Keira Christina Knightley born 26 March 1985 is an English actress and model. She began acting as a child and came to international notice in 2002 after co-starring in the film Bend It Like Beckham. From 2003 her appearances in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series took her to much greater prominence.
Keira Knightley has appeared in several Hollywood films and 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.
In 2008, Forbes claimed Keira 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.
Keira Knightley was born in Teddington, London, England, the daughter of Sharman MacDonald, an award-winning playwright, and Will Knightley, a theatre and television actor. Her father is English and her Scottish mother is of half Welsh ancestry. She has an elder brother, Caleb. Knightley, born Kiera, switched her name to Keira to make it easier for international audiences to pronounce.
Keira 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. Keira 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). 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 Drama.