Steven Seagal

Steven Seagal

American actor, martial artist, and filmmaker (born 1952)
Steven Seagal

Steven Frederic Seagal (/sɪˈɡɑːl/; born April 10, 1952) is an American actor, producer, screenwriter, director, martial artist, and musician who holds American, Russian, and Serbian citizenship.

A 7th-dan black belt in aikido, Seagal began his adult life as a martial arts instructor in Japan; becoming the first foreigner to operate an aikido dojo in the country. He later moved to Los Angeles, California, where he worked as a martial arts instructor. In 1988, Seagal made his acting debut in Above the Law. By 1991, he had starred in four successful films. In 1992, he played Navy SEALs counter-terrorist expert Casey Ryback in Under Siege. During the latter half of the 1990s, Seagal starred in three more theatrical films and the direct-to-video film The Patriot. Since then, his career has shifted almost entirely to direct-to-video productions. He has since appeared in films and reality shows, including Steven Seagal: Lawman, which depicted Seagal performing his duties as a reserve deputy sheriff.

Seagal is a guitarist and has released two studio albums (Songs from the Crystal Cave and Mojo Priest), and performed on a number of film scores. He has worked with Stevie Wonder and Tony Rebel, who both performed on his debut album. He has also been involved in a line of "therapeutic oil" products and energy drinks.

In addition, Seagal is known as an environmentalist, an animal rights activist, and as a supporter of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. He is also known for his outspoken political views and for his friendship with Vladimir Putin. Seagal once referred to Putin as "one of the great living world leaders".

Contents [hide]

1 Early life

2 Martial arts

3 Hollywood career

3.1 1980s – 1990s

3.2 Direct-to-video work

3.3 Recent television and commercial work

4 Themes and motifs

5 Other ventures

5.1 Music

5.2 Law enforcement work

5.3 Business ventures

6 Personal life

6.1 Religion

6.2 Citizenships

6.3 Relationships and family

7 Allegations and lawsuits

7.1 Sexual harassment and domestic violence

7.2 Early 1990s

7.3 1995 lawsuit

7.4 2010 lawsuit

7.5 2011 lawsuit

7.6 2017 allegation

8 Political views and activism

9 Stunts

10 Filmography

10.1 Films

10.2 Television

11 Awards and nominations

12 Discography

13 See also

14 References

15 External links

Early life

Steven Frederic Seagal was born in Lansing, Michigan on April 10, 1952, the son of medical technician Patricia (1930–2003) and high school math teacher Samuel Seagal (1928–1991). His mother was of Dutch, English, and German ancestry, while his paternal grandparents were Russian Jews who immigrated to the U.S. He also has Irish and Mongolian heritage. When Seagal was five years old, his parents relocated to Fullerton, California. He attended Buena Park High School in Buena Park, California, and Fullerton College between 1970 and 1971.

Martial arts

Seagal moved to Japan at some point between the ages of 19 and 21 with his father who was visiting for military purposes, and met karate masters and decided to remain in Japan. He received his 1st dan degree (shodan) under the direction of Koichi Tohei. He continued to train in aikido as a student of Seiseki Abe, Tohei (whose aikido organization, Ki Society, Seagal refused to join in favor of staying with the Aikikai), Kisaburo Osawa, Hiroshi Isoyama and the second Dōshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba. He attained a 7th dan degree and Shihan in aikido, he also holds black belts in Karate, Judo and Kendo and became the first foreigner to operate an aikido dojo in Japan.

After returning to California in 1974, Seagal met Miyako Fujitani, an aikido instructor teaching in Los Angeles. He returned with her to her native Japan in 1975 where they married.

Seagal initially returned to Taos, New Mexico, with his student (and later film stuntman) Craig Dunn, where they opened a dojo, although Seagal spent much of his time pursuing other ventures. After another period in Japan, Seagal returned to the U.S. in 1983 with senior student Haruo Matsuoka. They opened an aikido dojo, initially in North Hollywood, California, but later moved it to the city of West Hollywood. Seagal left Matsuoka in charge of the dojo, which he ran until the two parted ways in 1997.

He has helped train Brazilian Mixed Martial Artists Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida. Silva, who is the former UFC Middleweight Champion, went on to knock out Vitor Belfort with a kick, in their fight at UFC 126 in February 2011, and Machida also credited him for helping him perfect the front kick that he used to knock out Randy Couture at UFC 129 in May 2011.

Hollywood career

1980s – 1990s

In 1987, Seagal began work on his first film, Above the Law (titled Nico in Europe), with director Andrew Davis and reportedly[weasel words] as a favor to a former aikido student, the agent Michael Ovitz. Ovitz took Seagal to Warner Brothers to put on an aikido demonstration and the executives were impressed by him and offered him several scripts; Seagal turned them down but agreed to write what would become Above the Law. Following its success, Seagal's subsequent movies were Hard to Kill, Marked for Death, and Out for Justice, all box office hits, making him an action hero. Later, he achieved wider, mainstream success in 1992 with the release of Under Siege (1992). That film reunited Seagal with director Andrew Davis, and was a blockbuster in the U.S. and abroad, grossing $156.4 million worldwide.

Seagal hosted the April 20, 1991 episode of the late night variety show Saturday Night Live, which aired as the 18th episode of the 16th season. Cast member David Spade regarded Seagal as the show's worst host during Spade's time there. Spade and co-star Tim Meadows cite Seagal's humorlessness, his ill treatment of the show's cast and writers, and his refusal to do a "Hans and Franz" sketch because that skit's title characters stated that they could beat up Seagal. Seagal was never invited back to the show following that episode. Meadows commented, "He didn't realize that you can't tell somebody they're stupid on Wednesday and expect them to continue writing for you on Saturday." The cast and crew's difficulties with Seagal were later echoed on-air by producer Lorne Michaels during guest host Nicolas Cage's monologue in the September 26, 1992 Season 18 premiere. When Cage worried that he would do so poorly that the audience would regard him as "the biggest jerk who's ever been on the show", Michaels replied, "No, no. That would be Steven Seagal."

Seagal directed and starred in On Deadly Ground (1994), featuring Michael Caine, R. Lee Ermey and Billy Bob Thornton in minor supporting roles. The film emphasized environmental and spiritual themes, signaling a break with his previous persona as a genre-ready inner-city cop. On Deadly Ground was poorly received by critics, especially denouncing Seagal's long environmental speech in the film. Regardless, Seagal considers it one of the most important and relevant moments in his career. Seagal filmed a sequel to one of his most successful films, Under Siege, titled Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995), and cop drama The Glimmer Man (1996). In 1996, he had a role in the Kurt Russell film Executive Decision, portraying a special ops soldier who only appears in the film's first 45 minutes. In another environmentally conscious and commercially unsuccessful film, Fire Down Below (1997), he was an EPA agent fighting industrialists dumping toxic waste in the Kentucky hills. This film ended his original multi-picture contract with Warner Bros.[citation needed]

Direct-to-video work

The next year, Seagal made The Patriot, another environmental thriller which was his first direct-to-video release in the United States (though it was released theatrically in most of the world). Seagal produced this film with his own money, and the film was shot on-location on and near his farm in Montana.

After producing Prince of Central Park, Seagal returned to cinema screens with the release of Exit Wounds in March 2001. The film had fewer martial arts scenes than Seagal's previous films, but it was a commercial success, taking almost $80 million worldwide. However, he was unable to capitalize on this success and his next two projects were both critical and commercial failures. The movie Ticker, co-starring Tom Sizemore and Dennis Hopper, was filmed in San Francisco before Exit Wounds, and went straight to DVD. Half Past Dead, starring rap star Ja Rule, made less than $20 million worldwide.

Other than his role as a villain in Robert Rodriguez's Machete, all of the films Seagal has made since the latter half of 2001 have been released direct-to-video (DTV) in North America, with some theatrical releases to other countries around the world. Seagal is credited as a producer and sometimes a writer on many of these DTV movies, which include Black Dawn, Belly of the Beast, Out of Reach, Submerged, Kill Switch, Urban Justice, Pistol Whipped, Against the Dark, Driven to Kill, A Dangerous Man, Born to Raise Hell and The Keeper, a movie released in Japan fifteen weeks earlier than the United States. In 2016, Seagal starred in 7 direct-to-video movies.

Recent television and commercial work

In 2009, A&E Network premiered the reality television series; Steven Seagal: Lawman, focusing on Seagal as a deputy in Louisiana. In 2011, he produced and starred in a 13-episode television series entitled True Justice. It was renewed for a second season on ReelzChannel in 2012. In the UK, True Justice has been repackaged as a series of DVD "movies," with each disc editing together two episodes.

Themes and motifs

Many of Seagal's films share unique elements which have become characteristic of his body of work. His characters often have an elite past affiliation with the CIA, Special Forces or Black Ops (for example, Casey Ryback in Under Siege, a former Navy SEAL, Jack Cole in The Glimmer Man, an ex-CIA police detective, or Jonathan Cold in The Foreigner and Black Dawn, an ex-CIA Black Ops freelancer.) His characters differ from those of other action movie icons by virtue of their near-invulnerability; they almost never face any significant physical threat, easily overpowering any opposition and never facing bodily harm or even temporary defeat. A notable exception is 2010's Machete, which features Seagal in a rare villainous role.

Seagal's music appears in some of his films (for example, Into The Sun and Ticker, where he appears as part of a bar band), as does his fluency in other languages (he speaks Japanese in Into the Sun) and religion (Buddhism features prominently in The Glimmer Man and Belly of the Beast). His past as an aikido teacher is also incorporated into several films, for example Above the Law (which opens with a montage of real-life photos from Seagal's own past) or Shadow Man, where he is seen giving an aikido demonstration. Several of his films also feature prominent political messages, most notably the environmentalism evident in On Deadly Ground, which ends with a lengthy speech in which Seagal (playing ex-CIA firefighter Forrest Taft) accuses big business of rampant environmental degradation:

Big Business is primarily responsible for destroying the water we drink, the air we breathe and the food we eat. They have no care for the world they destroy, only for the money they make in the process... They basically control the legislation, and, in fact, they control the Law... They influence the media so that they can control our minds. They have made it a crime to speak out for ourselves, and if we do so we're called "conspiracy nuts" and we're laughed at... We have to force these companies to operate safely and responsibly, and with all our best interests in mind.[citation needed]

In 2008, author and critic Vern (no last name) published Seagalogy, a work which examines Seagal's filmography using the framework of auteur theory. The book divides Seagal's filmography into different chronological "eras" with distinct thematic elements. The book was updated in 2012 to include more recent films and Seagal's work on the reality TV show Steven Seagal: Lawman.

Other ventures


Seagal live in 2007

In addition to acting and aikido, Seagal also plays the guitar. His songs have been featured in several of his movies, including Fire Down Below and Ticker. Among his "extensive" collection include guitars previously owned by "the Kings"; Albert, BB and Freddie, Bo Diddley, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Jimi Hendrix.

In 2005, he released his first album, Songs from the Crystal Cave, which has a mix of pop, world, country and blues music. It features duets with Tony Rebel, Lt. Stichie, Lady Saw, and Stevie Wonder. The soundtrack to Seagal's 2005 film Into the Sun features several songs from the album. One of his album tracks, "Girl It's Alright", was also released as a single in parts of the world alongside an accompanying music video created for it. Seagal's second album, titled Mojo Priest, was released in April 2006. Subsequently, he spent summer 2006 touring the United States and Europe with his band, Thunderbox, in support of the album.

Law enforcement work

Seagal has been a Reserve Deputy Chief in the Jefferson Parish, Louisiana Sheriff's Office. In the late 1980s after teaching the deputies martial arts, unarmed combat and marksmanship, longtime sheriff Harry Lee was so impressed he asked Seagal to join the force. Seagal owns a second home in Louisiana and spends several months there every year. According to the show, Seagal graduated from a police academy in Los Angeles over twenty years ago and has a certificate from Peace Officer Standards & Training (POST), an organization that accredits California police officers. However, POST officials in California and Louisiana have no record of Seagal being certified, and Seagal's rank in Louisiana is ceremonial.

In November 2008, A&E announced that they had begun taping Steven Seagal: Lawman, which follows his work in the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office. The series premiered on A&E on December 2, 2009. Seagal stated that "I’ve decided to work with A&E on this series now because I believe it’s important to show the nation all the positive work being accomplished here in Louisiana—to see the passion and commitment that comes from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in this post-Katrina environment." The series premiere drew 3.6 million viewers, ranking as best season opener for any original A&E series ever.

On April 14, 2010, the series was suspended by Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand due to a sexual trafficking lawsuit filed against Seagal. The suit was later dropped. A&E resumed the show for the second season which began on October 6, 2010.

In February 2011, A&E announced that the series would begin production on Season 3 episodes, with a change of location from Louisiana to Maricopa County, Arizona. Two episodes were scheduled to be aired beginning on January 4, 2012. The episodes were announced by A&E, who created Facebook page for the series and listed in the TV guide. Shortly before the episodes were to be aired, the web and Facebook pages about the series were removed. A&E made no announcements about the sudden suspension of Season 3 or whether there would be a third season.

It was announced on May 16, 2013, that the third season would air on Reelz starting in January 2014. Episodes from the first two seasons began airing on June 6, 2013. Season 3 premiered on January 2, 2014.

Business ventures

In 1997, a company called Young Living Essential Oils announced it was "working closely" with Seagal on a line of "therapeutic oil" products. The company claimed that Seagal had also allowed them to "use his Montana ranch as an additional site to grow [the] plants used to distill Young Living's Essential Oils..." As of 2015, the company does not mention Seagal or any products co-created with him on its official website.

In 2005, Seagal Enterprises began to market an energy drink known as Steven Seagal's Lightning Bolt, but it has since been discontinued.

Seagal has also marketed an aftershave called "Scent of Action," and a range of knives and weapons.

In 2013, Seagal joined newly formed Russian firearms manufacturer ORSIS, representing the company in both a promotional capacity as well as lobbying for the easement of US import restrictions on Russian sporting firearms. It was also announced he would work with the company to develop a signature long range rifle known provisionally as "ORSIS by Steven Seagal".



Year Film Functioned as Notes

Martial arts instructor Choreographer Stunt coordinator

1982 The Challenge Yes Credited as "Steve Seagal".

1983 Never Say Never Again Yes Uncredited

Seagal accidentally broke Sean Connery's wrist during production.

1985 A View to a Kill Yes

1988 Above the Law Yes

1990 Hard to Kill Yes Yes

1990 Marked for Death Yes

2013 Force of Execution Yes




Year Film Functioned as Notes

Director Producer Writer Music Actor Role

1988 Above the Law Yes Yes Yes Nico Toscani

1990 Hard to Kill Yes Mason Storm

1990 Marked for Death Yes Yes Yes John Hatcher

1991 Out for Justice Yes Yes Yes Det. Gino Felino Gene LeBell, the film's stunt coordinator, claimed to have choked Seagal unconscious on the production set.

1992 Under Siege Yes Yes Casey Ryback

1994 On Deadly Ground Yes Yes Yes Forrest Taft

1995 Under Siege 2: Dark Territory Yes Yes Yes Casey Ryback Sequel to Under Siege.

1996 Executive Decision Yes Lt. Colonel Austin Travis Supporting role

1996 The Glimmer Man Yes Yes Yes Lt. Jack Cole

1997 Fire Down Below Yes Yes Yes Jack Taggart

1998 My Giant Yes Himself Cameo

1998 The Patriot Yes Yes Dr. Wesley McClaren Direct-to-video

1998 Not Even The Trees Yes Direct-to-video

2000 Prince of Central Park Yes Direct-to-video

2001 The Path Beyond Thought Yes Yes Himself/Narrator Documentary

Executive producer

2001 Exit Wounds Yes Orin Boyd

2001 Ticker Yes Yes Frank Glass Limited release

2002 Half Past Dead Yes Yes Sasha Petrosevitch

2003 The Foreigner Yes Yes Jonathan Cold Direct-to-video

2003 Out for a Kill Yes Yes Prof. Robert Burns Direct-to-video

2003 Belly of the Beast Yes Yes Jake Hopper Direct-to-video

2004 Out of Reach Yes William Lansing Direct-to-video

2004 Clementine Yes Jack Miller Limited release

2005 Into the Sun Yes Yes Yes Travis Hunter Direct-to-video

Also received "story by" credit.

2005 Submerged Yes Chris Cody Direct-to-video

2005 Today You Die Yes Yes Harlan Banks Direct-to-video

2005 Dragon Squad Yes Limited release

2005 Black Dawn Yes Yes Jonathan Cold Direct-to-video

Sequel to The Foreigner.

2006 Mercenary for Justice Yes John Seeger Direct-to-video

2006 Shadow Man Yes Yes Yes Jack Foster Direct-to-video

2006 Attack Force Yes Yes Yes Cmdr. Marshall Lawson Direct-to-video

2007 Flight of Fury Yes Yes John Sands Direct-to-video

2007 Urban Justice Yes Yes Simon Ballister Direct-to-video

2008 Pistol Whipped Yes Yes Matt Conlin Direct-to-video

2008 The Onion Movie Yes Cock Puncher Direct-to-video

Supporting role

2008 Kill Switch Yes Yes Yes Jacob King Direct-to-video

In 2009, it was given a theatrical release exclusively in the UAE.

2009 Against the Dark Yes Tao Direct-to-video

2009 Driven to Kill Yes Ruslan Drachev Direct-to-video

2009 The Keeper Yes Yes Yes Roland Sallinger Limited release

2009 A Dangerous Man Yes Shane Daniels Direct-to-video

2010 Machete Yes Rogelio Torrez Seagal's first wide release since 2002.

2010 Sheep Impact Yes Paul Weland Short film

2010 Born to Raise Hell Yes Yes Yes Robert "Bobby" Samuels Direct-to-video

2012 Maximum Conviction Yes Cross Direct-to-video

2013 Force of Execution Yes Yes John Alexander Direct-to-video

2014 A Good Man Yes Yes John Alexander Direct-to-video

Prequel to Force of Execution.

2014 Gutshot Straight Yes Paulie Trunks Direct-to-video

Supporting role

2015 Absolution Yes John Alexander Direct-to-video

Sequel to A Good Man.

2016 Code of Honor Yes Robert Sikes

2016 Sniper: Special Ops Yes Jake

2016 The Asian Connection Yes Gan Sirankiri

2016 Cartels Yes Harrison

2016 End of a Gun Yes Decker

2016 Contract to Kill Yes John Harmon

2016 The Perfect Weapon Yes The Director


Year Film Functioned as Notes

Writer Executive producer Actor Role

1991 Saturday Night Live Yes Host Seagal hosted the episode "Steven Seagal/Michael Bolton".

The cast and crew found him difficult to work with, and he is reportedly[weasel words] "banned" from appearing on the show again. The creator of Saturday Night Live, Lorne Michaels, referred to him as the "worst host" ever.

2009–2014 Steven Seagal: Lawman Yes Yes Himself Also the creator.

2011–2012 True Justice Yes Yes Yes Elijah Kane Also the creator.

Awards and nominations

Year Nominated work Award Category Results

1995 On Deadly Ground Golden Raspberry Award Worst Actor Nominated

1995 On Deadly Ground Golden Raspberry Award Worst Picture (shared with Julius R. Nasso and A. Kitman Ho) Nominated

1995 On Deadly Ground Golden Raspberry Award Worst Director Won

1997 Executive Decision Golden Raspberry Award Worst Supporting Actor Nominated

1998 Fire Down Below Golden Raspberry Award Worst Actor Nominated

1998 Fire Down Below Golden Raspberry Award Worst Picture (shared with Julius R. Nasso) Nominated

1998 Fire Down Below Golden Raspberry Award Worst Screen Couple (shared with "his guitar") Nominated

1998 Fire Down Below Golden Raspberry Award Worst Original Song (shared with Mark Collie for the song "Fire Down Below") Nominated

2003 Half Past Dead Golden Raspberry Award Worst Actor Nominated


2005: Songs from the Crystal Cave

2006: Mojo Priest


View details Hide details
Steven Seagal was born on Thursday, 10 April 1952 in Lansing, Michigan, USA. His full name at birth was Steven Frederic Seagal. He is best known as an actor. Seagal's country of citizenship (nationality) is Russian. Steven attended high school at Buena Park High School. For university, he studied at Orange Coast College. His religion is listed as Buddhist. He is 6' 4" (193 cm) tall with a large build. He has dark brown eyes and dyed black hair (color). His net worth is reported to be $16,000,000 US dollars. Steven Seagal is 72 years old and his zodiac star sign is Aries.

You can find people similar to Steven Seagal by visiting our lists People with multiple nationality and Figures in sexual harassment scandals.

Full name at birth
Steven Frederic Seagal
Claim to fame
Under Siege
Date of birth
10 April 1952
Place of birth
Lansing, Michigan, USA
Actor, Film Producer, Screenwriter, Film Director, Martial Artist, Musician And Reserve Deputy Sheriff
Occupation category


6' 4" (193 cm)
Hair color
Eye color
Zodiac sign
Distinctive feature
  • Ponytail
  • Sunglasses
  • goatee (since 2000s)
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Pets add_black pets


Net worth
$16,000,000 USD
High school
Buena Park High School
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  • Orange Coast College
  • Fullerton College
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Talent agency
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Political affiliation add_black political affiliation
Political party add_black political party
Partner: Erdenetuya Batsukh (Married) 1 child
Steven Seagal and Erdenetuya Batsukh
Action films are great, but an action film that has characters that are compelling and a story that people can care about is something even better. We love to see action heroes that are vulnerable, that are sensitive, that are family people, that are accessible.
  • His mother was of Irish ancestry and his father was Jewish
  • Used to own a production company with Julius R. Nasso called Seagal/Nasso Productions from 1994-2000.
  • Broke Sean Connery's wrist when he was teaching him martial arts during the filming of Never Say Never Again (1983).
  • The February 17, 1989 draft of the screenplay for Hard to Kill (1990) credits Steven Pressfield & Ronald Shusett & Steven Seagal as writers. Pressfield & Shusett are not credited in the final film and Seagal only received an acting credit.
  • Is a vegetarian.

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