Alex Kingston

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Alex Kingston
Alex Kingston 2012.jpg
Kingston at Florida SuperCon 2012.
BornAlexandra Elizabeth Kingston
(1963-03-11) 11 March 1963 (age 51)
Epsom, Surrey, England
ResidenceUnited States
Years active1980–present
Spouse(s)Ralph Fiennes
(m. 1993; div. 1997)
Florian Haertel
(1998–present; sep.)
Children1 (Salome Violetta Haertel)
RelativesWalter Renneisen (uncle)
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Alex Kingston
Alex Kingston 2012.jpg
Kingston at Florida SuperCon 2012.
BornAlexandra Elizabeth Kingston
(1963-03-11) 11 March 1963 (age 51)
Epsom, Surrey, England
ResidenceUnited States
Years active1980–present
Spouse(s)Ralph Fiennes
(m. 1993; div. 1997)
Florian Haertel
(1998–present; sep.)
Children1 (Salome Violetta Haertel)
RelativesWalter 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 and education[edit]

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 will reprise the performance, again opposite Branagh, when the production plays at the Park Avenue Armory in June 2014. It will mark 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[edit]

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 are now separated.[20] As of 2011, Kingston continues to reside in the US.[21]

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.


1980The Wildcats of St. Trinian'sSchoolgirlUncredited
Grange HillJill HarcourtTV series (3 episodes)
1987A Killing on the ExchangeEllenTV mini-series (2 episodes)
1988The BillVariousTV series (4 episodes: 1988–1995)
1989HannayKirsten LarssenTV series (1 episode: "The Terrors of the Earth")
The Play on OneDaniellaTV series (1 episode: "These Foolish Things")
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her LoverAdela
1992Covington CrossHelenTV series (1 episode: "Cedric Hits the Road")
1993Foreign AffairsActressTV film
Soldier SoldierUrsula KröhlingTV series (1 episode: "Camouflage")
1994Woman of the WolfWomanVoice only, TV film
A Pin for the Butterfly
Crocodile ShoesCaroline CarrisonTV series (5 episodes)
1995CarringtonFrances Partidge
The InfiltratorAnna
1996The KnockKatherine RobertsTV series (13 episodes)
The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll FlandersMoll FlandersTV serial (4 episodes)
Saint-ExChic Party Guest
1997Weapons of Mass DistractionVerity GrahamTV film
1997–2004, 2009ERDr. Elizabeth CordayTV series (Series regular: 160 episodes)
1998CroupierJani de Villiers
1999This Space Between UsPeternelle
2000Essex BoysLisa Locke
2003BoudicaBoudicaWarrior Queen in the U.S.A.
2005The Poseidon AdventureSuzanne HarrisonTV film
Sweet LandBrownie
Without a TraceLucy CostinTV series (1 episode: "Viuda Negra")
2006Alpha DogTiffany Hartunian
2007CrashingDiane Freed
2008FreezingSerena WilsonTV series (1 episode: "Episode No. 1.3")
Lost in AustenMrs. BennettTV mini-series (4 episodes)
CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationDr. Patricia AlwickTV series (1 episode: "Art Imitates Life")
2008, 2010–2013Doctor WhoRiver SongTV series (14 episodes)
2009Sordid ThingsEve Manchester
Hope SpringsEllie LagdenTV series: Lead role (8 episodes)
FlashForwardInspector Fiona BanksTV series (3 episodes)
2009–2010Law & Order: Special Victims UnitMiranda PondTV series (4 episodes)
2010Ben HurRuthTV series (2 episodes)
2011Like CrazyJackie
Private PracticeMarla TompkinsTV series (2 episodes)
MarchlandsHelen MaynardTV series (5 episodes)
Teaching awards 2011As herself
2012Upstairs DownstairsDr Blanche MottersheadTV series (6 episodes)
NCISMiranda PennebakerTV series, season 10 episode 8: "Gone"
Who Do You Think You Are?HerselfTV series, season 9 episode 6: Alex Kingston
2013–presentArrowDinah Drake LanceTV series (6 episodes)
2014Bukowski[22]Katharina Bukowski
2014Chasing Shadows[23]Ruth HattersleyTV mini-series (4 episodes)

Awards and nominations[edit]

1996BAFTA TV AwardBest Actress in The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll FlandersNominated
1998Screen Actors Guild AwardOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in ERWon
1999Screen Actors Guild AwardOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in ERWon
2001Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in ERNominated
2001Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in ERNominated
2008Doctor Who Magazine AwardBest Guest ActressWon
2009TV Land Icon AwardERWon
2010Doctor Who Magazine AwardBest Supporting ActressWon
2012SFXBest Actress for Doctor WhoWon
2013Anglophenia's Fan Favorites Women's TournamentWoman 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. ^ Alex Kingston. Interview with Craig Ferguson. 6 January 2011. The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. CBS. Los Angeles. 
  22. ^ "Bukowski (2014)". IMDb. 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  23. ^ "Reece Shearsmith, Alex Kingston and Noel Clarke to star in Chasing Shadows". ITV Presscentre. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 

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