Rene Russo Biography

Rene Russo is an American actress, filmmaker, and former supermodel. Check out this biography to know about her childhood, family life, achievements and fun facts about her.

Quick Facts

Birthday: February 17, 1954

Nationality: American

Famous: Models Actresses

Age: 66 Years, 66 Year Old Females

Sun Sign: Aquarius

Also Known As: Rene Marie Russo

Born in: Burbank, California, United States

Famous as: Actress

Height: 5'8" (173 cm), 5'8" Females


Spouse/Ex-: Dan Gilroy (m. 1992)

father: Nino Russo

mother: Shirley Balocca Russo

children: Rose Gilroy

U.S. State: California

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Rene Marie Russo is an American actress, filmmaker, and former supermodel. Known for her elegant beauty, her longevity in the highly competitive film industry unerringly reflects her inherent talents as a performer. She started her career as a model in the 1970s and soon became one of the most prominent figures working in her profession. At the beginning of the next decade, she studied theatre and acting before making appearances on stage in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California. Russo made her screen debut on the ABC’s drama series ‘Sable’ in 1987, portraying the character Eden Kendell. Two years later, she played Tom Berenger’s love interest in her first movie outing, ‘Major League’. Initially sceptical about her capability as an actress, the critics were won over by her consistency. They especially loved her in Wolfgang Petersen’s ‘Outbreak’, in which she held her own against Dustin Hoffman and Morgan Freeman. However, by her own admission, she has never been passionate about acting. In 2005, she took a long, self-imposed break. Recently, she has made a comeback with the superhero flick ‘Thor’ and has starred in her husband’s Academy Award-winning film ‘Nightcrawler’.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • Born on February 17, 1954, in Burbank, California, Rene Russo is one of the two daughters of Shirley (née Balocca) and Nino Russo. Shirley, who was of English, German, and Italian ancestry, worked at a factory and as a barmaid, while Nino, of Italian descent, was a sculptor and car mechanic. Her mother raised her and her sister Toni alone after their father left them when Rene was two years old. Through her father, she has three half-brothers: Jim, Anthony, and David; and one half-sister: January Debra.
  • She studied at Burroughs High School in Ridgecrest, California till tenth grade after which she dropped out of school. Aware of her mother’s struggles to keep the family afloat, she found employment at several off-the-wall jobs. She was a movie theatre cashier for a while as well as a worker at an eyeglass factory.
  • When she was in middle school, Russo was diagnosed with scoliosis, a medical condition in which a person’s spine has a sideways curve. Fortunately, the early detection meant that she was treated only by wearing back braces and did not have to go undergo invasive and painful surgeries.
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  • Rene Russo began her modelling career in the early 1970s, after being allegedly spotted by an International Creative Management agent named John Crosby at a 1972 Rolling Stones Concert. Cosby helped her get a contract from the Ford Modelling Agency and she subsequently became one of the top supermodels working in the industry, making an appearance on the covers of ‘Vogue,’ ‘Mademoiselle,’ and ‘Cosmopolitan’ and participating in ad campaigns for various perfume and cosmetics.
  • Being in a profession thoroughly afflicted by ageism, she was getting less and less work as she entered her thirties. Russo reacted pragmatically, knowing that she had not finished school and hence did not have the education to fall back on. Thus she went on a hiatus from the show business for a short while and started studying acting and theatre. During this period, she took lessons from veteran actor Allan Rich and appeared in several plays.
  • She debuted on television in the short-lived series ‘Sable’, which was based on the comic book ‘Jon Sable: Freelance’. In 1989, she made her big screen debut in the sports comedy ‘Major League’. She made a cameo appearance in the film’s sequel ‘Major League II’ (1994).
  • In her next project, ‘Mr. Destiny’ (1990), she played Bill McCutcheon’s daughter. In the 1991 crime drama ‘One Good Cop’, she was cast as Michael Keaton’s wife.
  • She was nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Julie Redlund in the science fiction film ‘Freejack’ (1992). In the same year, she starred opposite Mel Gibson as LAPD Sgt. Lorna Cole in the third instalment of the Lethal Weapon films. She came back for the fourth and last film in the series, ‘Lethal Weapon 4’ (1998).
