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Kurt Russell

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Kurt Russell
Kurt Russell by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Born Kurt Vogel Russell
(1951-03-17) March 17, 1951 (age 65)
Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Education Thousand Oaks High School
Occupation Actor
Years active 1962–present
Spouse(s) Season Hubley (m. 1979–83)
Partner(s) Goldie Hawn (1983–present)
Children 2
Parent(s) Bing Russell (father)
Louise Julia Crone (mother)
Relatives 3 sisters

Kurt Vogel Russell (born March 17, 1951) is an American actor.[1]

He began acting on television for 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]

Russell was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture for his performance in Silkwood (1983). During the 1980s, he starred 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.

Russell also starred in other films, including Tombstone (1993), Stargate (1994), Miracle (2004), Poseidon (2006), Death Proof (2007), Bone Tomahawk and The Hateful Eight.

Early life[edit]

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



Russell with Robert Vaughn in a 1964 episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Russell's film career began at the age of eleven in an uncredited part in Elvis Presley's It Happened at the World's Fair,[6] 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, he played the titular character in the ABC western series The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (1963–64), based on a book by Robert Lewis Taylor. 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.[7]

While on his deathbed in 1966 Walt Disney wrote "Kurt Russell" on a piece of paper as his final words. Russell at the time was a child actor whom the Disney studio had just signed to a long term contract.[8] 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 that 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!.


Russell in a 1974 publicity photo

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 was 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 (1972) and The Strongest Man in the World (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)[9][10][11][12] and Walla Walla Islanders (1972) in the short season Class A-Short Season Northwest League,[13][14] then moved up to Class AA in 1973 with the El Paso Sun Kings of the Texas League.[15][16] 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. 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.[17] The injury forced his retirement from baseball in 1973 and led to his return to acting.[18]

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 1980, 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. It was the first time he collaborated with John Carpenter.[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, Russell played a truck driver caught in an ancient Chinese war in Big Trouble in Little China, which was a financial failure like The Thing and has since gained a cult audience. He was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture for his performance in Silkwood (1983).[19]


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.[20] 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.[20] 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.[20]

Russell played the villainous 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 Gerard Butler for his signature character, Snake Plissken, as he believed the character 'was quintessentially [...] American.'[21][22]

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.[23] He also co-starred in the action thriller Furious 7 (2015).[24]

Personal life[edit]

Russell married actress Season Hubley while filming Elvis in 1979, and had a son, Boston (born February 16, 1980). After his divorce from Hubley in 1983, Russell began his relationship with Goldie Hawn, and appeared alongside her in Swing Shift and Overboard. They have a son Wyatt (born July 10, 1986) and own a home in Palm Desert, California.[25] Hawn's son and daughter with Bill Hudson, actors Oliver and Kate Hudson, consider Russell to be their adoptive father.[26]

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."[27] In February 2003, Russell and Hawn moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, so that their son could play hockey.[citation needed] Russell is an avid gun enthusiast, a hunter and a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.[28] He is also 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.[29][30]



