|Born||Steven Frederic Seagal
April 10, 1952 
Lansing, Michigan, U.S.
|Other names||Chungdrag Dorje, Takeshigemichi|
|Rank||Aikido7th degree black belt in|
|Occupation||Actor, film producer, martial artist, musician, writer, reserve deputy sheriff|
|Children||7 (including Ayako Fujitani)|
Steven Frederic Seagal (born April 10, 1952) is an American action film star, producer, writer, martial artist, guitarist and reserve deputy sheriff. A 7th-dan black belt in Aikido, Seagal began his adult life as an Aikido instructor in Japan. He became the first foreigner to operate an Aikido dojo in Japan.
He later moved to the Los Angeles, California, area where he made his film debut in 1988 in Above the Law. By 1991, he starred in three successful films and achieved greater fame in Under Siege (1992), where he played Navy SEALs counter-terrorist expert Casey Ryback. However both On Deadly Ground (1994, which he directed) and Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995) did not do well at the box office. During the latter half of the 1990s, he starred in three more theatrical films and the direct-to-video The Patriot. Since that time, with the exception of Exit Wounds (2001) and Half Past Dead (2002), his career shifted almost entirely to direct-to-video films (often low budget productions and shot in Europe or Asia). Between 1998 to 2009, he appeared in a total of 22 of these. At the age of 59, he returned to the big screen as Torrez in the 2010 film Machete. In 2011, he filmed the third season of his reality show Steven Seagal: Lawman.
Seagal is a guitarist, recording artist, and the founder of Steven Seagal Enterprises. In addition to his professional achievements, he is also known as an environmentalist, an animal rights activist, a supporter of the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, and the Tibetan independence movement.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Aikido
- 3 Hollywood career
- 4 Other ventures
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Allegations and lawsuits
- 7 Activism
- 8 Honors
- 9 Stunts
- 10 Filmography
- 11 Discography
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Seagal was born in Lansing, Michigan, where he lived until he was five years old, when the family moved to California. His mother, Patricia (1930–2003), was a medical technician, and his father, Samuel Steven Seagal (1928–1991), was a high school math teacher. His mother was of Irish ancestry and his father was Jewish. In a Russian interview, Seagal once stated that he had a Mongolian grandfather (either Buryat or Kalmyk). His parents relocated to Fullerton, California, where Seagal attended Buena Park High School in Buena Park.
At a very young age, Seagal lied about his age and got a job as a dishwasher at a restaurant named The Wagon Wheel. One of the cooks at the restaurant was a Japanese shotokan karate expert and noticed Seagal moved very quickly around the kitchen. He taught Seagal the basics of karate. Seagal began training in aikido under master Harry Kiyoshi Ishisaka, founder of the Orange County Aikido School (Orange County Aiki Kai) (OCAK) in 1964. Seagal considers him to have been the most important martial arts teacher in his life. Seagal moved to Japan in his late teens after he went to Japan with his father who was visiting for military purposes and met karate masters and decided to remain in Japan. He received his 1st dan degree (Shodan) under the direction of Koichi Tohei. He continued to train in aikido as a student of Seiseki Abe, Koichi Tohei (whose aikido organization, Ki Society, Seagal refused to join in favor of staying with the Aikikai), Kisaburo Osawa, Hiroshi Isoyama and the second doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba. He attained a 7th dan degree and Shihan in aikido and became the first foreigner to operate an aikido dojo in Japan. Seagal claims to have been subject to xenophobia in Japan and visited by many Japanese coming to try to kill him, resenting his teaching the Japanese.
When Seagal's father-in-law retired from his job as an instructor, Seagal became the new head of the organization known as Tenshin Aikido in Jūsō, Osaka City (affiliated with the Aikikai). Seagal is known by his students as Take Sensei. When Seagal left his dojo in Osaka, his then-wife Miyako became the caretaker of the dojo which has continued to the present day. Seagal initially returned to Taos, New Mexico, with his student (and later film stuntman) Craig Dunn, where they opened a dojo, although Seagal spent much of his time pursuing other ventures. After another period in Japan, Seagal returned to the U.S. in 1983 with senior student Haruo Matsuoka. They opened an aikido dojo, initially in North Hollywood, California, but later moved it to the city of West Hollywood. Seagal left Matsuoka in charge of the dojo, which he ran until the two parted ways in 1997.
