Born: 17 March 1951
Birthplace: Springfield, Massachusetts
Best known as: Snake Plissken in the movie Escape From New York
Kurt Russell is a blue-eyed, square-jawed American actor best known for playing action heroes in the movies Escape From New York (1981), The Thing (1982) and Big Trouble in Little China (1986). Russell grew up in Hollywood; his dad was Bing Russell, a character actor on TV and a former baseball player and coach. Kurt began acting before he was ten, and by the age of 12 was playing the title character in the TV series The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (1963-64, with Charles Bronson). As a teenager Russell had a solid career on the big screen as the star of wholesome movies made by Disney, including Follow Me, Boys! (1966), The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit (1968) and The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969). In the late 1970s he shifted his career focus to baseball. He played second base for three seasons in the minor leagues, but returned to the movie business in 1979 after injuries ended his baseball career. He got rave reviews for his starring role in the TV movie Elvis (1979), and in the 1980s got famous as a big-screen action hero. He also proved his versatility as an actor: He starred in Silkwood (1983, with Meryl Streep) and Tequila Sunrise (1988, with Mel Gibson); Swing Shift (1984, with Goldie Hawn) and Overboard (1987, also with Hawn); and The Mean Season (1985, with Andy Garcia) and The Best of Times (1986, with Robin Williams). Boyish and easy-going, Russell claims to make movies with a workingman's philosophy and no pretensions to art. He averages at least one feature film a year and has also appeared in Stargate (1994, with James Spader), Miracle (2004) and Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse segment, Death Proof (2007, with Rose McGowan).
Extra credit: Russell and Hawn have been a couple since 1983 and are famously unmarried... From 1973-77 Russell's dad, Bing, owned the Portland Mavericks, an independent baseball team in the Class A Northwest League. Russell played for the Mavericks in 1973. Former Yankees pitcher and author Jim Bouton played for the Mavericks for part of the 1977 season.
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