Year Title Role Director Notes
1963 It Happened at the World's Fair Boy Kicking Mike Norman Taurog Uncredited[citation needed]
1965 Guns of Diablo Jamie McPheeters Boris Sagal
1966 Follow Me, Boys! Whitey Norman Tokar
1968 The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band Sidney Bower Michael O'Herlihy First film with Goldie Hawn (who played Giggly Girl)
1968 The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit Ronnie Gardner Norman Tokar
1969 The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes Dexter Riley Robert Butler
1971 The Barefoot Executive Steven Post Robert Butler
1971 Fools' Parade Johnny Jesus Andrew V. McLaglen
1972 Now You See Him, Now You Don't Dexter Riley Robert Butler
1973 Charley and the Angel Ray Ferris Vincent McEveety
1973 Superdad Bart Vincent McEveety
1975 The Strongest Man in the World Dexter Riley Vincent McEveety
1976 The Captive: The Longest Drive 2 Morgan 'Two Persons' Bodeen Lee H. Katzin
1980 Used Cars Rudolph "Rudy" Russo Robert Zemeckis
1981 Escape from New York Snake Plissken John Carpenter
1981 The Fox and the Hound Adult Copper (voice) Ted Berman, Richard Rich, & Art Stevens
1982 The Thing R.J. MacReady John Carpenter
1983 Silkwood Drew Stephens Mike Nichols
1984 Swing Shift Mike "Lucky" Lockhart Jonathan Demme
1984 Terror in the Aisles R.J. MacReady Andrew J. Kuehn
1985 The Mean Season Malcolm Anderson Phillip Borsos
1986 Big Trouble in Little China Jack Burton John Carpenter
1986 The Best of Times Reno Hightower Roger Spottiswoode
1987 Overboard Dean Proffitt Garry Marshall
1988 Tequila Sunrise Det. Lt. Nicholas 'Nick' Frescia Robert Towne
1989 Winter People Wayland Jackson Ted Kotcheff
1989 Tango & Cash Lt. Gabriel Cash Andrei Konchalovsky
1991 Backdraft Stephen 'Bull' McCaffrey, Dennis McCaffrey Ron Howard
1992 Unlawful Entry Michael Carr Jonathan Kaplan
1992 Captain Ron Captain Ron Thom Eberhardt
1993 Tombstone Wyatt Earp George P. Cosmatos
1994 Forrest Gump Elvis Presley (voice) Robert Zemeckis Uncredited[31][32]
1994 Stargate Roland Emmerich Col. Jonathan "Jack" O'Neil
1996 Executive Decision Dr. David Grant Stuart Baird
1996 Escape from L.A. Snake Plissken John Carpenter Also writer & producer
1997 Breakdown Jeffrey "Jeff" Taylor Jonathan Mostow
1998 Soldier Todd Paul W. S. Anderson
2001 3000 Miles to Graceland Michael Zane Demian Lichtenstein
2001 Vanilla Sky McCabe Cameron Crowe
2002 Interstate 60 Captain Ives Bob Gale
2003 Dark Blue Eldon Perry Ron Shelton
2004 Miracle Herb Brooks Gavin O'Connor
2005 Sky High Steve Stronghold, The Commander Mike Mitchell
2005 Dreamer Ben Crane John Gatins
2006 Poseidon Robert Ramsey Wolfgang Petersen
2007 Death Proof Stuntman Mike Quentin Tarantino
2007 Cutlass Dad Kate Hudson Short film
2011 Touchback Coach Hand Don Handfield
2013 The Art of the Steal Crunch Calhoun Jonathan Sobol
2014 The Battered Bastards of Baseball Himself Chapman Way & Maclain Way Documentary
2015 Furious 7 Mr. Nobody James Wan [33][34]
2015 Bone Tomahawk Sheriff Franklin Hunt S. Craig Zahler
2015 The Hateful Eight John "The Hangman" Ruth Quentin Tarantino
2016 Deepwater Horizon Brendan Peter Berg In post-production
2017 Fast 8 Frank "Mr. Nobody" Petty F. Gary Gray Filming
2017 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Ego James Gunn In post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1962 Dennis the Menace Kevin Episode: "Wilson's Second Childhood" (uncredited)[35][36]
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"
1963–1964 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 Episodes: "A Father for Toby", "The Brothers"
1964, 1966 The Fugitive Eddie, Philip Gerard Jr. Episodes: "Nemesis", "In a Plain Paper Wrapper"
1964, 1974 Gunsmoke Packy Kerlin, Buck Henry Episodes: "Blue Heaven", "Trail of Bloodshed"
1965 Gilligan's Island Jungle Boy Episode: "Gilligan Meets Jungle Boy"
1965–1969 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"
1967–1972 Disneyland Rich Evans, Pvt. Willie Prentiss, Narrator 7 episodes
1969 Guns in the Heather Rich Originally broadcast on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color; a.k.a. The Secret of Boyne Castle (European theatrical release)
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)
Police Story J.D. Crawford
Officer David Singer
"Country Boy"
"The Empty Weapon"
1975 Harry O Todd Conway Episode: "Double Jeopardy"
1975 Deadly Tower, TheThe Deadly Tower Charles Whitman Television film
1975 Search for the Gods Shan Mullins Television film
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 Television film
1979 Elvis Elvis Presley Television film


