KEVIN COSTNER Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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While a marketing student at California State University inFullerton, American actor Kevin Costner became involvedwith community theatre. Upon graduation in 1978, Costnertook a marketing job that lasted all of 30 days before hedecided to take a crack at acting. At least that’s the officialstory; though Costner would probably like to cremate thememory, the fact is that he made his film debut in 1974 in theultra-cheapie Sizzle Beach USA. No matter. When Costnerseriously decided to take up acting, he went the usualtheatre-workshop, multiple-audition route. Casting directorssaw potential, but weren’t quite sure how to use Costner; besides, the novice actorhad a bad habit of speaking up if something bothered him on the set. That may bewhy his Big-Studio debut in Night Shift (1982) consisted of little more thanbackground decoration and the subsequent Frances (1982) featured Costner as anoffstage voice. Director Lawrence Kasdan liked Costner enough to cast him in theimportant role of the suicide victim who motivated the plot of The Big Chill (1983),but when the film was released, all we saw of Costner were his dress suit andnecktie as the undertaker prepared him for burial during the opening credits. Twoyears later, a guilt-ridden Lawrence Kasdan chose Costner for a major part as ahell-raising gunfighter in the ‘’retro'’ Western Silverado(1985) - and this time he was on camera for virtually theentire film.


Costner’s big breakthrough came with a brace of baseballfilms, released within months of one another: in BullDurham (1988), the actor was taciturn minor-leagueballplayer Crash Davis, and in Field of Dreams he wasRay Kinsella, a farmer who constructed a baseballdiamond in his Iowa cornfield when The Voice said ‘’If youbuild it, he will come.'’ His Hollywood clout amplified by thecombined box-office success of these films enabledCostner to make his directing debut. With a minusculebudget of $18 million, Costner went off to the Black Hills ofSouth Dakota to film the first Western Epic that Hollywoodhad seen in years, a revisionist look at Indian-Whiterelationships titled Dances With Wolves (1990).Detractors had a field day with this supposedly foredoomed project, labeling the film'’Costner’s Folly'’ and ‘’Kevin’s Gate.'’ But he who laughs last…Dances with Wolveswas not only one of 1990’s biggest moneymakers but also that year’s AcademyAward-winning film; additionally, Costner copped an Oscar as Best Director.