Bo Svenson - Biography

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An award-winning actor, writer, producer and director, Bo Svenson has worked with over one hundred Academy Award winners and/or nominees since he arrived in Hollywood.

Born in Sweden, Svenson emigrated by himself to the US as a teenager and right away began serving his new country with six years in the U.S. Marines. After an honorable discharge, he was in Miami when he was spotted by James Hammerstein Jr. and cast in a revival of South Pacific. Bitten by the acting bug, Svenson headed to New York and landed the lead role as Yang Sun in Bertolt Brecht’s play The Good Woman of Szechuan at The Circle In The Square Theater in Greenwich Village where he was discovered by the grand dame of casting, Marion Dougherty. Dougherty cast him in a starring role in the CBS television series The Freebooters and then as Robert Redford's costar in The Great Waldo Pepper for which he received critical acclaim.

Since then, Svenson continues to capture viewers’ imaginations in numerous roles as diverse as The Creature in the three-hour TV movie Frankenstein; Big Swede in Here Come the Brides; Sheriff Buford Pusser in Walking Tall Part II, Walking Tall Final Chapter and the Walking Tall TV series; crazy football player Jo Bob in North Dallas Forty; heroic airline pilot Captain Campbell in The Delta Force; jealous bar-owner Roy Jennings in Heartbreak Ridge; and cold-blooded killer Ivan in Magnum, P.I. Recently, Svenson was seen as the Russian mob boss Vadim in Icarus, Reverend Harmony in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill and as The Colonel in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. In fact, of the original The Inglorious Bastards cast, Svenson was the only actor Tarantino included in his homage to the movie.

An accomplished athlete, Svenson has competed in world championships, Olympic selections and international competition in yachting, track, ice hockey, auto racing (NASCAR, PRO-SCCA and FIA) and judo. A holder of black belts in judo, karate, and aikido, Svenson has been inducted into the Martial Arts Masters Hall of Fame. Now retired from competition, Svenson left the sport after winning a silver in the 2009 USA Judo National Championships, a bronze in the IJF World Judo Masters Championships, and a gold in the 2013 USJA Winter Nationals.

Svenson is president and CEO of MagicQuest Entertainment – a California corporation engaged in international motion picture and television development, production, distribution and branded advertainment. A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ( since 1987, he serves on the nominating committee for Best Foreign Language Film. He was Chairman of the Board and CEO of Motion Picture Group of America from 1984-2004.

A prolific writer, Svenson has six screenplays in development: Don’t Call Me Sir!, Max Impact, For Love and Country, Misguided, Viking: The Red Cloth, and Fate, Two Kids and an ET. His novel For Love and Country is being published.

He conducts “Acting for Life – Be All You That You Can Be” seminars in colleges, universities and corporate boardrooms around the globe.

His numerous honors and nominations include Lifetime Achievement Awards from Action On Film, the Movieville International Film Festival, and The Reel Cowboys Hall of Fame; the NAACP Image Award Nomination; the Academy of Science Fiction and Fantasy Golden Scroll Award; the Hollywood Women's Press Club Golden Apple; the Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Cast for Inglourious Basterds; and the Italian Institute of Art Award of Merit.


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