Bo Svenson

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Not to be confused with Danish football player Bo Svensson.
Bo Svenson
Bo Svenson headshot.jpg
Born (1941-02-13) 13 February 1941 (age 75)
Gothenburg, Sweden
Occupation Actor, film director, film producer, writer
Years active 1965–present
Spouse(s) Lise Svenson (1966–present)

Bo Svenson (born 13 February 1941) is a Swedish-born American actor, known for his roles in American genre films of the 1970s and 1980s. He is a naturalized United States citizen.[1]

Early life[edit]

Svenson was born in Sweden, to Lola Iris Viola (née Johansson), a big band leader, actress, and singer, and Birger Ragnar Svenson, a personal driver, athlete, and bodyguard for the King of Sweden.[2] He emigrated to the United States and then, when he was 17, joined the United States Marine Corps, serving until his honorable discharge six years later.[2] His first state of residence in the United States was Georgia, where he became familiar with the rural Southern accent he later employed in some of his roles.[2]

He also holds a fourth degree (Yondan) black belt in judo. He earned his first degree (Shodan) belt at Kodokan in Japan, the home dojo of Judo, while stationed in Japan in 1961 as a Marine.[3] He was the 1961 Far East Judo Champion in the Heavyweight Division.[2]


An award-winning actor, writer, producer and director, Bo Svenson has during his career worked with over one hundred Academy Award winners and/or nominees.

He is a prolific writer in addition to being an accomplished actor. His first novel, "For Love and Country", was published in December 2015 and is on Amazon's "Recommended Reading" list. His screenplay "Don't Call Me Sir!" won the 2015 New York Screenplay Contest's "Park Avenue Prize for Drama", 1st Place in Drama at the 2015 Los Angeles Screenplay Contest, Best Original Screenplay at the 2016 All Sports Los Angeles Film Festival, Best Screenplay at the 2016 Artemis Film Festival, and a Gold Award for Best Screenplay at the 2016 International Independent Film Festival. Another screenplay "For Love and Country" won two Gold Awards at the International Independent Film Awards and Best Screenplay at the 2016 Illinois Independent Film Festival.

He has several other screenplays in various stages of development and pre-production, including "Yakuzano"; "Misguided"; "Viking: The Red Cloth"; and "Fate, Two Kids and an ET".

Born in Sweden to a Russian Jewish mother and a Swedish father, Svenson emigrated by himself to the US as a teenager and began by serving his new country with six years in the U.S. Marines. After an honorable discharge, he was spotted in Miami by James Hammerstein Jr. and cast in a revival of "South Pacific". Curious to find out if acting was for him, he headed to New York where he landed the lead role as Yang Sun in Bertolt Brecht's play "The Good Woman of Szechuan" at The Circle In The Square Theater in Greenwich Village—and cast in a starring role in the CBS TV pilot The Freebooters.

Other starring roles followed, as well as a recurring role as Big Swede on "Here Come the Brides". His role as the Creature in the three-hour TV movie "Mary Shelley's Original Frankenstein" brought him great acclaim and led to a starring role in "Maurie" and the co-starring role with Robert Redford in "The Great Waldo Pepper".

Major starring roles followed: Sheriff Buford Pusser in "Walking Tall Part II", "Walking Tall Final Chapter" and the "Walking Tall" TV series; crazed football player Jo Bob in "North Dallas Forty"; heroic airline pilot Captain Campbell in "The Delta Force"; jealous bar-owner Roy Jennings in Clint Eastwood's "Heartbreak Ridge"; and cold-blooded killer Ivan in "Magnum, P.I."

In addition to recently being the Russian mob boss Vadim in "Icarus", he portrayed Reverend Harmony in Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" and The Colonel in Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds". He was the only actor from the original "The Inglorious Bastards" cast included by Tarantino in his homage to that movie, one of his all-time favorites.

An accomplished athlete, he has competed in world championships, Olympic selections and/or international competition in judo, yachting, track, and ice hockey—and he drove NASCAR.

