Russell Ira Crowe was born in Wellington, New Zealand, to Jocelyn Yvonne (Wemyss) and John Alexander Crowe, both of whom catered movie sets. His maternal grandfather, Stanley Wemyss, was a cinematographer. Crowe's recent ancestry includes Welsh (where his paternal grandfather was born, in Wrexham), English, Irish, Scottish, Norwegian, Swedish, Italian, and Maori (one of Crowe's maternal great-grandmothers, Erana Putiputi Hayes Heihi, was Maori).
Crowe's family moved to Australia when he was a small child, settling in Sydney, and Russell got the acting bug early in life. Beginning as a child star on a local Australian TV show, Russell's first big break came with two films ... the first, Romper Stomper (1992), gained him a name throughout the film community in Australia and the neighboring countries. The second, The Sum of Us (1994), helped put him on the American map, so to speak. Sharon Stone heard of him from Romper Stomper (1992) and wanted him for her film, The Quick and the Dead (