Seagal initially worked as the martial arts coordinator for the films The Challenge (1982) starring Scott Glenn and Toshiro Mifune, and Never Say Never Again (1983) starring Sean Connery and A View to a Kill starring Roger Moore.
He has helped train Brazilian mixed martial artists Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida. Silva, who is the former UFC Middleweight Champion, went on to knock out Vitor Belfort with a kick, in their fight at UFC 126 in February 2011, and Machida also credited him for helping him perfect the crane kick that he used to knock out Randy Couture at UFC 129 in May 2011.
In 1987, Seagal began work on his first film, Above the Law (titled Nico in Europe), with director Andrew Davis and reportedly as a favor to a former aikido student, the agent Michael Ovitz. Ovitz took Seagal to Warner Brothers to put on an aikido demonstration and the executives were impressed by him and offered him several scripts; Seagal turned them down but agreed to write what would become Above the Law. Following its success, Seagal made three more movies – Hard to Kill, Marked for Death, and Out for Justice – that were box office hits, making him an action hero. Later, he achieved wider, mainstream success in 1992 with the release of Under Siege (1992). That film reunited Seagal with director Andrew Davis, and was a blockbuster in the U.S. and abroad, grossing $156.4 million worldwide.
Seagal then directed On Deadly Ground (1994). This film, in which he also starred, emphasized environmental and spiritual themes, signaling a break with his previous persona as a genre-ready inner-city cop. The film featured Michael Caine as well as R. Lee Ermey and Billy Bob Thornton in minor supporting roles. On Deadly Ground was poorly received by film critics, but despite many critics denouncing Seagal's long environmental speech in the film, Seagal considers it to have been one of the most important and relevant moments in his career. Seagal filmed a sequel to one of his most successful films, Under Siege, titled Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995), and cop drama The Glimmer Man (1996). In 1996, he had a role in the Kurt Russell film Executive Decision, in which he played a special ops soldier who only appears in the film's first 45 minutes. He subsequently made another environmentally conscious film, Fire Down Below (1997), wherein he was an EPA agent fighting industrialists dumping toxic waste in the Kentucky hills, but the movie was commercially unsuccessful. This film ended his original multi-picture contract with Warner Bros.
The next year, Seagal made The Patriot, another environmental thriller which was his first direct-to-video release in the United States (though it was released theatrically in most of the world). Seagal produced this film with his own money, and the film was shot on-location on and near his farm in Montana.
After producing Prince of Central Park, Seagal returned to cinema screens with the release of Exit Wounds in March 2001. The film had fewer martial arts scenes than Seagal's previous films, but it was a commercial success, taking almost $80 million worldwide. However, he was unable to capitalize on this success and his next two projects were both critical and commercial failures. The movie Ticker, co-starring Tom Sizemore and Dennis Hopper, was filmed in San Francisco before Exit Wounds, and went straight to DVD. Half Past Dead, starring rap star Ja Rule, made less than $20 million worldwide.
All of the films Seagal has made since the latter half of 2001 have been released direct-to-video (DTV) in North America, with some theatrical releases to other countries around the world. Seagal is credited as a producer and sometimes a writer on many of these DTV movies, which include Black Dawn, Belly of the Beast, Out of Reach, Submerged, Kill Switch, Urban Justice, Pistol Whipped, Against the Dark, Driven to Kill, A Dangerous Man, Born to Raise Hell and The Keeper, a movie released in Japan fifteen weeks earlier than the United States.
Return to the big screen and television work
In 2009, A&E Network premiered the reality television series; Steven Seagal: Lawman, focusing on Seagal as a deputy in Louisiana. In 2010, Seagal appeared in his first theatrically released film in nearly a decade, as the main villain in Robert Rodriguez' Machete. In 2011, Steven Seagal produced and starred in a 13-episode television series entitled True Justice.
