American actor Kurt Russell first received good reviews for playing the
Emmy-nominated role of Elvis (1979, TV) in the biopic of the same name and later
won a Golden Globe due to his remarkable portrayal of Drew Stephens in the Mike
Nichols-directed Silkwood (1983). He also took home a Blockbuster Entertainment
Award for his impressive turn as David Grant in Stuart Baird’s thriller
Executive Decision (1996). The actor recently joined director Wolfgang Petersen
to play a role in the newly-released box-office movie Poseidon (2006), alongside
Off screen, the former pro baseball player is also a pilot and one of the
founders of Cosmic Entertainment, along with lover Goldie Hawn, Kate Hudson and
Oliver Hudson. On a more private note, the former husband of Season Hubley, with
whom he shares a son named Boston Russell, has had a steady romantic
relationship with actress Goldie Hawn (born on November 21, 1945) since 1982.
The couple has a son named Wyatt Russell.
Childhood and Family:
On March 17, 1951, Kurt Vogel Russell was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He
is the only son of actor Bing Russell (born on May 5, 1926) and Louise Crain. On
April 8, 2003, his father, who was famous for his role in the TV series
“Bonanza,” died of cancer.
As for his romantic life, 5’ 10 inches tall Kurt was married to actress Season
Hubley (born on March 14, 1951) in 1979, but they later divorced. They have a
son named Boston Russell (born in 1980). Kurt is also the father of Wyatt
Russell (born on July 10, 1986, mother: Goldie Hawn), as well as the stepfather
of Kate Hudson (born on April 19, 1979, mother: Goldie Hawn) and Oliver Hudson
(mother: Goldie Hawn).
Kurt Russell began acting while he was a child. At age 10, he took a small part
in an episode of “Sam Benedict” (1963) and made his first big screen appearance
with an unaccredited part in It Happened at the World’s Fair (1963), starring
Elvis Presley. He acquired a bigger part when he took the title role in the TV
series “The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters” (1963-1964). This adaptation of Robert
Lewis Taylor’s novel also featured Charles Bronson and the young Osmond
Brothers. In 1964, Russell reprised the role of Jaimie McPheeters on the TV film
Guns of Diablo. He then made several guest appearances in television series like
“Gilligan’s Island” (1965) and “Lost in Space” (1966).
Russell’s cute performances attracted Walt Disney, who offered him a 10-year
contract with the film studio. After agreeing to the deal, his first teamwork
with Disney was the wide screen drama comedy Follow Me, Boys (1966), where he
undertook the supporting role of Whitey. It was followed by other projects such
as Mosby’s Marauders (1967, as Pvt. Willie Prentiss), the musical drama The One
and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968, played Sidney Bower) and The
Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit (1968, featured as Ronnie Gardner). Still with
Disney, Russell starred as Dexter Reilly in The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes
(1969), narrated the made-for-TV Dad, Can I Borrow the Car (1970) and took the
leading role of Steven Post in Robert Butler’s family comedy The Barefoot
Executive (1971). He continued with Now You See Him, Now You Don’t (1972), the
fantasy comedy Charley and the Angel (1973) and the mediocre Superdad (1973).
Russell ended his contract with the 1975 movie The Strongest Man in the World.
The ten-year cooperation with Disney proved effective in opening the way to
Russell’s success. A year after finishing the contract, Russell was cast by
director Bernard McEveety in the starring role of Morgan ‘Two Persons’ Bodeen in
the TV film The Quest: The Longest Drive (1976). The film did so well that in
the same year he reprised the role for The Captive: The Longest Drive 2 (the
wide screen movie), The Quest (TV film) and “The Quest” (TV series). Subsequent
to his costarring with Mitch Ryan in the TV movie Christmas Miracle in Caufield,
U.S.A. (1977), Russell portrayed the Rock and Roll king in the biopic Elvis
(1979, TV). His fine performance in the latter film earned him an Emmy
nomination for Best Actor.
Russell also gave a witty performance when he starred as Rudolph ‘Rudy’ Russo in
Robert Zemeckis’ satirical comedy Used Cars (1980). While in John Carpenter’s
successful futuristic action film Escape from New York (1981), Russell had his
leading turn as Snake Plissken, an ex-criminal sent to rescue the President of
the United States. Pleased by Russell’s performance, director John Carpenter
cast him again in his next film, The Thing (1982), as R.J. MacReady.
A year later, actor/director Mike Nichols chose Russell to play Drew Stephens in
the thriller biopic Silkwood. Russell delivered a good performance and won a
Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor. The film, about the life and the death
of nuclear plant worker Karen Silkwood, starred Meryl Streep and Cher.
Russell did not gain the same recognition in Swing Shift (1984), The Mean Season
(1985), The Best of Times (1986), Overboard (1987), Tequila Sunrise (1988) and
Winter People (1989). He fared better starring in Backdraft (1991), Unlawful
Entry (1992), as Wyatt Earp in the western action Tombstone (1993) and Col.
Jonathan ‘Jack’ O’Neil in Rolland Emmerich’s sci-fi action Stargate (1994).
The actor showed his versatility when he brilliantly delivered the role of David
Grant in the Stuart Baird-directed thriller Executive Decision (1996). Playing
an intelligent analyst fighting against terrorist, Russell nabbed a Blockbuster
Entertainment for Favorite Actor (Adventure/Drama). The acclaimed film also
featured Steven Seagal and Halle Berry.
Having countless experiences as an actor, Russell tried his hand as a producer
by producing the sequel of his hit Escape from New York, Escape from L.A.
(1996), in which he also reprised the role of Snake Plissken. The film, however,
was not as successful as the forerunner. It was followed by starring turns in
Breakdown (1997) and Soldier (1998). Three years later, Russell skillfully
played Michael Zane in the box-office film 3000 Miles to Graceland and the role
of Dr. Curtis McCabe in the popular drama Vanilla Sky. After playing Eldon Perry
in the action movie Dark Blue (2002), he convincingly portrayed Herb Brooks, a
coach of a 1980s U.S. Olympic hockey team, in the historical drama Miracle
(2004), helmed by Gavin O’Connor.
Recently, Russell was seen in Disney’s family comedy Sky High (2005), where he
costarred as Steve Stronghold/The Commander, alongside Michael Angarano and
Kelly Preston. He also starred opposite Dakota Fanning in John Gatin’s drama
Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story (2005). In 2006, Russell costarred as Robert
Ramsey in Wolfgang Petersen’s Poseidon, opposite Josh Lucas, Jacinda Barrett and
Richard Dreyfuss. Aside from acting, Russell executive produced the made-for-TV
film 14 Hours, starring Rick Schroder and JoBeth Williams.
Aside from acting, Russell once played pro baseball. In the early 1970s, he
played second base for the minor league franchise California Angels. Due to a
shoulder injury in 1973, he had to retire from the game and focused on acting.
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films: Life Career Award,
Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Actor - Adventure/Drama, Executive
Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a
Motion Picture, Silkwood, 1984