KENNETH BRANAGH Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Kenneth Charles Branagh was born on December 10, 1960 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK to parents William Branagh, a carpenter born in 1930, and Frances Branagh, also born in 1930. He has a brother named William Branagh Jr. who was born in 1955 and a sister named Joyce Branagh born in 1970. At 23, Kenneth joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he took on starring roles in Henry V and Romeo and Juliet. He soon found the R.S.C. too large and impersonal and formed his own, the Renaissance Theatre Company, which now counts Prince Charles as one of its royal patrons. At 29, he directed and starred in the film Henry V (1989), which costarred his then-wife, Emma Thompson. The film brought him Best Actor and Best Director Oscar nominations. In 1993, he brought Shakespeare to mainstream audiences again with his hit adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing (1993), which featured an all-star cast that included Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves.


At 30, he published his autobiography and at 34 he directed and starred as Victor Frankenstein in the big-budget adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994) with Robert De Niro as the monster himself. The bad reviews may have had some effect on his marriage, though, because in October 1995, Branagh and Thompson announced their plans to divorce. In 1996, Branagh wrote, directed and starred in a lavish adaptation of Hamlet (1996). In recent years he starred in a series of non-Bard-related roles in Celebrity (1998), Wild Wild West (1999), and as a voice in Road to El Dorado, The (2000).