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. Dar says:

    Add Eurasian tag

  2. Adrian1Cram says:

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

  3. Non Sequitur says:

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

    • cwm85 says:

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

      • Capricious says:

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

        If anything he safely passes as a Sephardi Jew.

        • cwm85 says:

          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 says:

            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 says:

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

          • Capricious says:

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

            *eyes roll*

    • munnabengali says:

      north indian has some persian white skin feature. because they’re close in geographically.

  4. WTF says:

    He’s always been creepy to me…

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