"If you are in it for the glory, then whatever you do, you are going to disappoint yourself." Russell Crowe
Australian actor Russell Crowe was hurled towards stardom with his Oscar winning role as the Roman hero Maximus in Ridley Scott's highly acclaimed epic Gladiator (2000). First receiving applause while acting in the films Proof (1991) and Romper Stomper (1992), Crowe later gained more praise for starring in L. A. Confidential (1997, with Kim Basinger), The Insider (1999, opposite Al Pacino), Proof of Life (2000, alongside Meg Ryan), A Beautiful Mind (2001, with Jennifer Connelly) and Master and Commander (2003, costarring Paul Bettany). Soon, he will be seen acting in the upcoming films: Ron Howard's boxing drama Cinderella Man and opposite Nicole Kidman in Eucalyptus.
Besides being an actor, Crowe is also a musician. His band, "30 Odd Foot of Grunts," reportedly has broken up. However, he continues his music career and plans to release his solo debut, "My Hand/My Heart."
"I'm not one of those fellows that is just going to have a pseudo-middling relationship." Russell Crowe
5' 11 inches tall Russell Crowe, presently the husband of singer and actress Danielle Spencer, had previously been linked to Proof of Life (2000) costar Meg Ryan (born on November 19, 1961).
Norwegian, Maori Crowe
Childhood and Family:
"I grew up in Australia, so I've got aspects of both cultures. New Zealanders tend to be very persistent, you know? And Australians are quite happy-go-lucky, so I've got kind of a combination of the two things." Russell Crowe
In Wellington, North Island, New Zealand, Russell Ira Crowe was born on April 7, 1964. He is the son of film set caterer parents Alex Crowe (former hotel manager) and Jocelyn Crowe. His grandfather is cinematographer Stan Wymess and his cousins are former professional cricket players Jeff and Martin Crowe.
Of Norwegian and Maori descendant, Russell moved with his family to Sydney, Australia, when he was four years old. He did not finish high school but was admitted to The National Institute of Dramatic Arts in Sydney, Australia.
In December 2002, he became engaged to singer and actress Danielle Spencer (born on September 29, 1970). The couple married on April 7, 2003. They currently have one son, Charles Spencer Crowe (born on December 21, 2003).
The award-winning actor, who has always been interested in different faiths and has never been christened, was recently rumored to be dabbling in Scientology. He said, "I read Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard (Scientology's founder), I got a couple of videos, and I took it all in. It just seems like a religion that is perfect for people who feel like they need a grounding, who feels that the world has run off on them. I've discussed this with Scientologists, and they don't disagree. With any of these religions, as long as the heart and soul is positive, then to me it's all good."
A Beautiful Mind
"I was on film sets and TV sets all the time between the ages of 5 and 9, and it just fascinated me. I always wanted to know what was behind the doors ... on film sets and TV sets... nothing is behind them. But I kept thinking, 'If I open one of these doors, sooner or later there's going to be something there.' So I really lost any fears about TV and film performance at a young age, because I knew it was all fantasy." Russell Crowe
Being the son of movie set caterer parents, Russell Crowe followed his parents to film sets. After moving with his family to Australia in 1968, six-year-old Crowe landed his first acting job on an episode of the Australian TV series Spyforce, in which he played an orphan. Eight years later, he played a role in the Australian series The Young Doctors.
When his family relocated to New Zealand in 1978, Crowe made a living as a bartender, waiter, disc jockey and bingo-number caller. He then started a music career to add his income. He billed himself as Rus Le Roq and recorded the single "I Want To Be Like Marlon Brando" in 1980. Along with Dean Cochran, he set up the band Roman Antix, which later was know as 30 Odd Foot of Grunts.
In 1982, he flew back to Australia to continue his acting career and landed a role in an Australian production of Grease. From 1986 to 1988, he toured Australia and New Zealand, starring as Dr. Frank N Furter in a production of The Rocky Horror Show. He also did the workshop plays Bad Boy, Johnny and the Prophets of Doom and performed in the musical play Blood Brothers, in which filmmaker George Ogilvie spotted him.
Crowe finally stepped on the small screen when he had a guest spot in the Australian series Police Rescue (1990) and the miniseries Brides of Christ (1991, USA: 1993). He also scored a feature film debut when he was cast as Lieutenant Corbett in Blood Oath (1990, released in the U.S. as Prisoners of the Sun). Crowe followed it up with his first leading role in George Ogilvie's drama The Crossing (1990) and shared the screen with Anthony Hopkins and Toni Collette in The Efficiency Expert (1991, released in the U.S. as Spotswood).
