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Kevin Michael Costner (born January 18, 1955) is an American actor, musician, producer, and director. He has been nominated for three BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Awards, won two Academy Awards and a Golden Globe Award. Costner's roles include Lt. John J. Dunbar in the film Dances with Wolves, Jim Garrison in JFK, Ray Kinsella in Field of Dreams, and Eliot Ness in The Untouchables.

Early life

Costner was born in Lynwood, Californiamarker, the youngest of the three sons (the middle of whom died at birth) of Sharon Rae (née Tedrick), a welfare worker, and William Costner, an electrician and later utilities executive. He has German, Irish and Cherokee ancestry (his Oklahomamarker-born paternal grandfather was half Cherokee). Costner was raised Baptist. He attended Cabrillo Jr. High School and Buena Highmarker in Ventura, Californiamarker. A poor student, Costner enjoyed sports in spite of his slight stature and took piano lessons, wrote poetry and sang in the First Baptist Choir.

Spending his teenage years in various parts of California as his father's career progressed, Costner lived in Orange Countymarker, then in Visaliamarker (Tulare County), attending Mt. Whitney High School, and then back to Orange County, graduating from Villa Park High Schoolmarker in Villa Park, Californiamarker, in 1973. He went on to earn a B.A. in business from California State University, Fullertonmarker, in 1978. Member of Delta Chi at Cal State.


Kevin Costner became interested in acting while in college, and on graduation married Cindy. The couple honeymooned in Puerto Vallartamarker and on the return plane journey had a chance encounter with actor and fellow passenger Richard Burton, who had purchased all the seats around him for solitude. Burton agreed to speak to Costner after he finished his book. Costner, who had been taking acting classes, but had not told his wife about his desire to be an actor, watched Burton closely and approached when Burton gestured him to. Costner told Burton that he would prefer that his life was not filled with the type of drama that had followed Burton and asked if he would have to tolerate that if he became an actor. Burton replied, "You have green eyes. I have green eyes. I think you'll be fine." After landing, Burton's limousine pulled up to the curb where Costner and Cindy were waiting for a taxi, where Burton wished Costner luck. Costner would never see Burton again, but credits Burton with partially contributing to his career.

Having agreed to undertake a job as a marketing executive on return, Costner began taking acting lessons five nights a week, with the support of his wife. His marketing job lasted 30 days. He took work which allowed him to develop his acting skills via tuition, including working on fishing boats, as a truck driver, and giving tours of stars' Hollywood homes to support the couple while he also made the audition rounds.


Costner made his film debut at age 19, in the 1974 film, Sizzle Beach, U.S.A., although the film was not released until 1986.

Costner made a very brief cameo in the 1982 Ron Howard film Night Shift, he is listed in the credits as 'Frat Boy #2' and appears at the climax of a Frat-style blow-out party in the N.Y.C. morgue, when the music is suddenly stopped by a frantic Henry Winkler, Costner can be seen holding a beer and looking surprised at the sudden halt of celebration.

He appeared in a commercial for the Apple Lisa in 1983, and in the same year, had a small role in the nuclear holocaust film Testament. Later, he was cast in The Big Chill and filmed several scenes that were planned as flashbacks, but they never made it to the final cut. His role was that of Alex, the friend who committed suicide, the event that brings the rest of the cast together. All that is seen of him are his slashed wrists as the mortician dresses his corpse in the movie's opening scenes. Costner was a friend of director Lawrence Kasdan, who promised the actor a role in a future project. That became 1985's Silverado and a breakout role for Costner. He also starred that year in the smaller films Fandango and American Flyers.

Full-blown movie star status for Costner arrived in 1987 when he starred as federal agent Eliot Ness in The Untouchables and in the leading role of the thriller No Way Out. He solidified his A-list status in the baseball-themed films Bull Durham and Field of Dreams.

Costner's greatest success came with the epic Dances with Wolves (1990). He directed and starred in the film and served as one of its producers. The film was nominated for 12 Academy Awards and won seven, including two for him personally (Best Picture and Best Director). Revenge (1990), in which he starred along with Anthony Quinn and Madeleine Stowe, directed by Tony Scott (Costner had wanted to direct it himself), was another notable film from the same year.

He followed this with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), the Oliver Stone-directed JFK (1991), The Bodyguard (1992) and Clint Eastwood's A Perfect World (1993), all of which provided huge box office or critical acclaim.

He then took the title role in the biopic Wyatt Earp (1994), directed by Kasdan. It fizzled at the summer 1994 box office. The science fiction epics Waterworld (1995) and The Postman (1997), the latter of which Costner also directed, were both major commercial disappointments and are both largely regarded by critics as artistic failures. (Waterworld in particular has made several critics' "Worst Movies of All Time" lists.)

