Portal:Buddhism/Selected biography/11

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Steven Seagal

Steven F. Seagal (born April 10, 1952) is an American action movie actor, producer, writer, director, martial artist and singer-songwriter. He belongs to a generation of movie action hero actors (including Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme) who were featured in many of the Hollywood blockbuster action films of the late 1980s and 1990s. A 6' 4" (193 cm) 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 Osaka, Japan. He later moved to the Los Angeles, California area where he made his film debut in 1988 in Above the Law. Since then, Seagal has become a well recognized action star, mainly due to his action films of the 1990s such as Under Siege (1992) and Under Siege 2 (1995) where he played Navy SEALs counter-terrorist expert Casey Ryback. In total his movies have earned in excess of $850 million worldwide. Seagal is also a recording artist and guitarist and the founder of Steven Seagal Enterprises. In addition to his professional achievements, he is also known as an environmentalist, an animal rights activist and, like other actors such as Richard Gere, is a supporter of Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama and the cause of Tibetan independence. Spiritualism and Buddhism play an important role in Seagal's life and he has been recognized by Tibetan lama Penor Rinpoche as a reincarnated Tulku.