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Kurt Russell

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Kurt Russell
Kurt Russell by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Russell in 2015
Born Kurt Vogel Russell
(1951-03-17) March 17, 1951 (age 64)
Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1957–present
Spouse(s) Season Hubley (m. 1979–83)
Partner(s) Goldie Hawn (1983–present)
1 child
Children 2
Parent(s) Bing Russell (1926–2003)
Louise Julia (Crone) Russell
(m. 1946–2003, his death)

Kurt Vogel Russell (born March 17, 1951)[1] is an American actor. His first 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 late 1960s, he signed a ten-year contract with The Walt Disney Company, where, according to Robert Osborne, he became the studio's top star of the 1970s.[2]

In 1984, for his performance in Silkwood (1983), Russell was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture. During the 1980s, he was cast in several films by director John Carpenter, including anti-hero roles such as army hero-turned-robber Snake Plissken in the futuristic action film Escape from New York and its 1996 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. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for the television film Elvis (1979), also directed by Carpenter.

In 1993, he starred as Wyatt Earp in the western film Tombstone, and 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, in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof segment from the film Grindhouse.

Early life[edit]

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, Russell is the son of actor Bing Russell (1926–2003) and dancer Louise Julia (Crone) Russell.[3] In 1969, he graduated from Thousand Oaks High School.[4] His sister Jill is the mother of baseball player Matt Franco.[5]



Russell began his acting career in 1957 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,[citation needed] 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 played Peter Hall in the 1963 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. Russell played a similar role as a kid named Packy Kerlin in the 1964 episode "Blue Heaven" of the western series Gunsmoke. He also appeared in five episodes of Daniel Boone in various roles.

At age 13, Russell played the role of Jungle Boy on an episode of CBS's Gilligan's Island, which aired on February 6, 1965. 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, he works for an outlaw gang, but the Rangers take him under their wing and the boy proves helpful when gunslingers try to occupy Laredo, Texas.[6]

In 1966, before Walt Disney died, the final words he ever wrote were “Kurt Russell.” No one knows why. Disney died soon after. Russell was a child actor whom the Disney studio had just signed to a long term contract.[7] 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 and the Sherman Brothers theatrical film musical, The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band. It was on the set of Family Band where Russell met his future partner Goldie Hawn. Later, 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 and Edward's son in Follow Me, Boys!.


In 1971, he co-starred as a young robber released from jail, alongside James Stewart in Fools' Parade. Later, he guest-starred in an episode of Room 222 as an idealistic high school student who assumed the costumed identity of Paul Revere to warn of the dangers of pollution. In 1966, Russell had been 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 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.

Russell, like his father, had a baseball career. In the early 1970s, Russell was a switch-hitting second baseman for the California Angels minor league affiliates, the Bend Rainbows (1971)[8][9][10][11] and Walla Walla Islanders (1972) in the short season Class A Northwest League,[12][13] then moved up to Class AA in 1973 with the El Paso Sun Kings of the Texas League.[14][15] While in the field turning the pivot of a double play early in the season, the incoming runner at second base collided with him and 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. 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.[16] The injury forced his retirement from baseball in 1973 and led to his return to acting.[17]

In the autumn of 1974, he appeared in the ABC series The New Land, inspired by the 1972 Swedish film of the same name. Critically acclaimed, it suffered very low ratings and only aired six of the 13 episodes; it was up against established Saturday night favorites All in the Family on CBS and Emergency! on NBC. In autumn 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 film, they were provided by country music artist Ronnie McDowell.[citation needed]

During the 1980s, Russell teamed 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 The Thing (1982), 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. The film was a financial failure like The Thing, it has since gained a cult audience. After voicing 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. He received award nominations well into middle age, including a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for his performance with Meryl Streep in Silkwood (1983).