Costner then starred in the golf comedy Tin Cup (1996) for Ron Shelton, who had previously directed him in Bull Durham. The actor developed the film Air Force One and was set to play the lead role of the President, but ultimately decided to concentrate on finishing The Postman instead. He personally offered the project to Harrison Ford.

His career revived somewhat in 2000 with Thirteen Days, in which he portrayed a top adviser to John F. Kennedy. The western Open Range, which he directed and starred in, received critical acclaim in 2003, though it was only a minor success commercially.

After that, Costner starred in The Guardian and in Mr. Brooks, in which he portrayed a serial killer. In 2008, Costner starred in Swing Vote. Costner was honored on September 6, 2006 when his hand and foot prints were set in concrete in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatremarker alongside those of other celebrated actors and entertainers.

Country music career

Costner is the singer of "Kevin Costner and Modern West," a rock/country band which he founded with the encouragement of his wife Christine. He began a worldwide tour with the band in October 2007, which included shows in Istanbulmarker and Romemarker. It also performed at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Daytona International Speedway and Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC.

The band released a country album, Untold Truths, on November 11, 2008 on Universal South Records. The album peaked at #61 on the Billboard Top Country Albums and #35 on the Top Heatseekers chart. Three singles ("Superman 14", "Long Hot Night" and "Backyard") have been released to radio, although none have charted. The single "Superman 14" has been made into a live music video.

In 2009, he went on tour with his band, the Modern West, and special guests The Alternate Routes. In August, at the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Albertamarker, Costner and the band were scheduled next on stage when a severe thunderstorm struck, collapsing the stage and stands on the main stage. One person was reported dead and forty wounded. Later, an auction was held to raise money for the two young sons of the woman killed. A dinner with Costner was auctioned off for $41,000. Two guitars, one autographed by Costner, helped raise another $10,000 each.

Personal life


While in college, Costner was a member of Delta Chi fraternity. He started dating fellow student Cindy Silva in March 1975, and their subsequent marriage three years later produced three children: Annie (born in 1984), Lily (born in 1986), and Joe (born in 1988). The couple divorced in 1994 after 16 years of marriage. He has a son, Liam (born in 1996), with Bridget Rooney, with whom he had a brief relationship following his divorce.

In 1996 he dated and lived with supermodel Elle MacPherson.

On September 25, 2004, Costner married his girlfriend of four years, Germanmarker model and handbag designer Christine Baumgartner, at his ranch in Aspen, Coloradomarker. Costner took his new bride for a canoe ride on a lake following the ceremony. The couple honeymooned in Scotlandmarker. Their first child, Cayden Wyatt Costner, was born on May 6, 2007 at a Los Angeles hospital. Their second son, Hayes Logan, was born on February 12, 2009.


Several of Costner's films have included a baseball theme. They include Chasing Dreams, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, For Love of the Game and The Upside of Anger, in which his character is a former pro baseball player.

He has a home in Austin, Texasmarker and sometimes appears at University of Texasmarker baseball practices and games. Costner is a close friend of Longhorns baseball coach Augie Garrido from Garrido's days coaching at Cal State Fullertonmarker, the actor's alma mater. He cast Garrido to play the role of the Yankee manager in For Love of the Game. He tries to attend every College World Series game that Cal State Fullerton plays in Omaha, Nebraskamarker.

Costner is a partial owner of the Zion, Illinoismarker-based Lake County Fielders minor league baseball team in the Northern League. The Fielders name is an homage to Field of Dreams, with the logo showing a ballplayer standing amid a field of corn.

Business interests

Costner owns 93.5% of the "Midnight Star" casino, in Deadwood, South Dakotamarker. The casino, its sports bar, "Diamond Lil's", and its restaurant, "Jake's", are named after characters and locations from the movie Silverado and the facility contains posters, costumes, and other memorabilia from Costner's films. In July 2004, Costner fired Francis and Carla Caneva, who managed the Midnight Star. A judge subsequently ordered Costner to pay $6.1 million to buy out the Canevas as his business partners. In October 2006, Costner asked the South Dakota Supreme Court to re-examine the ruling, as an accountant hired by the actor had determined the market value of the casino to be $3.1 million.


Costner was named ceremonial Grand Marshall of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series' Auto Club 500 which took place on February 25, 2007, at the California Speedwaymarker. In 2008, he worked with the NASCAR Media Group and CMT Films to help produce the NASCAR Documentary, "The Ride of Their Lives" which would be released in 2009. Costner would be the narrator for that documentary. Also in 2009, he was named the spokesperson for NASCAR Day which took place on May 15. The next day, May 16, he and his country music band would perform in the infield of Lowe's Motor Speedwaymarker as well as participate as a judge in the 2nd annual Pennzoil Victory Challenge before the 25th Running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.

