Kevin Costner was born in Lynwood, California on January 18, 1955. His parents were Bill Costner, a blue collar worker whose job required him to move quite frequently, and Sharon. He has an older brother named Dan. As a teenager he sang in the church choir, played basketball, football, baseball, wrote poetry, and took writing classes. After graduating from high school, he studied at California State University at Fullerton. While there he joined the fraternity of Delta Chi.
In 1978, he earned a marketing degree, and married his college sweetheart, Cindy Silva. At this point he had been acting in community theater projects, and had starred in Sizzle Beach, USA, a T&A flick that he had regretted immediately after making, and even more so when it was rereleased in 1986, after he had become famous. He worked at a marketing firm for a whole month, before a chance meeting on an airplane with Richard Burton convinced him to quit his job, move to Hollywood, and pursue his acting career full time.
Costner played in a number of bit parts before getting a good break. For example, in 1983 in The Big Chill, he was supposed to have a full 15 minutes on screen. That 15 minutes got cut, and he ended up in the role of "the corpse" in the opening scene. Many of the people working on it remembered him, however, and he landed roles in Fandango, American Flyers, and Silverado, which the director of The Big Chill cast him in to make up for cutting his scenes before.
Costner's next big break was starring as Eliot Ness in The Untouchables in 1987, alongside actors like Sean Connery and Robert De Niro. He then starred in Bull Durham in 1988, and in Field of Dreams the next year.
Then in 1990 came his biggest success ever. He was the producer, director, and star of Dances with Wolves. In it he plays an army officer after the American Civil War, who accepts a post on the plains. While there he befriends a local First Nations tribe, which puts him at odds with the rest of the military. The film won 7 academy awards, with Costner recieving the Best Picture and Best Director awards, and being nominated for Best Actor. Grossing over $900 million, his success with this epic film (224 minutes long) has inspired Costner to make more epics. Not that I can blame him, I mean, if I won an Oscar for Best Director my first time trying, I'd probably stick with it.
Since then, the reviews of his films have been mixed. From his hit The Bodyguard in 1992, to the really expensive Waterworld in 1995, to the flop The Postman in 1997 (which I personally quite enjoyed) a lot of Costner's films have been either critically reviled, box office failures, or both. He was also having personal problems during this time, divorcing his wife Cindy in 1994, with whom he had three children, Annie, Lily, and Joe. He also has another son, Liam, born in 1996 to television reporter Bridget Rooney.
He seems to have kicked his habit for making epic films, having another hit in 1996 with the comedy Tin Cup, another baseball movie with For Love of the Game in 1999, and Thirteen Days, which was about the Cuban missle crisis, in 2000.
Although most critics think Costner's glory days has passed, he is still one of the most influential men in Hollywood. He is ambitious, and doesn't really care what other people seem to think when he thinks he has a good idea. Sometimes this hasn't worked out, sometimes it has. In any case, he seems to be doing better now than he did in the mid 90's. Time will have to tell.
- Dragonfly (2002) .... Dr. Joe Darrow
- 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001) .... Murphy
- Thirteen Days (2000) .... Kenny O'Donnell
- When It Was a Game 3 (2000) (TV) (voice) .... Himself
- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars (1999) (TV) .... Himself
- Intimate Portrait: Kelly Preston (1999) (TV) .... Himself
- Play It to the Bone (1999) .... Ringside Fan ... aka Play It (1999) (USA: promotional title)
- For Love of the Game (1999) .... Billy Chapel
- Message in a Bottle (1999) .... Garret Blake
- Spirit: A Journey in Dance, Drums & Song (1998) (V) .... Narrator
- Postman, The (1997) .... The Postman
- Tin Cup (1996) .... Roy 'Tin Cup' McAvoy
- "500 Nations" (1995) (mini) TV Series .... Host
- Salute to Steven Spielberg, A (1995) (TV) .... Himself ... aka 23th American Film Institute Life Achievement Award: A Salute to Steven Spielberg, The (1995) (TV) (USA: complete title)
- Waterworld (1995) .... Mariner
- Century of Cinema, A (1994) .... Himself
- War, The (1994) .... Stephen Simmons
- Wyatt Earp (1994) .... Wyatt Earp
- Perfect World, A (1993) .... Butch Haynes
- Beyond 'JFK': The Question of Conspiracy (1992) .... Himself
- John Barry - Moviola (1992) .... Himself
- Bodyguard, The (1992) .... Frank Farmer
- 64th Annual Academy Awards, The (1992) (TV) (uncredited) .... Presenter - Best Director
- JFK (1991) .... Jim Garrison
- Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) .... Robin of Locksley
- Madonna: Truth or Dare (1991) (uncredited) .... Himself ... aka In Bed with Madonna (1991) (UK)... aka Truth or Dare (1991)
- Earth Day Special (1990) (TV) .... Himself
- Dances with Wolves (1990) .... Lieutenant Dunbar/Dances with Wolves
- Revenge (1990) .... Michael J. 'Jay' Cochran
- Field of Dreams (1989) .... Ray Kinsella
- Bull Durham (1988) .... Crash Davis, Catcher Durham Bulls
- No Way Out (1987) .... Lt. Cmdr. Tom Farrell
- Untouchables, The (1987) .... Eliot Ness
- Shadows Run Black (1986) .... Jimmy Scott
- Sizzle Beach, U.S.A. (1986) .... John Logan ... aka Malibu Hot Summer (1986)
- American Flyers (1985) .... Marcus
- Silverado (1985) .... Jake
- Fandango (1985) .... Gardner Barnes, Groover
- Gunrunner, The (1984) .... Ted
- Table for Five (1983) .... Newlywed Husband
- Testament (1983) .... Phil Pitkin
- Chasing Dreams (1982) .... Ed
- Frances (1982) (uncredited) .... Man in Alley
- Stacy's Knights (1982) .... Will Bonner ... aka Double Down (1982)... aka Touch, The (1982) (USA: video title)
- Night Shift (1982) .... Frat Boy #1