A guy's guy who digs his booze, enjoys a scrap, and believes brooding to be an Olympic sport, Russell Crowe is one of the greatest movie stars around. Even Al Qaeda knows it. The Oscar-winning actor has told the press that the terrorist group planned to kidnap him in order to destabilize the American cultural establishment. Be that fact or fiction, the actor is a fighter. As he puts his fists to good use in Ron Howard's boxing crowd-pleaser The Cinderella Man, here are 20 things we do know about him for certain.
2. His parents Jocelyn and Alex worked as movie set caterers and ran several pubs. One was so fabled for its brawls it became known as the Flying Jug, and a man was once killed there.
3. At 16, Crowe was a young musician who released several 45s as Russ le Roq, including "I Want to Be Like Marlon Brando." He's since dismissed them as "two or three of the worst recordings in the history of the New Zealand music industry."
4. As a young actor, Crowe appeared in over 415 performances of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He most frequently played Eddie, but sometimes donned the fishnets to play Dr. Frank-N-Furter.
5. In 1987, Crowe appeared in four episodes of the popular Australian soap opera Neighbours, which launched the careers of his L.A. Confidential co-star Guy Pearce, Natalie Imbruglia and Kylie Minogue.
6. While between jobs, the young Crowe worked as a waiter, bartender, fruit picker, DJ, horse wrangler, insurance salesman, and even a bingo caller at an Auckland resort island.
7. Crowe formed the band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts in 1992 with Billy-Dean Cochran, who he played with in Roman Antix. The group later learned they had split up by reading about it in the newspaper.
9. A sex scene between Crowe's mute preacher and Sharon Stone's gunslinger was shot for The Quick and the Dead, but only appeared in prints of the film shown overseas.
10. The actor went for five months and seven days without alcohol while making L.A. Confidential, because author James Ellroy said Crowe's character Bud White didn't drink.
11. Jeffrey Wigand, the whistleblower subject of The Insider, requested that there be no smoking anywhere in the film -- although sharp-eyed viewers can spot three exceptions. Crowe has smoked since he was 10.
12. Crowe wrote the 30 Odd Foot of Grunts song "Other Ways of Speaking" about Jodie Foster. Foster was to direct Crowe as a circus freak in Flora Plum, but he pulled out of the movie after injuring his shoulder.
13. Although he knows how to rock, Crowe had a tough time with the learning the violin for his Master and Commander role. He's said it's the hardest thing he's ever had to do for a film.
14. Crowe is accident prone: while making Gladiator he fractured a hip, injured his foot, dislocated both bicep tendons and had a branch tear his cheek. He dislocated a shoulder while training for Cinderella Man.
16. He once walked out of an interview with the New York Post claiming he was bored.
17. Although he played a mathematician in A Beautiful Mind, Crowe describes himself as "hopeless" at math while at school.
18. On his 560-acre ranch, he rides a horse named Honey. Crowe also has two dogs: Lucy and Chasen. His ranch boasts 500 head of cattle.
20. By design, the actor and his wife went sexless for three months prior to their wedding night.