Other interests

The actor plays regularly in celebrity golf tournaments, including the PGA Tour's annual pro-am at Pebble Beach, California and the BMW Pro-Am held each April in Greenville County, South Carolina.

Costner is a fan of the London, Englandmarker, football team Arsenal F.C. While filming Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, he was given the opportunity to attend a game and has followed the team ever since.

Since 1992, Costner has financially supported a variety of Democratic Party politicians, including Al Gore and Tom Daschle, but also made contributions to Republican Party Phil Gramm as late as 1995. He said publicly in 2008 that he has no ambition to run for political office, adding "I've lived quite a colorful life."

In the final days before the 2008 election, Costner campaigned for Barack Obama, visiting various places in Colorado—a state in which he has a home. In his speech, Costner stated the need for young voters to get to the polls, early and with enthusiasm. "We were going to change the world and we haven't," Costner said at a Colorado State University rally. "My generation didn't get it done, and we need you to help us."


Studio albums

Year Album details US Country US Heat
2008 Untold Truths 61 35


Year Single Album
2008 "Superman 14" Untold Truths
"Long Hot Night"
2009 "Backyard"


Year Film Role Notes
1982 Chasing Dreams Ed
Night Shift Frat Boy #1
Struggle Joe, Policeman #2
Frances Luther (Man in Alley) qualified for Screen Actor's Guild card
1983 Stacy's Knights Will Bonner
Table for Five Newlywed husband
The Big Chill Alex scenes deleted
Testament Phil Pitkin
1984 The Gunrunner Ted
1985 Fandango Gardner Barnes, Groover
Silverado Jake
American Flyers Marcus Sommers
1986 Sizzle Beach, U.S.A. John Logan originally filmed in 1974
Shadows Run Black Jimmy Scott
1987 The Untouchables Eliot Ness
No Way Out Lt. Cmdr. Tom Farrell
1988 Bull Durham Crash Davis
1989 Field of Dreams Ray Kinsella
1990 Revenge Michael 'Jay' Cochran also executive producer
Dances with Wolves Lieutenant John J. Dunbar Academy Award for Best Picture (shared with Jim Wilson)
Academy Award for Best Director
Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Drama (shared with Jim Wilson)
Golden Globe Award for Best Director - Motion Picture
Directors Guild of America Award for Best Directormarker
Producers Guild of America Award for Motion Picture Producer of the Year (shared with Jim Wilson)
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Picture
Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Direction

1991 Madonna: Truth or Dare Himself documentary (uncredited role)
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Robin Hood also producer
JFK Jim Garrison Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
1992 Amazing Stories: Book One Captain Episode: "The Mission", archive footage
Oliver Stone: Inside Out Himself documentary
The Bodyguard Frank Farmer also producer
1993 A Perfect World Robert 'Butch' Haynes
1994 A Century of Cinema Himself documentary
Wyatt Earp Wyatt Earp also producer
The War Steven Simmons
1995 Waterworld Mariner also producer and uncredited director
1996 Tin Cup Roy 'Tin Cup' McAvoy Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1997 Sean Connery, An Intimate Portrait Himself documentary
The Postman The Postman also director and producer
1999 Message in a Bottle Garret Blake also producer
For Love of the Game Billy Chapel
Play It to the Bone Ringside Fan Cameo
2000 Thirteen Days Kenny O'Donnell also producer
2001 3000 Miles to Graceland Thomas J. Murphy
Road to Graceland Murphy (voice) animated short
2002 Dragonfly Joe Darrow
2003 Open Range Charlie Waite also director and producer
2005 The Upside of Anger Denny Davies
Rumor Has It Beau Burroughs
2006 The Guardian Ben Randall
2007 Mr. Brooks Mr. Earl Brooks also producer
2008 Swing Vote Bud Johnson
2009 The New Daughter John James post-production
2010 The Company Men Jack Dolan post-production


  1. Todd Keith, Kevin Costner: The Unauthorized Biography, Ikonprint Publishers: Southwark, London (1991)
  2.'s Guide to Movies
  3. Pursuing The Dream Time Magazine Jun. 26, 1989
  4. The Big Chill at IMDB, trivia
  5. Kappes, Serena and Jason Bane "Kevin Costner Marries Girlfriend in Aspen." People. September 26, 2004.
  6. "Costner marries at Colorado ranch." BBC. September 27, 2004.
  7. Nudd, Tim. "Kevin Costner, Wife Have a Baby Boy." People. May 7, 2007.
  8. Silverman, Stephen M. "It's Another Boy for Kevin Costner." People. February 13, 2009.
  9. "Major League Hopes Pinned on the Minors." New York Times. April 5, 2009.
  10. Zion, IL 2010 Northern League Expansion Team Named the Lake County Fielders." Lake County May 27, 2009.
  11. Costner appeals in casino wrangle
  12. Kevin Costner Named Grand Marshal

External links

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