Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Harvard names Drew G. Faust as its 28th president

Drew G. Faust, an eminent historian and outstanding academic leader who has served since 2001 as the founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, will become the twenty-eighth president of Harvard University, effective July 1.
An expert on the Civil War and the American South, and the leading figure in Radcliffe's transformation from a college into one of the country's foremost scholarly institutes, Faust was elected to the Harvard presidency today by the members of the Harvard Corporation, with the consent of the University's Board of Overseers.
The appointment concludes a search launched in the spring of 2006, involving far-reaching consultation with faculty, students, staff, alumni, and others nationwide.
"This is a great day, and a historic day, for Harvard," said James R. Houghton, the senior member of the Harvard Corporation and chair of the presidential search committee. "Drew Faust is an inspiring and accomplished leader, a superb scholar, a dedicated teacher, and a wonderful human being. She combines a powerful, broad-ranging intellect with a demonstrated capacity for strong leadership and a talent for stimulating people to do their best work, both individually and together. She knows Harvard and higher education, and her interests extend to the whole of the University, across the arts and sciences and the professional domains.
"Through her service as founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute, she has shown uncommon skill in designing and fulfilling a forward-looking agenda of institutional change," said Houghton. "Through her decades as a leading faculty member at Penn and at Harvard, she has invested herself in both education and research with passion, imagination, and a devotion to the highest ideals of academic life.

At the news conference following the announcement of her election, Faust fields questions from the press.Staff photo Kris Snibbe/Harvard News OfficeDownload high-resolution photo
Harvard names Drew G. Faustas its 28th presidentXXXXXXX


Harvard News Office

Drew G. Faust, an eminent historian and outstanding academic leader who has served since 2001 as the founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, will become the twenty-eighth president of Harvard University, effective July 1.
An expert on the Civil War and the American South, and the leading figure in Radcliffe's transformation from a college into one of the country's foremost scholarly institutes, Faust was elected to the Harvard presidency today by the members of the Harvard Corporation, with the consent of the University's Board of Overseers.
The appointment concludes a search launched in the spring of 2006, involving far-reaching consultation with faculty, students, staff, alumni, and others nationwide.
"This is a great day, and a historic day, for Harvard," said James R. Houghton, the senior member of the Harvard Corporation and chair of the presidential search committee. "Drew Faust is an inspiring and accomplished leader, a superb scholar, a dedicated teacher, and a wonderful human being. She combines a powerful, broad-ranging intellect with a demonstrated capacity for strong leadership and a talent for stimulating people to do their best work, both individually and together. She knows Harvard and higher education, and her interests extend to the whole of the University, across the arts and sciences and the professional domains.
"Through her service as founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute, she has shown uncommon skill in designing and fulfilling a forward-looking agenda of institutional change," said Houghton. "Through her decades as a leading faculty member at Penn and at Harvard, she has invested herself in both education and research with passion, imagination, and a devotion to the highest ideals of academic life.

Following the press conference announcing her election as the 28th president of Harvard University, Drew G. Faust chats with the 25th president of Harvard, Derek Bok, who is currently the interim president as well.Staff photo Dominick Reuter/Harvard News Office Download high-resolution photo
"Drew wears her extraordinary accomplishments lightly," said Houghton. "Her many admirers know her as both collaborative and decisive, both open-minded and tough-minded, both eloquent and understated, both mindful of tradition and effective in leading innovation. Her qualities will serve Harvard well as we plan ambitiously for the future - not only in the college but across the schools, not only in the sciences but across the disciplines and professions, not only in Allston but throughout our campus. We share with Drew an enthusiastic commitment to building on Harvard's strengths, to bridging traditional boundaries, and to embracing a world full of new possibilities."
Photo Tony Rinaldo
Download high-resolution photo
"I am deeply grateful for the trust the governing boards have placed in me," said Faust. "I will work with all my heart, together with people across Harvard, to reward that trust.
"I am a historian," she said. "I've spent a lot of time thinking about the past, and about how it shapes the future. No university in the country, perhaps the world, has as remarkable a past as Harvard's. And our shared enterprise is to make Harvard's future even more remarkable than its past. That will mean recognizing and building on what we already do well. It will also mean recognizing what we don't do as well as we should, and not being content until we find ways to do better."
* * *
As the first dean of the Radcliffe Institute, Faust has guided the transformation of Radcliffe from a college into a wide-ranging institute for advanced study. Under her leadership, Radcliffe has emerged as one of the nation's foremost centers of scholarly and creative enterprise, distinctive for its multidisciplinary focus and the exploration of new knowledge at the crossroads of traditional fields. In recognition of its roots in Radcliffe College, the Institute maintains a special commitment to the study of women, gender, and society. To support its mission, Faust has directed a comprehensive administrative restructuring, secured the Institute's finances, attracted major new gifts, and undertaken an extensive renovation of Radcliffe's historic campus.

