Personal detailsName: Kate Winslet
Born: 5 October 1975 (Age: 39)
Where: Reading, England
Awards: Won 1 Oscar, 2 BAFTAs and 2 Golden Globes
All about this star
Kate Winslet is one of the UK's finest and most successful young actresses, winning an Oscar and being nominated on five other occasions before the age of 34. Yet she's more than just a celebrity thespian, having for the most part shunned major Hollywood productions in favour of smaller, more interesting, and often British pieces. Having at school weighed 185 pounds and suffered the nickname Blubber, she has also famously decried the pressures put upon young women by society and the film industry in particular.
Kate Elizabeth Winslet was born on October 5th, 1975, in Reading, Berkshire, to father Roger and mother Sally Bridges-Winslet. She has two sisters, Anna and Beth, and a brother named Joss. Acting was in the family. Two of her father's forebears - twins - appeared in vaudeville. Her mother's parents, Oliver and Linda, had run the Reading Repertory Theatre, and her uncle Robert Bridges had appeared in many productions, most notably as Mr Bumble in the original West End version of Oliver! Her father, too, was a thespian by trade (Anna and Beth have also followed this path), performing mostly onstage, but also appearing on a couple of episodes of Casualty, a show that provided one of Kate's earliest appearances.
Like most actors, Roger would often have trouble finding work, and in-between jobs would find employment as a postman, laying tarmac and with the National Trust. His efforts ensured there were never any real money problems, extra cash being brought in by Sally, a qualified nanny. Her profession meant that the Winslet home was often filled with other people's children. Kate would later say that the atmosphere was, if not hippy-like, then certainly bohemian, with an ongoing "sense of holiday".
This atmosphere changed somewhat when, with Kate just past her 10th birthday, Roger suffered a bad accident while on the water. Attempting to steer a large canal boat through a lock in France, his foot was caught in a whipping coil of rope and nearly severed. It was only the speed of the helicopter ambulance and the skill of the micro-surgeons that kept it attached. Kate and the others were told that, after a year of rehabilitation, her father would be back to normal, playing with them as usual. The fact that he was not and never would be, she said later, would cause a lingering feeling of bitterness and betrayal.
This did not prevent Kate from wholeheartedly pursuing her career - and even at this tender age, she did already consider acting to be her career, seizing stage parts wherever she could. As a child she'd wept when she won the part of Mary in the school nativity play "because it was so important to me".