Longevity in Hollywood is a novel idea reserved for a rarefied few. Nevertheless, some actors like Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, and Sylvester Stallone have managed to be box office staples for decades. Add to that list of long-time screen stars and cigar lovers Kurt Russell. Russell has entered his sixth decade on the big screen and shows no signs of stopping.
The Tarantino Effect
Twenty-five years ago, Quentin Tarantino made Pulp Fiction and reinvigorated the careers of John Travolta and Bruce Willis. It also solidified cigar lover Samuel L. Jackson as one lousy mother! In Tarantino’s recent release, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, Kurt Russell reunited with Quentin Tarantino. He gave a tour de force performance that garnered more attention than his lead role in Tarantino’s Hateful Eight less than a decade earlier.
In the Beginning, There Was Kurt Russell
Russell’s first movie role at age 12 was kicking Elvis Presley in the shins in It Happened at the World’s Fair. At 13, he played the lead in The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters, his first (in an eventual string of Westerns.) Kurt Russel has enjoyed a star turn in every decade of his career, portraying a steady flow of well-known, rugged leading man roles.
Some actors quickly point out their wall of Oscars and other awards. However, Russell is proud that he now has nine action figures based on characters from his roles. The most recent was from his role as “Ego” in the Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. More than any Oscar, these action figures show how much his audiences love him!
Smokes On and Off-Screen
In Escape From L.A., there is a joke that he has no choice but to smoke cigarillos because he can’t find cigarettes. In Tombstone, he deftly lights a cigar while running a poker game. Then, in The Hateful Eight, he enjoys a pipe throughout the movie, despite being chained to a prisoner. Tobacco, in some form, always makes its way on-screen for Russell. He believes that sometimes the cigar, or pipe, is essential to the character. He should know; he’s played over 100 characters!
What Does Kurt Russell Smoke Off Screen?
Russell admits he is not a daily smoker but proudly boasts he has never turned down a cigar. He loves the relaxed time and Zen-like experience that comes with smoking one. The ability to have a civilized conversation in a cushy lounge while enjoying a well-made, mild Cuban cigar is an absolute treat that he relishes.
Where Does Russell Go From Here?
Kurt Russell has been the savior of New York and Los Angeles, a rugged sheriff bringing law and order to Tombstone, a fire captain, Santa Claus, and even a space god. Yet, with a career spanning sixty years and every possible leading man role, he is STILL excited about going to work. He has long been lauded for his tireless work effort, something he got from his father, who said, “Show up and do the work.” Since then, Russell has been doing precisely that for sixty years and is looking forward to his next role, which he hopes will inspire a new action figure for his collection.
Photo credit: “Actor Kurt Russell at the premiere of Grindhouse, Austin, Texas,” by Jeff Balke, Wikimedia Commons license CC BY-SA 3.0.