Steven Seagal biography
Date of birth : 1952-04-10
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Lansing, Michigan, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-10-26
Credited as : Actor, Steven Seagal Enterprises, Mojo Priest
He later moved to the Los Angeles, California, area where he made his film debut in 1988 in Above the Law. By 1991, he had starred in three successful films, and would go on to achieve greater fame in Under Siege (1992), where he played Navy SEALs counter-terrorist expert Casey Ryback. However, his image became tarnished when both On Deadly Ground (1994, which he directed) and Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995) did poorly in theaters. During the later half of the 90s, he starred in three more theatrical films and a direct-to-video The Patriot. Aside from Exit Wounds (2001) and Half Past Dead (2002), his career shifted almost entirely to direct-to-video films (often low budget productions and shot in Europe or Asia). Between 1998 to 2009, he appeared in a total of 22 of these. At the age of 59, he finally returned to the big screen as Torrez in the 2010 film Machete. As of 2011, he's currently busy with the third season of his reality show Steven Seagal: Lawman.
Seagal is also a recording artist and guitarist and the founder of Steven Seagal Enterprises.In addition to his professional achievements, he is also known as an environmentalist, an animal rights activist and a supporter of the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, and the Tibetan independence movement.
Seagal moved to Japan in his late teens and became the first foreigner to operate an aikido dojo in Japan. He was trained by Harry Ishisaka and received 1st dan degree or Shodan under the direction of Koichi Tohei.
He continued to train in aikido as a student of Seiseki Abe, Koichi Tohei (whose aikido organization, Ki Society, Seagal refused to join in favor of staying with the Aikikai), Kisaburo Osawa, Hiroshi Isoyama and the second doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba. He attained a 7th dan degree and Shihan in aikido.
In 1987, Seagal began work on his first film, Above the Law (titled Nico in Europe), with director Andrew Davis and reportedly as a favor to a former aikido student, the agent Michael Ovitz, who believed he could make anyone a star. Following its success, Seagal made three more movies – Hard to Kill, Marked for Death, and Out for Justice – that were box office hits, making him an action hero. Later, he achieved wider, mainstream success in 1992 with the release of Under Siege (1992). That film reunited Seagal with director Andrew Davis, and was a blockbuster in the U.S. and abroad, grossing $156.4 million worldwide.
Seagal then directed On Deadly Ground (1994). This film, in which he also starred, emphasized environmental and spiritual themes, signaling a break with his previous persona as a genre-ready inner-city cop. The film featured Michael Caine as well as R. Lee Ermey and Billy Bob Thornton in minor supporting roles.
Following the general critical disappointment of On Deadly Ground, Seagal filmed a sequel to one of his most successful films, Under Siege, titled Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995), and cop drama The Glimmer Man (1996). In 1996, he had role in the Kurt Russell film Executive Decision, in which he played a special ops soldier who only appears in the film's first 45 minutes. He subsequently made another environmentally conscious film, Fire Down Below (1997), wherein he was an EPA agent fighting industrialists dumping toxic waste in the Kentucky hills, but the movie was commercially unsuccessful. This film ended his original multi-picture contract with Warner Bros.
The next year, Seagal made The Patriot, another environmental thriller which was his first direct-to-video release in the United States (though it was released theatrically in most of the world). Seagal produced this film with his own money, and the film was shot on-location on and near his farm in Montana.
After producing Prince of Central Park, Seagal returned to cinema screens with the release of Exit Wounds in March 2001. The film had fewer martial arts scenes than Seagal's previous films, but it was a commercial success, taking almost $80 million worldwide. However, he was unable to capitalize on this success and his next two projects were both critical and commercial failures. Ticker co-starring Tom Sizemore and Dennis Hopper, and filmed in San Francisco before Exit Wounds, went straight to DVD while Half Past Dead, starring rap star Ja Rule, made less than $20 million worldwide.
All of the films Seagal has made since the latter half of 2001 have been released direct-to-video (DTV) in North America, with some theatrical releases to other countries around the world. Seagal is credited as a producer and sometimes a writer on many of these DTV movies, which include Black Dawn, Belly of the Beast, Out of Reach, Submerged, Kill Switch, Urban Justice, Pistol Whipped, Against the Dark, Driven to Kill, A Dangerous Man, Born to Raise Hell and The Keeper, a movie released in Japan fifteen weeks earlier than the United States.
In 2009, A&E Network premiered the reality television series; Steven Seagal: Lawman, focusing on Seagal as a deputy in Louisiana. In 2010, Seagal appeared in his first theatrically released film in nearly a decade, as the main villain in Robert Rodriguez' Machete. In 2011, Steven Seagal produced and starred in a 13 episode television series entitled True Justice.
In addition to acting and aikido, Seagal also plays the guitar, and his songs have been featured in several of his movies (such as Fire Down Below and Ticker). In 2005, he released his first album, Songs from the Crystal Cave, which has a mix of pop, world, country and blues music. It features duets with Tony Rebel, Lt. Stichie, Lady Saw, and Stevie Wonder. The soundtrack to Seagal's 2005 film Into the Sun features several songs from the album. One of his album tracks, "Girl It's Alright", was also released as a single in parts of the world alongside an accompanying music video created for it.
