Kingsley was born in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, the son of actor Ben Kingsley and theatre director Alison Sutcliffe. His paternal grandfather, Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji (1914–1968), was a Kenyan-born medical doctor of Gujarati Indian descent. His great-grandfather was an extremely successful spice trader who had moved from India to Zanzibar, where his grandfather lived until moving to England at the age of 14. Kingsley's paternal grandmother was English; she was born out of wedlock, and "was loath to speak of her background". His other great-grandfather was believed by the family to have been of either German-Jewish or Russian-Jewish descent, while his great-grandmother was English and worked in the garment district of East London.
Kingsley's theatre credits include Troilus and Cressida, and Little Eyolf for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He played Rosencrantz in the National Theatre's 2010–11 production of Hamlet, for which he received a commendation at the 2010 Ian Charleson Awards, and Phaeax in Welcome to Thebes.
In the film The Last Legion he played Young Ambrosinus in flashbacks to the younger days of the character Ambrosinus, played by his father Ben Kingsley. He took the part of Albert Aurier in the BBC production Vincent Van Gogh: Painted With Words. He plays Bushy in Richard II, which is part of the BBC's Shakespeare season to be aired in Summer 2012.
He played both Jesus and God the Father in the August 2012 production of the York Mystery Plays. In 2013, Kingsley played the part of murdered Jewish anarchist Joshua Bloom in the BBC period crime drama Ripper Street, and filmed prominent roles in Agatha Christie's Poirot: Elephants Can Remember, the BBC feature film The Whale as Obed Hendricks, and Universal Pictures' 2014 feature Dracula Untold as Hamza Bey. In Spring 2013, Kingsley starred in the short film Dance in Colour by The Crookes. In 2016, Kingsley starred in ITV's drama Victoria as Italian British cook Charles Elmé Francatelli.
|2007||The Last Legion||Young Ambrosinus|
|2014||Dracula Untold||Hamza Bey|
|2010||Painted with Words||Albert Aurier||TV movie|
|2012||The Hollow Crown||Sir John Bushy||Episode: "Richard II"|
|2013||Ripper Street||Joshua Bloom||Episode: "Tournament of Shadows"|
|Agatha Christie's Poirot||Desmond Burton-Cox||Episode: "Elephants Can Remember"|
|The Whale||Obed Hendricks||TV movie|
|2014||Borgia||Giulio d'Este||Episodes: "1503, Part One"|
"1503, Part Two"
|2017||Still Star-Crossed||Aldo Lazzara||Episodes: "Pluck Out the Heart of My Mystery"|
"Nature Hath Framed Strange Fellows in Her Time"
"Hell Is Empty and All the Devils Are Here"
|Doctor Who||Neville Catchlove||Episode: "Empress of Mars"|
- Film Reference.com Biography
- Husband, Stuart (24 April 2013). "Sir Ben Kingsley: 'Without a mask, I haven't got a clue'". The Daily Telegraph.
- BBC:Sir Ben Kingsley's gold turban
- Bennetts, Leslie. Ben Kingsley’s Journey From Hamlet to Gandhi. New York Times: Best Pictures. 13 December 1982.
- Von Busack, Richard. Sexy Beast. Metroactive movies. March 2005.
- Pathak, Rujul. Ben Kingsley's Chameleon Characters Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.. Little India.com. 15 June 2005.
- Pfefferman, Naomi. Shoah dramas continue to compel actor Ben Kingsley. L.A. Jewish Journal. 18 May 2001.
- Tugend, Tom. Incidental Intelligence. JewishJournal.com. 13 April 2001.
- Krieger, Hilary Leila (10 April 2005). "'Gandhi' brings his 'truth-force' to Palestinian audiences". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 9 December 2007.: "The grandmother of the knighted Royal Shakespeare Company alum spoke Yiddish she picked up while a garment worker in London's East End a century ago. "She was violently opposed to talking about this, so my poor mother was at the receiving end of a rage attack every time my grandmother was asked about her husband, her lover, whoever it was, but it's believed that he was a Russian Jew or a German Jew called Goodman", Kingsley told The Jerusalem Post".
- Pollack, Joe (3 January 1994). "He's No Stranger to Holocaust". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
I'm not Jewish," he said, "and though there might be some Russian-Jewish heritage way back on my mother's side, the thread is so fine there's no real evidence...
- Moreton, Cole (15 May 2010). "The dark family secret that drove Ben Kingsley to success". The Daily Mail. Archived from the original on 18 May 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
- "National Theatre". Archived from the original on 29 April 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
- York Press May 2012
- The Last Legion
- "Painted with Words". Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
-  BBC Richard II]
- BBC News North Yorkshire