"You know, that
particular cliché doesn't... always work."
Jack O'Neill from Stargate (1994)
Russell bought a huge
mansion in Shaughnessy area of Vancouver so he and Goldie Hawn could
be close to their son Wyatt Russell when he was playing junior hockey.
Kurt Vogel Russell (born March 17, 1951)
is an American actor. His first acting roles were as a child in
television series, including a lead role in the Western series The
Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (196364). In the 1970s, he signed
a ten-year contract with the Walt Disney Company, where he became,
according to Robert Osborne, the "studio's top star of the
'70s". In 1979, Russell was nominated for an Emmy Award for the
made-for-television film Elvis.
In 1983, 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. During the 1980s, Russell was cast in several
films by director John Carpenter, including anti-hero roles such as
former army hero-turned robber Snake Plissken in the futuristic
action film Escape from New York and its 1996 sequel, Escape from
L.A., Antarctic helicopter pilot R.J. MacReady in 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.
Russell began his acting
career in 1957 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 in Elvis
Presley's It Happened at the World's Fair (above). On April 24th,
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 in 1963, he landed
the lead role as Jaimie in the ABC Western series The Travels of
Jaimie McPheeters (196364). 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. That same year he appeared on NBC's
The Virginian as a mistaken orphan whose father was an outlaw played
by Rory Calhoun who was still alive and recently released from prison
looking for his son. He played a similar role as a kid named Packy
Kerlin in the 1964 episode "Blue Heaven" of the western
On February 6th, 1965,
Russell 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 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. He
also had parts in other series such as The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,
Dennis the Menace, The Road West, The FBI
and in a March 1966 episode of CBS's Lost in Space entitled
"The Challenge", he played Quano, the son of a planetary ruler.
In January 1967, Russell
co-starred as Private Willie Prentiss in the episode "Willie and
the Yank: The Mosby Raiders" in Walt Disney's Wonderful World of
Color. In the same year he played a starring role in Disney's Follow
Me, Boys!. He then went on to star in The One and Only, Genuine,
Original Family Band and The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (below), the
latter of which spawned two sequels: Now You See Him, Now You Don't
in 1972 and The Strongest Man in the World in 1975.
Russell would enjoy a long
association with the Disney organization. In 1966, as Walt Disney was
nearing the end of his life, his final words he ever wrote were
Kurt Russell. He died soon after. Russel was a child
actor the the Disney studio had just signed to a long term contract.
No one knows why.
In 1971, he co-starred as a young robber
released from jail, alongside James Stewart in Fools' Parade. The
same year, he guest-starred in an episode of Room 222 playing an
idealistic high school student who assumed the costumed identity of
Paul Revere to warn of the dangers of pollution. Russell 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
like his father had a baseball career. In the early 1970s, Russell
played second base for the California Angels minor league affiliates,
the Bend Rainbows, Walla Walla Islanders, and El Paso Sun Kings.
During a play early in the 1973 season, 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 as a
switch hitter. 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 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. 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 was
his first pairing with director John Carpenter. Russell did not
perform the singing vocals in the movie; they were provided by
country music artist Ronnie McDowell.
Russell was considered for
the role of "Travis Bickle" in Taxi Driver (1976) and
auditioned for the role of Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New
Hope in 1977. Russell also auditioned for the
role of Flash Gordon (1980) but the part went to Sam J. Jones instead.
Over the 1980s, 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 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. The presence of Lee
Van Cleef on the set of Escape from New York (1981) inspired him to
talk in a raspy voice similar to Clint Eastwood's from the Man With
No Name trilogy.
Later Russell would wear a eye patch again
for his role in Captain Ron, a 1992 American comedy film directed by
Thom Eberhardt, produced by David Permut, and written by John Dwyer
for Disney's Touchstone Pictures. It stars Russell as the title
character, a sailor with a quirky personality and a checkered past,
and Martin Short as a middle-class family man who hires him to sail a
yacht through the Caribbean with him and his family aboard. Mary Kay
Place, Meadow Sisto, and Benjamin Salisbury also star as his wife and children.
was Kurt Russell's idea to have Captain Ron wear an eye patch, as a
tribute to his Snake Plissken character from Escape from New York.
Captain Ron also appeared in a non-canon to Snake's universe in the
comic, John Carpenter's Snake Plissken Chronicles, a four-part comic
book miniseries released in 2003 that was published by CrossGen
comics and Hurricane Entertainment. The story takes place the morning
after the events in Escape from New York. Snake has been given a
military Humvee after his presidential pardon and makes his way to
Atlantic City. Despite the fact the director's cut of the New York
movie shows Snake was caught after a bank job, this story has Snake
finishing up a second heist that was preplanned before his capture.
The job involves Snake's partnership with a man named Marrs who ends
up double crossing him. Left for dead in a sinking crab cage, Snake
escapes and is luckily saved by a passing fisherman named Captain
Ron. When Ron denies Snake's request to use his boat in order to beat
Marrs to the robbery, Snake decides to kill him. But when he ends up
saving Ron from a Russian mob wanting money, Ron changes his mind and
helps Snake. The series is written by William O'Neill, penciled by
Tone Rodriguez and edited by Jan Utstein-O'Neill.
during the 80's, Russell voiced adult Copper in the animated Disney
film The Fox and the Hound. Russell is one of the very few famous
child stars in Hollywood who has been able to continue his acting
career past his teen years. Russell received award 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 1983 film, Silkwood.
