Who is Rene Russo: Biography, Family, Personal Life, Career and More
Who is Rene Russo: Biography, Family, Personal Life, Career and More

Once upon a time, Rene Russo was one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood. It was the 1990s and she had crashed onto the scene following her film debut in the 1989 sports comedy Major League.

She was accidentally discovered by her manager John Crosby at a Rolling Stones concert at 18 years old. She was a high school dropout, and suddenly entered the star-studded world of the public eye. She started as a fashion model, later going on to become a leading lady. Best known in her heyday for lead roles in Lethal Weapon 3, In The Line Of Fire, Get Shorty, and The Thomas Crown Affair, Russo majorly slowed down (and even took a long hiatus) since 2005. Let's take a look at her biography, family, private life, and career below!

Rene Russo's Biography and Early Life

Rene Marie Russo was born on February 17th of 1954 in Burbank, California. Raised in a working-class family with mainly Italian roots, Rene's father left the family when she was two years old. During her high school years, Rene struggled immensely with scoliosis, a spinal condition. She was forced to wear a full-torso brace, and her tall height earned her the nickname "jolly green giant" during her school years.

She grew up with her mother and sister, Toni Russo, their father leaving as Russo turned two. She attended Burroughs High School, but due to financial constraints and the bullying she endured for her tall height, she was forced to drop out in the tenth grade.

By the tenth grade, Russo had been bullied so severely that she decided to drop out. Her family often struggled to get by financially, and she worked a number of part-time jobs along with her sister to help out. Eventually, Russo was spotted by a modeling scout (allegedly at a Rolling Stones concert) and whisked away to New York City, where she began her career as a model.

Rene Russo's Family: Husband and Daughter

Photo: eightieskids
Photo: eightieskids

The actress is one of the few celebrities in the entertainment world who has never experienced relationship or marital hardship. Rene Russo married in her late thirties at the age of 38. On March 14, 1992, she married Dan Gilroy.

Dan also works in the same field as Rene, as a screenwriter. Russo met her husband on the set of the film Freejack. The couple has never had a disagreement throughout their relationship. They have one child, Rose, who was born on August 31, 1993.

Russo and Gilroy's only child was only a pre-teen when her mother took her sabbatical from acting. Rose is following in Russo's footsteps with a foray into the world of modeling, where she's beginning to make some waves after signing with Elite Model Management in 2016.

Inheriting her mother's sharp mind as well as her good looks, Rose also graduated with a double major in psychology & political science from Colgate University, an achievement which she attributes to Russo, telling Vogue: "my mother always told me that she wanted me to get my education, and I felt it was important, because it was something she'd worked so hard to give me."

Proud mother Russo describes her daughter as "strong and empowered", and tells Today that, though she may be the mother of the pair, it's her "amazing" daughter Rose who is always teaching her new things.

Rene Russo's Mental Health

Rene Russo has admitted that she suffers from bipolar disorder, and that she has been dealing with it since she was a young child. Eventually, Russo started taking medication for this ailment.

What is the nationality of Rene Russo?

Rene Russo is an American actress, model, and producer and was born on February 17, 1954, in Burbank, California. She has Italian, German, and English ancestry.

Rene Russo's Career

Photo: thelist
Photo: thelist

A tall and sexy actress in the Geena Davis mold, Rene Russo has made a career out of playing brainy-but-nutty love interests in Hollywood action films and comedies. She began as a model, appearing in ads for Revlon cosmetics and in magazines such as Vogue in the 1970s and 1980s. Russo shifted to acting in the late 1980s and made a strong debut as the catcher's ex-girlfriend in the cult baseball comedy Major League (1989, starring Charlie Sheen). Her heyday was the early 1990s, when she co-starred with a glamour lineup of leading men in quick succession : Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon III, 1992), Clint Eastwood (In the Line of Fire, 1993), John Travolta (Get Shorty, 1995) and Kevin Costner (Tin Cup, 1996). She had the leading role in the strange zoological biopic Buddy (1997), then matched chiseled forty-something physiques with Pierce Brosnan in the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair (with Russo in the role created by Faye Dunaway). She rang in the new century by playing nefarious Natasha Fatale in The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000). In 2005 she co-starred with Al Pacino in the sports gambling drama Two For the Money, written by her husband, the screenwriter Dan Gilroy.

