Steven Seagal is a striking and somewhat boyishly handsome looking (often with ponytail) and usually impeccably dressed action star who burst onto the martial arts film scene in 1988 in the fast-paced Warner Bros. film Above the Law (1988). The enigmatic Seagal commenced his martial arts training at the age of seven under the tutelage of well-known karate instructor and author Fumio Demura, and in the 1960s commenced his aikido training in Orange County, CA, under the instruction of Harry Ishisaka. Seagal received his first dan accreditation in 1974, after he had moved to Japan to further his martial arts training. After spending many years there honing his skills, he achieved the ranking of a 7th dan in the Japanese martial art "aikido" and was instructing wealthy clients in Los Angeles when he came to the attention of Hollywood power broker Michael Ovitz.
Ovitz saw star value in the imposing-looking Seagal. The high-octane action movie genre was in full swing in the late 1980s, and Seagal's debut movie, "Above the Law", was wildly received by action fans and actually received some complimentary critical reviews. He followed up "Above the Law" with another slam-bang thriller, Hard to Kill (1990), as a cop shot in an ambush by the mob who revives from a coma to take his revenge. The movie also starred Seagal's wife at the time, leggy Kelly LeBrock, who was married to him from 1987 to 1996 and is the mother of three of his children. His next outing was battling voodoo-using Jamaican drug "posses" in the hyper-violent Marked for Death (1990), before returning to fight psychotic mob gangster William Forsythe in the even more punishing Out for Justice (1991). Seagal was by now enormously popular, and his next movie, the big-budgeted Under Siege (1992), set aboard the battleship USS Missouri and also starring Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey, was arguably his best film to date, impressing both fans and critics alike.
Seagal's fighting style was rather different from that of other on-screen martial arts dynamos such as Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme, who were predominantly fighters from striking arts background such as karate or tang soo do. However, aikido is built around using an opponent's inertia and body weight to employ various locks, chokes and holds that incapacitate him. Seagal carries himself differently, too, and often appears wearing Italian designer clothes and usually favors an all-black outfit, generally with a three-quarter-length coat with an elaborate trim. Additionally, Seagal's on-screen characters were often seemingly benign or timid individuals; however, when the going gets rough they reveal themselves to be deadly ex-CIA operatives, or retired Special Forces soldiers capable of enormous destruction!
As his box-office drawing power grew, Seagal began to infuse his film projects with his personal and spiritual beliefs, especially concerning the abuse of the environment. He appeared as an oil fire expert who turns against his corrupt CEO (played by Michael Caine) in On Deadly Ground (1994) to save the Eskimo population from an oil disaster; in Fire Down Below (1997) he plays an environmental agency troubleshooter investigating the dumping of toxic waste in Kentucky coal mines, and in the slow-moving The Patriot (1998) he plays a medical specialist trying to stop a lethal virus unleashed by an extremist group.
Action fans struggled to come to terms with social messaging being built into bone-crunching fight films; however, Seagal's box-office clout remained fairly strong, and more traditional chopsocky projects followed with the "buddy cop" film The Glimmer Man (1996), then almost a cameo role as a Navy SEAL alongside CIA analyst Kurt Russell before Seagal is sucked out of a jet at 35,000 feet in Executive Decision (1996).
In 1999 Seagal took a different turn in his film projects with the surprising genteel Prince of Central Park (2000), about a child living inside NYC's most famous park. He returned to more familiar territory with further high-voltage, guns-blazing action in Exit Wounds (2001), Half Past Dead (2002), Out for a Kill (2003) (V) and Belly of the Beast (2003) (V).
Unbeknownst to many, in 1997 Seagal publicly announced that one of his Buddhist teachers, His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, had accorded Seagal as a tulku, the reincarnation of a Buddhist Lama. This initial announcement was met with some disbelief until Penor Rinpoche himself gave a confirmation statement on Seagal's new title. Seagal has repeatedly discussed his involvement in Buddhism and how he devotes many hours studying and meditating this ancient Eastern religion.
While his box-office appeal has somewhat declined from his halcyon blockbusters of the mid-'90s, Seagal still has a very loyal fan base in the action movie genre and continues to remain a highly bankable star.
|Erdenetuya Batsukh||(2009 - present) 1 child|
|Kelly LeBrock||(5 September 1987 - 1996) (divorced) 3 children|
|Adrienne Larussa||(31 May 1984 - September 1987) (annulled)|
|Miyako Fujitani||(December 1974 - 1987) (divorced) 2 children|
In all of his films, he is seen holding a Colt M1911A1 semi-automatic pistol. He owns several in his private collection.
Uses Aikido in fight scenes
Quiet, husky voice
Is the first foreigner ever to own and operate an Aikido dojo in Japan. Known as "Master Take Shigemichi", he was the chief instructor at the Aikido Tenshin Dojo in the city of Osaka.
Has three children with Kelly LeBrock: Annaliza, Dominick, and Arissa.
