Kurt Russell

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Kurt Russell
P1090663 Russell.jpg
Russell in 2006
Born Kurt Vogel Russell
(1951-03-17) March 17, 1951 (age 63)
Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Education Thousand Oaks High School
Occupation Actor
Years active 1957–present
Spouse(s) Season Hubley (1979–1983)
Partner(s) Goldie Hawn (1983–present)
Children Boston Russell
Wyatt Russell
Parents Neil Oliver Russell
Louise Julia Crone
Relatives Matt Franco (nephew)

Kurt Vogel Russell (born March 17, 1951)[1] is an American actor. His first acting roles were as a child in television series, including a lead role in the Western series The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (1963–64). In the 1970s, he signed a ten-year contract with the Walt Disney Company, where he became, according to Robert Osborne, the "studio's top star of the '70s".[2] In 1979, Russell was nominated for an Emmy Award for the made-for-television film Elvis.

In 1983, he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for his performance opposite Meryl Streep in the 1984 film, Silkwood. During the 1980s, Russell was cast in several films by director John Carpenter, including anti-hero roles such as former army hero-turned robber Snake Plissken in the futuristic action film Escape from New York and its sequel, Escape from L.A., Antarctic helicopter pilot R.J. MacReady in the horror film The Thing (1982), and truck driver Jack Burton in the dark kung-fu comedy/action film Big Trouble in Little China (1986), all of which have since become cult films.

In 1994, Russell had a starring role in the military science fiction film Stargate. In the mid-2000s, his portrayal of U.S. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks in Miracle (2004) won the praise of critics. In 2006, he appeared in the disaster-thriller Poseidon, and in 2007 Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof segment from the film Grindhouse.

Early life[edit]

Russell was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, to actor Neil Oliver "Bing" Russell and dancer Louise Julia (Crone) Russell.[3] In 1969, Russell graduated from Thousand Oaks High School.[4] Kurt's sister Jill is the mother of baseball player Matt Franco.[5]

Career[edit]

Late 1950s–1960s[edit]

Russell began his career in the late 1950s with an appearance as a child in the pilot of the ABC western television series Sugarfoot with Will Hutchins.[citation needed] His film career began at the age of eleven in an uncredited part in Elvis Presley's It Happened at the World's Fair and two extra episodes, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the then defunct series Rin Tin Tin. On April 24, 1963, Russell guest starred in the ABC series Our Man Higgins, starring Stanley Holloway as an English butler in an American family. He appeared in 1963 as Peter Hall in the episode "Everybody Knows You Left Me" on the NBC medical drama about psychiatry The Eleventh Hour.

Later in 1963, he landed the lead role as Jaimie in the ABC Western series The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (1963–64). Based on a book by Robert Lewis Taylor, the series starred Dan O'Herlihy, John Maloney, and the young Osmond Brothers. Charles Bronson became a semi-regular in the series. In 1964, he guest-starred in "Nemesis", an episode of the popular ABC series The Fugitive in which, as the son of police Lt. Phillip Gerard, he is unintentionally kidnapped by his father's quarry, Doctor Richard Kimble. That same year he appeared on NBC's The Virginian as a mistaken orphan whose father was an outlaw played by Rory Calhoun who was still alive and recently released from prison looking for his son. He played a similar role as a kid named Packy Kerlin in the 1964 episode "Blue Heaven" of the western series Gunsmoke.

On February 6, 1965, Russell played the role of Jungle Boy on an episode of CBS's Gilligan's Island. He guest-starred on ABC's western The Legend of Jesse James.

In 1966, Russell played a 14-year-old Indian boy, Grey Smoke, adopted by the Texas Rangers in the episode "Meanwhile, Back at the Reservation" of the NBC western series Laredo. In the story line, Grey Smoke has been working for an outlaw gang, but the Rangers take him under their wing, and the boy proves helpful when gunslingers try to occupy Laredo.[6]

In January 1967, Russell co-starred as Private Willie Prentiss in the episode "Willie and the Yank: The Mosby Raiders" in Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. Also in 1967, he, Jay C. Flippen, and Tom Tryon appeared in the episode "Charade of Justice" of the NBC western series The Road West starring Barry Sullivan. In a March 1966 episode of CBS's Lost in Space entitled "The Challenge", he played Quano, the son of a planetary ruler. In the same year he played a starring role in Disney's Follow Me, Boys!. He then went on to star in The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band and The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, the latter of which spawned two sequels: Now You See Him, Now You Don't in 1972 and The Strongest Man in the World in 1975.

