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Alex Kingston

Alex Kingston
File:Alex Kingston 2012.jpg
Kingston at Florida SuperCon 2012.
Born Alexandra Elizabeth Kingston
(1963-03-11) 11 March 1963 (age 52)
Epsom, Surrey, England
Occupation Actress
Years active 1980–present
Spouse(s) Ralph Fiennes (m. 1993; div. 1997)
Florian Haertel (m. 1998) (separated)
Children 1
Relatives Walter Renneisen (uncle)

Alexandra Elizabeth "Alex" Kingston[1] (born 11 March 1963)[1] is an English actress. She is known for her roles as Dr. Elizabeth Corday on the NBC medical drama ER and as River Song in the BBC science fiction series Doctor Who.

Early life

Kingston was born and raised in Epsom, Surrey, the eldest of three daughters of an English butcher, Anthony Kingston, and his German wife, Margarethe (née Renneisen).[2][3] Kingston's paternal great-great-grandmother was Jewish.[4][5] Kingston's uncle, her mother's younger brother, is actor Walter Renneisen.[6] Her sisters are Susie, who is mentally and physically disabled as a result of being deprived of oxygen at birth, and Nicola, a former actress who appeared in the 1996 British TV production of The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders, in which Kingston starred.

Kingston was inspired to pursue acting by one of her teachers at Rosebery School for Girls. Kingston auditioned and performed in the Surrey County Youth Theatre production of Tom Jones as Mrs Fitzpatrick, alongside Sean Pertwee as Captain Fitzpatrick and Thwackum played by Tom Davison. She later completed a three-year programme at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and went on to join the Royal Shakespeare Company.


Kingston has appeared in a number of British-produced television dramas, including Grange Hill, Crocodile Shoes, The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders, The Knock and a guest role on The Bill.

Kingston's film credits include The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989), A Pin for the Butterfly (1994), The Infiltrator (1995), Croupier (1998), Essex Boys (2000), Boudica (Warrior Queen in the USA) (2003) in which she played the eponymous Boudica, Sweet Land (2005) and Crashing (2007).

In September 1997, Kingston gained North American television fame after being cast on the long-running medical drama ER. Her first appearance was in the premiere of the fourth season which was the award-winning live episode "Ambush" where she portrayed British surgeon, Elizabeth Corday. Kingston played this role for just over seven seasons until leaving in October 2004, in season 11: episode 4 called "Fear". In spring 2009, Kingston returned to ER during its 15th and final season for two episodes which were season 15: episode 12 called "Dream Runner" and season 15: episode 22 which was the two-hour series finale called "And in the End...".

In November 2005, Kingston guest-starred in the long-running mystery drama Without a Trace in season 4: episode 6 called "Viuda Negra" (Spanish for "black widow"). The episode was directed by Kingston's former ER cast mate Paul McCrane. She played Lucy Costin, one of two wealthy vacationers from the U.S. whose husband is kidnapped by a Mexican street gang on the last night of their honeymoon.

In 2006, Kingston starred as Nurse Ratched, opposite Christian Slater as Randle Patrick McMurphy, in the Garrick Theatre's West End production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.[7] Kingston revealed that she was turned down for a role on ABC's Desperate Housewives, as Lynette Scavo, for being too curvy.[8] In the same article, she admitted to considering and nearly attempting suicide after her separation from her ex-husband Ralph Fiennes.

In 2008, Kingston guest-starred in the fourth series of the long-running science fiction television programme Doctor Who in the two-part story "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" as River Song. She reprised the role in several episodes of the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 series. Kingston says she thought her role was simply a one-off, but was delighted that she would be a returning character as she has now appeared in fifteen episodes and counting.[9]

In September 2008, Kingston took the part of Mrs Bennet in ITV's acclaimed four-part production Lost in Austen which is based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. In October that same year, Kingston appeared in the police procedural drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in season 9: episode 3 called "Art Imitates Life" where she portrayed Patricia Alwick, a psychiatrist and grief counsellor who helps the team cope with the recent death of CSI member Warrick Brown.

In February 2009, Kingston portrayed Miranda Pond, a defence attorney in two episodes of the legal drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. This guest spot reunited Kingston with her former cast mate from ER, Mariska Hargitay, who had a recurring role during the fourth season of ER. In June, Kingston starred as the lead character Ellie Lagden, one of four former convicts in the BBC One drama series Hope Springs until its cancellation in July. In September that year, she had a recurring role in FlashForward, playing Inspector Fiona Banks.