She took a six-year hiatus from Hollywood

Back in 2005, Russo took a break from acting, after starring in family comedy Yours, Mine and Ours alongside Dennis Quaid. The main reason for Russo's sabbatical was the same as most who decide to take time off from work, she'd "had enough" of acting, and was starting to burn out. As she told Buzzfeed in 2014:

"I worked constantly. I didn't really ever take a break. I just think I hit a wall. I mean, even emotionally. I was not in any shape to do a movie. I was depressed. It was not a good time for me. One of the reasons I hit the wall is I really wanted to do other things, but I didn't know how to get off the treadmill."

She returned to the scene six years later for a role in Disney's Marvel movie Thor in 2011, playing the titular character's mother, the ancient goddess Frigga. She returned to this role again in 2013 for the sequel Thor: The Dark World, and, at the time of writing, has appeared in four other movies since 2011.

Part of the reason Russo decided to end her self-imposed acting hiatus and return to the fold was due to meeting fans who told her that they missed seeing her in movies, as she told Buzzfeed News.

She worked for the government and became a dairy farmer

So what does a movie star do when she takes some time off from work? If she's Rene Russo, that downtime involves watching a lot of documentaries. Partly due to dropping out of school at such a young age, Russo admitted to Buzzfeed that she had "huge holes in [her] education". Her solution to this problem was to watch tons of documentaries on world history and other subjects that interested her.

Russo then went on to work for the Department of Water and Power in L.A., in an effort to revitalize native gardens in the midst of a California drought. And after that? She started her own business: White Cow Dairy, a milk and yogurt producer located in Upstate New York. As she told Buzzfeed News in 2014, Russo runs the dairy and its 40 cows with a farmer friend. And she much prefers milking cows to "getting up and having makeup on my face at 4:30 in the morning."

She's been collaborating with her husband

Russo has been married to screenwriter and director Dan Gilroy since March 1992. The two met on the set of the Gilroy-penned movie Freejack and were married soon after, with Gilroy moving to Los Angeles to be with her, where he has lived and worked ever since.

The couple turned out to be regular collaborators, most notably with the critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated Nightcrawler in 2014. Russo co-starred in Nightcrawler alongside Jake Gyllenhaal, which was written and directed by Gilroy.

Indeed, Russo tells Buzzfeed that the part of Nina in Nightcrawler was penned specifically for her by her husband, a role with which she swept the board, gaining numerous award nominations for Best Supporting Actress — including a BAFTA nod — and three wins for her role, from the AARP, the San Diego Film Critics, and the Saturn Awards.

Rene Russo's Net Worth

Photo: bamsmackpow
Photo: bamsmackpow

Rene Russo is reported to have a net worth of between $40 million and $50 million. According to numerous estimations, her annual income will be between $5 and $8 million in 2022. Her primary source of revenue is from acting in feature films and television shows, as well as through advertising, promotions, and brand partnerships.

Rene Russo's Real Estate

In 2019, it was reported that Rene and Dan were renting out their Brentwood home for $19,500 per month. Built in the early 90s, this residence sits on over an acre of land on a wooded hillside. Complete with four bedrooms and 3,700 square feet of living space, the home also offers exceptional views of the surrounding canyons and mountains. The couple have owned the residence since 1999, when they purchased it for $2.4 million.

In addition, they own another property in the Toluca Lake community, which Russo personally purchased in the late 70s. This cottage features two bedrooms. It was widely assumed that after putting one Brentwood property up for rent, the couple simply moved to their other home in the same neighborhood. Rene and Dan have owned a separate home in Brentwood since the mid 90s, and they purchased it for $3.75 million. Judging by the price tag, we can safely assume that the Hollywood pair took the nicer home for themselves while renting out their less luxurious residence for a little extra passive income.

What is Rene Russo doing now?

In 2011, Rene Russo returned to the acting scene playing the role of the ancient goddess Frigga in the movie Thor and its sequel Thor: The Dark World, followed by Avengers: Endgame in 2019.

Russo also worked for the government at the Department of Water and Power in Los Angeles and started her own successful business, White Cow Dairy which focuses on producing yogurt and milk located in the Upstate New York.

