Rene Russo (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Rene Marie Russo (born February 17, 1954) is an American actress and former model. She is perhaps best known for starring in a series of popular, big budget thrillers and action movies throughout the 1990s. She has been nominated for several awards, including two nominations for the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Russo was born in Burbank, California, the daughter of Shirley (née Balocca), a factory worker and barmaid, and Nino Russo, a sculptor and car mechanic who left the family when Rene was two. Her father and maternal grandfather were of Italian descent. Russo grew up with her sister, Toni, and their single mother. She attended Burroughs High School (where her classmates included director Ron Howard), but eventually dropped out in the tenth grade. To help her family, she began taking a variety of part-time jobs including working in an eyeglass factory, and as a movie cashier.
Russo started a modeling career after allegedly being spotted at a 1972 Rolling Stones concert by John Crosby, an agent from International Creative Management. With his encouragement, Russo applied to, and was signed by, Ford Modeling Agency, and went on to appear in magazine covers for Vogue, Mademoiselle, and Cosmopolitan, as well as advertisements for perfume and cosmetics.
By her 30th birthday, demand for her as a model began to dwindle. She did a few more commercials and then turned her back on modeling and show business for a while. She began to study theater and acting, and began appearing in theater roles at small regional theaters in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California. At one point, she took acting lessons from veteran actor Allan Rich. They were interviewed on CNN in 1980.
Russo made her television series debut in 1987, with a supporting role in the TV series Sable. Two years later, she made her debut in film as the girlfriend of the Tom Berenger character in Major League. Her breakthrough role is generally considered to be her part as internal affairs detective Lorna Cole in Lethal Weapon 3 (and again in Lethal Weapon 4) opposite Mel Gibson.
She also tried her hand at comedy in Tin Cup with Kevin Costner, Get Shorty with John Travolta and as Natasha Fatale in the live-action film version of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. She starred in at least one major studio film per year from 1992 to 2002.
Russo has been married to screenwriter Dan Gilroy since 1992. They have one daughter, Rose (born August 31, 1993), and the family currently lives in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California. Her sister Toni was married to lyricist Bernie Taupin in the 1980s, and Rene appeared alongside her sister in the 1987 video for Taupin's solo song, "Citizen Jane."