Everyone's favorite Gladiator (2000), actor Russell Crowe (1964-) caught the world's attention as the heroic general Maximus in the big-budget summer epic.
"People accuse me of being arrogant all the time," he said. "I'm not arrogant. I'm focused."
The focused actor was born on this day in Wellington, New Zealand and grew up in Australia, the son of movie set caterers. He began his career as a rock singer and toured with The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
No matter what role he plays, Crowe dominates the screen with a million-dollar intensity and raw charisma. As Bud White in L.A. Confidential (1997), he played a complex character with remarkable ease. He gained 50 pounds for the role of Jeffrey Wigand in The Insider (1999, with Al Pacino).
"I like villains because there's something so attractive about a committed person -- they have a plan, an ideology, no matter how twisted. They're motivated," said the Oscar winner.
"Acting is my life," he said.
The outspoken actor owns a 560-acre farm outside Sydney, Australia. "I'm a bit of a disgrace to my neighbors. I'm a farmer's nightmare. I get too attached to the animals on my farm. Once I've made friends with them, I find it difficult to eat them."