Born: 7 April 1964
Birthplace: New Zealand
Best known as: The Oscar-winning star of Gladiator
Russell Crowe won an Oscar as best actor for playing the title role in the 2000 film Gladiator. Crowe began acting in his adopted home country of Australia, winning acclaim in films like The Crossing (1990) and Romper Stomper (1992). In the mid-1990s he became more prominent in America in films like Sharon Stone's The Quick and the Dead (1995, also starring Leonardo DiCaprio). He broke through as a heroic cop in the retro crime thriller L.A. Confidential (1997, with Kim Basinger) and won an Oscar nomination for his work as tobacco whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand in 1999's The Insider. The next year he made a huge splash playing the wronged Roman hero Maximus in Gladiator (directed by Ridley Scott). The film won the Academy Award for best picture of 2000, and Crowe himself was given the Oscar as best actor. Rugged yet sensitive onscreen, Crowe has developed an offscreen reputation as a cheerfully unruly Aussie who on occasion enjoys a pint and a scuffle. His other roles include a kidnapper-chasing security consultant in Proof of Life (2000, with Meg Ryan), the mathematician John Nash in A Beautiful Mind (2001, with Jennifer Connelly), the dashing sea captain Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander (2003), real-life boxer Jim Braddock in Cinderella Man (2005, with Renee Zellweger), and as a cornered outlaw in 3:10 to Yuma (2007, with Christian Bale.
Extra credit: Crowe performed with his own rock band, Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts (also known as TOFOG), until the group disbanded in 2004... He had a much-publicized affair with Meg Ryan while both were filming the 2000 movie Proof of Life.
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