Russell was originally cast to play the
cursed heroic knight Navarre in Ladyhawke (1985), while Rutger Hauer,
who played the part of Navarre in the film, was the original choice
to play the evil captain, even though Hauer had no interest in the
part and was actually more interested in the part of the hero
Navarre. When Russell dropped out of the project, Hauer took the role.
In 1991, Russell was cast alongside
William Baldwin as a firefighter in Backdraft (directed by another
former child actor Ron Howard). He rode along with the
Chicago Fire Dept.'s Squad 5 in preparation for the role.
In 1993, Russell portrayed Wyatt Earp in
the film Tombstone, co-starring with Val Kilmer, Sam Elliot, Bill
Paxton and Powers Boothe. 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
In 1994, Russell had a
starring role in the military science fiction film Stargate (above). During
the filming of 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001) in Vancouver, he
visited the nearby set of Stargate SG-1 (1997) and met the cast.
Russell starred as Colonel Jack O'Neil in the original Stargate
(1994). His role was adopted by Richard Dean Anderson in the spin-off
series and the character's name was changed slightly (to Colonel Jack O'Neill).
Elvis Presley connections have run like a
thread through 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 would
also provided Presley's voice in Forrest Gump (1994).
His portrayal of U.S. Olympic hockey coach
Herb Brooks (above) in the 2004 film, Miracle (again working for
Disney), 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, he appeared in the
disaster-thriller Poseidon, and in 2007 Quentin Tarantino's Death
Proof segment from the film Grindhouse. One of his heroes
since boyhood was John Wayne. He was able to use his dead-on John
Wayne impression (to twisted effect) in Grindhouse.
After a remake of Escape from New York was
announced, Russell was reportedly upset with the casting of Scottish
actor Gerard Butler for his signature character, Snake Plissken, as
he believed the character 'was quintessentially American.'
On August 31st, 2013, it was announced
that Russell had been cast in Furious 7 and would also co-star in The
Fate of the Furious (2017). He 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.
In 2015 Russell apeared in The Hateful
Eight, an American Western film written and directed by Quentin
Tarantino along with Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton
Goggins, Demián Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Bruce Dern.
In 2017 Russell stars as Ego in Guardians
of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Ego is an ancient Celestial who is Quill's
(Chris Pratt) father. Pratt was the first to suggest Russell for the
role; he portrays an avatar of Ego who is more traditionally seen in
the comics in his "Living Planet" form. Russell appreciated
why he was wanted for the role after seeing Pratt's performance in
the first film, feeling "That's my kinda guy. I know where that
kind of goof comes from." Ego replaces Quill's original comic
father of J'son, and was allowed to be used in the film after 20th
Century Fox reached a deal with Marvel Studios to return the film
rights of Ego for changing the power set of Negasonic Teenage
Warhead, whom Fox wanted to use in Deadpool (2016). Director James
Gunn originally thought Marvel held the rights to the character, and
stated that, had the deal with Fox not been made, there was "no
back up plan, and it would [have been] nearly impossible to just drop
another character in.
Russell married actress Season Hubley,
whom he had met on the set of Elvis in 1979; 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 own a
home in Palm Desert, California. They had a son, Wyatt, in 1986. One
year later, in 1987, the couple starred in the film Overboard
(above). Hawn's son and daughter with Bill Hudson, actors Oliver 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 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. Russell
and partner Goldie Hawn formerly took summer vacations in the Muskoka
region in Ontario, Canada. They gave up their cottage after too many
unwelcomed visitors would stare at their cottage through binoculars
from Lake Rosseau. Currently Russell and Goldie Hawn
live on a 72-acre retreat, Home Run Ranch, outside of Aspen.
Russell is a card carrying
member of the NRA. and was the best man at Ted Nugent's wedding.
Russell claims that he often felt an outcast in Hollywood because of
his Libertarian beliefs.
Was one of the first actors to do audio
commentary on DVDs.
Russell and his
Tombstone (below 1993) co-star, Val Kilmer, have both played Elvis
Presley. Val Kilmer played him in True Romance (1993), while Russell
played him in a television movie, and provided his voice in Forrest
Gump (1994). In Tombstone (1993), he plays Wyatt Earp. In 3000 Miles
to Graceland (2001), he works with Kevin Costner, who played the role
a mere six months later in the film Wyatt Earp (1994).
Kurt Russell TVography
- Target Boone (1969)
- Bickford's Bridge (1969)
- The Young Ones (1967)
- The Price of Friendship (1965)
- The First Stone (1965)
Dennis the Menace
- Wilson's Second Childhood (1962)
The Dick Powell Show
- The Big Day (1962)
- Special Assignment (1962)
- Pericles on 31st Street (1962)
- Dad, Can I Borrow the Car (1972)
- The Secret of Boyne Castle (1969)
- Willie and the Yank: The Mosby Raiders (1967)
- The Tormentors (1966)
- In a Plain Paper Wrapper (1966)
- Gilligan Meets Jungle Boy (1965)
- Trail of Bloodshed (1974)
- Blue Heaven (1964)
- Double Jeopardy (1975)
- Deadly Doubles (1977)
- Scar Tissue (1974)
The High Chaparral
- The Guns of Johnny Rondo (1970)
- Meanwhile Back at the Reservation (1966)
Lost in Space
- The Challenge (1966)
Love, American Style
- Love and the First-Nighters (1970)
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
- The Finny Foot Affair (1964)
- The Empty Weapon (1975)
- Country Boy (1974)
- series star as Peter Valchek (1976)
- Paul Revere Rides Again (1971)
The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters
- series star as Jamie McPheeters (1963-1964)
Then Came Bronson
- The Spitball Kid (1969)
- The Brothers (1965)
- A Father for Toby (1964)