Bo Svenson - Biography
An award-winning writer, actor, producer and director, Bo Svenson has worked with over one hundred Academy Award winners and/or nominees, including Clint Eastwood and Quentin Tarantino.
Born in Sweden to a Russian-Jewish mother and Swedish father, Svenson emigrated by himself to the US as a teenager and began by serving his new country with six years in the U.S. Marines.
After an honorable discharge, he was spotted in Miami by James Hammerstein Jr. and cast in a revival of South Pacific. Curious to find out if acting was for him, he headed to New York where he 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 — and cast in a starring role in the CBS TV pilot The Freebooters.
Other starring roles followed, as well as a recurring role as Big Swede on Here Come the Brides.
His role as the Creature in the three-hour TV movie Mary Shelley's Original Frankenstein brought him great acclaim and led to a starring role in Maurie and the co-starring role with Robert Redford in The Great Waldo Pepper.
Major starring roles followed: Sheriff Buford Pusser in Walking Tall Part II, Walking Tall Final Chapter and the Walking Tall TV series; crazed football player Jo Bob in North Dallas Forty; heroic airline pilot Captain Campbell in The Delta Force; jealous bar-owner Roy Jennings in Clint Eastwood's Heartbreak Ridge; and cool, cold-blooded killer Ivan in Magnum, P.I.
In addition to recently being the Russian mob boss Vadim in Icarus, he portrayed Reverend Harmony in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill and The Colonel in Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.
Svenson was the only actor from the original The Inglorious Bastards cast included by Tarantino in his homage to that movie, one of his all-time favorites.
An accomplished athlete, Svenson has competed in world championships, Olympic selections and/or international competition in judo, yachting, track, and ice hockey — and more than anything he loved driving NASCAR!
A 5th degree black belt in judo, and a black belt also in karate and aikido, he is past Chairman of USA Judo Masters and has been inducted into the Martial Arts Masters Hall of Fame. Following a forty-year absence from judo, he won a silver in the 2009 USA Judo Championships. He won a bronze in the World Championships in 2013 and retired from judo competition after winning a gold in the 2013 USJA Winter National Championships.
He was Sports Commissioner at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games — held at his alma mater UCLA where he had pursued a Ph.D. in metaphysics until his film career took over.
Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Motion Picture Group of America from 1984-2004, he is President and CEO of MagicQuest Entertainment — since 1975, a California corporation engaged in motion picture development and production as well as providing consulting services to actors and script doctoring to writers.
A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (oscars.org) since 1985, he serves on the nominating committee for Best Foreign Language Film and is a juror on the Student Academy Award committee.
He has been a host and/or Master of Ceremonies for numerous events — and is a sought-after juror by film festivals across the globe.
His numerous honors include: the Academy of Science Fiction and Fantasy Golden Scroll Award; the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast for Inglourious Basterds; the Italian Institute of Art Award of Merit; Lifetime Achievement Awards from Action On Film and the Movieville International Film Festival; and The Reel Cowboys Hall of Fame Award.
His nominations include the NAACP Image Award and the Hollywood Women’s Press Club Golden Apple.
Made For Each Other, a film that he wrote, produced and directed starring Dennis Hopper, won the Award of Excellence at the Accolade Global Film Competition and was nominated at numerous festivals.
He conducts his “The Ultimate Acting Lesson: Don’t Act - Be!”, a highly-appreciated seminar, in colleges, universities, and corporate boardrooms around the globe.