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Vintage Hunk: Kurt Russell

By Mike McCrann

Born in Massachusetts and raised in California, Kurt Russell became a child star with the lead in The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters. He was all over the tube in the late-'60s and then signed a 10 year contract with the Walt Disney Company. TCM's genial host, Robert Osborne, later called him: "The studio's top star of the '70s."

Then Russell grew from teenager to young leading man. His biggest disappointment was losing the Han Solo Star Wars lead to Harrison Ford. However, he hit pay-dirt with his Emmy Award-nominated performance in the TV film Elvis. No actor before or since has better captured The King's talent and charisma.

Movie stardom followed with cult director John Carpenter (Halloween) in the great action films Escape from New York, Escape from L.A., and The Thing. These films established Kurt Russell as a true action star and sex symbol.

Serious films followed, with the critical smash Silkwood co-starring Meryl Streep and Cher. Russell received a Golden Globe nomination for his excellent performance in this Mike Nichols-directed drama. (Of course, the film’s numerous shirtless scenes only made the film more enjoyable for Russell’s gay fans.)

After a failed marriage to actress Season Hubley, Russell met actress Goldie Hawn and they’ve been together ever since. They co-starred in two really good movies, Swing Shift and the romantic comedy Overboard. Neither of these films were a hit at the box office, but they are both worthy of revival and show Kurt Russell as a true leading man with acting chops.

Today, Kurt Russell keeps working regularly. At 62, Russell can look back at a very exotic resume: Fun Disney films that show a cute talented kid, early films like Elvis and Silkwood and a bevy of cult classics.

If you want to see Kurt Russell at his most sensitive rent or buy Silkwood or Swing Shift. But if you want to see him as a hunky badass, check out Escape from New York.

Kurt Russell was a vintage child/teen star who truly hit his hunk years in the 1980s, proving he had both the looks and talent of a true star.

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