Rene Russo's Awards & Achievements

For ‘Lethal Weapon 4,’ Rene Russo won the ‘Favorite Supporting Actress – Action/Adventure Award’ at the 1999 ‘Blockbuster Entertainment Awards.’

Arguably the best movie of her career, ‘Nightcrawler’ has brought her multiple awards and accolades. In 2014, she was honored with the ‘San Diego Film Critics Society Award’ for ‘Best Supporting Actress’ and ‘Saturn Award’ for ‘Best Supporting Actress.’ In 2015, she won the ‘AARP Award’ for ‘Best Supporting Actress’ for portraying ‘Nina Romina’ in the film.

Rene Russo's Famous Works

  • Film Appearances
  • Meanwhile in Santa Monica, 1988
  • Lynn Wells, Major League, Paramount, 1989
  • Cindy Jo Bumpers, Mr. Destiny, Buena Vista, 1990
  • Rita Lewis, One Good Cop, Buena Vista, 1991
  • Julie Redlund, Freejack, Warner Bros., 1992
  • Lorna Cole, Lethal Weapon 3, Warner Bros., 1992
  • Lilly Raines, In the Line of Fire, Columbia, 1993
  • (Uncredited) Lynn Wells, Major League II, Warner Bros., 1994
  • Dr. Roberta "Robby" Keough, Outbreak, Warner Bros., 1995
  • Karen Flores, Get Shorty, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1995
  • Dr. Molly Griswold, Tin Cup, Warner Bros., 1996
  • Kate Mullen, Ransom, Buena Vista, 1996
  • Gertrude "Trudy" Lintz, Buddy, Columbia, 1997
  • Lorna Cole, Lethal Weapon 4 (also known as Lethal 4), Warner Bros., 1998
  • Catherine Olds Banning, The Thomas Crown Affair, United Artists, 1999
  • Natasha Fatale, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (also known as Die Abenteuer von Rocky und Bullwinkle), Universal, 2000
  • Anna Herk, Big Trouble, Buena Vista, 2002
  • Chase Renzi, Showtime, Warner Bros., 2002
  • Television Appearances
  • Series
  • Eden Kendell, Sable, ABC, 1987-1988
  • Specials
  • Herself, Mel Gibson's Video Diary 2: Lethal Weapon 3, 1991
  • Herself, In the Line of Fire: Behind the Scenes with the Secret Service, 1993
  • Narrator, The Free Willy Story: Keiko's Journey Home (also known as Keiko's Story), The Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, 1996
  • A Day with..., Lifetime, 1997
  • Herself, The Warner Bros. Story: No Guts, No Glory--75 Years of Blockbusters, TNT, 1998
  • Herself, The Warner Bros. Story: No Guts, No Glory--75 Years of Laughter, TNT, 1998
  • A Home for the Holidays, CBS, 1999, 2002, 2003
  • Herself, Comedy Central Roast of Denis Leary, Comedy Central, 2003
  • Awards Presentations
  • Presenter, The 67th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1995
  • Cohost, A Salute to Clint Eastwood (also known as The AmericanFilm Institute Salute to Clint Eastwood and The 24th American Film Institute Life Achievement Award: A Salute to Clint Eastwood), ABC, 1996
  • Episodic
  • Guest, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1997
  • Guest, The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, 1999, 2002
  • Guest, Good Morning America (also known as GMA), ABC, 2002
  • Guest, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 2002
  • Videos
  • (As Renee Russo) Herself, In the Line of Fire: The Ultimate Sacrifice, 2000
  • Music Videos
  • "Lady Luck," by the Brian Setzer Orchestra, 1994

The Real Reason You Don't Hear From Rene Russo Anymore

Though Russo is firm, if only occasionally, back into the movie-making sphere these days, we shouldn't hold our collective breath to see her appearing on a television show any time soon. She's only appeared on a TV show once, the short-lived Sable back in the 1980s, which only aired seven episodes.

Speaking to Collider, Russo doesn't think she'll be sinking her teeth into the TV series world again anytime soon, mainly due to the "brutal" schedules that come with working in TV. She says it would have to be something pretty "spectacular" to entice her to appear on the little box, but with Rene Russo, we wouldn't count anything out just yet.

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