Born: March 17, 1951
Birthplace: Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Kurt Vogel Russell (born March 17, 1951) is an American actor. He began acting on television in the western series The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (1963-1964). 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.
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 directed by John Carpenter, including anti-hero roles such as army hero-turned-robber Snake Plissken in the futuristic action film Escape from New York (1981), and its sequel Escape from L.A. (1996), Antarctic helicopter pilot R.J. MacReady in the remake of 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 starred in other films, including The Fox and the Hound (1981), Overboard (1987), Tombstone (1993), Stargate (1994), Death Proof (2007), The Hateful Eight (2015), and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017). He joined The Fast and the Furious franchise in 2015, having starred in Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious.
Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, Russell is the son of actor Bing Russell (1926-2003) and dancer Louise Julia (née Crone) Russell. He has three sisters, Jill, Jamie and Jody. Russell played little league baseball throughout his grade school years and also on his high school baseball teams. He graduated from Thousand Oaks High School in 1969. His father Bing played professional baseball. His sister, Jill, is the mother of baseball player Matt Franco.
Russell made his film debut for an uncredited part in Elvis Presley's It Happened at the World's Fair, and appeared in 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 Robert Lewis Taylor's book. 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. In NBC's The Virginian, he played the 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" for the western series Gunsmoke. He 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.
In 1966, Walt Disney wrote "Kurt Russell" on a piece of paper as his final words. In January 1967, Russell played Private Willie Prentiss in the episode "Willie and the Yank: The Mosby Raiders" in Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. While filming the Sherman Brothers theatrical film musical The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, 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 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". Later, he starred 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) and Walla Walla Islanders (1972) in the short season Class A-Short Season Northwest League, then moved up to Class AA in 1973 with the El Paso Sun Kings of the Texas League.
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.
The injury forced his retirement from baseball in 1973 and led to his return to acting.
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. In 1976, Russell appeared with Tim Matheson in the 15-episode NBC series The Quest 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.
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).
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). 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 claimed in one interview that George P. Cosmatos had ghost-directed the hit 1993 Western film Tombstone on Russell's behalf, saying he gave Cosmatos shot lists. Russell claimed Sylvester Stallone recommended Cosmatos to him after the removal of the first director, writer Kevin Jarre, but Cosmatos had also worked with Tombstone executive producer Andrew G. Vajna before on 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 said he didn’t get a chance to edit his version, but Vajna gave him a tape of "everything on the movie" and that he might try to "reconstruct the movie", although he would need to go back to the script and all his notes.
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 playing his signature character, Snake Plissken, as he believed the character 'was quintessentially American.'
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. He co-starred in the action thriller Furious 7 in 2015.
On May 4, 2017, Russell and Goldie Hawn received stars in a double star ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for their achievements in motion pictures, located at 6201 Hollywood Boulevard.
Russell married actress Season Hubley, whom he met 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 The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, Swing Shift and Overboard. They have a son Wyatt Russell (born July 10, 1986) and own a home in Palm Desert, California. Hawn's son and daughter with Bill Hudson, actors Oliver Hudson 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." In February 2003, Russell and Hawn moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, so that their son could play hockey.
Russell is an avid gun enthusiast, a hunter, and a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 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.
|1963||It Happened at the World's Fair||Boy Kicking Mike||Uncredited|
|1965||Guns of Diablo||Jamie McPheeters|
|1966||Follow Me, Boys!||Whitey|
|1966||Mosby's Marauders||Private Willie Prentiss|
|1968||The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band||Sidney Bower|
|1968||The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit||Ronnie Gardner|
|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|
|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|
|1981||Escape from New York||Snake Plissken|
|1981||The Fox and the Hound||Copper||Voice role|
|1982||The Thing||R.J. MacReady|
|1984||Swing Shift||Mike "Lucky" Lockhart|
|1985||The Mean Season||Malcolm Anderson|
|1986||Big Trouble in Little China||Jack Burton|
|1986||The Best of Times||Reno Hightower|
|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||Striking Distance||Man on Riverboat (Uncredited)|
|1994||Forrest Gump||Elvis Presley (voice)||Uncredited|
|1994||Stargate||Col. Jonathan "Jack" O'Neil|
|1996||Executive Decision||Dr. David Grant|
|1996||Escape from L.A.||Snake Plissken||Also writer and producer|
|1997||Breakdown||Jeffrey "Jeff" Taylor|
|2001||3000 Miles to Graceland||Michael Zane|
|2002||Interstate 60||Captain Ives|
|2003||Dark Blue||Eldon Perry|
|2005||Sky High||Steve Stronghold, The Commander|
|2007||Death Proof||Stuntman Mike|
|2013||The Art of the Steal||Crunch Calhoun|
|2014||The Battered Bastards of Baseball||Himself||Documentary|
|2015||Furious 7||Mr. Nobody|
|2015||Bone Tomahawk||Sheriff Franklin Hunt|
|2015||The Hateful Eight||John "The Hangman" Ruth|
|2016||Deepwater Horizon||Jimmy "Mr. Jimmy" Harrell|
|2017||The Fate of the Furious||Mr. Nobody|
|2017||Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2||Ego|
|1962||Dennis the Menace||Kevin||Episode: "Wilson's Second Childhood" (uncredited)|
|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"|
|1964/65||The Virginian||Toby Shea / Andy Denning||Episodes: "A Father for Toby", "The Brothers"|
|1964/66||The Fugitive||Eddie / Philip Gerard Jr.||Episodes: "Nemesis", "In a Plain Paper Wrapper"|
|1964/74||Gunsmoke||Packy Kerlin / Buck Henry||Episodes: "Blue Heaven" and "Trail of Bloodshed"|
|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||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||Hec Ramsey||Matthias Kane||Episode: "Scar Tissue"|
|1974||The New Land||Bo Larsen||Series regular (6 episodes, plus 7 unaired)|
|1974/75||Police Story||J.D. Crawford / Officer David Singer||2 episodes|
|1975||Harry O||Todd Conway||Episode: "Double Jeopardy"|
|1975||Deadly Tower, TheThe Deadly Tower||Charles Whitman||Movie|
|1975||Search for the Gods||Shan Mullins||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||Movie|
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|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|
Kurt Russell supports the following charitable cause: AIDS.