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Real Name: Kevin Michael Costner
Birthday: January 18, 1955
Place of Birth: Los Angeles, CA
Education: California State University, Fullerton (business administration, marketing)

 

Biography and Filmography:

An  Academy Award winner, this fine-looking, good-natured leading man with a straight-faced style made his now infamous major film debut in director Lawrence Kasdan's "The Big Chill" with Glenn Close (1983). Though his scenes ended up being removed completely, the cutting room disaster only slowed his rise to superstardom. While the movie stars reputation took somewhat of a hit at the beginning of the new millennium, the multi talented Kevin Costner mounted a comeback mid decade, appearing in five big budget movies including the romantic comedy “Rumor Has It” with heavyweight Jennifer Aniston (2005), the watery action adventure drama “The Guardian” with newcomer Ashton Kutcher (2006) and the psychological thriller, “Mr. Brooks” alongside Demi Moore  (2007).

Born in Lynwood, CA on Jan. 18, 1955, Kevin was the youngest son of electric company worker William and his wife, Sharon. Though an everyday student, he grew up to be an exceptional athlete. In addition to being a sportsman, his parents made sure that their son received a standard weekly dose of social culture by enrolling him in piano lessons and then the church choir. Because of his father’s work, the young actor spent a large amount of his childhood moving from city to city, up and down the west coast. In 1973, he enrolled at California State University, Fullerton where he majored in business and became a member of the Delta Chi Fraternity. While his grades were less than great, he did manage to graduate college with three important things: his bachelor’s degree, a shy new bride and a newborn love of acting.

Afar returning from his Puerto Vallarta honeymoon in 1978, Costner had a fortunate encounter with actor Richard Burton who was on the same flight. Starting up a conversation, it was the renowned thespian who inspired Kevin to pursue his dream of acting full time. With the support of his new wife, Cindy, he began taking acting lessons five nights a week, while working as a marketing representative during the day. Though the day job only lasted three months, he continued to support himself and his wife by working wherever he could. 

After a few years in small roles and low budget dramas, he almost landed his big break when he was hired in writer-director Lawrence Kasdan’s influential 1983 comedy drama “The Big Chill.” A gloomy coming-of-age story about the baby boomer generation, “The Big Chill” starred a group of talented, but still unknown young actors, including Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, Meg Tilly and Mary Kay Place.  Unfortunately, all of the actors scenes were cut from the film, leaving him with only one small scene.

The actor then headlined an all star cast in Kasdan’s 1985 western, “Silverado.” While the movie didn't make him an overnight celebrity, it did get his gorgeous face out in front of the public, and would be the beginning of a solid career rise. 

He next worked on two highly regarded movies, at the same time. The first was director Roger Donaldson’s “No Way Out” (1987), a remake of the 1948 thriller “The Big Clock”. The second was director Brian DePalma’s big screen variation of “The Untouchables” with powerhouse help from Sean Connery and Robert De Niro (1987). With his laid-back magnetism and relatable personality, the actor proved to be a perfect fit to play clean cut detective, Eliot Ness. A massive commercial success when released, “The Untouchables” put Costner’s career onto the fast track. 

"Bull Durham” (1988) would mark him as a bankable romantic lead. Directed by Ron Shelton, the picture cast the rising star as Crash Davis, an older minor league baseball player who starts a sweltering love affair with a baseball groupie, Annie Savoy. Nominated for an Oscar, the enormously successful “Bull Durham” was the turning point in the newcomers career. His follow-up smash hit, “Field of Dreams” (1989), was also a home run. A tender story about an Iowa corn farmer who receives a spiritual command to build a baseball field in his backyard cornfield. Nominated for three Oscars, “Field of Dreams” was named one of the best films of 1989 by critic Roger Ebert.