During Faust's deanship, Radcliffe's flagship fellowship program has become a prized opportunity for established and emerging scholars throughout the academic world. The Institute currently receives nearly 800 applicants for approximately 50 annual positions as fellows, and more than 45 Harvard faculty members have held Radcliffe fellowships since 2001. Radcliffe also engages the broader Harvard community in a variety of ways. Working with Harvard departments, the Institute has mounted annual science conferences on such topics as tissue engineering, privacy and security technology, and computational biology. Undergraduates participate in the life of the Institute through the Research Partners Program, which pairs students with Radcliffe fellows.

"Drew Faust is a historian with her eyes on the future," said Susan L. Graham, the Pehong Chen Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Emerita at the University of California at Berkeley, president of Harvard's Board of Overseers for 2006-07, and a member of the presidential search committee. "As an academic, I've been particularly impressed with how Drew has shaped a robust role for science in building the Radcliffe Institute, while playing an active role in important activities throughout the University. As an Overseer, I've admired her remarkable talent for creating a sense of common enterprise, for setting ambitious goals, for fostering multidisciplinary collaboration, and for advancing the Institute's agenda. As an alumna, I have come to know her as someone who cares deeply about enhancing the educational experience of our students and creating a sense of intellectual excitement that will continue to draw great people and great ideas to Harvard."
Since coming to Harvard, Faust has continued to write and lecture on the history of the American South and the Civil War. Her sixth book, This Republic of Suffering, forthcoming in 2008, considers the impact of the Civil War's enormous death toll on the lives of nineteenth-century Americans. Her fifth book, Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War (1996), was awarded the Society of American Historians' Francis Parkman Prize, honoring the year's best nonfiction book on an American theme.
As dean of Radcliffe, Faust has been an influential member of Harvard's Academic Advisory Group, which brings together the president, provost, and deans to consider matters of university policy. A devoted teacher and mentor, she is currently leading an undergraduate seminar on the Civil War and Reconstruction. In the spring of 2005, she oversaw the work of Harvard's Task Forces on Women Faculty and on Women in Science and Engineering. In 2004, she served on the Allston Task Force on Undergraduate Life.