Seagal's second album, titled Mojo Priest, was released in April 2006. Subsequently, he spent summer 2006 touring the United States and Europe with his band, Thunderbox, in support of the album.
Seagal is currently a Reserve Deputy Chief of the Sheriff's Office in the community of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. Seagal has a second home in Louisiana, and spends several months a year there. He graduated from a police academy in California over twenty years ago and has a certificate from Peace Officer Standards & Training (POST), an organization that accredits California police officers. In November 2008, A&E announced that they had begun taping Steven Seagal: Lawman, which follows his work in the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office. The series premiered on A&E on December 2, 2009. Seagal stated that "I’ve decided to work with A&E on this series now because I believe it’s important to show the nation all the positive work being accomplished here in Louisiana—to see the passion and commitment that comes from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in this post-Katrina environment." The series premiere drew 3.6 million viewers, ranking as best season opener for any original A&E series ever.
On April 14, 2010, the series was suspended by Jefferson Parish, Louisiana Sheriff Newell Normand due to the sexual trafficking lawsuit filed against Seagal, a case later dropped.A & E resumed the show for the second season which began on October 6, 2010.
Seagal Enterprises markets an energy drink known as Steven Seagal's Lightning Bolt, as well as an homeopathic oil product line. Seagal personally endorses this drink, saying, "I have traveled the world creating this drink; there is none better that I know." He also has his own aftershave called Scent of Action.
Outside of his film work, Seagal has volunteered, lending his voice as a narrator for an activist film project, Medicine Lake Video, which seeks to protect sacred tribal ground near his ranch in Siskiyou County.
In 2002, Segal along with Global Village Champions Foundation and founder Yank Barry helped support Father Joe's orphanage for children with AIDS in Bangkok, Thailand.
Seagal has seven children from four relationships:
In Japan Seagal married his first wife, Miyako Fujitani, the daughter of an aikido instructor. With Fujitani, he had a son, model and actor Kentaro Seagal, and a daughter, writer and actress, Ayako Fujitani. Seagal left Miyako Fujitani to go back to the United States.
In the United States he married former Days of our Lives actress Adrienne La Russa, despite his divorce to Fujitani not yet being finalized. During his marriage to La Russa he met actress/model Kelly LeBrock, with whom he began a relationship and who eventually became pregnant with his child. When news of this emerged, Seagal's marriage to La Russa was annulled and he then married LeBrock on 5 September 1987. His three children with LeBrock are daughters Annaliza and Arissa, and son Dominic. In 1994, LeBrock filed divorce papers citing "irreconcilable differences". During this time it emerged that Seagal was having an affair with Arissa Wolf, who was hired to be a nanny to Seagal and Lebrock's children.
Seagal is currently married to Erdenetuya Batsukh, better known as Elle, and with whom he has a son, Kunzang. Elle is from Mongolia. She trained as a dancer from her early age at the Children's Palace in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. After her graduation from high school and the Children's Palace, she pursued a career as a professional dancer. She won numerous dancing contests and she was considered as the top female dancer in Mongolia. She particularly excelled in ballroom dance. Erdenetuya first worked as Seagal's interpreter when he visited Mongolia in 2001.
In addition to his biological children he is the guardian to a Tibetan child, Yabshi Pan Rinzinwangmo. Rinzinwangmo, or "Renji", is the only child of the 10th Panchen Lama of Tibet. Renji studied in the United States at American University, and Seagal was her guardian and bodyguard.
On April 12, 2010, 23-year-old Kayden Nguyen filed a lawsuit against Seagal in Los Angeles Country Superior Court claiming sexual harassment, illegal trafficking of females for sex, failure to prevent sexual harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and false representation about employment, that specified damages exceeding one million dollars.
On April 13, 2010, the day after Nguyen made the claims, Seagal's attorney, Marty Singer, released this written statement to CBS news: "The lawsuit filed by Kayden Nguyen against Steven Seagal is a ridiculous and absurd claim by a disgruntled ex-employee who was fired for using illegal narcotics." Seagal personally denied the claims, yet he was forced to suspend his show, Steven Seagal: Lawman, while his attorneys attempted to resolve the case privately.
On July 14, 2010, three months after Nguyen made her claims against Seagal, the case was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff without any public explanation.
On August 30, 2011, Steven Seagal was threatened with a lawsuit over his part in a police raid that was taped for his A&E reality show. Jesus Sanchez Llovera is seeking $100,000 in damages and wants a "formal written apology" from Seagal to his children for the death of their puppy, "a beloved family pet." Llovera says his 11-month-old puppy was shot and killed during the raid and that police also killed more than 100 of his roosters.
In 2003, Seagal wrote an open letter to the leadership of Thailand, urging them to enact law to prevent the torture of baby elephants. He has worked with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to discourage the fur trade, and has written to the Prime Minister of India to seek increased legal protection for cows. Seagal worked effectively towards saving dogs destined to drown in Taiwan.
In 1999, Seagal was awarded a PETA Humanitarian Award.