His next home run was "Dances With Wolves" (1990) and it was a blockbuster, the movie was a landmark in the portrayal of Native American Indians in Hollywood. It won seven Oscar Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Firmly established as one of the biggest box-office hits in Hollywood, Kevin continued to find large audiences for his work, whether to his 1991 "J.F.K",  or the 1991 flick "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" with Christian Slater and Sean Connery.  When his romantic thriller “The Bodyguard" (1992), even became a smash hit, the size of his box office power became very clear. His next project, the Clint Eastwood directed "A Perfect World" (1993), in which he played a mesmerizing, but mentally deranged escaped prisoner who takes a young boy hostage and starts a wild road trip. Though the film received mixed attention, and only medium box-office returns, his performance was mentioned as one of the best of his career and a a good chance for him to finally play the bad guy.

The next year, he brought a new twist to a legendary lawman in Lawrence Kasdan's "Wyatt Earp" (1994), which he also co-produced. Showing the simple family man side of his character, the movie focused on Earp’s loss of a young wife and the effect this tragedy would have on his later life.  Meanwhile, family would again remain a strong subject matter in "The War" (1994), with the actor playing a returning Vietnam veteran who seeks to restore a better life for his wife and children. In a supporting role, he played a distressed man trying to teach his young son the value of lessons he had learned during the war. 

Costner chose a science fiction action adventure for his next movie as both an actor and producer for "Waterworld" (1995), an apocalyptic world on water. In it, he played the Mariner, a half man and half fish super hero. After a remarkably troubled shoot in the waters off Hawaii, snowed under by delays and mishaps - the most impressive being the exaggerated set sinking to the bottom of the Ocean – the project ended in early 1995. The budget supposedly soared as high as $155 million, making it the most expensive movie ever made.  Further complications arose when director Reynolds quit the film over creative differences with the actor just two months before the scheduled July release date. "Waterworld" was not the disaster predicted by industry insiders and it did win  a few reasonable reviews and eventually broke even.

He next made a triumphant return in Ron Shelton's golf based themed comedy, "Tin Cup" (1996), but the expensive movie barley broke even at the box office. An even bigger disappointment was his second directorial endeavor, the three hour flick, "The Postman" (1997). Set in the future, the movie was hurt by a misleading trailer and bad reviews becoming one of the biggest failures of the year. The next several years saw Kevin taking on a variety of roles, none of which gave his career the boost that was needed after his bad flops, including the lopsided romance, "Message in a Bottle" (1999) and yet another baseball film, "For the Love of the Game" (1999).

He received a break from the tabloids when his project about the Cuban Missile Crisis, "Thirteen Days" (2000), premiered to very good reviews.  He followed up “13 Days” with the doomed action comedy, “3000 Miles to Graceland” (2001) and the bad  thriller, “Dragonfly" (2002). He co-financed his next movie, “Open Range” (2003), which he also directed, playing the leader of  free range cattle drivers who get into hot water with the law. 

He then took a role as another baseball player in the comedy "The Upside of Anger", with Evan Rachel Wood (2005), that earned the actor some of his best reviews and attention in years. He next worked with director Andrew Davis for the action drama, "The Guardian" with Ashton Kutcher. While “The Guardian” waited for its release date, the actor appeared in “Rumor Has It,” Rob Reiner’s meager shot at updating “The Graduate” (1967), and made yet another run for a big-screen comeback, as the title character in the psychological thriller, “Mr. Brooks”.  He played against type as a serial killer who shares some blistering screen time with William Hurt, a fellow Oscar winner and friend from “The Big Chill.” Although reviews were less than joyful, he received good comments for his role as a serial killer with principles.

Next was more comedy and drama in the film "Swing Vote" (2008), where in a remarkable turn-of-events, the result of the presidential election comes down to one man's vote. Kevin was then hired and cast in the horror thriller "The New Daughter" (2009), about a single father who moves his two children to rural Illinois, only to watch his daughter exhibit increasingly strange behavior. He ended 2008 with the animated television show "The Explorers Guild" (2008) an Internet video series that centers around a group of globe-hopping explorers and their Gothic adventurers.

 

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