Russell Ira Crowe (born 7 April 1964) is a New Zealand-born Australian actor and musician. His acting career began in the late 1980s with roles in Australian television series including Police Rescue and Neighbours. In the early 1990s, Crowe's local prominence peaked when he won the Australian Film Industry Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of an inner-city skinhead in the Geoffrey Wright film, Romper Stomper. In the late 1990s, Crowe transferred his acting ambitions to the USA with his breakout role in L.A. Confidential (1997). Crowe won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Gladiator in 2001 and has received three Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role: The Insider (1999), Gladiator (2000) and A Beautiful Mind (2001). He is also co-owner of South Sydney Rabbitohs, a National Rugby League team.
Crowe was born on 7 April 1964 in Wellington, New Zealand, the son of Jocelyn Yvonne (née Wemyss) and John Alexander Crowe, both of whom were movie set caterers; his father also managed a hotel. Crowe's maternal grandfather, Stan Wemyss, was a cinematographer who was named an MBE for filming footage of World War II. Crowe's maternal great-great-grandmother was Māori, and his paternal grandfather was from Wrexham, Wales; Crowe also has Scottish, Norwegian, English, and German ancestry. His two cousins, Martin and Jeff Crowe, are former New Zealand cricket captains.
When Crowe was four years old, his family moved to Australia, where his parents pursued a career in film set catering. The producer of the Australian TV series Spyforce was his mother's godfather, and Crowe at age five or six was hired for a line of dialogue in one episode, opposite series star Jack Thompson (in 1994 Thompson played Crowe's father in The Sum of Us. Crowe also appeared briefly in serial The Young Doctors.