Before coming to Harvard, Faust served for 25 years on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. She was appointed as assistant professor in the Department of American Civilization in 1976, associate professor in 1980, and full professor in 1984. She was named the Stanley Sheerr Professor of History in 1988, then served as the Annenberg Professor of History from 1989 to 2000. She chaired the Department of American Civilization for five years, and was director of the Women's Studies Program from 1996 to 2000. She was twice honored at Penn for her distinguished teaching, in 1982 and 1996.
While at Penn, Faust served on a broad array of university committees, in such areas as academic planning and budgets, academic freedom, human resources, the university archives, and intercollegiate athletics. She was a member of Penn's presidential search committee in 1993-94 and chaired the presidential inaugural committee in 1994. From 1988 to 1990 she chaired the President's Committee on University Life, which addressed such issues as diversity on campus, interaction among faculty, students, and staff, and Penn's relations with its neighboring community.
Raised in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, Faust went on to attend Concord Academy in Massachusetts. She received her bachelor's degree from Bryn Mawr in 1968, magna cum laude with honors in history, and her master's degree (1971) and doctoral degree (1975) in American civilization from the University of Pennsylvania.
Faust has been active both as a member of nonprofit boards and in a range of professional societies. She is a trustee of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Humanities Center, and Bryn Mawr College, where she chaired the trustee committee on student life from 1998 to 2003. She also serves on the educational advisory board of the Guggenheim Foundation. She was president of the Southern Historical Association in 1999-2000, vice president of the American Historical Association from 1992 to 1996, and an executive board member of both the Organization of American Historians and the Society of American Historians from 1999 to 2002. Faust has also served on numerous editorial boards and selection committees, including the jury for the Pulitzer Prize in history in 1986, 1990, and 2004 (chair). She is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Society of American Historians.
Faust is married to Charles Rosenberg, one of the nation's leading historians of medicine and science, who is Professor of the History of Science and Ernest E. Monrad Professor in the Social Sciences at Harvard. Rosenberg's many publications include Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866 (1962, new edition 1987) and The Care of Strangers: The Rise of America's Hospital System (1987). A past chair of the history of science departments at Penn and Harvard, Rosenberg has been honored with the William H. Welch Medal of the American Association for the History of Medicine and the History of Science Society's George Sarton Medal for lifetime achievement.
Faust and Rosenberg live in Cambridge. They have two daughters, Jessica Rosenberg, a 2004 summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College, and Leah Rosenberg, Faust's stepdaughter, a scholar of Caribbean literature.
* * *
In announcing Faust's appointment, Houghton expressed the search committee's thanks for the abundance of helpful advice provided to the committee during the search. "All of us are grateful to the hundreds of people, within and beyond Harvard, whose thoughtful advice greatly informed the process," Houghton said. "We especially thank the members of our faculty and student advisory groups, who were generous with their time and who provided extremely valuable counsel in a spirit of collegiality and candor."
"As chair of the faculty advisory group for the presidential search, and as someone who has been affiliated with Harvard through a number of decades and a number of presidents, I am delighted that Drew Faust has been selected as Harvard's next president," said Sidney Verba, the Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and director of the Harvard University Library. "The University inaugurated a new procedure by having an official advisory committee of members of the faculty. It provided a structured and effective opportunity for close consultation and the sharing of information and insights. Drew Faust is a perfect choice. She is an eminent scholar, someone of experience, and a wonderful person. Above all, she will provide the leadership Harvard needs in the exciting and challenging years ahead."
Said Matthew Murray, chair of the student advisory group: "Throughout this process, the search committee showed serious interest in receiving student input. Not only did the committee appoint a student advisory group for the first time in Harvard's history, but its members actively engaged us in an ongoing, constructive dialogue that I believe made a real difference in the search. I hear great things about Dean Faust, and the members of our group look forward to working with her and exploring the range of challenges and opportunities students see facing each school and Harvard as a whole."
"I'm grateful to the search committee for its extensive efforts to solicit advice from a wide range of alumni during the course of the search," said Paul J. Finnegan, president of the Harvard Alumni Association. "Drew Faust is an excellent choice, and I look forward to leading warm rounds of applause for our new president-elect at alumni events to come."
* * *
Houghton also expressed appreciation to Derek Bok, Harvard's interim president since July 1, 2006, and president from 1971 to 1991. "I want to convey the entire Harvard community's profound gratitude to Derek Bok, whose continuing strong leadership during this interim period has done so much to keep the University on a steady forward course," Houghton said.
Bok had warm words for the president-elect: "Drew Faust is clearly one of the brightest stars in Harvard's firmament, as a dean, a scholar, a teacher, and a leading citizen of the University. Harvard will be the fortunate beneficiary of her wisdom, her experience, her eloquence, and her exceptional talent for academic leadership. I will do all I can to assure her a smooth transition and a running start."
* * *
Founded in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States and a worldwide leader in education and research. It comprises nine faculties, in the arts and sciences, business, design, divinity, education, government, law, medicine, and public health, together with the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and an array of museums, research centers, and the largest university library system in the world. The president is the chief academic and administrative officer of the University.
Said Houghton: "This is a time of promise and excitement for all of us who care about Harvard. The University is renewing its educational programs in the college and across the schools. It is pursuing new ways of transcending academic boundaries and connecting with the world. It is attracting scholars and students whose caliber is unsurpassed and whose promise is unlimited. It is planning for a historic expansion of the campus. All of us recognize that, to flourish in the future, we must never rest on our past. Drew Faust knows this especially well, as both a historian and an institution builder, and her leadership will be of great value in helping Harvard grasp the opportunities ahead."