Is an Aikido-master - 7th Dan.
His love of guitar and appreciation of rasta music led him to study with a teacher in Jamaica, where he owns a vacation home.
His Santa Inez (CA) home includes 200 acres planted with cabernet grapes, which are sold to wineries after harvesting.
Master in Japanese Kendo
Has been a bodyguard
His first seven films were all starring roles, ending with Executive Decision (1996).
Is a singer and guitarist.
Has worked with Damian Chapa and Byron Mann in two of his films as his teammates. He worked with Chapa in Under Siege (1992), in which Chapa is a fellow sailor, and with Mann in Belly of the Beast (2003) (V), in which Mann's character is his friend and partner.
Owns a very large collection of guitars and samurai swords.
While his acting in Above the Law (1988) gained praise from the likes of Roger Ebert, Seagal has repeatedly faced criticism from both critics and fans who accuse him of playing the same character in many of his movies, as well as displaying a lack of emotional range. In fact, some people refer to embracing typecasting as "Seagalism."
The February 17, 1989 draft of the screenplay for Hard to Kill (1990) credits Steven Pressfield & Ronald Shusett & Steven Seagal as writers. Pressfield & Shusett are not credited in the final film and Seagal only received an acting credit.
Speaks Japanese fluently
All of his main leading role movies have been rated "R" except for Half Past Dead (2002) which was the only Seagal film to be a "PG13".
Used to own a production company with Julius R. Nasso called Seagal/Nasso Productions from 1994-2000.
As of 2006, his movies have earned $600 million worldwide.
Discovered by then-head of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Michael Ovitz, who was one of Seagal's martial arts students.
Father of Savannah Seagal with Arissa Wolf.
Owns new production company Streamroller Productions with Bing Dang and Joe Halpin after his old production company Seagal/Nasso Productions dissolved.
Although he is a master in Aikido and Kendo, he also holds black belts in Karate and Judo.
Was asked to play a cameo in Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables (2010) but had to turn it down because of the fallout relationship with producer Avi Lerner. However, Seagal will join in another big ensemble film, Machete (2010).
For almost 20 years, Seagal has been working as a fully commissioned deputy with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office in Louisiana.
Was already 36 when he made his acting debut in Above the Law (1988).
Lives in Jefferson Parish in Louisiana while he works as a police officer.
While filming an episode of "Steven Seagal: Lawman" (2009), the torso of one of his daughters shows up in the background of a shot while the crew is filming the training of Steven's two German Shepherds.
Has been visiting children's hospitals for more than 25 years, and has stated that he will continue to do so until the day that he dies.
Offered his fellow Sheriff's Deputies free tickets to a concert benefiting the New Orleans Children's Hospital. They accepted the offer and attended the concert.
Has another child with Arissa (the nanny during his marriage to Kelly LeBrock, for which their third child was named after).
Has a sister named Brenda who lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) Brazilian fighter Anderson Silva (aka "The Spider") has learned some moves with him.
He is of Russian-Jewish, Irish, and Mongolian descent.
In an interview on Reelz Channel (aired January 4, 2013), he stated he has worked with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, for over 25 years.
I am hoping that I can be known as a great writer and actor some day, rather than a sex symbol.
[on what he thinks are the most important lessons that one should strive to live by in Aikido] Try to find the path of least resistance and use it without harming others. Live with integrity and morality, not only with people but with all beings.
[on his feelings regarding past movies] Hollywood is a mercurial place where people are sort of . . . a victim of their environment and how the environment changes. Movies that would be timely now, ten years from now would be passé and nobody would be interested in the subjects. All the movies that I have done I have not been in control of. Sometimes there is a contractual situation where you go to the studio and they kind of tell you which ones they want you to do. Be that as it may, I have also been lucky in the sense that I have been able to make environmentally conscientious movies as well as politically conscientious movies. Above the Law (1988) was a politically conscientious movie. On Deadly Ground (1994) was environmentally conscientious, so I want to keep making movies like that which are more geared with a certain entertainment value but also bring people forward into contemplation.
[on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines] I've never met her, but my impression of her is that she's very straight, sincere, honest, really talented president, and I hope she gets re-elected.
[on actors who become political leaders] [Ronald Reagan] was a pretty good one, but I think it really depends on the situation.
The secret is not to act, but to be.
Action films are great, but an action film that has characters that are compelling and a story that people can care about is something even better. We love to see action heroes that are vulnerable, that are sensitive, that are family people, that are accessible.
False FBI accusations fueled thousands of articles saying that I terrorize journalists and associate with the Mafia . . . these kinds of inflammatory allegations scare studio heads and independent producers -- and kill careers.
(April 2004) Appeared in Mountain Dew commercial.
(March 2006) Is involved with an energy drink line, Lightning Bolt, that is available at Wal-Mart.
|You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.|
|With our Resume service you can add photos and build a complete resume to help you achieve the best possible presentation on the IMDb.|
Click here to add your resume and/or your photos to IMDb.