  • She got the chance to work with Clint Eastwood and John Malkovich in the action thriller ‘In the Line of Fire’ (1993), which was also her first collaboration with the German director Wolfgang Petersen. In ‘Outbreak’ (1995), their second collaboration, she demonstrated how far she has really come as an actor with an assertive performance as CDC scientist Dr Roberta Keough.
  • In the Golden Globe Award-winning film ‘Get Shorty’ (1995), Russo got the part of Karen Flores, an actress and one of the central figures around whom the plot revolves. She starred alongside Kevin Costner in the romantic-comedy ‘Tin Cup’ (1996), and later, reunited with Gibson in Ron Howard’s crime thriller ‘Ransom’. In 1997, Russo played Gertrude Lintz in the New Zealand/American film ‘Buddy’.
  • Rene Russo set the screen on fire with her sizzling chemistry with Pierce Brosnan in the 1999 remake of the 1968 heist film ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’. Between 2000 and 2002, she appeared in three films: live action/animated movie ‘The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle’ (2000); Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy starrer ‘Showtime’ (2002); and Barry Sonnenfeld’s ‘Big Trouble’ (2002).
  • In 2005, she shared screen space with two Oscar winners, Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey, in the sports drama ‘Two for the Money’, which was also her first outing as an executive producer. That year, she did one more movie, ‘Yours, Mine & Ours’, before taking a six-year break from acting.
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  • When Russo returned, she did so in the grandest way possible, playing Frigga in the superhero film ‘Thor’ (2011), which is part of the biggest film franchise in the history of cinema, the Marvel Universe. She reprised the role in the 2013 sequel ‘Thor: The Dark World’. In 2015, she was involved in two comedies: ‘Frank and Cindy’ and ‘The Intern’. She is set to appear in the upcoming film ‘Just Getting Started’.
Major Works
  • Rene Russo is best known for her role in ‘Nightcrawler’ in which she portrayed Nina Romina, a morning news editor desperately clinging on to the power and position that she has garnered over the course of her professional life. Russo’s husband, Dan Gilroy’s directorial venture, the film is a cynical, unapologetic tale of a sociopath, L.A. newshound Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), who prowls the city under the cover of night for the goriest, grizzliest scoops he can find.
  • Gilroy specifically created the character of Romina with Russo in mind. He had feared that the character could very easily be relegated to a "hard-nosed corporate bitch" and that his wife could bring a sense of vulnerability to her. Never having played a desperate woman on screen before, Russo initially struggled with how to approach the role. She evoked the past experiences from her own life when she had been compelled to cross moral boundaries as a result of fear and desperation. She received a BAFTA nomination for her performance.
Awards & Achievements
  • For ‘Lethal Weapon 4’, Rene Russo won the Favorite Supporting Actress – Action/Adventure Award at the 1998 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards.
  • 'Nightcrawler’, being unarguably the best movie of her career, has brought her multiple awards and accolades. In 2014, she was conferred with the AARP Award for Best Supporting Actress, San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress, and Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress for portraying Nina Romina in the film.
Personal Life
  • Rene Russo met screenwriter Dan Gilroy on the set of ‘Freejack’. They married on March 14, 1992 and have a daughter together, model Rose Gilroy (born 1993). The family currently resides in Brentwood, California.
  • Since childhood, Russo has suffered from bipolar disorder and takes medication for it. She is a born-again Christian.
  • Russo is allergic to sesame.

Rene Russo Movies

1. Nightcrawler (2014)

  (Drama, Crime, Thriller)

2. In the Line of Fire (1993)

  (Crime, Thriller, Action, Drama)

3. The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

  (Crime, Romance, Thriller)

4. Major League (1989)

  (Comedy, Sport)

5. The Intern (2015)

  (Drama, Comedy)

6. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

  (Fantasy, Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure)

7. Thor (2011)

  (Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure)

8. Get Shorty (1995)

  (Thriller, Comedy, Crime)

See the events in life of Rene Russo in Chronological Order

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