Kate was born July 26, 1973, in London, England, and she is the daughter of the famous British actress Judy Loe and actor Richard Beckinsale. Kate has finally come to be regarded as a fine actress and personality in her own right as opposed to the daughter of a famous father. Kate is smart, well read and occasionally outspoken much like her screen heroines Geena Davis and Katherine Hepburn.
Kate took her time to emerge from the shadows, when her much loved father Richard Beckinsale suddenly and unexpectedly passed away, leaving her to be raised by her mother, the actress Judy Loe. Attending public school at Godolphin and Latymer, she was a bright student, tomboyish and encouraged to be foul-mouthed by a working-class Londoner friend who found it hilarious to hear a posh girl swear.
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has said of her, "She has such subtlety and style, she can switch to humor from high drama in a split second". John Schlesinger, the legendary director, say's, "She reminds me of Meg Ryan some years back". She has the same combination of freshness and intelligence as the young Julie Christie".
As a young student, Kate won the prestigious WH Smith's Young Writers' competition two years running, once for her short stories, once for poetry. She'd always enjoyed theatre, once following "The Rocky Horror Show" around the country, all dressed up and hurling obscenities and tampons at the stage.
Kate decided to widen her horizons by enrolling at the New College, in Oxford, to study French and Russian Literature. Kate reasoned this would also allow her to act in several different countries. In college, Kate continued to pursue acting, joining in with student community theatre groups, appearing notably in a presentation of Arthur Miller's "A View From The Bridge".
Kate's third year of college was spent in Paris where she enjoyed the break from Oxford life which she found too empty and frivolous. Her acting career was now taking over from academia, and she won the lead in a French movie, "Marie-Louise Ou La Permission".
In 1993, during the Easter holiday, Kate went to Copenhagen to film "Prince Of Jutland". Directed by Gabriel Axel, of "Babette's Feast" fame, this was a retelling of Hamlet that returned to the original Danish source material, and starred Gabriel Byrne, Helen Mirren and Christian Bale.
Her first professional performance was a small voice-over as the tormented Alice Mair in a TV adaptation of PD James' "Devices And Desires". Then, there was "Rachel's Dream", a 30 minute serial for TV, where she portrayed a concerned environmentalist. Kate's first big break, was when she appeared in "One Against The Wind", starring Judy Davis and Sam Neil.
Kate found herself filming alongside Ian McKellan and Rufus Sewell by late summer, and "Cold Comfort Farm" was shown on the BBC on New Year's Day 1995. When this work was released to American art cinemas the new year, it was an underground smash, grossing five million dollars, proving that Kate's talents could make money.
Kate, now tired of playing the young and innocent roles, took the part of the mischievous and possibly malevolent siren in "Haunted", directed by Lewis Gilbert. This was a superior ghost story.
Kate's most recent starring role in "Pearl Harbor", is where she makes her first major starring role, as Ben Affleck's lover, nurse Evelyn Johnson. Kate actually got the part when Charlize Theron pulled out to do "Sweet November". It is reported that Kate took no fee from producers Disney, instead agreeing to a percentage of profits.