Ben Kingsley

Kingsley in 2011, image via Featureflash /

Birth Name: Krishna Bhanji

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

Date of Birth: 31 December, 1943

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

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, Sexy Beast, Betrayal (1983), Pascali’s Island, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Species, House of Sand and Fog, Elegy, Hugo, The Dictator, Iron Man 3, and Operation Finale, among many others.

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

Ben’s mother, Anna Lyna/Annalyna 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, including actor and musician Ferdinand Kingsley.

Ben’s paternal grandparents were Harji Bhanji and Sikinabhai Lila Shamji. Hardji was a wealthy spice trader who had moved from India to Zanzibar.

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 –

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


Curious about ethnicity

25 Responses

  1. Jacker says:

    Het light skinned.

  2. Check7t says:

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

  3. Affellay says:

    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:)


    He looks Indian.

  5. I love you, Roger Scientist says:

    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.

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