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Who is Steven Seagal?

by Ratan Srivastava
Steven Seagal

Steven Seagal is an actor, screenwriter, producer, martial artist, and musician from the United States. Seagal was born in the state of Michigan, in the city of Lansing. He commenced his adult life as little more than a martial arts instructor in Japan, where he was the first foreigner to open an aikido school. He eventually relocated to Los Angeles, California, where he continued to work in the same field. Seagal screen debut in the 1988 film Above the Law. He has starred in four successful films by 1991. In the 1992 film Under Siege, he played Navy SEAL counter-terrorist expert Casey Ryback. Seagal appeared in three additional feature films and the direct-to-video picture The Patriot in the second half of the 1990s. His career switched to largely direct-to-video productions after that. Since then, he’s participated in a number of films and reality series, including Steven Seagal: Lawman, in which he played a reserve deputy sheriff.

Seagal is a guitarist who has recorded two studio albums, Songs from the Crystal Cave and Mojo Priest, as well as playing on the soundtracks for numerous of his films. On his debut album, he collaborated with Stevie Wonder and Tony Rebel, who both performed. He’s also worked on a range of “therapeutic oil” items as well as energy drinks. Seagal is also a well-known environmentalist, animal rights campaigner, and supporter of Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. He is noted for his outspoken political views and admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he previously referred to as “one of the great living global leaders.” In 2016, he received dual Russian and Serbian citizenship. He was named Russia’s special envoy to the United States in 2018.

Several women accused Seagal of sexual harassment or assault between 1996 and 2018.

Between 1971 and 1973, Seagal made his way to Japan. He returned to California in 1974. Miyako Fujitani, a second-degree black belt and the daughter of an Osaka aikido master, had moved to Los Angeles to teach aikido that year. Seagal accompanied Miyako to Osaka when she returned. They married the next year and had a son, Kentaro, as well as a daughter, Ayako. He was a teacher at Miyako’s family’s school (though he is often stated to have been the first non-Asian to open a dojo in Japan). Miyako and her brother were still teaching there in 1990, and her mother was the chairwoman.

Although Seagal spent much of his time exploring other projects, he went to Taos, New Mexico, with his pupil (and subsequently film stuntman) Craig Dunn, where they founded a dojo.

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