He also played a baseball player in the "The Spitball Kid" episode of NBC-TV's "...Then Came Bronson."[7]

1970s[edit]

In 1971, he co-starred as a young robber released from jail, alongside James Stewart in Fools' Parade. The same year, he guest-starred in an episode of Room 222 playing an idealistic high school student who assumed the costumed identity of Paul Revere to warn of the dangers of pollution. Russell was soon signed to a ten-year contract with the Walt Disney Company, where he became, according to Robert Osborne, the "studio's top star of the '70s".[2] He later auditioned for the role of Han Solo in Star Wars but lost the role to Harrison Ford.[citation needed]

Russell, like his father, had a baseball career. In the early 1970s, Russell played second base for the California Angels minor league affiliates, the Bend Rainbows,[8] Walla Walla Islanders,[9] and El Paso Sun Kings.[10] During a play early in the 1973 season, he was hit in the shoulder by a player running to second base; the collision tore the rotator cuff in Russell's right/throwing shoulder. Before his injury, he was leading the Texas League in hitting, with a .563 batting average as a switch hitter. He did not return to El Paso, but was a designated hitter for the independent Portland Mavericks back in the Northwest League late in their short season. The team was owned by his father, and he had been doing promotional work for them in the interim.[11] The injury forced his retirement from baseball in 1973 and led to his return to acting.[12]

In the autumn of 1976, Russell appeared with Tim Matheson in the 15-episode NBC series The Quest, the story of two young men in the American West seeking the whereabouts of their sister, a captive of the Cheyenne.[citation needed] In 1979, Russell was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Special for the made-for-television film Elvis. This was his first pairing with director John Carpenter. Russell did not perform the singing vocals in the movie; they were provided by country music artist Ronnie McDowell.[citation needed]

1980s[edit]

Over the 1980s, Russell would team with Carpenter several times, helping create some of his best-known roles, usually as anti-heroes, including the infamous Snake Plissken of Escape from New York and its sequel, Escape from L.A.. Among their collaborations was 1982's The Thing, based upon the short story Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, Jr., which had been interpreted on film before, albeit loosely, in 1951's The Thing from Another World. In 1986, the two made Big Trouble in Little China, a dark kung-fu comedy/action film in which Russell played a truck driver caught in an ancient Chinese war. While the film was a financial failure like The Thing, it has since gained a cult audience. During this period, he voiced adult Copper in the animated Disney film The Fox and the Hound.

Russell is one of the very few famous child stars in Hollywood who has been able to continue his acting career past his teen years. Russell received award nominations well into middle age. He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for his performance opposite Meryl Streep in the 1983 film, Silkwood.

1990s–2000s[edit]

In 1991, Russell was cast alongside William Baldwin as a firefighter in Backdraft.

In 1993, Russell portrayed Wyatt Earp in the film Tombstone, co-starring with Val Kilmer, Sam Elliot, Bill Paxton and Powers Boothe and Colonel Jack O'Neill in the military science fiction film Stargate, in 1994.

Elvis Presley connections have run like a thread through his career. Aside from appearing as a child in one of Presley's films and giving a convincing portrayal of the singer in the 1979 television biopic, Russell starred as an Elvis impersonator involved in a Las Vegas robbery in 3000 Miles to Graceland.

His portrayal of U.S. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks in the 2004 film, Miracle, won the praise of critics. "In many ways," wrote Claudia Puig of USA Today, "Miracle belongs to Kurt Russell." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times wrote, "Russell does real acting here." Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Russell's cagey and remote performance gives Miracle its few breezes of fresh, albeit methane-scented, air."

