Who is Rene Russo?
American actress, producer and model Rene Marie Russo was born in Burbank, California USA, on 17 February 1954, making Aquarius her zodiac sign. Primarily know for her modeling career, she’s also appeared in only TV series and movies, and is probably known best for playing the lead character Nina Romina in the critically acclaimed 2014 crime thriller movie “Nightcrawler”, written and directed by Dan Gilroy, and which also starred Jake Gyllenhaal and Bill Paxton. It follows conman Louis Bloom who’s ventured into crime journalism, and the movie won 44 of its 168 award nominations, including an Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Original Screenplay.
Education and early life
Rene was raised in Burbank alongside her sister Toni, solely by their mother Shirley (nee Balocca) as their father Nino Russo abandoned the family when Rene was two; Nino was a sculptor and car mechanic, while Shirley was a barmaid and factory worker.
Rene studied at Burroughs High School, and one of her classmates was future famous movie actor, screenwriter, producer and director Ronald William ‘Ron’ Howard. She suffered from scoliosis during her teenage years, and wore a full-torso brace, and was bullied because of her tall statute, scoliosis and being a geek, and thus dropped out during her second year at Burroughs.
She initially worked as a movie theatre cashier and at an eyeglass factory, prior to signing her first modelling contract and moving to New York City.
Life before acting
It was in 1972, aged 18 that Rene was noticed by a modelling scout while attending a concert of The Rolling Stones; she signed a contract with Ford Modeling Agency, and became one of the most sought after models in the USA.
In the ‘70s and the first half of the ‘80s, Rene could’ve been seen featured on the cover page of numerous fashion magazines, with some of the most popular amongst these having been “Cosmopolitan”, “Mademoiselle” and “Vogue”.
After Rene turned 30, the demand for her as a model began to wane, and she thus began studying acting, and appeared in a number of plays performed at small theatres; at one point, Rene was mentored by the late American actor Benjamin Norman Schultz, perhaps remembered better by his professional name Allan Rich.
When will someone finally pay me to write about how 70s Cosmopolitan covers are dense with meaning, like… pic.twitter.com/bcp4GtHV66
— Abbey Bender (@Abbey_Bender) January 20, 2017
Roles in TV series
Rene’s had only a single TV series role: she played the main character Eden Kendell in all the seven episodes of the 1987 adventure “Sable”, created by Gary Sherman, and which also starred Lewis Van Bergen and Ken Page. It follows a children’s book author who becomes a vigilante at night, and the series was nominated for an American Society of Cinematographers Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Regular Series.
Roles in movies
Rene made her debut film appearance in the 1988 romantic comedy “Meanwhile in Santa Monica”, directed by David Gamburg, and in which Rene starred alongside Richard Kind and Christopher Carroll. It follows a Russian emigrant family as they’re running their restaurant Russian Nights.
Some of Rene’s following roles were in the 1989 sports comedy “Major League”, the 1990 romantic fantasy comedy “Mr. Destiny”, and the 1991 crime action “One Good Cop”. The year 1992 saw her play Lorna Cole in the hit action crime thriller “Lethal Weapon 3”, which Richard Donner directed, and which starred Joe Pesci, Danny Glover and Mel Gibson. It follows police detectives Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh as they’re trying to catch a former police officer who’s selling guns to street gangs, and the movie won three of its seven award nominations.
Some of Rene’s notable performances in the remainder of the decade were in the 1996 romantic comedy “Tin Cup”, the 1997 adventure comedy “Buddy” and the 1999 romantic crime thriller “The Thomas Crown Affair”.
The year 2005 saw Rene play Toni, one of the main characters in the critically acclaimed crime sports drama “Two for the Money”, directed by D. J. Caruso, and which also starred Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey. It follows a former college football star who’s suffered an injury, and become involved in the sports gambling business; the film was nominated for two awards.
Rene took a six-year break from 2005 through 2011, when she played Frigga in the action fantasy “Thor”, which Kenneth Branagh directed, and which starred Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins and Chris Hemsworth. It follows arrogant god Thor who’s been cast out of Asgard, and has become Earth’s (Midgard) defender; the movie won five of its 35 award nominations.
Rene’s since appeared in only a couple of movies, with her three most recent roles having been in the 2017 crime comedy “Just Getting Started”, and in 2019 the mystery horror thriller “Velvet Buzzsaw” and the action adventure “Avengers: Endgame”; she’s once again taken a break from acting, as she’s had no roles for three years now.
Rene received special thanks for both the 1998 short action documentary movie “Pure Lethal! New Angles. New Scenes. And Explosive Outtakes” and the 2000 short documentary film “In the Line of Fire: The Ultimate Sacrifice”.
She produced the popular 2005 crime sports movie “Two for the Money”.
Some of Rene’s recent talk-show appearances have been in “Made in Hollywood”, “Dish Nation” and “Entertainers with Byron Allen”.
Awards and nominations
Rene’s won four of her 33 award nominations – a 1999 Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actress – Action/Adventure”, for her performance in “Lethal Weapon 4”, and then three awards for her performance in “Nightcrawler”: a 2014 San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress, a 2015 AARP Movies for Grownups Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and a 2015 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.
She was nominated for a 2015 BAFTA Film Award for Best Supporting Actress, also for “Nightcrawler”.
Rene made a guest appearance in the talk-show “The Queen Latifah Show” in 2014, and revealed that she’s been struggling with bipolar disorder since her teenage years. She was initially able to cope with the disorder, but an emotionally turbulent time led her to start taking medication which she had previously been reluctant to do; she’s revealed that the medication has made her life a lot easier.
Love life and marriage
Rene avoids sharing the details of her love life with the public, but has still allowed her fans to take a glimpse into it.
She’s been married to American screenwriter and director Daniel Christopher ‘Dan’ Gilroy since 14 March 1992; the two met on the set of the movie “Freejack”. Dan has 14 writing credits, and is probably known best for writing the 2014 movie “Nightcrawler”, the 2017 crime thriller film “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Denzel Washington) and the 2019 horror mystery thriller movie “Velvet Buzzsaw”.
Rene gave birth to their daughter Rose Gilroy on 31 August 1993, and she’s today a model.
Rene’s yet to mention other men whom she’s maybe been with, she’s married to Daniel Christopher ‘Dan’ Gilroy as of April 2023, and they have a daughter together.
Interesting facts and hobbies
Rene loves American sports, with Major League Baseball (MLB) being her favorite; she’s a fan of the Boston Red Sox, and often attends their games played at Fenway Park.
She was cast to play Dr. Chase Meridian, Batman’s love interest in the critically acclaimed 1995 movie “Batman Forever”, however, after Michael Keaton (Batman) was replaced by Val Kilmer, she was replaced by Nicole Kidman.
Rene’s a deeply religious Christian.
She has six paternal half-siblings.
Rene’s allergic to sesame.
She doesn’t use Instagram, but her fan page is today followed by over 8,000 people, while more than 100 pictures have been posted onto it.
Rene’s favorite actress is Renee Zellweger, while some of her favorite movies include “Judy”, “Chicago” and “Shark Tale”.
Height, eyes and wealth
Rene’s age is 69. Her hair’s blonde and eyes are green, she’s 5ft 8ins (1.73m) tall and weighs around 140lbs (63kgs).
Rene’s net worth’s been estimated at over $40 million, as of April 2023.