"I'd like to thank the academy, I'd like to thank Jay Leno," Crowe said at the ceremony. "I'm going to be on Jay's show tonight, too, so it's probably good that he turned up today."
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Crowe said it was a privilege to receive the star in front of his colleagues and friends, "but most importantly in front of my beautiful wife, Danielle, and my sons Charie and Tennyson."
Born April 7, 1964, in Wellington, New Zealand, and raised in Australia, Crowe made his professional debut with a one-line role in a 1972 episode of the Australian television series "Spyforce," whose producer was the godfather of Crowe's mother Jocelyn.
Crowe left school at the age of 16 to pursue music and acting. After appearing in the Australian television series "Neighbours" and "Living with the Law," Crowe made his film debut in "Blood Oath," the 1990 drama about a war crimes trial for atrocities committed at a Japanese prisoner of war camp.
Crowe's career quickly skyrocketed, receiving a best supporting actor award from the Australian Film Institute for the 1991 film "Proof" and the group's best actor award a year later for "Romper Stomper."
Crowe made his American film debut in the 1995 Western "The Quick and the Dead," co-starring with Gene Hackman and Sharon Stone.
Crowe received best actor Academy Award nominations for three consecutive films -- "The Insider," "Gladiator" and "A Beautiful Mind."
Crowe won an Oscar for his portrayal of the general reduced to slavery after being betrayed by the emperor's ambitious son who then rises through the ranks of gladiators to avenge the murder of his family and the emperor in "Gladiator."
Crowe's other film credits include "State of Play," "3:10 to Yuma," "L.A. Confidential," "Mystery, Alaska," "Proof of Life," and "Virtuosity."
Crowe plays the title role in "Robin Hood," set to be released May 14. The film reunites him with Ridley Scott, who directed him to his Academy Award in "Gladiator," as well as in "A Good Year," "American Gangster" and "Body of Lies."