Playing a gentle, gullible dishwasher in Jocelyn Moorhouse's acclaimed Proof (1991), won Crowe an Australian Film Institute Award for Best Supporting Actor. In the following year, he was handed both an Australian Film Institute Award and an Australian Film Critics Award for Best Actor thanks to his portrayal of a brutal Nazi skinhead in Geoffrey Wright's controversial Romper Stomper (1992). Two years later, he became Jack Thompson's son and a gay plumber in The Sum of Us.
"Every role has different things that speak to you. With Romper Stomper, I was afraid of delving into the darkness of the neo-Nazi ideology on one hand, but on the other hand, I could tell that it was going to be a very important social document. That was the imperative behind my doing it." Russell Crowe
In Sam Raimi's offbeat western movie, The Quick and the Dead (1995, with Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman and Leonardo DiCaprio), Crowe played gunfighter-turned-preacher Cort. The role was Crowe's debut performance in Hollywood. In that same year, he played serial killer Sid 6.7, hunted by Denzel Washington, in the disappointing sci-fi thriller Virtuosity.
"Russell is wild. He's very intense, a very excellent actor. An actor who really comes in prepared but at the same time likes to have a good laugh." Denzel Washington
Adding to his credits, Crowe was seen in Rough Magic (1995, opposite Bridget Fonda) and Breaking Up (1997, alongside Salma Hayek). Director Curtis Hanson then cast him as explosive and eerie cop Bud White, costarring with Kevin Spacey, fellow Australian actor Guy Pearce, and Kim Basinger, in his highly praised film L. A. Confidential (1997). On his character Bud White, Crowe commented, "He's a racist. He's self-righteous. He's foul-mouthed. He's a son of a bitch. However, in the course of the movie, you get an indication as to why he's taken this attitude toward life. He doesn't realize just how much he's looking for love and affection and confirmation of his good points, buried as they may be. I think he is a good man, but he's very much a product of his environment and his job."
After starring as hockey player John Biebe in the rarely seen comedy Mystery, Alaska (1999, costarring Burt Reynolds), Crowe teamed with Al Pacino in Michael Mann's true-story drama based on an article published in Vanity Fair, The Insider (1999). His portrayal of tobacco industry whistle-blower Jeffrey Wigand in the film produced by Lowell Bergman, earned him his first nomination for a Best Actor Oscar.
"After The Insider, I know the exact chemical compounds in a commercial cigarette, but I've been smoking since I was 10. I know it's terrible, but I am a great fan of irony." Russell Crowe
Crowe's big breakthrough arrived in 2000. He took home the Best Actor Oscar for his dazzling performance as Maximus, a Roman general turned vindictive slave, in Ridley Scott's smash hit epic, Gladiator. Meantime, he costarred with then girlfriend Meg Ryan as a kidnap and ransom negotiator in the hostage drama Proof of Life, a film based on an article published in Vanity Fair. He also joined Claire Danes in Jodie Foster's Flora's Plum and wrote, produced, directed and starred in the WWII drama The Long Green Shore.
A Best Actor Oscar nomination knocked again when he starred as the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. in Ron Howard's acclaimed biopic A Beautiful Mind (2001, with Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris). In 2003, he was nominated for a Best Actor Golden Globe for starring in Peter Weir's adaptation of Patrick O'Brien's novel, Master and Commander, alongside Paul Bettany.
As for his upcoming film projects, Crowe will star with Nicole Kidman in Eucalyptus and also star in Ron Howard's 1930s boxing drama Cinderella Man, a life story film about boxer Jim Braddock who defeated heavyweight champ Max Baer in a 15-round bout. On working with Russell Crowe, filmmaker Ron Howard revealed, "Directing Russell is like shooting on a tropical island. The weather is going to change several times a day, but you're shooting there for a reason. Sometimes those dark clouds are just what you need. And sometimes you wish it would stop raining so you can do the sunny scene."
On his music career and despite the split of his band (30 Odd Foot of Grunts), Crowe reportedly will release a solo effort, "My Hand, My Heart." which will be produced by "Great Big Sea" singer Alan Doyle. About his solo debut recording, Crowe said, "It is without doubt the most satisfying record I've ever made, and I know when you hear it you will be seduced by its beauty."