Russell at the premiere of Grindhouse in Austin, Texas, March 2007 (Photo by Jeff Balke)
|Born||Kurt Vogel Russell
March 17, 1951
Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Season Hubley (1979-1983)|
|Domestic partner(s)||Goldie Hawn (1983-present)|
Kurt Vogel Russell (born March 17, 1951) is an American actor. He started acting as a child in television productions in the late 1950s, moved on to Hollywood films during the 1960s, and has continued appearing in a wide variety of films since, including Follow Me, Boys!, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, The Barefoot Executive, The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, Escape from New York, Silkwood, The Fox and the Hound, Overboard, Dark Blue, Stargate, Tango & Cash, Backdraft, Tombstone, Executive Decision, Vanilla Sky, Breakdown, Miracle, Dreamer, Poseidon, and Death Proof.
Russell was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, a descendant of William Russell and Martha Davies, who came to Massachusetts from England ca. 1640, and settled in what is now Arlington, Massachusetts. He is the son of Louise Julia (née Crone), a dancer, and Bing Russell, a character actor, best-known for playing Deputy Clem Foster on Bonanza. In the mid-1960s, Russell graduated from Thousand Oaks High School.
Russell began his career with an appearance as a child in the pilot of the ABC western television series Sugarfoot with Will Hutchins. His film career began at the age of eleven in an uncredited part as "Ugly Child" in Elvis Presley's It Happened at the World's Fair 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 appeared in 1963 as Peter Hall in the episode "Everybody Knows You Left Me" on the NBC medical drama about psychiatry The Eleventh Hour.
Later in 1963, he landed a big part for a juvenile actor: the lead role as Jaimie in the ABC Western series The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (1963–1964). 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.
On February 6, 1965, Russell, not quite fourteen, played the role of Jungle Boy on an episode of CBS's Gilligan's Island. He guest starred on ABC's western The Legend of Jesse James. In 1967, 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. The young actor was soon 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." Russell starred in many Disney films, such as Follow Me, Boys!, The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band with newcomer Goldie Hawn, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, and The Strongest Man in the World. He auditioned for the role of Han Solo in Star Wars but lost the role to Harrison Ford.
In the autumn of 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.
Russell, like his father before him, had a baseball career. In the early 1970s, Russell played second base for the California Angels' (now the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) Double-A minor league affiliate, the El Paso Sun Kings. During a play, he was hit in the shoulder by a player running to second base; the collision 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. The injury forced his retirement from baseball in 1973 and led to his return to acting.
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 would be his first pairing with John Carpenter, the director of Halloween. Although Russell did not perform the singing vocals in the series - which were provided by country music artist Ronnie McDowell - he would later go on to provide the voice of Elvis Presley in the 1994 film Forrest Gump. Over the next decade, Russell would team 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 1982's John Carpenter's The Thing, 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. While the film was a financial failure like The Thing, it has since gained a cult audience.
Elvis Presley has had a presence in 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 and provided the voice of Elvis for a scene in Forrest Gump.
Russell is one of the very few famous child stars in Hollywood who has been able to act successfully and receive nominations well into middle age. He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for his performance opposite Meryl Streep in the 1984 film, Silkwood. 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 The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Russell's cagey and remote performance gives Miracle its few breezes of fresh, albeit methane-scented, air." (Mitchell's use of the word "remote" here is not a criticism of Russell's acting so much as a description of Russell's portrait of an emotionally reserved man.)
In 2006, Russell revealed that he was the director of Tombstone, not George P. Cosmatos, as credited. 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. 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.
Russell appeared as 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 Gerard Butler for his signature character, Snake Plissken, as he believed the character 'was quintessentially [...] American.'
Russell married actress Season Hubley, whom he had met on the set of Elvis in 1979 and they had a son, Boston Russell, in 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 had a son, Wyatt, in 1986. The couple filmed the comedy Overboard together in 1987. Hawn's son and daughter with Bill Hudson, actors Oliver and Kate Hudson, consider Russell to be their father.
Russell is a prominent member of the Libertarian Party. He claims that he was often an outcast in Hollywood because of his libertarian views, so he and Hawn moved to an area outside Aspen, Colorado where he has tried his hand at writing (he co-wrote the screenplay for Escape from L.A.).
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.
|1962||Nick Barlow: My Biggest Headache||Nick Barlow|
|1963||It Happened at the World's Fair||Boy who kicks Mike||uncredited|
|1964||Guns of Diablo||Jamie McPheeters|
|1965||Gilligan's Island||Jungle boy||Episode 1.19, Gilligan Meets Jungle Boy|
|1966||Follow Me, Boys!||Whitey|
|1968||The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band||Sidney Bower|
|The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit||Ronnie Gardner|
|1969||Guns in the Heather||Rich|
|The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes||Dexter Riley|
|1971||The Barefoot Executive||Steven Post|
|Fools' Parade||Johnny Jesus|
|1972||Now You See Him, Now You Don't||Dexter Riley|
|1973||Charley and the Angel||Ray Ferris|
|1975||The Strongest Man in the World||Dexter Riley|
|The Deadly Tower||Charles Whitman||Made for TV movie|
|Search for the Gods||Shan Mullins||Made for TV movie|
|1979||Elvis||Elvis Presley||Nominated - Emmy Award|
|1980||Used Cars||Rudolph "Rudy" Russo|
|1981||Escape from New York||Snake Plissken|
|The Fox and the Hound||Adult Copper||voice|
|1982||The Thing||R.J. MacReady|
|1983||Silkwood||Drew Stephens||Nominated - Golden Globe|
|1984||Swing Shift||Mike "Lucky" Lockhart|
|Terror in the Aisles||archival footage|
|1985||The Mean Season||Malcolm Anderson|
|1986||Big Trouble in Little China||Jack Burton|
|The Best of Times||Reno Hightower|
|1988||Tequila Sunrise||Det. Lt. Nicholas 'Nick' Frescia|
|1989||Winter People||Wayland Jackson|
|Tango & Cash||Gabriel "Gabe" Cash|
|1991||Backdraft||Stephen 'Bull' McCaffrey / Dennis McCaffrey|
|1992||Unlawful Entry||Michael Carr|
|Captain Ron||Captain Ron|
|1993||Tombstone||Wyatt Earp||Uncredited director|
|1994||Stargate||Col. Jonathan "Jack" O'Neil|
|Forrest Gump||voice of Elvis||uncredited|
|1996||Executive Decision||Dr. David Grant|
|Escape from L.A.||Snake Plissken||also co-writer|
|1997||Breakdown||Jeffrey "Jeff" Taylor|
|2001||3000 Miles To Graceland||Michael Zane|
|2002||Interstate 60||Capt. Ives|
|2003||Dark Blue||Eldon Perry|
|2005||Sky High||Steve Stronghold / The Commander|
|2007||Death Proof||Stuntman Mike Mikke|
|2010||War of The Freedom||Mustafa Kemal Ataturk||Pre-production|