1. After some minor television roles, she made her film debut in Much Ado About Nothing while still a student at Oxford University.
2. She then appeared in British costume dramas such as Prince of Jutland , in addition to various stage and radio productions.
3. She began to seek film work in the United States in the late 1990s and, after appearing in small-scale dramas The Last Days of Disco , she had a break-out year in 2001 with starring roles in the war film Pearl Harbor and the romantic comedy Serendipity.
4. She built on this success with appearances in the biopic The Aviator .
5. Beckinsale appeared in the Underworld film series and has since starred in many action films, including Van Helsing .
6. She also makes occasional appearances in smaller dramatic projects such as Snow Angels .
7. She is the only child of actor Richard Beckinsale and actress Judy Loe. When she was five years old, her 31-year-old father died suddenly of a heart attack.
8. I was burning out and I knew I had to make a decision.”
9. Beckinsale decided at a young age that she wanted to be an actress: “I grew up immersed in film.
10. Shortly after leaving Oxford University in 1995, Beckinsale starred in Cold Comfort Farm as Flora Poste, a newly orphaned 1930s socialite sent to live with distant family members in rural England.
11. She became romantically involved with co-star Michael Sheen after meeting during play rehearsals. “I was all revved up to feel very intimidated.