Kurt Russell was born Kurt Vogel Russell in Springfield, Massachusetts, to Louise Julia (Crone), a dancer, and actor Bing Russell (Neil Oliver Russell). He is of English, German, Scottish and Irish descent. His first roles were as a child on television series, including a lead role on the Western series The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (1963). Russell landed a role in the Elvis Presley movie, It Happened at the World’s Fair (1963), when he was eleven years old. Walt Disney himself signed Russell to a 10-year contract, and, according to Robert Osborne, he became the studio’s top star of the 1970s. Having voiced adult Copper in the animated Disney film The Fox and the Hound (1981), Russell is one of the few famous child stars in Hollywood who has been able to continue his acting career past his teen years.
Kurt spent the early 1970s playing minor league baseball. In 1979, he gave a classic performance as Elvis Presley in John Carpenter’s ABC TV movie Elvis (1979), and married the actress who portrayed Priscilla Presley in the film, Season Hubley. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for the role. He followed with roles in a string of well-received films, including Used Cars (1980) and Silkwood (1983), for which he was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture. During the 1980s, he starred in several films by director Carpenter; they created some of his best-known roles, including the infamous anti-hero Snake Plissken in the futuristic action film Escape from New York (1981) (and later in its sequel Escape from L.A. (1996)), Antarctic helicopter pilot R.J. MacReady in the horror film The Thing (1982), and Jack Burton in the fantasy film Big Trouble in Little China (1986), all of which have since become cult classics.
In 1983, he became reacquainted with Goldie Hawn (who appeared with him in The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968)) when they worked together on Swing Shift (1984). The two have lived together ever since. They made another film together, Garry Marshall’s comedy Overboard (1987). His other 1980s titles include The Best of Times (1986), Tequila Sunrise (1988), Winter People (1989) and Tango & Cash (1989).
In 1991, he headlined the firefighter drama Backdraft (1991), he starred as Wyatt Earp in the Western film Tombstone (1993), and had a starring role as Colonel Jack O’Neil in the science fiction film Stargate (1994). In the mid-2000s, his portrayal of U.S. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks in Miracle (2004) won the praise of critics. In 2006, he appeared in the disaster-thriller Poseidon (2006), and in 2007, in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof (2007) segment from the film Grindhouse (2007). Russell appeared in The Battered Bastards of Baseball (2014), a documentary about his father and the Portland Mavericks, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014. Russell starred in the Western films Bone Tomahawk (2015) and The Hateful Eight (2015), and had a leading role in the dramatization Deepwater Horizon (2016). He also co-starred in the action sequels Furious 7 (2015) The Fate of the Furious (2017) and Once Upon a time in Hollywood (2019).
Russell and Goldie Hawn live on a 72-acre retreat, Home Run Ranch, outside of Aspen. He has two sons, Boston Russell (from his marriage to Hubley) and Wyatt Russell (with Hawn). He also raised Hawn’s children, actors Oliver Hudson and Kate Hudson, who consider him their father. Russell is also an avid gun enthusiast, a hunter and a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. He is also 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.