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KEVIN COSTNER (Joe Darrow) a California native, began his career with a series of independent films that led to his first leading role as the wild Jake in Lawrence Kasdan's Silverado (1985). which came two years after Kasdan reluctantly edited Costner's performance out of The Big C/ill. Costner ascended to stardom two years later with performances in The Untouchables and No Way Out.

He followed that success with two popular baseball roles, first as minor league catcher Crash Davis in Bull Durham (1988), then as the charmingly obsessed Iowa Farmer who turns his corn crop into a baseball diamond in Field of Dreams (1989).

His growing popularity allowed Costner to make his directing debut with the revisionist western Dances With Wolves (1990). Filmed on a shoestring budget in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the epic production overcame many doubters to win seven Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Picture; and it was nominated for five others, including Best Actor.

In 1991, Costner returned to pure acting in two more hits, first as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, then as New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison in Oliver Stone's JFK. Another huge hit came in 1992 with The Bodyguard, which he also produced.

In 1993, Costner drew rave reviews in Clint Eastwood's A Perfect World. He returned to the old West with director Kasdan in Wyatt Earp in 1994, then spent almost six months filming the ambitious sea epic Waterworld. The actor relaxed a bit with the role of a charming but self-destructive golfer in Tin Cup (1996).

Costner's second effort as director and star was 1997's ambitious science fiction film, The Postman. He next played a disheartened widower who gets a second chance at love in Message in a Bottle. In 2000, he returned to the Kennedy administration for the tense Cuban missle crisis thriller, Thirteen Days. Most recently, he played the dastardly leader of a gang that robs a casino during an Elvis convention in 3,000 Miles to Graceland.

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