A black belt in judo, karate, and aikido, he has been inducted into the Martial Arts Masters Hall of Fame. He retired from judo competition after winning a silver in the 2009 USA Judo National Championships, a bronze in the IJF World Judo Masters Championships, and a gold in the 2013 USJA Winter Nationals.

He was recently Sports Commissioner at the Special Olympics World Games: 2015 LA—held at his alma mater UCLA where he had pursued a Ph.D. in metaphysics until his film career took over.

He is president and CEO of MagicQuest Entertainment, a California corporation engaged in international motion picture and television development, production, and branded advertainment since 1975. MagicQuest also provides consulting service to actors and writers.

A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ( since 1985, he serves on the nominating committee for Best Foreign Language Film and is a juror on the Student Academy Award committee.

He was Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Motion Picture Group of America from 1984-2004.

His numerous honors and nominations include Lifetime Achievement Awards from Action On Film, the Movieville International Film Festival, and The Reel Cowboys Hall of Fame; the NAACP Image Award Nomination; the Academy of Science Fiction and Fantasy Golden Scroll Award; the Hollywood Women's Press Club Golden Apple; the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast for Inglourious Basterds; and the Italian Institute of Art Award of Merit.

His short film, "Made For Each Other"—that he wrote, produced and directed starring Dennis Hopper—was nominated for Best Short at numerous festivals and won the Award of Excellence at the Accolade Global Film Competition.[4]

He conducts "Acting for Life - Be All You That You Can Be" seminars in colleges, universities and corporate boardrooms around the globe.