In 2010, Kingston returned to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in season 12: episode 7 entitled "Trophy", which reunited Kingston with her former ER castmate Maria Bello.

In 2011, Kingston was a cast member on British supernatural series Marchlands, portraying the character of Helen Maynard.[10] She also guest-starred in the Grey's Anatomy spin-off Private Practice as Marla Tompkins, a psychiatrist who writes book reviews for newspapers.[11] Kingston appeared in Friedrich Schiller's Luise Miller at the Donmar Warehouse in London.

In early 2013, Kingston appeared in Arrow, playing Professor Dinah Lance, the mother of Laurel and Sara Lance.[12]

In July 2013 Kingston played Lady Macbeth opposite Kenneth Branagh in Macbeth at Manchester International Festival. Her performance was broadcast to cinemas on 20 July as part of National Theatre Live.[13] She reprised the performance, again opposite Branagh, when the production played at the Park Avenue Armory in June 2014. It marked her New York stage debut.[14]

In September 2014, Kingston starred as Ruth Hattersley, an analyst working for the Missing Persons Bureau on the ITV mini-series drama Chasing Shadows.[15]

Personal life

Kingston met English actor Ralph Fiennes while they were both students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. They were together for ten years before marrying in 1993. In 1995, Fiennes began an affair with his Hamlet co-star, Francesca Annis, and left Kingston the following year; they were divorced in 1997.[16][17]

At the end of 1998,[16] Kingston married her second husband, German writer and freelance journalist Florian Haertel, having met the previous year on a blind date arranged by friends;[18] they have a daughter together, Salome Violetta Haertel, born 28 March 2001.[19] Kingston and Haertel separated in 2010, and Kingston is now in a new relationship and is, as of 2014, engaged to be married.[20][21] As of 2011, Kingston continues to reside in the US.[22]

Kingston appeared on the BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are? in September 2012, investigating the lives of her great-grandfather Will Keevil and her four-times great-grandmother, Elizabeth Braham.


Year Film Role Notes
1980 The Wildcats of St. Trinian's Schoolgirl Uncredited
Grange Hill Jill Harcourt TV series (3 episodes)
1987 A Killing on the Exchange Ellen TV mini-series (2 episodes)
1988 The Bill Various TV series (4 episodes: 1988–1995)
1989 Hannay Kirsten Larssen TV series (1 episode: "The Terrors of the Earth")
The Play on One Daniella TV series (1 episode: "These Foolish Things")
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover Adela
1992 Covington Cross Helen TV series (1 episode: "Cedric Hits the Road")
1993 Foreign Affairs Actress TV film
Soldier Soldier Ursula Kröhling TV series (1 episode: "Camouflage")
1994 Woman of the Wolf Woman Voice only, TV film
A Pin for the Butterfly
Crocodile Shoes Caroline Carrison TV series (5 episodes)
1995 Carrington Frances Partidge
The Infiltrator Anna
1996 The Knock Katherine Roberts TV series (13 episodes)
The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders Moll Flanders TV serial (4 episodes)
Saint-Ex Chic Party Guest
1997 Weapons of Mass Distraction Verity Graham TV film
1997–2004, 2009 ER Dr. Elizabeth Corday TV series (Series regular: 160 episodes)
1998 Croupier Jani de Villiers
1999 This Space Between Us Peternelle
2000 Essex Boys Lisa Locke
2003 Boudica Boudica Warrior Queen in the U.S.A.
2005 The Poseidon Adventure Suzanne Harrison TV film
Sweet Land Brownie
Without a Trace Lucy Costin TV series (1 episode: "Viuda Negra")
2006 Alpha Dog Tiffany Hartunian
2007 Crashing Diane Freed
2008 Freezing Serena Wilson TV series (1 episode: "Episode No. 1.3")
Lost in Austen Mrs. Bennett TV mini-series (4 episodes)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Dr. Patricia Alwick TV series (1 episode: "Art Imitates Life")
2008, 2010–2013 Doctor Who River Song TV series (14 episodes)
2009 Sordid Things Eve Manchester
Hope Springs Ellie Lagden TV series: Lead role (8 episodes)
FlashForward Inspector Fiona Banks TV series (3 episodes)
2009–2010 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Miranda Pond TV series (4 episodes)
2010 Ben Hur Ruth TV series (2 episodes)
Callers Sheila
2011 Like Crazy Jackie
Private Practice Marla Tompkins TV series (2 episodes)
Marchlands Helen Maynard TV series (5 episodes)
Teaching awards 2011 As herself
2012 Upstairs Downstairs Dr Blanche Mottershead TV series (6 episodes)
NCIS Miranda Pennebaker TV series, season 10 episode 8: "Gone"
Who Do You Think You Are? Herself TV series, season 9 episode 6: Alex Kingston
2013–present Arrow Dinah Drake Lance TV series (6 episodes)
2014 Chasing Shadows[23] Ruth Hattersley TV mini-series (4 episodes)
2015 Bukowski[24] Katharina Bukowski