Russell in 2005

Russell played Lt. Stephen "Bull" McCaffrey in Backdraft (1991), Wyatt Earp in Tombstone (1993) and Colonel Jack O'Neil in the military science fiction film Stargate (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.[18] 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.[18] 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.[18]

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.'[19][20]

Russell 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.[21] He co-starred in the action thriller Furious 7 (2015).[22]

Personal life[edit]

Russell married actress Season Hubley, whom he met on the set of Elvis in 1979. They had a son, Boston (born 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 own a home in Palm Desert, California.[23] They have a son, Wyatt (born 1986). 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."[24] 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.[25][26]



Year Title Role Notes
1963 It Happened at the World's Fair Boy Kicking Mike Uncredited[27]
1965 Guns of Diablo Jamie McPheeters
1966 Follow Me, Boys! Whitey
1968 The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band Sidney Bower First film with Goldie Hawn (as Giggly Girl)
1968 The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit Ronnie Gardner
1969 Guns in the Heather Rich a.k.a. The Secret of Boyne Castle (European theatrical release) and The Spybusters (1978 rebroadcast)
1969 The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes Dexter Riley
1971 The 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
1975 The Strongest Man in the World Dexter Riley
1976 The Captive: The Longest Drive 2 Morgan 'Two Persons' Bodeen
1980 Used Cars Rudolph "Rudy" Russo Nominated – DVD Exclusive Award for Best Audio Commentary, Library Release (shared with Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale)
1981 Escape from New York Snake Plissken
1981 The Fox and the Hound Adult Copper Voice
1982 The 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 The Mean Season Malcolm Anderson
1986 Big Trouble in Little China Jack Burton
1986 The 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 Lt. Gabriel Cash
1991 Backdraft Stephen 'Bull' McCaffrey / Dennis McCaffrey
1992 Unlawful Entry Michael Carr
1992 Captain Ron Captain Ron
1993 Tombstone Wyatt Earp
1994 Forrest Gump Elvis Presley (voice) Uncredited[28][29]
1994 Stargate Col. Jonathan "Jack" O'Neil
1996 Executive Decision Dr. David Grant Won – Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actor – Adventure/Drama
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
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
2011 Touchback Coach Hand
2013 The Art of the Steal Crunch Calhoun
2014 The Battered Bastards of Baseball Himself Documentary
2015 Furious 7 Mr. Nobody [30][31]
2015 Bone Tomahawk Sheriff Franklin Hunt
2015 The Hateful Eight John "The Hangman" Ruth
2016 Deepwater Horizon Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1962 Dennis the Menace Kevin Episode: "Wilson's Second Childhood" (uncredited)[32][33]
1962 The Dick Powell Show Boy / Vernon 3 episodes
1963 Sam Benedict Knute Episode: "Seventeen Gypsies and a Sinner Named Charlie"
1963 The Eleventh Hour Peter Hall Episode: "Everybody Knows You Left Me"
1963 Our Man Higgins Bobby Episode: "Delinquent for a Day"
1963–64 The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters Jaimie McPheeters Series regular (26 episodes)
1964 The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Christopher Larson Episode: "The Finny Foot Affair"
1964, 1965 The Virginian Toby Shea / Andy Denning 2 episodes
1964, 1966 The Fugitive Philip Gerard Jr. / Eddie 2 episodes
1964, 1974 Gunsmoke Buck Henry / Packy Kerlin Episode: "Blue Heaven"
1965 Gilligan's Island Jungle Boy Episode: "Gilligan Meets Jungle Boy"
1965–69 Daniel Boone Various 5 episodes
1966 Lost In Space Quano Episode: "The Challenge"
1966 Laredo Grey Smoke Episode: "Meanwhile Back at the Reservation"
1967 The Road West Jay Baker Episode: "Charade of Justice"
1967–72 Disneyland Rich Evans / Pvt. Willie Prentiss / Narrator 7 episodes
1969 Then Came Bronson William P. Lovering Episode: "The Spitball Kid"
1970 Men at Law Jerry Patman Episode: "This is Jerry, See Jerry Run"
1970 The High Chaparral Dan Rondo Episode: "The Guns of Johnny Rondo"
1970 Love, American Style Johnny Segment: "Love and the First-Nighters"
1971 Room 222 Tim Episode: "Paul Revere Rides Again"
1973 Love Story Scott Episode: "Beginner's Luck"
1974 Gunsmoke Buck Henry Woolfe Episode: "Trail of Bloodshed"
1974 Hec Ramsey Matthias Kane Episode: "Scar Tissue"
1974 The New Land Bo Larsen Series regular (6 episodes, plus 7 unaired)
1974, 1975 Police Story Officer David Singer / J.D. Crawford 2 episodes
1975 Harry O Todd Conway Episode: "Double Jeoprady"
1975 Deadly Tower, TheThe Deadly Tower Charles Whitman TV Movie
1975 Search for the Gods Shan Mullins TV Movie
1976 The Quest Morgan 'Two Persons' Bodeen Series regular (15 episodes)
1977 Hawaii Five-O Peter Valchek Episode: "Deadly Doubles"
1977 Christmas Miracle in Caufield, U.S.A. Johnny TV Movie
1979 Elvis Elvis Presley Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie


