Actor, director, producer, and even musician, Kevin Costner, from a tourist bus driver for a sightseeing tour of Hollywood, became one of the biggest movie stars.
“I’ve been in this business for more than three decades, and it’s still barely a day that I don’t remember a chance meeting with the famous actor Richard Barton. One day in 1980, due to a combination of unusual circumstances, I was waiting for a flight to Mexico at the airport.
The same plane was waiting for Barton, and even though we didn’t know each other, we started talking and he told me that it pays to be patient and persistent if I want to become an actor. I can’t even imagine what my life would have looked like if I hadn’t listened to it, “Kevin Costner said in a television interview a few years ago.
Barton himself would probably be surprised to learn that Costner had made about fifty films after their conversation and was still working at a steady pace. Moreover, during 2016, he made three films, of which “Hidden Figures”, in which he plays the head of NASA’s space program, which was the most watched film in the United States, and is currently working with screenwriter and director Aaron Sorkin on the drama “Molly’s Game”.
In the following text, I will describe to you the life story of Kevin Costner!
But if it weren’t for Richard Barton’s suggestive, Kevin Michael Costner would probably work in the advertising industry in Linwood, a suburb of Los Angeles today, where he was born on January 18, 1955, as the youngest son of electrician William Costner and social worker Sharon Ray. After the death of her second child, shortly after the birth, she focused all her attention on Kevin, who was born a year later.
As a boy, he sang in the church choir, and when he entered puberty, he began to be attracted to sports’, especially basketball and football. He was not interested in school at all and he went to classes only because he had to, which was best seen in the grades – barely passable. But, despite being skilled in sports’, he was not popular at school.
– My classmates considered me unsocial and withdrawn – he said in an interview.
Apart from sports’, he was also interested in music, so he patiently learned to play the guitar, which, as it later turned out, would become a great passion for him. And as a loner at heart, at the end of high school, he decided to embark on an adventure: he spent most of the summer making a canoe, and then paddled in it for hours on California rivers.
After high school, he clashed with his parents for the first time: they wanted to continue their education, and he wanted to start doing anything, just so he didn’t have to study. Eventually, after much resistance, he enrolled in economics and marketing at Fullerton University. Along the way, he earned a living as a truck driver, a port worker and a tour guide for Los Angeles. In addition, he dreamed of becoming an actor, so he paid part of his earnings for acting lessons and hoped that he did not spend money in vain.
He doesn’t remember the first engagement for good: he accepted a role in some soft porn, but he didn’t like that experience, so he decided to refuse such offers in the future.
After graduating in 1978, he accepted a job as an advertising agent in the California city of Santa Ana and whenever he could, he went to auditions. Three years after meeting Barton, he got a small role in the movie “The Great Horror”, along with William Hart, Jeff Goldblum, Glen Close and Tom Beringer. But, director Lawrence Kasdan decided to throw out all the sequences with Costner in the editing, estimating that they do not fit into the film, and Kevin finally appeared only for a moment, like a corpse on stage. The disappointment was certainly great, especially because he refused a role in “War Games” because of his appearance in that film, which launched Matthew Broderick into the stars instead.
However, director Lawrence Kasdan did not forget him and hired Costner in 1985 for the film “Silverado”. It turned out that he was the turning point that the actor wanted so much. “Silverado” was a great success, so Kevin resigned from an advertising agency in 1985, moved to Los Angeles and began to build an acting career.
However, he did not make such a big decision alone: he was helped by his wife Cindy Silva, whom he met at the university. She studied biology, and at that time she won a beauty contest and then earned her student pocket money as Snow White at Disneyland.
– We met at a party in 1975. She was so beautiful that I was out of breath. All the boys looked at her as a goddess, and I was convinced that I had no chance with her because I saw myself as a nerd – Costner later admitted.
However, Cindy was interesting enough to agree to go out with him, so they started having fun, and three years later they got married. The couple had a daughter, Anne Clayton, in 1984, Lily Macol in 1986, and a son, Joseph Tedrick, in 1988. The marriage, like most others, was initially idyllic: after a honeymoon in the Mexican resort of Puerto Vallarta, they jointly estimated that Kevin would dedicate himself to acting, so they moved to Los Angeles and soon became aware that they had made a good decision.