Awards and nominations

Year Award For Win
1996 BAFTA TV Award Best Actress in The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders Nominated
1998 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in ER Won
1999 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in ER Won
2001 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in ER Nominated
2001 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in ER Nominated
2008 Doctor Who Magazine Award Best Guest Actress Won
2009 TV Land Icon Award ER Won
2010 Doctor Who Magazine Award Best Supporting Actress Won
2012 SFX Best Actress for Doctor Who Won
2013 Anglophenia's Fan Favorites Women's Tournament Woman of the Year (2013) Won


  1. ^ a b Lundy, Darryl. "Person Page 18418". Retrieved 20 July 2009. [unreliable source?]
  2. ^ Lee, Veronica (9 March 2006). "'I wouldn't say I was strong...'". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 14 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Alex Kingston: Who Do You Think You Are? (TV Show; Wed 19 Sep, 2012 – Info can be found at 29:53)". BBC One. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Dysch, Marcus (20 September 2012). "Alex Kingston discovers her Jewish Background". Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Bauckham, Jon (18 September 2012). "Alex Kingston". Who Do You Think You Are Magazine. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "(article in German)" (in German). Retrieved 10 April 2010. [dead link]
  7. ^ ""One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" returns with Christian Slater at Garrick from 21 March 2006". 15 February 2006. 
  8. ^ Walls, Jeannette (31 May 2006). "Dissing the desperately skinny 'Housewives'". MSNBC. Retrieved 10 April 2010. 
  9. ^ Duncan, Andrew (27 August 2011). "Doctor Who: Alex Kingston interviewed". Radio Times. Retrieved 29 August 2011. 
  10. ^ Stephenson, David (30 January 2011). "Marchlands: Alex Kingston in haunting drama". The Daily Express. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  11. ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb (4 February 2011). "Private Practice Exclusive: Shrink Role Fits ER Alum Alex Kingston". Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  12. ^ Hibberd, James (22 January 2013). "'Arrow' scoop: 'ER' actress is Laurel's mom". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston "MACBETH"". Manchester International Festival. 2014. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  14. ^ Mcdermon, Daniel (20 August 2013). "Branagh's 'Macbeth' Coming to New York's Park Avenue Armory in 2014". The New York Times. 
  15. ^ "Chasing Shadows on DVD - A Chat With Alex Kingston". The Huffington Post UK. 
  16. ^ a b Sheldon, Michael (14 August 2003). "'I'm not afraid to take risks'". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  17. ^ Smith, Martin (12 February 2007). "Stewardess faces sack after amorous in-flight encounter with Ralph Fiennes". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 14 January 2012. 
  18. ^ Freeman, Hilary (22 June 2004). "At my age, if we want to have another child, this is the time to do it". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 10 April 2010. 
  19. ^ "Salome Violetta Haertel". Variety. 5 June 2001. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  20. ^ Curtis, Nick (1 June 2011). "Doctor Who is the closest thing to theatre on TV". thisislondon. Evening Standard. Retrieved 14 January 2012. 
  21. ^ Lipworth, Elaine (9 August 2014). "Alex Kingston: 'I've lived through some tough stuff - and survived'". The Mail on Sunday. Daily Mail. Retrieved 24 February 2015. 
  22. ^ Alex Kingston. Interview with Craig Ferguson. 6 January 2011. The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. CBS. Los Angeles. 
  23. ^ "Reece Shearsmith, Alex Kingston and Noel Clarke to star in Chasing Shadows". ITV Presscentre. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  24. ^ "Bukowski (2014)". IMDb. 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 

External links

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