- Birth name:
- Rene Marie Russo
- Date of Birth:
- 17 February 1954 Burbank, California, USA
- 5' 8" (1.73 m)
Born in 1954, Rene Russo grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in Burbank, a Los Angeles suburb. Her father, a sculptor and mechanic, left the family when Rene was just two, leaving her mother, Shirly, as a single mom with two daughters. (Rene has one sister, named Toni). In junior high school, Rene was plagued with scoliosis and had to wear a full-body cast. She was already a tall girl, which earned her the nickname "Jolly Green Giant" from her classmates. She entered Burroughs High School, along with classmate Ron Howard, and even though her brace had been removed, she was still somewhat of a loner. Unable to deal with academics and the school social scene, Rene dropped out of school in the tenth grade. Since money was tight, she began to take a variety of part-time jobs over the next 18 months, many for the free benefits. She sold refreshments at a movie theater, where she could see free movies; worked as a restaurant hostess, where her meals were free; and worked as a store cashier at Disneyland, where she had free admission. She often had two jobs at one time. Her last job, which was solely for the paycheck, was a full-time job at an eyeglass factory, inspecting contact lenses.In 1972, the 18-year old was attending a Rolling Stones concert when she was approached by John Crosby, a scout and manager from International Creative Management. He told her she should be a model and had test photos made of her. Within a few months, Rene signed a contract with Ford Modeling Agency and within a year had become a successful print and photographers model. Soon her modeling breakthrough came when she graced the cover of Vogue. By 1975, she had appeared on numerous magazine covers, was one of the most successful models in America, and was also starting to be seen in several TV commercials through the 1980s. She would define what a top fashion model was for years to come.By her 30th birthday, demand for her began to dwindle, as it did for most models at that age. She did a few more commercials and then turned her back on modeling and show business for a while. Financially secure for the next several years, she began an intense period of literature and Christian theology. She also began to study theater and acting, and began appearing in theater roles at small regional theaters in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California.Her television series debut came in 1987 with a supporting part on the short-lived TV series "Sable" (1987). In 1989, at age 35, she made her motion picture debut with the part of the lead characters girlfriend in the film Major League (1989). Most of her subsequent roles were that of girlfriends and supportive wives in several films until her breakthrough as an internal affairs detective in Lethal Weapon 3 (1992). For the next ten years, she was in demand everywhere, and was praised for her ability to hold her own against her major male co-stars. Her popular dramatic film roles include playing a Secret Service Agent preventing an assassination in In the Line of Fire (1993), a scientist controlling a disease in Outbreak (1995), a mother of a kidnapped son in Ransom (1996), and her best role to date, as an investigator who falls in love with the thief she is hired to trap in the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair (1999). Rene also reprised her role in Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) and tried her hand at comedy with such films as Get Shorty (1995), Tin Cup (1996), The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000), Big Trouble (2002), and Showtime (2002). She has acted opposite some of the nation's most famous leading men, including Clint Eastwood, Pierce Brosnan, Dustin Hoffman, Mel Gibson, Morgan Freeman, Tim Allen, Dennis Quaid, Michael Keaton, Kevin Costner, John Travolta, Matthew McConaughey, Robert De Niro, Eddie Murphy and Al Pacino. Her attempt to carry a film on her own, Buddy (1997), proved unsuccessful. In 2005, after a three-year hiatus, Rene appeared in Two for the Money (2005), a drama about sports gambling, and a remake of the family film Yours, Mine and Ours (2005), although she has not been seen in a film since then.Rene Russo is married to screenwriter Dan Gilroy and the couple has one daughter named Rose. They reside in Brentwood, California.