Harvard Gets a Female President

On July first, America's oldest university will get its twenty-eighth president but, most notably, its first female president. Historian Drew Gilpin Faust was named this week to lead Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard is three hundred seventy-one years old.
Professor Faust has written several books on her specialty, the history of the American South and the Civil War. She is fifty-nine and attended Bryn Mawr College and the University of Pennsylvania. She arrived at Harvard six years ago as the founding dean of its Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
She will replace Lawrence Summers who resigned last June after five years as president. His aggressive leadership style was unpopular with professors.
He was widely denounced for comments he made in a speech in two thousand five. He was discussing possible reasons for the small number of women in top jobs in science and mathematics. He suggested that one area that should be considered was the possibility of biological differences between men and women.
He later apologized for his comments. He also asked Professor Faust to help lead committees that were set up to increase the number of female science professors at Harvard.
She will be the first president of Harvard since sixteen seventy-two who did not earn a degree there.
Professor Faust was born Catherine Drew Gilpin. She says her mother told her "this is a man's world" and that the sooner she learned it, the better.
She grew up in a wealthy white family in Virginia. But she rebelled against the way blacks were being treated in the South. As a nine-year-old girl she even wrote to President Dwight Eisenhower urging him to end racial discrimination.
With Professor Faust, women now head four of the eight highly competitive private universities in the Northeast known as the Ivy League.
More women and members of ethnic or racial minority groups hold top positions in American colleges and universities than in the past. In nineteen eight-six, ninety percent of presidents were male and ninety-two percent were white.
But a new report this week says growth in the percentage of women and minority presidents has been slow, especially in the last ten years. The American Council on Education says eighty-six percent of presidents last year were white; seventy-seven percent were male.
The group says women were most likely to head two-year colleges.
But the study also found that on average, presidents have been getting older and staying in their jobs longer. Researchers say the findings suggest that many will soon retire. They say that might, or might not, mean more women and minorities taking their place.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Keira Knightley

Birth name
Keira Christina Knightley

5' 7" (1.70 m)

Mini biography
The daughter of actor Will Knightley and playwright Sharman Macdonald. After she requested an agent at the age of three, her parents allowed her to work on productions in her summer holidays. Her first role was at the age of 9, in Moira Armstrong's A Village Affair (1994). However, Knightley's first high profile role came in 1999, as Sabe, Decoy Queen to Natalie Portman's Queen Amidala in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999). Since then she has completed an impressive array of films including The Hole (2001), but is probably best known for her role of tomboy footballer Jules Paxton in Gurinder Chadha's Bend It Like Beckham (2002).

