire a talent agent and pursue an acting career. She requested an agent as early as the age of three and got one when she turned six, from her mother as a reward for studying hard. Knightley has noted that she was "single-minded about acting" during her childhood. She performed in a number of local amateur productions, including After Juliet (written by her mother) and United States (written by her then drama teacher, Ian McShane, no relation to the actor of the same name). She focused on art, history, and English literature while at Esher, but left after a year to focus on her acting and she also turned down her spot at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
After the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Knightley is best known for starring in costume dramas– in Pride & Prejudice (2005); Atonement and Silk (both 2007); The Duchess (2008) and A Dangerous Method (2011). She has earned nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her role as Elizabeth Bennet in Joe Wright's 2005 adaptation of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice. Two years later she again was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, as well as the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in Atonement. Knightley has appeared in Hollywood films in a variety of genres, including the romantic comedy Love Actually (2003); the historical action King Arthur (2004); the psychological thriller The Jacket and the biographical action Domino (both 2005); the drama The Edge of Love (2008); the film noir London Boulevard, the dystopian science fiction Never Let Me Go and the romantic drama Last Night (all 2010) and the dark comedy Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012). Knightley has the leading role in the film Anna Karenina, based on Leo Tolstoy's novel of the same name.
Knightley has denied rumours she is anorexic, although her family has a history of anorexia. Knightley sued the Daily Mail after they claimed she lied about having anorexia; the article said that a teenage girl died from anorexia, indicating that Knightley's physical appearance may have influenced her in some way. She was awarded a settlement.
In July 2006, Knightley said she has become a workaholic, suggesting that she would take a one-year break from acting to travel and focus on her personal life. In November 2010, Knightley became patron of The Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Trust, a British charity that funds medical research into the children's disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy.