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Russell Crowe at 60: check out his unrecognizable look from his surprising debut, and his transformation in photos

The Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind star turns 60 on April 7!

Russell Crowe arrives ahead of The Mummy Australian Premiere at State Theatre on May 22, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.
Ahad Sanwari
Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
7 April 2024
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Happy birthday Russell Crowe! The Academy Award-winning actor officially turns 60 on Sunday, April 7, and fans of the star are looking back at his illustrious career.

While the New Zealand born performer officially made his acting debut in the mid-1980s on the stage, and broke into the American mainstream in the early '90s, his career actually began even earlier.

He played bit parts in TV series in Australia when he was just a child, speaking one line of dialogue at the age of five or six in the Australian show Spyforce.

Russell Crowe performs with his band Indoor Garden Party during the "Firebrand" Premiere & Opening Ceremony for the 57th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival on June 30, 2023 in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic© Getty Images
Happy birthday, Russell Crowe!

However, when he was just a teenager in the early '80s, he moved to New Zealand to become a recording artist, releasing music under the stage name "Russ Le Roq."

During that time, the actor sported a much more era-appropriate youthful look, in one promotional photo seen rocking a puffer jacket with a white tee, skinny jeans, and side-swept hair that would make any girl at the time swoon.

His face possessed the same chiseled features he came to be known for nearly two decades later, but his look included more swoops of long hair with classic '70s and '80s outfits including blazers and slim neckties.

Russell Crowe as "Russ Le Roq"© Rykenberg Photograph/Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 1269-Y8706-19
Russell Crowe as "Russ Le Roq"

Russell's entire discography still exists on streaming services, having released seven singles in New Zealand at the time, although none managed to chart. Those included titles like "I Just Wanna Be Like Marlon Brando," "St Kilda," "Pier 13," and "It Hurts So Bad."

MORE: Russell Crowe's sons are mini-mes in rare candid photo shared by ex-wife Danielle Spencer

He has since continued to release music, although under his more recognizable real name, and regularly performs sold out intimate shows, even going on a six-date European tour this July.

Actor Russell Crowe pictured during the Aria Awards in Sydney, Australia.© Getty Images
The actor sported long, luscious locks during his early '90s heydey

He moved to Australia soon after to pursue a career as an actor, making his stage debut in a New Zealand production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show from 1986-88, which he continued in Australia as well.

SEE: Russell Crowe's two children star in very rare family photo

After making appearances in the popular TV series Neighbours, he made his movie debut in 1990's The Crossing and earned significant acclaim as a lead for 1992's Romper Stomper. He finally broke into the American market in 1995 with a role opposite Denzel Washington in 1995's Virtuosity.

Russell Crowe holds his Oscar for Best Actor for his role in "Gladiator" at the 73rd Annual Academy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles 25 March, 2001© Getty Images
He leaned into his classically handsome appearance when he reached the height of his career

Going through a phase with long curly hair, which he sported in 1995's The Quick and The Dead, he finally started sporting shorter and more coiffed 'dos during his greatest critical era, which began with 1997's L.A. Confidential, and included The Insider (1999), Gladiator (2000), and A Beautiful Mind (2001).

MORE: Russell Crowe makes bold statement about his professional future: 'I will just stop'

The actor now sports a more dignified look to match his stature in the industry, recently going under the razor to shave off his thick gray beard, which he has retained while currently filming Nuremberg in Budapest with Rami Malek and Michael Shannon.

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Russell took to X (fka Twitter) to share an update on his birthday with fans, saying in part English and part Italian that he spent his day learning dialogue and at a spa, and was due to head out for a game of tennis, thanking fans for their sweet messages.

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