In 2006, Russell revealed that he was the director of Tombstone, not George P. Cosmatos, as credited.[13] According to Russell, Cosmatos was recommended by Sylvester Stallone and was, in effect, a ghost director, much as he had been for Rambo: First Blood Part II. Russell said he promised Cosmatos he would keep it a secret as long as Cosmatos was alive; Cosmatos died in April 2005.[13] Russell owns the rights to the masters and makes reference to possibly re-editing the film, as he was not originally involved in the editing.[13]

Russell played the villain Stuntman Mike in Quentin Tarantino's segment Death Proof of the film Grindhouse. After a remake of Escape from New York was announced, Russell was reportedly upset with the casting of Scottish actor Gerard Butler for his signature character, Snake Plissken, as he believed the character 'was quintessentially [...] American.'[14][15]

Russell in 2005

On August 31, 2013, it was announced that Russell had been cast in Fast & Furious 7.[16] He appeared in The Battered Bastards of Baseball, a documentary about his father and the Portland Mavericks, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Russell married actress Season Hubley, whom he had met on the set of Elvis in 1979; they had a son, Boston Russell, in 1980. In 1983, in the middle of his divorce from Hubley, Russell re-connected with Goldie Hawn on the set of the film Swing Shift, and they have been in a relationship ever since. They had a son, Wyatt, in 1986. One year later, in 1987, the couple starred in the film Overboard. Hawn's son and daughter with Bill Hudson, actors Oliver and Kate Hudson, consider Russell to be their father.

Russell is a libertarian. In 1996, he was quoted in the Toronto Sun saying: "I was brought up as a Republican, but when I realized that at the end of the day there wasn't much difference between a Democrat and Republican, I became a libertarian."[18]

In February 2003, Russell and Hawn moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, so that their son could play hockey. Russell is an FAA licensed private pilot holding single/multi-engine and instrument ratings and is an Honorary Board Member of the humanitarian aviation organization Wings of Hope.[19]

Filmography[edit]

Film and television
Year Title Role Notes
1962 Dennis the Menace Kevin Episode: "Wilson's Second Childhood"
1963 It Happened at the World's Fair Boy who kicks Mike Uncredited
1964 Man From U.N.C.L.E., TheThe Man From U.N.C.L.E. Christopher Larson Episode: "The Finny Foot Affair"
1964 Fugitive, TheThe Fugitive Philip Gerard Jr. Episode: "Nemesis"
1964 Gunsmoke Packy Episode: "Blue Heaven"
1964 Guns of Diablo Jamie McPheeters
1964
1965
Virginian, TheThe Virginian Toby Shea
Andy Denning
"A Father for Toby"
"The Brothers"
1965 Gilligan's Island Jungle boy Episode: "Gilligan Meets Jungle Boy"
1965–69 Daniel Boone Various 5 episodes
1966 Fugitive, TheThe Fugitive Eddie Episode: "In a Plain Paper Wrapper"
1966 Follow Me, Boys! Whitey
1966 Lost In Space Quano Episode: "The Challenge"
1966 Laredo Grey Smoke Episode: "Meanwhile Back at the Reservation"
1968 One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, TheThe One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band Sidney Bower First film with Goldie Hawn (as Giggly Girl)
1968 Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit, TheThe Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit Ronnie Gardner
1969 Guns in the Heather Rich
1969 Then Came Bronson William P. Lovering [20]
1969 Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, TheThe Computer Wore Tennis Shoes Dexter Riley
1970 Men at Law Jerry Patman Episode: "This is Jerry, See Jerry Run"
1971 Barefoot Executive, TheThe Barefoot Executive Steven Post
1971 Fools' Parade Johnny Jesus
1972 Now You See Him, Now You Don't Dexter Riley
1973 Charley and the Angel Ray Ferris
1973 Superdad Bart
1974 Gunsmoke Buck Henry Woolfe Episode: "Trail of Bloodshed"
1975 Strongest Man in the World, TheThe Strongest Man in the World Dexter Riley
1975 Deadly Tower, TheThe Deadly Tower Charles Whitman TV movie
1975 Search for the Gods Shan Mullins TV movie
1979 Elvis Elvis Presley Nominated—Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1980 Used Cars Rudolph "Rudy" Russo
1981 Escape from New York Snake Plissken
1981 Fox and the Hound, TheThe Fox and the Hound Adult Copper Voice
1982 Thing, TheThe Thing R.J. MacReady
1983 Silkwood Drew Stephens Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
1984 Swing Shift Mike "Lucky" Lockhart
1984 Terror in the Aisles R.J. MacReady
1985 Mean Season, TheThe Mean Season Malcolm Anderson
1986 Big Trouble in Little China Jack Burton
1986 Best of Times, TheThe Best of Times Reno Hightower
1987 Overboard Dean Proffitt
1988 Tequila Sunrise Det. Lt. Nicholas 'Nick' Frescia
1989 Winter People Wayland Jackson
1989 Tango & Cash Detective Gabriel "Gabe" Cash
1991 Backdraft Stephen 'Bull' McCaffrey / Dennis McCaffrey
1992 Unlawful Entry Michael Carr
1992 Captain Ron Captain Ron
1993 Tombstone Wyatt Earp
1994 Stargate Col. Jonathan "Jack" O'Neil
1996 Executive Decision Dr. David Grant
1996 Escape from L.A. Snake Plissken Also writer & producer
1997 Breakdown Jeffrey "Jeff" Taylor
1998 Soldier Todd
2001 3000 Miles to Graceland Michael Zane Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screen Combo (shared with Kevin Costner and Courteney Cox)
2001 Vanilla Sky McCabe
2002 Interstate 60 Capt. Ives
2003 Dark Blue Eldon Perry
2004 Miracle Herb Brooks
2005 Sky High Steve Stronghold / The Commander
2005 Dreamer Ben Crane
2006 Poseidon Robert Ramsey
2007 Death Proof Stuntman Mike
2007 Cutlass Dad
2012 Touchback Coach Hand
2013 The Art of the Steal Crunch Calhoun
2014 The Battered Bastards of Baseball Himself
2015 Fast & Furious 7 Post-production

