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Actor Russell Crowe won an Oscar for his performance in the 2000 blockbuster Gladiator and a nomination for his 2001 role in A Beautiful Mind.
Russell Crowe - Full Episode (44:58)
By the mid-1990s, Australian actor Russell Crowe had proven himself with a diversity of roles. Crowe vaulted to A-list Hollywood stardom with his charismatic and Oscar-winning performance in Gladiator.
After almost falling into obscurity, an article on Frank in New York Magazine prompted Universal Studios to buy the rights to make the film "American gangster."
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Actor Russell Crowe was born on April 7, 1964 in Wellington, New Zealand. He made a name for himself acting in Australian cinema and eventually became an international star with projects like The Insider, Gladiator (for which he won an Oscar), A Beautiful Mind and State of Play. After a singing role in Les Misérables, he’s played Superman sire Jor-El in The Man of Steel.
"I am always described as 'Hollywood Hard Man.' It's just ridiculous. I know some hard men, mate, and I am not a hard man. I'm a guy who likes poetry, who writes songs. I put on make-up for a living. Give me a break."
"I'm not Machiavellian. I don't play chess with my life, ya know. I respond in the moment which is what makes me a good actor. It makes me sometimes a good interview subject. But it also makes me a very easy target."
Russell Crowe was born on April 7, 1964, in Wellington, New Zealand. His family moved to Sydney, Australia when Crowe was four years old. He spent a good deal of time on the sets of various film and television productions, where his parents worked as caterers; at age six, Crowe was cast as an orphan in the TV series Spyforce, the first of his many small parts as a child actor. His family returned to New Zealand in 1978, and Crowe began performing as a rock singer, billing himself as Rus le Roc and recording the prophetically titled 1980 single “I Want to Be Like Marlon Brando.” During this period, he and a friend formed Roman Antix, which later evolved into 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, a rock band for which Crowe sings, plays guitar and writes lyrics.
He returned to Australia in the early 1980s to pursue his acting career, winning a role in a production of the musical Grease in 1983. From 1986 to 1988, Crowe starred in a touring production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. A role in the stage musical Blood Brothers in 1989 led to his first feature film, Blood Oath (1990, released in the U.S. as Prisoners of the Sun). His other early films included The Crossing (1990), which marked his first leading role, and The Efficiency Expert (1991, released in the U.S. as Spotswood), with Anthony Hopkins and Toni Collette. His breakthrough roles showcased two very different sides of Crowe—in 1992’s Proof, he played a gentle, gullible dishwasher, earning an Australian Film Institute Award for Best Supporting Actor; he won the Best Actor statue the next year, for his turn as a brutal Nazi skinhead in the controversial film Romper Stomper. His next and equally iconoclastic role was as a gay plumber living with his widowed father in The Sum of Us (1994).
In 1995, Crowe made his American film debut, appearing with Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman and Leonardo DiCaprio in the offbeat Western The Quick and the Dead, which met with a mediocre critical and popular reception. That same year, he played SID 6.7, a virtual reality outlaw created as a composite of more than 150 serial killers (SID stands for Sadistic, Intelligent and Dangerous) who is hunted by Denzel Washington in the poorly rated sci-fi thriller Virtuosity. He also played the romantic leads in the little-seen films Rough Magic (1995), opposite Bridget Fonda, and Breaking Up (1997), opposite Salma Hayek.
Though many insiders pegged him as “one to watch,” no one in America really paid attention to Crowe until L.A. Confidential, the highly acclaimed 1997 neo-noir film that probed the dark underside of Los Angeles in the 1950s.
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