Possessing prodigious acting talent also strong screen presence to always able to present excellent, memorable performances, Russell Ira Crowe has really left other thespians of his generation far behind him to satisfyingly reach the status of a top-rank leading man in film industry. A New Zealander of Welsh, Scottish, Norwegian, and Maori ancestry, he was born as the youngest son of John Alexander and Jocelyn Crowe on April 7, 1964 in Wellington, the second-largest urban area in the country. At the age of 4, his parents took him along with his brother, Terry, to settle in Australia where they developed a film-set catering business that turned out to hold a great responsibility in generating the boy's fondness for acting. Both his father and mother apparently used to bring him while they carried out their work, so it was hard for the kid not to be fascinated with this performing thing, particularly after he came to the set of an Australian TV series entitled "Spyforce" and was invited to appear as an extra in its 1972 episode.
Though his interest in the field flourished heavily ever since thus prompted him to become a professional actor later, Russell had to wait for quite a long time to begin his journey as he unexpectedly was taken by his family to move back to New Zealand in 1978. Finally returned to Australia at age 18 without finishing his study at Auckland Grammar School, he then managed to land parts in several stage productions, namely "Grease" (1983), "The Rocky Horror Show" (1986-1988), and "Blood Brothers" (1989) in which he was spotted by director George Ogilvie who subsequently gave him the leading role in his 1990 effort of "The Crossing." Other screen roles delightfully followed afterwards, notably that in "Romper Stomper" (1992), a hugely successful movie both on the critical and commercial sides that led him to gain Best Actor title from the Australian Film Institute by the same year.
Unbeknown to Russell, the movie surprisingly made its way to Sharon Stone's notice and upon watching his performance, the actress was so blown away that she demanded him to appear in her 1995 vehicle of "The Quick And The Dead." Despite its fair result, the picture nonetheless became a good stepping-stone for him to move further in American film industry as he quickly added "Virtuosity" (1995) and "L.A. Confidential" (1997) to his resume. Gained the second billing in the latter flick, he fantastically delivered a fine portrayal of a quick-tempered, brutal Southern California cop to garner rave reviews from critics which consequently propelled him to wide recognition across the States he had aimed for. The kudos still continued when the dark-haired guy accompanied Al Pacino in Michael Mann's "The Insider" (1999), even brilliantly scored quadruple leading role nominations of Oscar, Golden Globes, Screen Actors, and BAFTA Awards by the turn of the third millennium.
Determined to strike harder next, Russell eagerly accepted the offer to play Maximus, a fallen Roman general turned great fighter to avenge the death of his family, in Ridley Scott's big-budgeted epic of "Gladiator" (2000) alongside the likes of Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Djimon Hounsou, plus Richard Harris. His effort was indeed proven worthy for he once again made the same outstanding attainment a year later to then reach the highlight of his career upon obtaining the most prestigious of the four nominations, an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Automatically rose to be an A-list actor in Hollywood, he fantastically repeated the quadruple achievement through his stunning performance as Nobel-prize winning mathematician John Nash in Ron Howard's biopic, "A Beautiful Mind" (2001), this time bringing home all in 2002 except the Oscar which went to Denzel Washington.
Kept displaying his fantastic knack in acting, Russell continuously amazed people when he, for the fourth time, secured a Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama nomination at the 2004 Golden Globe Awards for his enactment in "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" (2003). The fifth followed in early 2006 along with another Actors nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role through his 2005 feature, "Cinderella Man", which saw him struggling to gain the title of world's heavyweight boxing champion under the support of his manager, Joe Gould, played by Paul Giamatti. Afterwards rejoined Ridley Scott to film "A Good Year" for a November 2006 release, the tall actor seems to have no difficulty at all in well-maintaining his career as he then was cast in the 2007 high-profile projects of "American Gangster" and "3:10 to Yuma." Two more big screen collaborations with Scott followed next, namely "Body of Lies" (2008) and "Nottingham" (2009) apart from other film titles of "Tenderness" (2008) and "State of Play" (2009). Amid the hectic schedule, the thespian delightfully managed to go behind the camera to direct "Bra Boys", a movie based on a documentary feature of the same name that he narrated.
Aside from acting, Russell is also known to have established a singing career that he has developed since his teens, either through solo or collective works. He first emerged under the moniker of Rus Le Roq in 1980 and recorded a single entitled "I Want To Be Like Marlon Brando" before formed a pub rock band called 30 Odd Foot of Grunts (TOFOG) in 1992 with his schoolmate Dean Cochran. Releasing several albums, like "Gaslight" (1998), "Bastard Life or Clarity" (2001), plus "Other Ways of Speaking" (2003), the troupe only lasted for about 13 years as Russell later announced its dissolve on TOFOG's official website in March 2005. Stood by his own, the star took Alan Doyle of the Canadian band, Great Big Sea, to assist him making a solo project which then resulted in a virtual outing on iTunes entitled "My Hand, My Heart" in May 2005 after previously launching its single, "Raewyn", online by April 19. Even so, he did not shed aside the idea to re-invent a band for the hunk came on screen with a new one named The Ordinary Fear of God on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" in March the following year.
Concerning his love life, Russell, no doubt a Hollywood heartthrob, had been involved in a series of relationship with some beautiful women, beginning from Jamie O'Neal, an Australian stage performer, in 1988 before dated Australian singer and actress Danielle Spencer whom he met on the set of "The Crossing." Being together for about 4 years, he decided to end the romance in 1995 to then fall into the arms of model Erica Baxter and notably, Hollywood star Meg Ryan. Embarking on a love journey after teaming up in "Proof of Life" (2000), their affair was so highly publicized that it depressingly overshadowed the picture which later flopped heavily in box-office. Sadly, the bond between them was broken less than one year and Russell surprisingly found himself returning to Danielle's embrace to finally marry her on his 39th birthday, later happily welcomed the arrival of his first son, Charles Spencer Crowe, by December 21, 2003 then the second, Tennyson Spencer Crowe, on July 7, 2006.
While lauded for his achievement in film industry, Russell, on the other side, has often caused raised eyebrow none other due to his bad temper that largely contributes to his negative publicity. Already evoked a media stir for his obscene gesture to a Princeton student whom he spotted photographing during the filming of "A Beautiful Mind" on its campus, the actor became a headline when he confronted producer Malcolm Gerrie upon finding out that his acceptance speech at the 2002 BAFTA Awards was edited though he ultimately issued a full apology for his manner. Also involved in a brawl happened in a London restaurant later that year, the most notorious one was probably his action of throwing a broken telephone at a New York's Mercer Hotel concierge, Nestor "Josh" Estrada, in June 2005 after he was unable to reach his wife in Australia by phone. Causing a cut in the man's cheek, Russell not only was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, but also had to pay around $100,000 to settle the civil lawsuit to Estrada and finally was sentenced to conditional release on the basis that he not be arrested in the States for one year.