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Monday, 19 November, 2001, 16:50 GMT
Kate Winslet: Drama and dedication
Kate Winslet
Winslet won a Bafta award for role in Sense And Sensibility
Kate Winslet, who has received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress for her role in Iris, hit acting headlines from a young age. BBC News Online takes a look at her career.

Born into an acting family - her parents were both actors, as was her uncle Robert Bridges - Kate Winslet has often said that she knew she wanted to be an actress as a child.

Kate Winslet
Quills: One of her many costume drama roles
From the age of 11 she went to a theatrical school and soon had her first paying role - opposite the Sugar Monster in a Sugar Puffs commercial.

She played a number of stage roles in her early teens before landing her first TV role at 16.

She went on to work in in Shrinks, Casualty, Dark Season, Get Back, and Anglo-Saxon Attitudes.

Her big movie break came at the age of 17, when - while working at a delicatessen - she was chosen to play Juliet Hulme, one of a pair of obsessive, matricidal schoolgirls in Heavenly Creatures, directed by Peter Jackson.

Sam Mendes
Director Sam Mendes is Winslet's current boyfriend
The film, which came out in 1994, was not a big hit - but was praised by critics.

Her next big movie would satisfy both audiences.

Emma Thompson and producer Lindsay Doran were working on a film version of the Jane Austen novel Sense and Sensibility.

Kate pushed for the co-lead role of Marianne Dashwood and the producers agreed.

Under the guidance of Taiwanese film director Ang Lee, Ms Winslet's role led to an Oscar nomination and a Bafta award.

Household name

Her talent for period drama was evident on the films she made in 1996: Jude, and Hamlet - in which she played Ophelia under the direction of Kenneth Branagh.

But it was to be her next role, as the young aristocrat Rose DeWitt Bukater on the doomed liner the Titanic, that would make her a household name.

Her performance opposite Leonardo DiCaprio did huge box office business and prompted many rumours about a real-life romance - always denied.

Kate Winslet
In Hideous Kinky Winslet played a mother of two
The James-Cameron directed epic - with its remarkable special effects - won a swathe of Oscars and gave Ms Winslet her second Academy Award nomination.

As if to escape being typecast in historical dramas, her next role was as a young hippie mother travelling in north Africa with her two young daughters, in Gillies MacKinnon's Hideous Kinky.

Hideous Kinky was a low-key release, as was her next film, 1999's Holy Smoke, directed by Jane Campion.

There was a return to a period flavour that year, when she played Madeleine Leclerc, maid of the Marquis de Sade, opposite Geoffrey Rush, Michael Caine and Joaquin Phoenix in Quills.

Break

Winslet also appeared in this year's WWII drama Enigma, as Hester Wallace.

In a complete break with her past, Ms Winslet recently supplied the voice for the cartoon character Belle, in a new re-working of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

Kate Winslet and Jim Threapleton
Winslet's marriage to Threapleton broke up in September
Christmas Carol: The Movie has also given Winslet a chance of making the UK's Christmas number one.

Her record of a romantic ballad from the film, What If, is set for release on 26 November - and bookies are offering odds of 10-1 on it hitting the top spot.

But it is likely that Ms Winslet's love life will lead to continue to supply more column inches than her pop career.

Her latest romance, with director Sam Mendes, comes soon after her split with husband and Jim Threapleton, whom she married in 1998 and had a baby, Mia, with in 2000.

The actress's first serious romance, in the early 1990s, was with Stephen Tredre, who lost a long battle with cancer in December 1997.

But she is currently riding high after the critical success of Iris, a biographical portrait of novelist Iris Murdoch.

She shares her Oscar nominations for the film with co-stars Dame Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent.

See also:

19 Nov 01 | Showbiz
Mendes confirms Winslet affair
05 Sep 01 | Showbiz
The pitfalls of marrying fame
19 Nov 01 | Film
Mendes' Midas touch
05 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Career 'caused Winslet split'
05 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Winslet: Split sad but amicable
28 Mar 00 | Oscars 2000
American Beauty's Oscar triumph
04 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Kate Winslet to split from husband
15 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Kate Winslet names baby Mia
11 Oct 01 | Showbiz
Winslet single set for festive hit
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