Celebs » Kate Winslet » Biography

Kate Winslet

05 Oct 1975 (Age 43)

Kate Winslet Biography

Kate Elizabeth Winslet is an English actress and singer. She is noted for having played a wide range of diverse characters over her career, but is probably best-known for her critically acclaimed performances as Juliet Hulme in Heavenly Creatures (1994), Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility (1995), Rose DeWitt Bukater in Titanic (1997), Iris Murdoch in Iris (2001), Clementine Kruczynski in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Sarah Pierce in Little Children (2006), Hanna Schmitz in The Reader (2008), and April Wheeler in Revolutionary Road (2008).

She has received the Screen Actors Guild Award, two BAFTA Awards, the Grammy Award, and two Golden Globe Awards and has been nominated for five Academy Awards, seven Golden Globes and an Emmy. At the age of 22, she broke the record for the youngest person to receive two Oscar nominations, and each of her subsequent nominations has broken a further record: the youngest person to receive three, four, and five nominations. David Edelstein of New York Magazine hails Winslet as "the best English-speaking film actress of her generation".

Early Life

Kate Winslet was born in Reading, England, the daughter of Sally Ann (née Bridges), a barmaid, and Roger John Winslet, a swimming-pool contractor. Both of her parents were also actors. Her maternal grandparents, Linda (Plumb) and Archibald Oliver Bridges, founded and operated the Reading Repertory, and her uncle, Robert Bridges, appeared in the original West End production of Oliver! Her sisters, Beth Winslet and Anna Winslet, are also actresses.

Winslet, raised as an Anglican, began studying drama at the age of eleven at the Redroofs Theatre School, a co-educational independent school in Maidenhead, Berkshire, where she was the head girl and appeared in a television commercial for Sugar Puffs cereal, directed by Tim Pope. Throughout her adolescence, she was severely bullied for being overweight and having large feet (which she inherited from her mother).


Winslet's career began on television, with a co-starring role in the BBC children's science fiction serial Dark Season in 1991. This was followed by appearances in the made-for-TV movie Anglo-Saxon Attitudes in 1992 and an episode of medical drama Casualty in 1993, also for the BBC.

Her film career took off with praise and recognition in 1994 when she starred in a joint leading role, as Juliet Hulme in director Peter Jackson's critically acclaimed Heavenly Creatures, playing a vivacious and imaginative teen who helps her best friend (played by Melanie Lynskey) murder her mother, when they are not allowed to be together.

This role was followed by the successful film Sense and Sensibility (co-starring Emma Thompson), which made her well known, especially in the UK. Winslet became famous worldwide after the 1997 release of Titanic, a massive hit which holds the record as highest-grossing film in history at more than US$1.8 billion in box-office worldwide. It went on to win 11 Academy Awards.

She was also originally cast as Nola Rice in Woody Allen's movie, Match Point, but declined. She stated she had just finished two movies and wanted to spend time with her kids. The part went to Scarlett Johansson.

Winslet has been regarded as something of a critics' darling, generally receiving positive reviews for every one of her films. Despite Titanic's success, she continued making lower-budget, independent films, including Hideous Kinky and Holy Smoke; her roles in these smaller, more artistic films appear to be one of choice—she turned down the lead in Shakespeare in Love to make Hideous Kinky; ironically, she appeared as Ophelia in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet.

She was even considered for the role of Satine in "Moulin Rouge!". Throughout her career, she often turned down roles in high-profile films, such as Anna and the King and Éowyn in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. She has also taken several roles in studio "period dramas" like Quills, Titanic and Finding Neverland. For a time, she was given the nickname "Corset Kate".

In 2005, Winslet appeared in a television commercial for American Express. As part of the "My Life, My Card" campaign, the ad shows Winslet strolling around Camden Lock, in London, as she makes references to all the events that have happened to her film characters: going to prison for murder (Heavenly Creatures), being penniless and heartbroken (Sense and Sensibility), almost drowning (Titanic), losing her mind (Hamlet), having her memory erased (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), and being in Neverland (Finding Neverland).

During the ad, she is shown holding items relating to her films; during the reference to Sense and Sensibility she thumbs through a copy of the book, and when she references Finding Neverland, she's holding a hook. When Winslet talks about nearly drowning at age 20 in Titanic, she is walking over a bridge with water underneath it, in reference to the iceberg and water seen in the film.

Winslet also appeared in an episode of BBC's comedy series Extras in August 2005, as a satirical version of 'herself'. She memorably told Andy and Maggie, the two characters who star in the series, that she was doing a film about the Holocaust because she was tired of losing out on Oscars, as at the time she had been nominated four times, and that everyone who does a film about the Holocaust wins an Oscar.

She also (while dressed as a nun) was shown giving phone sex tips to the romantically challenged Maggie. Ricky Gervais (who is a native of the same town as Winslet, Reading, as is her husband Sam Mendes) later said on NPR that she was his favourite guest star. Her performance in the episode did lead to her being nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Performance in a Comedy Series, but she did not win.

As of March 2007, Leonardo DiCaprio signed to co-star in Revolutionary Road with Winslet as Frank and April Wheeler, a 1950s couple who appear content on the surface but are withering internally. The film was the first to reunite the notable duo, who have remained close since their first pairing in Titanic.

There were also talks that Winslet's husband, Sam Mendes and his production company, Neal Street Productions, purchased the film rights to the long-delayed biography of circus tiger tamer Mabel Stark. Winslet had stated that she had been eager to portray this complex woman for three years now and was looking forward to working with her husband on bringing this to the screen.


Winslet has also enjoyed a brief taste of success as a singer, with her single What If from the soundtrack of Christmas Carol: The Movie, which reached #1 in Ireland and #6 in the UK (she also filmed a music video for the song). She has also participated in a duet with "Weird Al" Yankovic on the Sandra Boynton CD Dog Train, and sang in the 2006 film Romance and Cigarettes.

She also sang an aria from La Boheme, called "Sono andati", in her film Heavenly Creatures, which is featured on the film's soundtrack. She was considered for the lead in Moulin Rouge! (which eventually went to Nicole Kidman); had she taken the part, she would have sung the full soundtrack.

Personal Life

Winslet at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival.

While on the set of Dark Season, Winslet started a five-year romance with actor and writer Stephen Tredre. They moved to London during their relationship. After their romance, she began a relationship with Rufus Sewell. After filming Titanic, Tredre died of bone cancer. Winslet was not at the premiere of Titanic because she was attending his funeral in London. She is good friends with Titanic co-star Leonardo DiCaprio.

On 22 November 1998, Winslet married director Jim Threapleton. The two have a daughter, Mia Honey, who was born on 12 October 2000. After a divorce in 2001, Winslet began a relationship with Sam Mendes, whom she married on 24 May 2003 on the island of Anguilla in the Caribbean. Their son, Joe Alfie Mendes, was born on 22 December 2003. On the Tonight Show on 15 December 2008 Kate said that Joe Alfie currently prefers to be called Travier.

The media, particularly in England have enthusiastically documented her weight fluctuations over the years. Winslet has been outspoken about her refusal to lose weight in order to conform to the Hollywood ideal. In February 2003, the British edition of Gentlemen's Quarterly magazine published photographs of Winslet which had been digitally enhanced to make her look dramatically thinner than she really was; Winslet issued a statement saying that the alterations were made without her consent. GQ issued an apology in the subsequent issue.
Get Instant News Updates
Notification Settings X
Time Settings
Clear Notification X
Do you want to clear all the notifications from your inbox?
Settings X
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites and ad networks. Such third party cookies may track your use on Filmibeat sites for better rendering. Our partners use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on Filmibeat website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more