Ben Kingsley

by ethnic on February 18, 2010

Birth Name: Krishna Bhanji

Place of Birth: Scarborough, Yorkshire, England, U.K.

Date of Birth: 31 December, 1943

*Gujarati Indian (father)
*English (maternal grandmother)
*uncertain, possibly Ashkenazi Jewish (maternal grandfather)

Ben Kingsley is a British actor. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Gandhi (1982). He is also known for his roles in the films Schindler’s List (1993) and Sexy Beast (2000), among many others.

Ben’s father, Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji, was born in Kenya, to a Gujarati Indian family.

Ben’s mother, Anna Lyna Mary (Goodman), was British. Ben’s maternal grandmother was of English background. Ben’s maternal grandparents were never married, and Ben has stated that his mother had never met her own biological father.

Ben has said that his maternal grandmother told him that Ben’s maternal grandfather was either a Russian Jew or a German Jew. Ben’s maternal grandmother was described by the newspaper The Independent in 2010 as “virulently anti-Semitic”. The newspaper quoted Ben as saying, “She resented the fact that she gave birth to my mother and then her Jewish lover disappeared, so it was a personal vendetta that came to include a whole race of people.”

In 1994, in an interview with Joe Pollack published in The St. Petersburg Times, Ben stated, “there might be some Russian-Jewish heritage way back on my mother’s side, [but] the thread is so fine there’s no real evidence.”

In 2005, Ben stated in an interview with The Jerusalem Post, about his maternal grandmother, “She was violently opposed to talking about this [his mother’s father], so my poor mother was at the receiving end of a rage attack every time my grandmother was asked about her husband, her lover, whoever it was, but it’s believed that he was a Russian Jew or a German Jew called Goodman.”

Ben is married to Brazilian actress Daniela Lavender. He has two children with his former wife, actress Angela Morant; and two children with his former wife, theatrical director Alison Sutcliffe.

Ben’s paternal grandparents were Harji Bhanji and Sikinabhai Lila Shamji.

Ben’s maternal grandmother was Agnes Marion Goodman (the daughter of James Frederick Goodman and Anne/Anna Lena/Lyna Westley). Agnes was born in Northampton, Northamptonshire, England. Anne was the daughter of Henry Westley and Elizabeth Bennett.

Sources: Genealogy of Ben Kingsley (focusing on his mother’s side) –

Ben’s maternal grandmother, Agnes Marion Goodman, on the 1901 England and Wales Census –

image via Featureflash /

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Adrian1Cram February 12, 2016 at 11:01 pm

He’s a good actor. Also he looks white to me.

Non Sequitur September 8, 2015 at 8:34 pm

I always thought he was “white”. He looks like Howie Mandel to me.

cwm85 September 8, 2015 at 10:42 pm

Lol he,certainly doesn’t look full Caucasian, european.

Capricious October 10, 2015 at 4:52 pm

He does. There are darker skinned Europeans who are full Italian/Greek.

If anything he safely passes as a Sephardi Jew.

cwm85 October 10, 2015 at 5:25 pm

This man if anything looks part something that doesn’t look fully European Caucasian. Perhaps middle east Caucasian, I’m well aware of the many ethnic groups and looks of Europeans. He does not look greek or Italian. He looks someone with added south asian mixture or perhaps even north African. But no way he looks 100 percent European Caucasian.

Capricious October 10, 2015 at 5:40 pm

Yes, when he was younger he did look more Middle Eastern, like Persian or North African for instance.

But as he aged he started to look more “European”, or at least passable (especially in his pic here). I have seen Sicilians and Maltese men who look like this.

It’s funny, when Johnny Depp aged he started to look more swarthy. He was relatively white in the 80s/90s.

I think the opposite has happened to Kingsley.

andrew October 10, 2015 at 5:41 pm

He’s Anglo-Indian, his features are not European.

Capricious October 11, 2015 at 4:38 am

@Andrew…he’s Anglo Indian?! REALLY? I really didn’t know…!

*eyes roll*

neiltennant July 27, 2017 at 9:15 am

i agree he looks like HOWIE MANDEL


WTF November 10, 2014 at 4:53 am

He’s always been creepy to me…

Jacker October 21, 2014 at 8:21 am

Het light skinned.

Check7t October 4, 2014 at 3:15 pm

He doesn’t look Indian at all, reminds me of Howie Mandel.

Affellay June 3, 2013 at 10:53 pm

a “typical” Russian haha, if its still not evident perhaps u should remove the Russian part too? Lets just leave Gujarat Indian n English as the most evident ones:)

ONLY ANGLO-SAXONS ARE WHITE March 13, 2012 at 7:48 pm

He looks Indian.

neiltennant July 27, 2017 at 9:16 am

NO HE DOES not look indian

most indians are dark brown !

bollywood indians are white because they are selected

I love you, Roger Scientist March 8, 2012 at 10:18 pm

He was in Schindler’s List. One of the saddest films I have ever seen.

Anyway, he is a great actor. I would have never guessed he was half Indian.

me March 8, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Yes. She looks more Lebanese.

I love you, Roger Scientist March 8, 2012 at 10:24 pm
me March 8, 2012 at 10:25 pm

I meant “HE”,I think it’s time for me to sleep.

I love you, Roger Scientist March 8, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Haha. I should really be in bed, too. I have class tomorrow. :P

me March 8, 2012 at 10:34 pm

But is still 10:30, here is 3:30 am. See you tomorrow in msn.Bye.

I love you, Roger Scientist March 8, 2012 at 10:36 pm

3:30? Geez. You really should get to bed.

Yes, I will talk to you tomorrow. :D

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