  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". Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Kurt Russell Timeline and Biography". 
  5. ^ "SI Vault Sports Beat". 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. ^ White, Micah (November 26, 2013). "Walt Disney: 7 Things You Didn't Know About the Man & the Magic".The Biography Channel.
  8. ^ Anstine, Dennis (May 6, 1971). "Actor to play for Rainbows". The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon). p. 6. 
  9. ^ Anstine, Dennis (May 12, 1971). "Kurt Russell: Rainbow determined not to fade". The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon). p. 8. 
  10. ^ Cawood, Neil (May 13, 1971). "Islander raid 'World of Disney,' get infielder for Bend farm club". Eugene Register-Guard (Oregon). p. 1C. 
  11. ^ "Switch hitting Kurt Russell wants acting and baseball". Milwaukee Journal. July 8, 1971. p. 4. 
  12. ^ Stewart, Chuck (June 20, 1972). "Movie star seeking success in baseball role". Spokane Daily Chronicle (Washington). p. 15. 
  13. ^ Hopper, Betty (August 14, 1972). "Russell combines acting, baseball". The Telegraph (Nashua, New Hampshire). Associated Press. p. 18. 
  14. ^ Witbeck, Charles (October 11, 1974). "Bad timing". Boca Raton News (Florida). KFS. p. 9, Tele-Viewer. 
  15. ^ "Kurt Russell". Retrieved February 18, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Wise, Kurt Russell to join Mavericks for rest of season". The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon). Associated Press. July 27, 1973. p. 11. 
  17. ^ Freedman, Richard (August 2, 1981). "Baseball player Kurt Russell banging out hits in new field". Youngstown Vindicator (Ohio). Newhouse News Service. p. B6. 
  18. ^ a b c Beck, Henry Cabot. "The "Western" Godfather." at the Wayback Machine (archived January 22, 2007) True West Magazine. October 2006.
  19. ^ Stax (March 22, 2007). "IGN: Kurt Blasts 'Escape' Remake". Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  20. ^ "News Russell Enraged with New Snake Plissken". Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Movie News - Movie Reviews - Entertainment Weekly". Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Kurt Russell Joins 'Fast and Furious 7' Cast". FlickSided. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  23. ^ Meeks, Eric G. (2012). Palm Springs Celebrity Homes: Little Tuscany, Racquet Club, Racquet Club Estates and Desert Park Estates Neighborhoods (Kindle). Horatio Limburger Oglethorpe. p. 452 (location number). ASIN B00A2PXD1G. 
  24. ^ Kurt Russell, Advocates for Self-Government
  25. ^ ":.: The Official Wings Of Hope Homepage :.:". Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  26. ^ "A Plane Crazy America". AOPA Pilot: 79. May 2014. 
  27. ^ "It Happened at the World's Fair -- (Movie Clip) Kick Me". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  28. ^ "20 Things You Probably Don’t Know About “Forrest Gump” [VIDEO]Read More: 20 Things You Probably Don’t Know About 'Forrest Gump' (VIDEO)". KBMX. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  29. ^ Susman, Gary (July 4, 2014). "Here's Everything You Never Knew About 'Forrest Gump'". Moviefone.
  30. ^ Taylor, Drew (March 18, 2015). "This Exclusive 'Furious 7' Scene Will Really Rev Your Engine (VIDEO)". The Moviefone Blog. Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  31. ^ McCarthy, Tyler (April 1, 2015). "'Furious 7' Cast Member Kurt Russell Reveals Plot Details, Teases Eighth Movie [VIDEO]". International Business Times. Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Kurt Russell". La Fila Cero. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  33. ^ "Dennis the Menace (TV series 1959-1963)". Rare Film Finder. Retrieved August 16, 2015.

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