March 17, 1951
Growing up in a middle class area of Los Angeles, Kurt Russell got into acting because it was a better
way to make money than delivering newspapers at four in the morning. So at nine years of age
he found work at Disney Studios in both film and TV project such as "The Travels of Jaimie
McPheeters", "Follow Me Boys!", "The Computer Who Wore Tennis Shoes", and "The Strongest Man
in the World".
Outside of Hollywood, Russell shared his father's passion for baseball. He was the top hitter
in the Texas league, hitting more than 400 for the California Angels farm team in El Paso. In
his own words, "I just wasn't going take up acting full time until my baseball days were over,
and that came sooner than I expected." Sadly, a rotator cuff injury ended his short career in
minor league baseball in June 1973.
Russell returned to acting and never once suffered the slump that many child actors face
during their transition to playing more mature roles. During his 20s, Kurt made a
significant shift to portraying dark and complex characters, such as the mass-murderer
Charles Whitman in the TV movie, "The Deadly Tower". In 1979, Russell got to play the role of
his young career in writer-director John Carpenter’s TV biopic "Elvis". His slick and convincing
portrayal of the rock idol earned him an Emmy nomination. He also met his future wife, Season
Hubley, on the set. They married later that year, and had one child, Boston, in 1981.
Russell hit the 80s fresh from his television success and landed the role of a charming,
fast-talking car salesman in Robert Zemeckis’ comedy, "Used Cars", which went largely
unrecognized during its 1980 release. He then re-teamed with John Carpenter for three more
films, establishing himself as a major player in the action arena. He played a Clint Eastwood
type in 1981’s "Escape From New York", a paranoid tough guy in "The Thing", and a post-modern
John Wayne in the hilarious comedy, "Big Trouble in Little China".
During the shoot of Jonathan Demme’s 1984 comedy "Swing Shift", Russell met fellow actor
Goldie Hawn. The two immediately clicked and, despite Hollywood’s constant chatter about
marriage, they have peacefully shared a residence for fourteen years and have one child
together, Wyatt Russell. "We’re very individual," Russell has said of their relationship,
"Society can rule you or you can be concerned about doing what you think is right for you."
Russell eventually made a transition to some hard-hitting dramatic roles, playing a co-worker
and lover opposite the stellar Meryl Streep in Mike Nichol’s "Silkwood", and a hardworking
firefighter in Ron Howard’s "Backdraft". He took other leading dramatic roles in "Tequilla
Sunrise" with Mel Gibson and Michelle Pfeiffer, and "Unlawful Entry" with Ray Liotta. Despite
his appearance in these high-profile films, Russell remained in the row behind such Hollywood
favorites as Mel Gibson and Kevin Costner. He comments, "in my personal career I've slid
along somewhat hidden in that I choose roles in which the movie's not about HIM. I prefer to
read good stories. Often I'm more taken with the story than I am with character." As a result,
Russell has come to be known as Hollywood’s "Everyman" actor, one that viewers identify with on
a very tangible, human level.
The late 90s watched Russell make a return to action films. He once again paired up with
teamster John Carpenter in 1996’s "Escape From L.A.", which he also co-wrote and co-produced.
In 1997, he played a man searching for his wife after his car breaks down in the desert in
Jonathan Mostow’s action/thriller "Breakdown". In 1998’s sci-fi action embarrassment, "Soldier",
he played Todd, a soldier who rises from near death to save a peaceful community from genetically
engineered monsters, for which he recieved a fee of $20 million from Warners.
Russell shares an extended family with Goldie Hawn: her son and daughter from her marriage to Bill Hudson, his
son (with Hubley), and their son together, 11-year-old Wyatt. They currently reside in Los
Angeles, and Russell spends his free time skiing, flying planes, and attending Wyatt’s little
league baseball games. - Photo © Unknown
Bio by Simon Roper - [Please let us know of any errors]
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