After the great success of “Silverado”, Costner began to receive more and more interesting and lucrative offers, and in 1987 he accepted a role that greatly determined his further career: FBI agent Eliot Ness in “Untouchables”, directed by Brian de Palma. The film grossed more than $100 million and was nominated for four Oscars, after which Costner made several more film hits: the thriller “No Way Out,” the sports’ drama “Bull Durham,” and “Dream Field.” He began an even greater series of successes in 1990 with the film “Dancing with Wolves”, based on the 1988 novel of the same name by Michael Blake.
It was filmed for more than four months, and Costner was the main actor, director and producer in it. A great contribution was made by Cindy, who moved with her children to her husband’s trailer and participated in countless small jobs around filming every day. The film was nominated for as many as 12 Oscars, won seven, and with earnings of almost half a billion dollars, it became one of the most successful achievements in history.
In 1991, Kevin made the film “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”, then “JFK” (1991) and the big hit, the romantic drama “The Bodyguard”, in which he starred alongside Whitney Houston. Those films grossed more than six hundred million dollars and greatly fueled Costner’s ambitions.
– The idea came to me to shoot “Bodyguard 2” in which the protected person would be Princess Diana, so on August 30, 1997, I submitted the script to her. Unfortunately, she died the next day and I never found out if she would like it – said the actor in 2007.
However, after great successes, an unpleasant sobriety followed. The film “Wyatt Earp” (1994), in which he was the main actor and producer, proved to be quite a failure, and “War”, the apocalyptic “Water World” and the epic “The Postman” did not fare any better, so Costner received several Golden Raspberries.
Even in private, roses did not bloom for him: after sixteen years of marriage, he and Cindy quarreled more and more often and violently. She accused him of cheating on her, and he accused her of being pathologically jealous. However, in the division of property after the divorce, they kept their sanity and settled out of court, and it was speculated that Costner paid his ex-wife 80 million dollars.
Although divorce, psychologists claim, is the second most stressful thing that happens to us in life (the first is the death of a loved one), the actor did not suffer for long.
He entered into a relationship with the beauty Bridget Rooney in 1995, and the following year the couple had a son, Liam. But they broke up before the boy walked, and that is because Costner briefly flew into the arms of supermodel El McPherson in 1996.
Bridget Rooney made sure Kevin paid her ten million dollars in damages, and her son Liam never became an important part of the actor’s life.
After bitter life and professional experiences, Costner slowed down and began to show interest in some other things, mostly football and golf. In the mid-nineties, he followed the English football club Arsenal, and he spent more and more time on golf courses, so he became a great player and as a member of the club “Birnam Wood” he started playing in tournaments in California. He has not forgotten about his old sports’ love – baseball – so since 1998 he has been a co-owner of the club “Lake County Fielders”, which competes in the North American League.
And although he claimed after the divorce that it did not occur to him to rush into marriage again, he changed his mind after a four-year relationship with 19-year-old Kristina Baumgartner, a model and designer of handbags of German origin. They were married on September 25, 2004, at Costner’s magnificent ranch in Aspen, Colorado. The newlyweds came in front of the priest in a horse-drawn carriage, and the actor rode his sweetheart through the lake in a canoe after the ceremony.
Kevin and his wife soon moved to Los Angeles, to a lavish 1,200-square-foot villa with two tennis courts, a swimming pool and a huge garden. They had their first son, Caden Wyatt, on May 6, 2007, their second, Hayes Logan, on February 12, 2009, and their daughter, Grace Avery, on June 2, 2010.
Although he earned millions of dollars as an actor, Costner also started several successful business projects in the 1990s. He invested large sums in the extraction of oil from shale, an industry that has been developing strongly in America in recent decades, and he further distributed the earned money into less profitable, but interesting to him businesses. That’s how he founded the “Tatanka” complex, a bison museum, near the city of Deadwood in South Dakota. It shows the important role that these animals, almost extinct at the end of the 19th century, played in the life of the indigenous inhabitants of the United States of America.
Of course, he didn’t stop acting. At the beginning of the millennium, he recorded “Thirteen Days”, then “The Other Side of Rage” and the crime novel “Mr. Brooks”, in which he portrayed the character of a serial killer from Portland.
But the biggest professional recognition in recent years – the Golden Globe and the Emmy – he received for the television mini-series “Hatfields & McCoys” (2012), in which he played the patriarch of the Hatfield family. The series was watched by 13.9 million people in the first week of broadcasting, so it was soon sold in about twenty countries around the world.
In early 2000, Kevin Costner founded the country-rock band “Modern West” with which he successfully performs in the United States, and in 2007 he was on a major European tour. He also recorded four albums with the group, and his musical success is confirmed by the cover of the guitar magazine “Guitar Aficionado”.
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