Hollywood hell raiser

Russell Ira Crowe was born on April 7, 1964, in Wellington, New Zealand, to parents Jocelyn and Alex Crowe. The Crowe family led a rather nomadic life, the reason for which Crowe only lived in his first actual house at the age of 14. Acquiring a taste for acting when he served as a child extra while accompanying his parents to work, the high school dropout was more passionate about performing as a musician rather than an actor.

While he had several acting credits under his belt, 16-year-old Crowe dubbed himself Russ Le Roc — of the rock group ‘Roman Antix’ — and performed in order to supplement his income. Working as a bartender, waiter and bingo-number caller was not enough to pay the bills, so playing music served as an additional source of income. With former acting experience, the singer, songwriter and guitarist returned to acting — never giving up his musical career.

At the age of 25, Crowe was cast in his first feature film role, as Lieutenant Corbett in ‘Prisoners of the Sun’, otherwise known as ‘Blood Oath’. But his big break came in 1991, with his award-winning performance in ‘Proof’.

That was only the beginning of his critically acclaimed career, as he followed up his role in 1993’s ‘Romper Stomper’, as a Nazi skinhead. But Crowe’s success was, at this point, only limited to the land of kangaroos and koalas, until a certain Sharon Stone caught his ‘Romper Stomper’ performance and was convinced that he was the perfect fit for her film ‘The Quick and the Dead’. The film was good for Crowe, who was becoming recognised in the United States.

In 1999, Crowe’s portrayal of real-life whistle-blower Jeffrey Wigand in the drama ‘The Insider’ earned the actor rave reviews, as well as a Best Actor Oscar nomination. As Roman general Maximus in the blockbuster epic, ‘Gladiator’, Russell Crowe showed moviegoers and critics alike that he was unstoppable in the Roman arena, and in Hollywood, with his Oscar for Best Actor in a Motion Picture in 2001. Although Crowe has been compared to legendary greats James Dean, Marlon Brando and Robert Mitchum, he refuses to give in to the Hollywood scene. The only way one can say that he has succumbed to it though, is having been romantically linked to Hollywood cutie, Meg Ryan; his ‘Proof of Life’ co-star. While Crowe is only becoming a more powerful force in film, he continues to tour with his band, ‘30 Odd Foot Of Grunts’. This gladiator is taking his career to the maximus. He married Danielle Spencer on April 7, 2003 and at present the couple have a child.