One of the most accomplished actors in the business, Russell Crowe has made a steady journey in his career to join the bandwagon of most sought-after stars in Hollywood. Here is a biographical account intended to trace all the highs and lows of his life.
Russell Crowe is an Australian actor and a musician, renowned for his Academy Award-winning portrayal of Maximus Decimus Meridius in Ridley Scott’s Hollywood blockbuster Gladiator. In his acting career spanning over two decades, Crowe has been nominated for various prestigious awards – which includes three Academy Award (Oscar) nominations, and has won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. While these laurels speak in volumes about the great actor, it’s his filmography which actually gives you the true picture of a versatile actor that Russell Crowe is.
Russell Crowe Biography
Russell was born on 7th April, 1964, in Wellington, New Zealand, to Jocelyn Yvonne and John Alexander Crowe. His parents were in the business of movie set catering in Australia. At the age of 16, Russell left his education to pursue a career in acting and singing. He bagged his first professional role at the age of 22, in director Daniel Abineri’s The Rocky Horror Show (1986). Later in 1988, he portrayed the character of ‘Mickey’ in the Australian musical Blood Brothers. After spending a brief period with no work, Crowe turned his focus to the small screen wherein he appeared in two television series – Neighbors and Living with the Law.
Filmography & Awards
In 1990, Russell appeared in two films; the first was George Ogilvie’s The Crossing and the second Stephen Wallace’s Blood Oath. Even though The Crossing was filmed later, it made it to the theaters first, and thus became Russell Crowe’s first major film. In 1992, he was also seen in Romper Stomper, an Australian film highlighting the exploits and downfall of a racist skinhead group in suburban Melbourne. In 1995, he starred in Bret Leonard’s Virtuosity, which marked the beginning of his illustrious career in Hollywood, where he went on to act in films like the L.A. Confidential(1997), The Insider (1999), Gladiator (2000) and A Beautiful Mind (2001), 3:10 to Yuma (2007), and State of Play (2009), etc.
Russell’s portrayal of Jeffrey Wigand in The Insider, Maximus in Gladiator and John Nash in A Beautiful Mind won him nominations for the Best Actor category at the Academy Awards for three straight years – 1999, 2000 and 2001. While he narrowly missed out to Kevin Spacey in 1999, his portrayal of Maximus Decimus Meridius in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator won him his first Academy Award in the Best Actor category the following year. In 2001, Russell Crowe bagged the BAFTA as well as the Golden Globe for the Best Actor category for his portrayal of John Nash in A Beautiful Mind. Both Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind won the Oscar for the Best Picture in 2000 and 2001, respectively.
Russell Crowe was next seen in Peter Weir’s Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) and Ron Howard’s Cinderella Man (2005). Crowe was nominated for the Golden Globe in the Best Actor category for both the films, but he lost out to Sean Penn in 2003 and Philip Seymour Hoffman in 2005. However, his acting skills were appreciated for both the films – the Cinderella Man in particular. Russell teamed up with Ridley Scott again with projects like A Good Year (2006), American Gangster(2007), Body of Lies (2008) and Robin Hood (2010). However, none of these films were able to pull off the feat that the Gladiator had managed to, a few years ago.
Russell married Danielle Spencer, an Australian singer, on 7th April, 2003 at the age of 39. After meeting each other while filming The Crossing in 1990, they had dated for four years until Russell left Australia to try his luck in Hollywood. 21st December. Interestingly, Russell’s name was also linked to his co-star Meg Ryan during the filming of Proof of Life in 2000. The year 2003 marked the birth of their first child, Charles Spencer; while their second son, Tennyson Spencer, was born on 7th July, 2006.
Although an actor by profession, Russell Crowe has shown keen interest in the world of sports now and then. He has been associated with the South Sydney Rabbitohs; a National Rugby League team, for a long time; first, as an avid Rabbitoh fan, and now, as its co-owner. His sporting interests also include cricket and football. He captained the Australian side against an English side in the renowned ‘Hollywood Ashes’ cricket match. Incidentally, former Kiwi captains Jeff Crowe and Martin Crowe are Russell Crowe’s cousins.
Charity and Controversies
Many people know Russell Crowe as a philanthropist for all the charity work he has done in various parts of the world, including the United States and Australia. Although, he has successfully made a place for himself in people’s good books by his charity work, his bad temper has often landed him in some or the other controversy, and tainted his reputation. In 1999, his tussle at the Plantation Hotel in Australia was caught on the security cameras. In 2002, he was allegedly involved in a brawl in a restaurant in London. In 2005, he was arrested by the New York City Police with a charge of second degree assault.
Russell Crowe has won an Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe each, and two Australian Film Institute Awards in his career spanning over two decades. That however, still seems like a underachievement for the legendary actor, to whom the film industry owes much more for his immense contribution. He may not have a lengthy list of films to his credit, but there is no questioning the fact that almost all his films have allowed him display his talent to the film fraternity as well as the entire world.