Feature

Kingsley’s need for approval

When Ben Kingsley was a child, his parents made it clear that he was expected to become a doctor.

Ben Kingsley has not forgiven his parents, said Stuart Husband in The Daily Telegraph (U.K.). When he was a child, his harsh mom and dad made it clear that he was expected to become a doctor, like his father and older brother. But Kingsley knew he wanted to become an actor. “I had always been the song-and-dance man of the family,” he says. “I remember my father referring to me as ‘our little Danny Kaye’ when I was about 7. That was the only remotely positive comment I remember from [my parents]. Their way was to mock, ‘When are you going to finish with this acting lark?’ that sort of thing. They never praised me or acknowledged a gram of talent in me.” Kingsley, 69, says his mother, the English actress Anna Goodman, “was very jealous of my success,” since her career was limited to a few small film parts. He finally found some validation in 2002, when he was knighted and given the title “Sir” by Queen Elizabeth II. “To be embraced by Her Majesty, I felt like stopping people in the street, saying my mum loves me, you know. Because that’s what it felt like—the filling of a vacuum in the universe.”

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