Kevin Costner

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Kevin Costner at the premiere of Hidden Figures (December 2016)

Kevin Michael Costner (born January 18, 1955 in Lynwood, California ) is an American actor , film producer , entrepreneur , director and musician . He celebrated his greatest success in 1990 with the western epic Dances with the Wolf , for which he won the Oscar for best film and for best director .

life and career

Kevin Costner's Irish-born mother, Sharon Rae Tedrick, was a social worker and his German-born father, William Costner, was an electrician. In addition to his German and Irish ancestors, Costner also has English, Swiss, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish roots. Costner was a member of the church choir during his school days and wrote poetry on the side. He was considered an outsider and daydreamer. Sport has always been one of his great hobbies; as a teenager he played basketball , baseball and American football , later he was a golfer . From 1973 he took acting classes five evenings a week. In 1978 he graduated from college in business (similar to business administration ). After graduating from California State University , he took a marketing job in Orange County and married his childhood sweetheart Cindy Silva. On a chance encounter, Richard Burton advised him to concentrate fully on acting if he wanted to get anywhere. Costner quit his job, moved to Hollywood and initially kept afloat as a truck driver, deep-sea fisherman and bus driver on city tours. His wife appeared as Snow White in Disneyland .

In 1974 Costner made his film debut in the soft sex comedy Malibu Summer (German: Hot Beach USA ), which was only released in 1981. He was so disgusted with the filming that he vowed to quit acting if he couldn't find other roles. It wasn't until the early 1980s that Costner returned to film in smaller roles. His scenes in Lawrence Kasdan's tragicomedy The Big Chill ( The Big Chill , 1983) fell the average victim, but Kasdan was finally Costner 1985, a major role in the successful Western Silverado . Both Costner's playing and his acrobatic riding skills made an impression on the audience and critics .

Costner celebrated his international breakthrough in 1987 with Brian de Palma's film The Untouchables with Sean Connery as the honest police officer, Robert De Niro as Al Capone and Costner as his opponent Eliot Ness . In the same year he shot the equally successful thriller No Way Out - There is no turning back . In 1989 he achieved another success with the fairytale film Field of Dreams about a farmer who conjures up the past and wins the future by building a baseball stadium in his cornfield. At this point, the critics hailed Costner, who exuded boyish charm and determined, positive persistence in his roles, as the "new Gary Cooper ". Until the mid-1990s, the actor was one of the most sought-after Hollywood stars.

At the height of his popularity, Costner founded the production company Tig Productions with producer Jim Wilson , with which he subsequently produced his films. Costner made his directorial debut in 1990 with the lavish western epic Dances with the Wolf , which he also produced and took on the leading role. Contrary to the expectations of the professional world, the more than three-hour long film was an international cinema success and won seven Academy Awards with 12 nominations , including one for Costner's direction and Best Film .

A series of further successes followed until the mid-1990s with the adventure film Robin Hood - King of Thieves , Oliver Stone's interpretation of the history of JFK - Tatort Dallas (both 1991), the romantic thriller Bodyguard (1992) with Whitney Houston and Clint Eastwood's Perfect World (1993 ), in which Costner first played a criminal.

Lawrence Kasdan's 1994 adaptation of the Life of Wyatt Earp with Costner in the title role flopped. In 1995 Costner produced the post-apocalyptic science fiction film Waterworld and played the lead role of Mariners . After an argument with director Kevin Reynolds , he also partially directed. The extremely costly filming at sea blew the budget by far and drove the production costs to 175 million dollars. Waterworld , his most expensive film to date, achieved worldwide box office earnings of $ 264 million and was able to recoup the enormous total costs (including advertising, distribution, etc.). Box office earnings in the US were $ 88 million, well below what previous Costner films had brought in. This film, which grossed slightly in the cinemas and later even achieved substantial profits on the home video and DVD market, is still rumored to be a catastrophic failure. It is true, however, that the film, commercially and artistically, could not meet the enormous expectations that were placed in it.