Year Title Role Notes
1973 Maurie Jack Twyman
1974 The Great Waldo Pepper Axel Olsson
1975 Walking Tall, Part 2 Buford Pusser
1976 Breaking Point Michael McBain
Special Delivery Jack Murdock
1977 The Son of the Sheik Hamilton Burger
Walking Tall: Final Chapter Buford Pusser
1978 The Inglorious Bastards Lt. Robert Yeager
1979 Portrait of a Hitman Dr. Bob Michaels
North Dallas Forty Jo Bob Priddy
1980 Sverige åt svenskarna The lad
Virus Major Carter
1982 Night Warning Detective Joe Carlson
1983 Thunder (it) Sheriff Bill Cook
1984 Deadly Impact George Ryan
The Manhunt Sheriff
1985 Wizards of the Lost Kingdom Kor
1986 The Delta Force Capt. Campbell
On Dangerous Ground Capt. Oliver Parkside
Armour of God Monk
Heartbreak Ridge Roy Jennings, Palace Bar Owner
1987 Maniac Killer Count Silvano
Movie in Action The Director
Thunder Warrior II Sheriff Roger
Double Target Colonel Galckin
White Phantom The Colonel
Brothers in Blood Steven Elliott Logan/Steel
1988 Andy Colby's Incredible Adventure Kor The Conqueror
Delta Force Commando Col. Keitel
Deep Space Capt. Robertson
Primal Rage Ethridge
1989 Soda Cracker Ivan Moss
The Bite The Sheriff
Beyond the Door III Professor Andromolek
1990 Tides of War SS Colonel
Laser Mission Colonel
1991 Critical Action Ex-con
Steele's Law Sheriff Barnes
1992 Three Days to a Kill Rick
1994 Savage Land Jeb
1995 Private Obsession Sam Weston
Steel Frontier Roy Ackett
1996 Cheyenne Capt. Starrett
1997 Speed 2: Cruise Control Captain Pollard
1998 Yukie Richard
2000 Crackerjack 3 Jack Thorn
2001 Outlaw Detective Maize
2004 Legacy Purse Snatcher
Kill Bill: Volume 2 Reverend Harmony
2005 Hell to Pay Del Shannon
2006 Raising Jeffrey Dahmer Detective John Amos
2008 I Am Somebody: No Chance in Hell (it) Foreman Bo
2009 Inglourious Basterds American Colonel
2010 Jersey Justice W.W. Tolliver
The 7 Adventures of Sinbad Simon Magnusson
Angry Bill
Icarus Vadim
2014 The Dependables Mick Skinner
2015 Made for Each Other Purse Snatcher
2015 Min søsters børn og guldgraverne John
Year Title Role Notes
1965 Flipper Harry Hobson Episode: "Coral Fever"
1967 N.Y.P.D. Actor Episode: "Shakedown"
1968 Premier Milovan Drumm Episode: "The Freebooters"
Mission Impossible Karl Episode: "The Mercenaries"
Here Comes the Brides Big Swede 10 episodes
1969 Lancer Josh Episode: "The Wedding"
The Name of the Game G.B. Mosbie Episode: "Love-In at Ground Zero"
Daniel Boone Haskins Episode: "A Pinch of Salt"
The High Chaparral Bennett Episode: "Trail to Nevemore"
Ironside Baron Lars Von Gyllenskjold Episode: "Love My Enemy"
1970 The Virginian Lonnie Episode: "The Price of the Hanging"
Mod Squad Bubba Episode: "Welcome to the Human Race, Levi Frazee!"
1971 The Chicago Teddy Bears Georgi Episode: "Billy the Kid"
McCloud Charles 'Bubba' White Episode: "Top of the World, Ma"
1972 The Bravos Raeder TV movie
The Rookies Bud Reeves Episode: "The Commitment"
Banyon Carlo Episode: "Meal Ticket"
1973 The Wide World of Mystery Monster 2 part episode: "Frankenstein"
You'll Never See Me Again Sam TV movie
Kung Fu Pike Episode: "The Spirit-Helper"
1974 The Snoop Sisters Chet Marion Episode: "Fear Is a Free-Throw"
1975 Target Risk Lee Driscoll TV movie
1977 Snowbeast Gar Seberg TV movie
1979 Gold of the Amazon Women Tom Jensen TV movie
The Spirit of Adventure: Night Flight Fabien TV movie
1981 Walking Tall Sheriff Buford Pusser 7 episodes
1982 Magnum, P.I. Ivan Episode: "Did You See the Sun Rise?"
1983 The Fall Guy Col. Baker 2 episodes
1984 Jealousy Ho Hutton TV movie
Hunter Sheriff Jake Cutter Episode: "A Long Way from L.A."
1985 Crazy like a Fox Episode: "Motor Homicide"
1987 The Dirty Dozen: The Deadly Mission Maurice Fontenac TV movie
1988 Murder, She Wrote Karl Anderson 2 episodes
1993 Neon Rider Maitland Episode: "Walking Tall"
Street Justice Captain Stryker Episode: "Countdown"
The Commish George Hayes Episode: "Hero"
1994 Lonesome Dove: The Series Colonel Jeb Quintano Episode: "Last Stand"
Cobra Frank McLory Episode: "Death Dive"
Kung Fu: The Legend Continues Ben Kinasay Episode: "Only the Strong Survive"
1995 Pointman Uncle Nick Episode: "Going Home"
1997 Heartless Sheriff Sam TV movie
1998 Dead Man's Gun Colonel Horace Buckthorn Episode: "The Mimsers"
1998 Due South Colonel Horace Buckthorn 2-part episode: "Call of the Wild"
2002 JAG Capt. Mikhail Yerastov 2 episodes
2004 I'll Be Seeing You Philip Carter TV movie
Proof of the Man Ken Shuftan TV mini-series
2012 Arne Dahl: Bad Blood Daniel Brink TV movie


Year Title Notes
1996–1998 Kung Fu: The Legend Continues
1998 He's Not Heavy
2001 Outlaw
2004 Legacy
2010 Moomins and the Comet Chase Voices


Year Title Notes
1998 Yukie Co-producer
2004 Legacy Producer
2006 Raising Jeffrey Dahmer Co-producer


Year Title Notes
2001 Outlaw
2004 Legacy


  1. ^ Bo Svenson resume,; accessed 20 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Bo Svenson profile,; 26 February 2012.
  3. ^ "JUDOKA AND WALKING TALL ACTOR BO SVENSON". Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  4. ^