In addition to acting and aikido, Seagal also plays the guitar, and his songs have been featured in several of his movies (such as Fire Down Below and Ticker). In 2005, he released his first album, Songs from the Crystal Cave, which has a mix of pop, world, country and blues music. It features duets with Tony Rebel, Lt. Stichie, Lady Saw, and Stevie Wonder. The soundtrack to Seagal's 2005 film Into the Sun features several songs from the album. One of his album tracks, "Girl It's Alright", was also released as a single in parts of the world alongside an accompanying music video created for it.
Seagal's second album, titled Mojo Priest, was released in April 2006. Subsequently, he spent summer 2006 touring the United States and Europe with his band, Thunderbox, in support of the album.
Law enforcement work
Seagal is currently a Reserve Deputy Chief in the Jefferson Parish, Louisiana Sheriff's Office. Seagal owns a second home in Louisiana and spends several months a year there. According to the show, Seagal graduated from a police academy in Los Angeles over twenty years ago and has a certificate from Peace Officer Standards & Training (POST), an organization that accredits California police officers. However, POST officials in California and Louisiana have no record of Seagal being certified, and Seagal's rank in Louisiana is ceremonial.
In November 2008, A&E announced that they had begun taping Steven Seagal: Lawman, which follows his work in the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office. The series premiered on A&E on December 2, 2009. Seagal stated that "I’ve decided to work with A&E on this series now because I believe it’s important to show the nation all the positive work being accomplished here in Louisiana—to see the passion and commitment that comes from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in this post-Katrina environment." The series premiere drew 3.6 million viewers, ranking as best season opener for any original A&E series ever.
On April 14, 2010, the series was suspended by Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand due to a sexual trafficking lawsuit filed against Seagal. The suit was later dropped. A&E resumed the show for the second season which began on October 6, 2010.
Outside of his film work, Seagal has volunteered, lending his voice as a narrator for an activist film project, Medicine Lake Video, which seeks to protect sacred tribal ground near his ranch in Siskiyou County.
In 2002, Seagal along with Global Village Champions Foundation and founder Yank Barry helped support Father Joe's orphanage for children with AIDS in Bangkok, Thailand.
He owns a dude ranch in Colorado and a home in the Mandeville Canyon section of Brentwood, a wealthy neighbourhood in Los Angeles. He has adopted many animals from shelters. Seagal is a Buddhist. In February 1997, lama Penor Rinpoche from Palyul monastery announced that Seagal was a tulku, and specifically the reincarnation of Chungdrag Dorje, a 17th-century terton (treasure revealer) of the Nyingma, the oldest sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Seagal's recognition aroused controversy in the American Buddhist community, with Helen Tworkov commenting in Tricycle to doubt the extent of Seagal's "spiritual wisdom" and to suggest that Seagal bought his Buddhahood by donations to Penor's Kunzang Palyul Choling center. Penor Rinpoche responded to the controversy by saying that Seagal, although acting in violent movies had not actually killed people, and that Seagal was merely recognized, whereas enthronement as a tulku would require first a "lengthy process of study and practice".
Relationships and family
Seagal has three sisters, one older and two younger. Seagal has seven children from four relationships:
In Japan Seagal married his first wife, Miyako Fujitani, the daughter of an aikido instructor. With Fujitani, he had a son, model and actor Kentaro Seagal, and a daughter, writer and actress, Ayako Fujitani. Seagal left Miyako Fujitani to go back to the United States.
In the United States he married former Days of our Lives actress Adrienne La Russa, despite his divorce to Fujitani not yet being finalized. During his marriage to La Russa, Seagal reportedly saw actress and model Kelly LeBrock in the 1984 Gene Wilder film Woman in Red and said that she was "his destiny". He began a relationship with her and she eventually became pregnant with his child. When news of this emerged, Seagal's marriage to La Russa was annulled and he then married LeBrock on 5 September 1987. His three children with LeBrock are daughters Annaliza and Arissa, and son Dominic. In 1994, LeBrock filed divorce papers citing "irreconcilable differences". During this time it emerged that Seagal was having an affair with Arissa Wolf, who was hired to be a nanny to Seagal and Lebrock's children. Seagal has a daughter with Arissa Wolf, Savannah.
