Alex Kingston

Active - 1989 - 2016  |   Born - Mar 11, 1963 in London, England  |   Genres - Drama

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A classically trained British stage actress, Alex Kingston earned a following amongst American television audiences with her portrayal of the bold and outspoken Dr. Elizabeth Corday on NBC's E.R. The role was Kingston's best known since she portrayed the lusty title character of The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders (1996) on British television; her work on the often-steamy miniseries earned the curly haired actress both acclaim and a certain measure of notoriety in her native country, two things that virtually ensured her crossover to transatlantic engagements.

The daughter of a butcher, Kingston was born in London on March 11, 1963. She first became interested in the theatre during a family trip to her mother's native Germany, where her uncle, an actor, was performing on the stage. After making her own stage debut at the age of five as the Angel Gabriel in a Nativity play, Kingston went on to appear in a number of school productions and got her first professional job at 15, when she had a stint as a school bully on the popular TV series Grange Hill. Following her schooling, she trained at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, where she met and fell in love with fellow actor Ralph Fiennes, whom she would marry in 1993 and divorce four years later. After completing her training, Kingston performed in repertory theatre across England and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company.

While she portrayed numerous classical characters on the stage, Kingston took on more contemporary characters on television and made her film debut in Peter Greenaway's 1989 The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover. Following her 1996 casting on E.R., Kingston's fan base began to grow, as did her screen appearances. In 1999, she had a leading role as a South African gambler in Mike Hodges' acclaimed Croupier and that same year appeared as a flighty rich woman in the romantic comedy This Space Between Us. Over the next several years, Kingston would find ongoing success in TV, starring on Hope Springs, Marchlands, Upstairs Downstairs, and Doctor Who.

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Factsheet

  • Was inspired to be an actor after watching her uncle perform on stage in Germany.
  • First acted at age five playing the role of the angel Gabriel in a school play.
  • Got her first professional role at age 15 playing a bully on the TV series Grange Hill.
  • Was invited to join the Royal Shakespeare Company after finishing the two-year program at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
  • Made film debut in 1989's The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.
  • Earned critical acclaim in 1996 for her portrayal of the title role in The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders.
  • Was noticed by producers of ER for her performance in Moll Flanders and took the role of Dr. Elizabeth Corday on the series in 1997.
  • Underwent a very public divorce from actor Ralph Fiennes in 1997 (whom she met while attending London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) after he left her for actress Francesca Annis.
  • Complained of ageism in Hollywood at age 41 after her contract was not renewed on ER because, according to Kingston, producers wanted to concentrate on the younger cast's story lines.
  • Played Nurse Ratched in the London revival of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 2006.