See also[edit]

  • Walt Disney, who wrote Russell's name on a piece of paper just before he died, the significance of which remains a mystery, even to Russell[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kurt Russell News, Kurt Russell Bio and Photos". TV Guide Network. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Introduction by Robert Osborne to the TCM premiere of The Barefoot Executive, April 13, 2007.
  3. ^ "Kirk Russell Film Reference bio". Filmreference.com. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Kurt Russell Timeline and Biography". 
  5. ^ "SI Vault Sports Beat". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. September 2, 2002. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  6. ^ Billy Hathorn, "Roy Bean, Temple Houston, Bill Longley, Ranald Mackenzie, Buffalo Bill, Jr., and the Texas Rangers: Depictions of West Texans in Series Television, 1955 to 1967", West Texas Historical Review, Vol. 89 (2013), p. 115
  7. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000621/?ref_=nv_sr_1
  8. ^ "Switch hitting Kurt Russell wants acting and baseball". Milwaukee Journal. July 8, 1971. p. 4. 
  9. ^ Hopper, Betty (August 14, 1972). "Russell combines acting, baseball". The Telegraph (Nashua, NH). Associated Press. p. 18. 
  10. ^ "Kurt Russell". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved February 18, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Wise, Kurt Russell to join Mavericks for rest of season". The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon). Associated Press. July 27, 1973. p. 11. 
  12. ^ Freedman, Richard (August 2, 1981). "Baseball player Kurt Russell banging out hits in new field". Youngstown Vindicator. Newhouse News Service. p. B6. 
  13. ^ a b c Beck, Henry Cabot. "The "Western" Godfather." True West Magazine. October 2006.
  14. ^ by Stax (March 22, 2007). "IGN: Kurt Blasts 'Escape' Remake". Movies.ign.com. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  15. ^ "News Russell Enraged with New Snake Plissken". Pr-inside.com. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  16. ^ http://flicksided.com/2013/08/31/kurt-russell-joins-fast-and-furious-7-cast/
  17. ^ Sundance 2014: Kurt Russell goes deep for 'Battered Bastards of Baseball' -- EXCLUSIVE
  18. ^ Kurt Russell, Advocates for Self-Government
  19. ^ ":.: The Official Wings Of Hope Homepage :.:". Wings-of-hope.org. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  20. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000621/?ref_=nv_sr_1

External links[edit]