Year Association Category Work Result
1979 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Elvis Nominated
1984 Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Silkwood Nominated


  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. ^ "It Happened at the World's Fair -- (Movie Clip) Kick Me". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ White, Micah (November 26, 2013). "Walt Disney: 7 Things You Didn't Know About the Man & the Magic".The Biography Channel.
  9. ^ Anstine, Dennis (May 6, 1971). "Actor to play for Rainbows". The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon). p. 6. 
  10. ^ Anstine, Dennis (May 12, 1971). "Kurt Russell: Rainbow determined not to fade". The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon). p. 8. 
  11. ^ Cawood, Neil (May 13, 1971). "Islander raid 'World of Disney,' get infielder for Bend farm club". Eugene Register-Guard (Oregon). p. 1C. 
  12. ^ "Switch hitting Kurt Russell wants acting and baseball". Milwaukee Journal. July 8, 1971. p. 4. 
  13. ^ Stewart, Chuck (June 20, 1972). "Movie star seeking success in baseball role". Spokane Daily Chronicle (Washington). p. 15. 
  14. ^ Hopper, Betty (August 14, 1972). "Russell combines acting, baseball". The Telegraph (Nashua, New Hampshire). Associated Press. p. 18. 
  15. ^ Witbeck, Charles (October 11, 1974). "Bad timing". Boca Raton News (Florida). KFS. p. 9, Tele-Viewer. 
  16. ^ "Kurt Russell". Retrieved February 18, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Wise, Kurt Russell to join Mavericks for rest of season". The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon). Associated Press. July 27, 1973. p. 11. 
  18. ^ Freedman, Richard (August 2, 1981). "Baseball player Kurt Russell banging out hits in new field". Youngstown Vindicator (Ohio). Newhouse News Service. p. B6. 
  19. ^ "Silkwood". Golden Globes. Retrieved March 29, 2016. 
  20. ^ a b c Beck, Henry Cabot."Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 22, 2007. Retrieved December 10, 2007.  True West Magazine. October 2006.
  21. ^ Stax (March 22, 2007). "IGN: Kurt Blasts 'Escape' Remake". Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  22. ^ "News Russell Enraged with New Snake Plissken". Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  23. ^ "Movie News – Movie Reviews – Entertainment Weekly". Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Kurt Russell Joins 'Fast and Furious 7' Cast". FlickSided. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  25. ^ 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. 
  26. ^ "goldie's girl". Archived from the original on December 6, 2005. Retrieved June 21, 2006. 
  27. ^ "Kurt Russell". The Advocates for Self-Government. 
  28. ^ Kaitlan Collins (December 22, 2015). "Kurt Russell Gun Control Won't Stop Terrorists Interview". The Daily Caller. 
  29. ^ ":.: The Official Wings Of Hope Homepage :.:". Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  30. ^ "A Plane Crazy America". AOPA Pilot: 79. May 2014. 
  31. ^ "20 Things You Probably Don't Know About "Forrest Gump" [VIDEO] KBMX. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  32. ^ Susman, Gary (July 4, 2014). "Here's Everything You Never Knew About 'Forrest Gump'". Moviefone.
  33. ^ Taylor, Drew (March 18, 2015). "This Exclusive 'Furious 7' Scene Will Really Rev Your Engine (VIDEO)". The Moviefone Blog. Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  34. ^ 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. 
  35. ^ "Kurt Russell". La Fila Cero. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  36. ^ "Dennis the Menace (TV series 1959–63)". Rare Film Finder. Retrieved August 16, 2015.

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