Kevin Michael Costner (born January 18, 1955) is a two-time Academy Award-winning American film actor and director who has often produced his own films.
Costner was born in Lynwood, California, the youngest of the three sons (the middle son died at childbirth) of William Costner, an electrician and ditch-digger, and Sharon Rae Tedrick, a welfare worker. He attended elementary school at McKevette School in Santa Paula, California. Costner spent his teenage years in various parts of California; he lived in Orange County, then in Visalia (Tulare County) attending Mt. Whitney High School, and finally graduated from Villa Park High School in Villa Park, California in 1973. He went on to earn a B.A. in business from California State University, Fullerton in 1978, where he was a member and President of the Delta Chi Fraternity.
Costner became interested in acting while still in college, and began taking acting lessons five nights a week. Costner later worked briefly with a California marketing firm. During a chance encounter with actor Richard Burton, who struck up a conversation with him, Burton advised the young man that if he wanted to pursue acting, he should give everything up completely and go after it with both hands. Costner married a Portuguese-American by the name of Cindy Silva. With his wife behind him, Costner worked on fishing boats and as a truck driver, and gave tours of stars' Hollywood homes to support the two while he made the audition rounds.
Costner made his film debut in the 1974 film, Sizzle Beach, U.S.A., at age 19, although the film was not released until 1986. Costner then appeared in a commercial for the Apple Lisa in 1983. He was cast in the hit The Big Chill (1983). He filmed several scenes which were planned as flashbacks, but they never made it to the final cut. He was the friend who committed suicide, the event around which the plot of the movie revolves. 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 later promised the actor a role in a future project, which became the 1985 film Silverado and became a breakout role for Costner. In return, Costner helped to get Kasdan's 1975 script for the The Bodyguard produced.
Costner's most popular success was the epic Dances with Wolves (1990). He directed and starred in the film and served as one of two producers. The film was nominated for twelve Academy Awards and won seven, including two for him personally (Best Picture and Best Director). Costner followed this with Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (1991), the Oliver Stone-directed JFK (1991) and The Bodyguard (1992), all of which provided huge box office takings or critical acclaim. Some of his subsequent film efforts have been criticized for being too long and overly serious, and for squandering financial resources. Costner has included his family members in several of his films, including Dances with Wolves (his children Annie, Lily and Joe), Tin Cup (his son Joe and his own parents), For Love of the Game (childhood home movies) and The Postman (again featuring his children Annie, Lily and Joe).
He also took the title role in the biopic Wyatt Earp (1994), directed by established collaborator Lawrence Kasdan, which fizzled at the summer 1994 box office. The science fiction epics Waterworld (1995) and The Postman (1998), the latter of which Costner also directed, were both initially considered major disappointments at the box office. However, Waterworld grossed $264 million worldwide from a $175 million budget, despite generally poor reviews. Costner developed the film Air Force One and was set to play the lead role, but ultimately decided to concentrate on finishing The Postman instead. He personally offered the project to Harrison Ford. Costner tried his hand at singing in The Postman, recording a duet with Contemporary Christian music and pop music artist Amy Grant for the end credits. The song is titled "You Didn't Have To Be So Nice".
Costner's career revived somewhat in 2000 with Thirteen Days. Open Range, which he directed and starred in, received high critical acclaim in 2003 as a Revisionist Western, though it was only a minor success commercially. In 2006, he branched into the music field, performing free concerts for charity. A June 2006 concert netted almost $100,000 for four Shreveport, Louisiana charities. Costner stars in The Guardian, which also stars Ashton Kutcher and was released September 29, 2006. He also stars in the upcoming Mr. Brooks, where he will play a serial killer. Mr Brooks also stars William Hurt, and is planned for release in June 2007. Costner was honored on September 6, 2006, when his hand and foot prints were set in the concrete in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre along side other great actors and entertainers.
Costner has three children with former wife Cindy Silva: Annie (born in 1984), Lily (born in 1986), and Joe (born in 1988). Lily is currently attending Wesleyan University. Joe is a freshman at Colorado State, and Annie graduated from Brown University in 2006. All three children were educated in part at the Chandler School in Pasadena, California. Kevin and Cindy divorced in 1994 after 16 years of marriage. He also has a son, Liam (born in 1996), with Bridget Rooney, with whom he had a brief relationship following his divorce. Only through blood tests was it revealed that Costner was Liam's father.
On September 25, 2004, after 10 years of being single, Costner married his girlfriend of four years, Christine Baumgartner, at his ranch in Aspen, Colorado. Guests, including Oprah Winfrey, Oliver Stone, and Bruce Willis, were treated to activities including horse riding and baseball during the weekend festivities. Costner took his new bride for a canoe ride on a lake following the ceremony. The couple honeymooned in Scotland. They are expecting their first child in May 2007.
Several of Costner's films have included a baseball theme. They include Chasing Dreams, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, and For Love of the Game. (In The Upside of Anger, his character is a former baseball professional.) Costner has a love for baseball and has stated he loves to play baseball even more than he loves watching it. He plays regularly in celebrity golf tournaments, including the annual BMW Pro-Am held each April in Greenville County, South Carolina.
Costner is a fan of the London Football team Arsenal F.C. While filming Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, he was given the opportunity to attend a game and has followed it ever since.
His home in Montecito, California, near Santa Barbara, is his primary residence.
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