Mini biography
Keira Christina Knightley was born in the South London suburb of Richmond on March 26th 1985. She is the daughter of actor Will Knightley and actress turned playwright Sharman Macdonald. An older brother, Caleb, was born in 1979. Brought up immersed in the acting profession from both sides - writing and performing - it is little wonder that the young Keira asked for her own agent at the age of three. She was granted one at the age of six and performed in her first TV role as Little Girl in Royal Celebration (1993) (TV), aged seven. It was discovered at an early age that Keira had severe difficulties in reading and writing. She was not officially dyslexic as she never sat the formal tests required of the British Dyslexia Association. Instead she worked incredibly hard, encouraged by her family, until the problem had been overcome by her early teens. Her first multi-scene performance came in A Village Affair (1994), an adaptation of the lesbian love story by Joanna Trollope. This was followed by small parts in British crime series "The Bill" (1984), an exiled German princess in Treasure Seekers (1996) (TV) and a much more substantial role as the young Judith Dunbar in Giles Foster's adaptation of Rosamunde Pilcher's novel Coming Home (1998) (TV), alongside 'Peter O' Toole' , Penelope Keith and Joanna Lumley. The first time Keira's name was mentioned around the world was when it was revealed (in a plot twist kept secret by director George Lucas) that she played Natalie Portman's decoy Padme to Portman's Amidala in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999).It was several years before agreement was reached over which scenes featured Keira as the queen and which Natalie! Keira had no formal training as an actress and did it out of pure enjoyment. She went to an ordinary council-run school in nearby Teddington and had no idea what she wanted to do when she left. By now she was beginning to receive far more substantial roles and was starting to turn work down as one project and her schoolwork was enough to contend with. She reappeared on British television in 1999 as Rose Fleming in Alan Bleasdale's faithful reworking of Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist" (1999) (mini), and travelled to Romania to film her first title role in Disney's Princess of Thieves (2001) (TV) in which she played Robin Hood's daughter Gwyn. Keira's first serious boyfriend was her Thieves co-star Del Synnott, and they later co-starred in Peter Hewitt' 's 'work of fart' Thunderpants (2002). Nick Hamm's dark thriller The Hole (2001) kept her busy during 2000, and featured her first nude scene (15 at the time, the film was not released until she was 16 years old). In the summer of 2001, while Keira studied and sat her final school exams (she received six As) she filmed a movie about an Asian girl's (Parminder Nagra) love for football and the prejudices she has to overcome regarding both her culture and her religion.) Bend It Like Beckham (2002) was a smash hit in football-mad Britain but it had to wait until another of Keira's films propelled it to the top end of the US box office. Bend It cost just £3.5m to make, and nearly £1m of that came from the British Lottery. It took £11m in the UK and has since gone on to score more than US$76m worldwide. Meanwhile, Keira had started A-levels at Esher College, studying Classics, English Literature and Political History, but continued to take acting roles which she thought would widen her experience as an actress. The story of a drug-addicted waitress and her friendship with the young son of a drug-addict, Pure (2002), occupied Keira from January to March 2002. Also at this time, Keira's first attempt at Shakespeare was filmed. She played Helena in a modern interpretation of a scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream entitled The Seasons Alter (2002). This was commissioned by environmental organisation Futerra, of which Keira's mother is patron. Keira received no fee for this performance, or for another short film, New Year's Eve (2002), by award-winning director Colin Spector. But it was a chance encounter with producer Andy Harries at the London premiere of Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) which forced Keira to leave her studies and pursue acting full-time. The meeting lead to an audition for the role of Larisa Feodorovna Guishar - the classic heroine of Boris Pasternak' 's novel "Doctor Zhivago" (2002) (mini), played famously in the David Lean movie by Julie Christie. This was to be a big-budget TV movie with a screenplay written by Andrew Davies. Keira won the part and the mini-series was filmed throughout the Spring of 2002 in Slovakia, co-starring Sam Neill and Hans Matheson as Yuri Zhivago. Keira rounded off 2002 with a few scenes in the first movie to be directed by Blackadder and Vicar of Dibley writer Richard Curtis. Called Love Actually (2003), Keira played Juliet, a newlywed whose husband's Best Man is secretly besotted with her. A movie filmed after Love Actually but released before it was to make the world sit up and take notice of this beautiful fresh-faced young actress with a cute British accent. It was a movie which Keira very nearly missed out on altogether. Auditions were held in London for a new blockbuster movie called Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), but heavy traffic in the city forced Keira to be tagged on to the end of the day's auditions list. It helped - she got the part. Filming took place in Los Angeles and the Caribbean from October 2002 to March 2003 and was released to massive box office success and almost universal acclaim in the July of that year. Meanwhile, a small British film called Bend It Like Beckham (2002) had sneaked onto a North American release slate and was hardly setting the box office alight. But Keira's dominance in Pirates had set tongues wagging and questions being asked about the actress playing Elizabeth Swann. Almost too late, Bend It's distributors realised one of its two stars was the same girl whose name was on everyone's lips due to Pirates, and took the unusual step of re-releasing Bend It to 1,000 screens across the US, catapulting it from no. 26 back up to no. 12. Pirates, meanwhile, was fighting off all contenders at the top spot, and stayed in the Top 3 for an incredible 21 weeks. It was perhaps no surprise, then, that Keira was on producer Jerry Bruckheimer's wanted list for the part of Guinevere in a planned accurate telling of the legend of King Arthur. Filming took place in Ireland and Wales from June to November 2003. In July Keira had become celebrity face of British jeweller and luxury goods retailer Asprey. At a photoshoot for the company on Long island New York in August Keira met and fell in love with Northern Irish model Jamie Dornan. King Arthur (2004) was released in July 2004 to lukewarm reviews. It seems audiences wanted the legend after all, and not necessarily the truth. Keira became the breakout star' and 'one to watch in 2004' throughout the world's media at the end of 2003. Keira's 2004 started off in Scotland and Canada filming 'John Maybury 's time-travelling thriller The Jacket (2005) with Oscar-winner Adrien Brody. A planned movie of Deborah Moggach's novel, Tulip Fever, about forbidden love in 17th Century Amsterdam, was cancelled in February after the British government suddenly closed tax loopholes which allowed filmmakers to claw back a large proportion of their expenditure. Due to star Keira and Jude Law in the main roles, the film remains mothballed. Instead, Keira spent her time wisely, visiting Ethiopia on behalf of the Comic Relief charity, and spending summer at various grandiose locations around the UK filming what promises to be a faithful adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel _Pride and Prejudice (2005)_ , alongside Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy, and with Donald Sutherland and Judi Dench in supporting roles. In October 2004, Keira received her first major accolade, the Hollywood Film Award for Best Breakthrough Actor - Female. The remainder of 2004 saw Keira once again trying a completely new genre, this time the part-fact, part-fiction life story of model turned bounty hunter Domino (2005). Her pre-contracted sequel clause from the original Pirates movie meant the production of not one, but two sequels were already in the works. Pre-production started in February, and Keira started filming - again in Los Angeles and the Caribbean - from mid-March onwards. Filming is expected to wrap in January of 2006 with _Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest_ (2006) due for a Summer 2006 release and _Pirates of the Caribbean 3_ (2007) for Summer 2007.

