"I am hoping that I can be known as a great writer and actor some day, rather than a sex symbol." Steven Seagal.
Famous action movie actor Steven Seagal first received awareness for his portrayal as Nico Toscani in his debut film Above the Law (1988).
He then attracted the public's attention with the release of blockbuster films Under Siege (1992, portrayed Casey Ryback) and Exit Wounds (2001, played Orin Boyd). Seagal received even more recognition for acting in such current films as Half Past Dead (2002), Belly of the Beast (2003), Clementine (2004), Out of Reach (2004), Into the Sun (2005) and Submerged (2005).
Not only acting and working off screen, Seagal also tried his hand at singing by performing a concert at the Dallas Planet Hollywood. He then signed an exclusive seven-year contract with Outwest Entertainment to record five albums.
Off screen, Seagal reportedly is a big supporter of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. He also made headlines for being accused of trying to lie his way out of a $500,000 debt. As for his private life, Seagal, whose trademark is a pony tail, previously married Miyako Seagal (divorced in 1987), Kelly LeBrock (divorced in 1996) and Adrienne La Russa (divorced). He was also romantically linked with the former nanny of his children Arissa Wolf. The father of two sons and four daughters, Seagal now has a ranch in Colorado, a house in the Mandeville Canyon section of Brentwood, Los Angeles, CA., as well as a Santa Inez home that includes 200 acres planted with cabernet grapes.
Master Take Shigemichi
Childhood and Family:
Son of a teacher father and a nurse mother (Patrizia Seagal), Steven Seagal was born on April 10, 1951, in Lansing, Michigan. Along with three sisters, Steven was raised in Orange County, California.
Young Steven became interested in karate and judo when he watched a demonstration in Michigan. At the age of seven, Steven began to study martial arts under the guidance of famous karate instructor Fumio Demura. Two years later, he started his aikido training under the coaching of Harry Ishisaka in Orange Country. Steven continued his formal education by attending Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California and the Fullerton College, Fullerton, California.
Honing in on his martial arts, seventeen-year-old Steven flew to Japan where he also taught English and studied Zen. By the time he earned his black belt in aikido, karate, judo, and kendo, Steven, who is known as Master Take Shigemichi, opened a martial arts school in Japan. After spending 15 years in Asia, Steven returned to the U.S by running martial arts academy Ten Shin Dojo in West Hollywood and setting up dojo in Taos, New Mexico. He also worked as a celebrity's bodyguard.
As for his private life, and friend of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Steven was unlucky in his marriages. He first married dojo owner Miyako Seagal (met in Japan), but they divorced in 1987. He next wed actress-model Kelly LeBrock in 1987, but the couple divorced after a nine-year marriage. 6' 4'' inch tall Steven married for the third time with Adrienne La Russa, but they also divorced. He was also linked to the former nanny of his children Arissa Wolf. He is the father of two sons: actor Kentaro (born 1976, mother Miyako Fujitani) and Dominic San Rocco Seagal (born June 21, 1990, mother Kelly LeBrock) and four daughters: Ayako Seagal (born 1980, mother Miyako Fujitani), Annaliza Seagal (born 1987, mother Kelly LeBrock), Arissa (born July 24, 1993, mother Kelly LeBrock) and Savannah (born September 1996, mother Arissa Wolf).
"Hollywood is a mercurial place where people are sort of (in the film business) a victim of their environment and how the environment changes. Movies that would be timely now, ten years from now would be passé and nobody would be interested in the subjects. All the movies that I have done I have not been in control of. Sometimes there is a contractual situation where you go to the studio and they kind of tell you which ones they want you to do. Be that as it may I have also been lucky in the sense that I have been able to make environmentally conscientious movies as well as politically conscientious movies. Above the Law was a politically conscientious movie. On Deadly Ground was environmentally conscientious so I want to keep making movies like that which are more geared with a certain entertainment value but also bring people forward into contemplation." Steven Seagal.
Discovering his interest lay in martial arts, Steven Seagal traveled to Asia to perfect his skills. When he returned to the U.S, Seagal, who once worked at a Burger King, opened a dojo school and became an instructor of martial arts to the rich and famous. His profession sent him to Hollywood power broker Michael Ovitz who asked him to demonstrate martial arts for Warner Bros executive Terry Semel.
In 1988, Seagal, with help from Ovitz, started his professional acting career by making his first martial arts movie for Warner Bros, Above the Law (1988, playing Nico Toscani). Following the success of the film, Seagal became an instant action star.
Seagal's next move was fighting Jamaican drug gangs in the high-energy sadistic Marked For Death (1990, as John Hatcher). That same year he also costarred with Kelly LeBrock in Hard to Kill (1990), portraying a cop named Mason Storm who revives from a coma seeking revenge against those responsible. Subsequently, Seagal not only starred and produced, but also wrote the feature film Out for Justice (1991).
The action movie actor eventually experienced another big break when he was cast as Casey Ryback in the hit film Under Siege (1992, costarring Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey). When the film was released, which was set on board the battleship USS Missouri, it quickly drew the public's attention and Seagal make a name for himself in Hollywood. He also claims the film is his best film so far .
With his blockbuster success, Seagal made his directorial debut with the environmentally alert On Deadly Ground (1994), playing the role of oil fire expert Forrest Taft who tries to save the Eskimo population from an oil disaster. He next reprised his role of Casey Ryback in Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995) before portraying Lt. Colonel Austin Travis in Executive Decision (1996) and Navy Seal Jack Cole in The Glimmer Man (1996). In 1997, Seagal was in another environmental conscious film titled Fire Down Below (1997), and portrayed medical specialist Dr. Wesley McClaren in The Patriot (1998).
In 1997, Seagal branched out into singing and started his music career by performing at the Dallas Planet Hollywood. A year later, Seagal, who can play the guitar and drums, signed a seven-year contract with Outwest Entertainment to record five albums. In order to enlarge his skill in music, Seagal studied Rasta music with a Jamaican teacher.
Entering the new millennium, Seagal returned to acting by starring in the action thriller Exit Wounds (2001, as Orin Boyd), played the character of Frank Glass in Ticker (2001) and costarred with Morris Chestnut and Ja Rule for the action flick Half Past Dead (2002). In 2003, he added The Foreigner (2003, as Jonathan Cold), Out for a Kill (2003, portrayed Prof. Robert Burns) and Belly of the Beast (2003, played Jake Hopper) to his accomplishments. The subsequent year, Seagal was busied with Clementine (2004) and Out of Reach (2004).
Recently, moviegoers could catch Seagal in Into the Sun (2005, portrayed Travis Hunter) and Submerged (2005, played Chris Cody). He will also be seen in such films as The Untitled Onion Movie (2005), Mercenary (2005, plays John Seeger), Black Dawn (2005, as Jonathan Cold) and Today You Die (2005, portrays Max Stevens). Seagal is also scheduled to star in Shadows on the Sun (2006).