In 1995 Kevin Costner worked on the 8-part documentary The History of the Indians - 500 Nations, among other things as a speaker. The documentation about the indigenous people of North and Central America begins in the pre-Columbian period and extends until the end of the 19th century and is based predominantly on old texts and images, eyewitness reports and simulated computer animations.

Two years later, Costner once again used his entire reputation as a director, leading actor and producer to stage an expensive mix of western and science fiction: But unlike Waterworld , The Postman was actually a big flop and panned by many critics. The film was nominated for three Saturn Awards , but most of all it was "awarded" five Golden Raspberries (including two for Costner himself).

Kevin Costner on a visit to Andrews Air Force Base (2003)

The Postman marked a turning point. After the highly budgeted failure, Costner was never able to position himself in the top Hollywood league, although he was still continuously busy. He played leading roles in love films such as Message in a Bottle (1999), On Your Shoulder (The Upside Of Anger, 2005) or the political thriller Thirteen Days (2000). In 2003 he directed the Western Open Range (2003), in which he also directed. With this film he achieved financial success, and he received positive reviews again. In 2007, he surprised everyone in the role of a mentally ill serial killer in the movie Mr. Brooks .

In 2007 Costner founded the eight-piece country band Kevin Costner & Modern West with the support of his second wife Christine Baumgartner and released Untold Truths in 2008 . Turn It On followed in 2010 .

Costner's marriage to Cindy Silva ended in divorce in 1994 after 16 years. The two have three children, including Annie Costner . A son comes from a brief affair with the millionaire heiress Bridget Rooney. Since 2004 Costner has been married to the fashion designer Christine Baumgartner; the couple has three children.

Costner's German voice actor is Frank Glaubrecht .

Worth mentioning


Costner at the Toronto International Film Festival 2014





Critics' Choice Movie Award
  • 2015: Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2012: Emmy Awards for Best Actor (Hatfields & McCoys)
Golden Globe Award
  • 1990: Golden Globe for Best Producer (Dances With Wolves)
  • 1990: Golden Globe for Best Director (Dances With Wolves)
  • 1990: Nomination for Best Actor in a Drama (Dances With Wolves)
  • 1991: Nomination for Best Actor in a Drama ( JFK - Tatort Dallas )
  • 1996: Nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy ( Tin Cup )
  • 2013: Golden Globe for Best Actor (Hatfields & McCoys)
Golden Raspberry
  • 1991: Oscar as a producer for the best film ( Dances with Wolves )
  • 1991: Oscar for Best Director (Dances With Wolves)
  • 1991: Nomination for Best Actor (Dances With Wolves)
Screen Actors Guild Award
  • 2013: Screen Actors Guild Award for Hatfields & McCoys for Best Actor



  • Nicola Exner: Kevin Costner. Portrait of a seeker. Biography of the Hollywood actor, Frieling, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-89009-677-8 .
  • Berndt Schulz: Kevin Costner, Pabel-Moewig, Rastatt 1993, ISBN 3-8118-3948-9 .
  • Adrian Wright: Kevin Costner: a life on film, Hale, London 1992, ISBN 0-7090-4700-2 .
  • Norbert Stresau: Kevin Costner: his films, his life, Heyne, Munich 1992, ISBN 3-453-05239-0 .

Scientific publications:

  • Henry Weidemann: Into the Wild. Rhetoric of landscape depiction in Hollywood cinema using the example of the long version by Kevin Costner's "Dances with Wolves" , Shaker Verlag , Aachen 2018, ISBN 978-3-8440-6332-5 , pp. 95 ff.

Web links

Commons : Kevin Costner  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Ethnicity of Celebs | What Nationality Ancestry Race
  2. The Numbers: Waterworld - Box Office Data, Movie News, Cast Information (English)
  5. ^ Gunther Matejka: Costner, Kevin & Modern West - Turn It On., February 27, 2010, accessed on February 27, 2010 .
  6. Sebastian Blanco: BP buys into Kevin Costner's oil spill clean up plan, orders 32 separators. In: , June 16, 2012 (English).