Daughter of actor Will Knightley.
Member of the Heathham House Youth Project.
Younger sister of Caleb Knightley
Trained in dancing.
The similarity between Knightley and Natalie Portman meant that during the filming of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999), their own mothers could not tell them apart once in makeup.
Her role as the decoy queen in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) was kept secret in order to not spoil the surprise, it was maintained through the promotions that Portman played both the Queen and the decoy.
Supports West Ham United
Mother is actress-turned-author Sharman Macdonald, who wrote 'When I Was A Girl I Used To Scream And Shout' and 'The Winter Guest'.
Tatler announced that Keira is the most desirable single woman in the UK (2004).
Has dyslexia. She had to wear special glasses in adolescence to help her read.
The most glamorous film actress chosen by magazine Glamour (2004)
The Royal Shakespeare Company of Stratford, England, held a 2004 poll asking movie viewers to vote for the actor and actress they would love to see play Romeo and Juliet, and the winners were Knightley and James Marsters. More than 2,000 people voted for more than 150 different actors for both roles. Keira triumphed over Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman, Scarlett Johansson, and Juliet Landau in the vote. Knightley said, "I am absolutely thrilled to have come top of the poll, particularly as Juliet is a role I would very much love to play in the future." (April 23, 2004)
Voted #1 in New Woman magazine's 50 Most Beautiful Celebs 2004.
Was born on same day as poet Robert Frost.
Shares birthday with playwright Tennessee Williams.
Voted The Sexiest Film Star of All Time by Empire magazine poll. [September 2004]
She did her first nude scene at the age of 16, in The Hole (2001).
Auditioned for, and was accepted to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) in London, England.
At 16, she went to Esher College to study for her A Levels, but quit the course when offered the role of Lara in "Doctor Zhivago" (2002) (mini).
Voted #18 in FHM 100 Sexiest Women 2005
Credits her dark looks to her mother's Black Scottish heritage, who were descendants of the Spanish Armada
She's an idol in several forum communities from Heavengames.com, one of the most famous websites about Real Time Strategy computer games.
When auditioning for the role of Jackie Price in The Jacket (2005), she had suffered food poisoning a few days earlier. She decided to audition anyway and the film makers liked her "acting" for the scene, as Jackie Price was to be a woman with many issues of loss and pain as well as being physically sick in general.
She has bought a flat in Richmond Upon Thames (2005) but has said to have only have spent a few weeks there. However, she plans to fill it with her own painted canvases.
Voted second sexiest voice, behind Sir Sean Connery, in a poll by the UK's Royal National Institute for the Blind, commissioned to celebrate 70 years of their Talking Books service.
Named #53 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2005 list.
The Daily Mirror named her "Actress of the Year" in December 2005.
At age 20, she was the third-youngest woman in Oscar history to be nominated for Best Actress.
As of February 2006, says she plans on remaining living in London and will not move to Los Angeles to further her career in American films.
Friend of Sienna Miller.
Loves to collect shoes
Friend of the Italian actor Andrea Logiudice
Was considered for the role of Kate Meer in Neil James's "Ghost Seeker: Genesis", in 2006. Both Lindy King (Knightley's agent) and Knightley herself liked the script, but the shooting schedule of "Pirates 3" meant that the project had to move on without her.
Her hero is her cast mate in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Geoffrey Rush.
Named #11 in FHM's "100 Sexiest Women in the World 2005" special supplement. (2005)
Named #9 on MAXIM magazines "Hot 100" list of 2006
Employed a stylist to dress her for premieres and award ceremonies. The stylist also dresses Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Kidman.
Attended an engagement party for Jennifer Lopez and Chris Judd.
Trained four days a week for three months in preparation for King Arthur (2004). She did about two hours of weight lifting, and then three hours either boxing, fighting, or horseback riding. - Cosmopolitan, August 2004.
Said auditioning for the role of Christine in The Phantom of the Opera (2004) was the singularly most embarrassing moment of her life because "I knew I couldn't sing it." The role eventually went to trained opera singer Emmy Rossum. - Marie Claire 2005.
Told NewWoman in 2004 that for King Arthur (2004), she endured an amazing seventh-month training session.
She has a personal trainer. - Tatler 2005
Took elocution lessons at the beginning of her career.
Invited to join AMPAS in 2006.
She attended a pre-Emmy party where she purchased a $7,500 pair of earrings.
Her 21st birthday party cost more than $30,000. Actors, designers, and other industry types attended.
Named #5 in FHM magazine's "100 Sexiest Women in the World 2006" supplement. (2006).