Seagal is currently married to Erdenetuya Batsukh (Mongolian: Эрдэнэтуяа Батсүх), better known as Elle, and with whom he has a son, Kunzang. Elle is from Mongolia. She trained as a dancer from her early age at the Children's Palace in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. After her graduation from high school and the Children's Palace, she pursued a career as a professional dancer. She won numerous dancing contests and she was considered as the top female dancer in Mongolia. She particularly excelled in ballroom dance. Erdenetuya first worked as Seagal's interpreter when he visited Mongolia in 2001.
In addition to his biological children, he is the guardian to a Tibetan child, Yabshi Pan Rinzinwangmo. Rinzinwangmo, or "Renji", is the only child of the 10th Panchen Lama of Tibet. Renji studied in the United States at American University, and Seagal was her guardian and bodyguard.
In addition to his seven children, he has two grandchildren by his eldest son Kentaro Seagal born in 2006 and 2007.
Allegations and lawsuits
Seagal has often been accused of sexual harassment during his film productions. In May 1991 during the filming of Out for Justice, Warner Brothers employees Raenne Malone, Nicole Selinger, Christine Keeve and another woman accused Seagal of sexual harassment. Malone and another women reportedly received around $50,000 each in return for a pledge of confidentiality in an out of court settlement.
In 1995, Seagal was charged with employment discrimination, sexual harassment and breach of contract. Cheryl Shuman filed a case against Seagal, accusing him of threatening and beating her during the filming of On Deadly Ground. The case was dismissed by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki in August 1995 as "repetitive and unintelligible".
On April 12, 2010, 23-year-old Kayden Nguyen filed a lawsuit against Seagal in Los Angeles County Superior Court claiming sexual harassment, illegal trafficking of females for sex, failure to prevent sexual harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and false representation about employment, that specified damages exceeding one million dollars. On April 13, 2010, the day after Nguyen made the claims, Seagal's attorney, Marty Singer, released this written statement to CBS news: "The lawsuit filed by Kayden Nguyen against Steven Seagal is a ridiculous and absurd claim by a disgruntled ex-employee who was fired for using illegal narcotics." Seagal personally denied the claims, yet he was forced to suspend his show, Steven Seagal: Lawman, while his attorneys attempted to resolve the case privately. On July 14, 2010, three months after Nguyen made her claims against Seagal, the case was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff without any public explanation.
On August 30, 2011, Steven Seagal was threatened with a lawsuit over his part in a police raid that was taped for his A&E reality show. Jesus Sanchez Llovera is seeking $100,000 in damages and wants a "formal written apology" from Seagal to his children for the death of their puppy, "a beloved family pet". Llovera says his 11-month-old puppy was shot and killed during the raid and that police also killed more than 100 of his roosters.
In 2003, Seagal wrote an open letter to the leadership of Thailand, urging them to enact a law to prevent the torture of baby elephants. He has worked with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to discourage the fur trade, and has written to the Prime Minister of India to seek increased legal protection for cows. Seagal worked effectively towards saving dogs otherwise destined[vague] to drown in Taiwan.
In 1999, Seagal was awarded a PETA Humanitarian Award.
|1982||The Challenge||martial arts coordinator|
|1983||Never Say Never Again||martial arts instructor|
|1985||A View To A Kill||martial arts choreographer|
|1988||Above the Law||martial arts coordinator|
|1990||Hard to Kill||martial arts coordinator|
|Marked for Death||martial arts coordinator|
|1991||Saturday Night Live||Host||Episode: "Steven Seagal/Michael Bolton"|
|2009–present||Steven Seagal: Lawman||Himself||Creator, Executive producer|
|2011–present||Steven Seagal: Lawman||Elijah Kane||Creator, Writer, Executive producer|
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