Personal quotes
"The problem for me was that by being in the film the magic was broken. I loved the first Star Wars film and my mum was really into it too, that's why I took the part. But the Force wasn't there when we were filming it, and they didn't have real light sabres, which annoyed me."
About wearing a corset on Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003): "I had a Scarlett O'Hara thing, she gets her waist down to 18 and a half inches--so I thought I would try that. For five minutes, it's fantastic--you have this tiny waist and fantastic cleavage, but oxygen deprivation is a big problem!"
(About kissing Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)) There were these teen-aged girls off-cam, and they were ready to kill me because I kissed Orlando Bloom!
"I feel less blonde now and, er, smarter!"
"There's no point having an 18th birthday in America."
"I've always been a snob about qualifications."
on Bend It Like Beckham (2002): "I thought there would be doubles--stunt doubles--and I would just run in for the close-ups, but unfortunately they didn't have the money for that."
(After being called the new Hayley Mills) "That was cruel! Nothing against Hayley Mills, but I'm trying to be cool here. I'm trying to be edgy".
"Do you know that on all the sets I've been on, nobody has ever made a pass at me?"
(on shoes) "I see a pair of shoes I adore, and it doesn't matter if they have them in my size. I buy them anyway."
(On "The View" (1997)) "I met Barbara Walters backstage and didn't know who she was. She's an American phenomenon, I was told later. I'm just sooo English".
(at a photo shoot) "I'm a hooker in these pictures, and I must be a high priced one because I'm staying at the Ritz, which is good."
"I'm a tomboy beanpole? I can't use a computer, so maybe I'm a bit out of the loop. I don't know whether to be flattered or not flattered. The beanpole bit, is that good? Can you be a sexy beanpole?"
"Katharine Hepburn and Vivien Leigh are my heroes. Not because of their ability, but because of their perseverance".
"When in doubt, faint."
on making Love Actually (2003): "We had kind of done all our wedding and we felt like the stars of the show, then sudden you've got all these other people with story lines and you think: Excuse me, I know you're Alan Rickman, but get out of my film, please, thank you."
I know for a fact the work is going to dry up, and people will get bored of me. That's not bitterness, just the truth.
(On her conception) I was a bet. My mum was desperate for another child, and my dad told her that the only way they could afford to have one was if she sold a play. So Mum wrote When I Was a Girl, I Used to Scream and Shout.
I don't think I can call myself an actress yet. I just don't think my skill level is that high. I hope that with every job it gets better. But until I'm good, I can say I'm trying to be an actor, but I don't think I've completely made it.
As a moviegoer and a woman, I want to see that, so it's great to get to play parts like that. But Guinevere is a terrifying creature. If I saw a battle, I'd run in the other direction. I'm not strong in that way at all. But I'm certainly someone who has always known what I wanted and tried to get it.
In this business, fame lasts for a second. You can be blown up and be blown down. People keep losing interest in faces because new ones come along every single second. I'm one at the moment. Tomorrow I won't be. That's cool. I'm not saying that when it does end, I'll be like, 'Yay! It's ending.' But I'll move on and do something else because that's what has to be done. It's about survival. If you're sad about it, then you're in the wrong job.
(On actresses living in Hollywood) I take my hat off to actresses there, particularly the young ones, because the emphasis is on trying to find perfection. But I think it's the imperfections in people that make them perfect. I don't find perfect faces very interesting.
Acting requires me to be very observant, which means being able to sit in cafes for hours and watch people.
"I don't have a problem with my body. I'm not just going to strip off all my clothing, but if the part calls for it and I don't think there's any way round, I'm absolutely fine."
"I'm a bit of a tomboy so the action stuff was fantastic."
It's also strange when people recognise you in the street and they know you but you don't know them. It's a little weird, but nothing to complain about.
"I'd wanted to get stuck into the action on Pirates of the Caribbean and I asked Jerry [Jerry Bruckheimer if I could have a sword fight in that, and he more than made up for it in King Arthur (2004) by giving me axe fights, knife fights, and all the rest of it. I absolutely loved it. It was like being 11 years old and in the playground again."
"It was part of the job. There's no point in being embarrassed about it, because that is the name of the game. It was just another day at the office. A very nice day at the office." [On the love scene with Clive Owen in King Arthur (2004)]
I don't think about nutrition. The very thought of a diet makes me want chips and ice cream. And I just hate going to the gym. I cannot stand it.
The fact that we haven't focused on the love triangle between Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere was actually one of the things that made me want to do the film. It's interesting to tell it in a completely new way.
"Every part I've ever got, I always thought it was completely ridiculous that I was up for it. With Pirates, I only packed for a week because I was sure that I was going to get sacked. I thought they'd made the hugest mistake."
"We're all fans of cinema, you know. Forget about being an actor, I love watching films. I really do. That's what I love doing, as a hobby. I find the whole process fascinating, as do my parents, they go to the cinema a lot."
"I don't do a thing to keep fit, I just cannot make myself work out. My abs are just luck - my mum has good ones so it's a family trait."
"I don't read any magazines or newspapers any more, because I find it really scary and I get really scared when I'm followed by photographers. I have, on many occasions, broken down in tears because I find it terrifying. I dropped out of school when I was 16 so there's nothing else that I can do."
"I don't like parties very much. I'm not a very sociable being."
"I've always been quite tomboyish."
"In LA, I'm twice the size- height and everything else- of most of the other actresses who are going for an audition."
"I think I always disappoint people because they always expect someone very pretty, very done."
"Three years after that I was diagnosed as dyslexic, and we struck a deal: I was allowed to start acting on condition that I would read constantly and get good grades at school."
"I always feel like I'm the one with everything to prove."
"I paint and draw, but very badly."
Talking about her possibly being anorexic: "I've got a lot of experience with anorexia. It was in my family. My grandmother, and my great-grandmother suffered from it and I had a lot of friends at school who suffer from it so I don't think it's anything to be taken lightly."
"A newspaper here voted me one of the scruffiest people in Britain. I'm quite proud of that. It's completely true."
"I suppose I'm more of a tomboy than the girly-girl, which is why I can't walk on stilettos very well."
"I do remember, at six, thinking I should be earning my own living. My mum says I was born 45."
"The most fantastic date I've ever had was going bowling, because I don't bowl and I'm awful."
"There are pressures to conform to a certain type, tall, blonde, thin, big breasts, you know - The Type."
"Last year I went to the Vanity Fair party after the Oscars and I stood in the corner and had a lot of champagne. It's very, very scary."
"I'm dyslexic, and at six years old they realized I couldn't read a word and had been fooling them. My mum said to me: 'If you come to me with a book in your hand and a smile on your face every day through the summer holiday, I'll get you an agent.' "
"I don't court attention, which is why I've never been to nightclubs like Chinawhite."
"I'm not a social person, so I really have very few friends in the business."
"To be honest, I'd sooner be with my mates having a pint."
"If I have a dark side, I haven't discovered it yet. How very boring of me."
"Producers usually hire a stylist for me when I got to premieres because they think I'm so pathetic."
"I'm incredibly self-conscious about my body."
"There's no individuality on the red carpet. That's why I loved Björk's Oscar swan dress. I wish I had the courage."
[Guinevere] "She's very manipulative and calculating and would use whomever to get her own way, whether it was with her sexuality or by killing someone. It felt very empowering playing her!"
"People send over dresses for me to wear to these functions, but I often feel like a 5-year-old in my mom's clothes. So I just wear jeans and a top every single time."
"People said to me yesterday, 'How does it feel to be anorexic?' I had no idea that I was. I can safely say that I'm not. I've got a lot of experience with anorexia. My grandmother and great-grandmother suffered from it. In a way it's good that it's out there and people are talking about it. It's quite interesting because it's normally high-achieving women who suffer from it because, I guess, they're control freaks."
"Nudity frightens me, but I will do it when I think it's necessary - or when it makes me giggle."
"The most exercise I do is turning on the television."
"I'm naturally an extremely lazy person, so if someone did everything for me, I really think I would do nothing at all."
"I don't read anything and I don't look at newspapers. It's too weird, so I'm not really aware of hype anywhere."
I think I always disappoint people, because they always expect someone very pretty. Very done. There's so much pressure to be thin, blonde and busty. I'm skinny, but even I couldn't fit into some of the clothes there (in L.A.)!" In a funny kind of way, I think you create it yourself. I think it's much better to go with the flow and embrace your body, whatever shape it is, and just be happy.