Steven Seagal may be known for movies such as 48 HRS, Under Siege, and The Legend of the Wolf King, but the actor has had a long and varied career. He’s been in both major and minor films, and although he’s mostly known for his action scenes, he’s also had plenty of scenes with only a few lines as well as significant speaking parts. In 2015 alone, Seagal had seven feature films and one mini-series released, and although it’s early yet, this year looks to continue this trend with the biopic, Grizzly Man. Here are some important facts about the life and career of Steven Seagal you may not know.

Grew Up In Malibu, California

Steven Seagal was born on April 20, 1954, in Malibu, California, but he grew up in Woodland Hills, California, a suburb located in the San Fernando Valley. The actor’s father was a dentist and his mother was a homemaker, which gave him his daily bread. But he wasn’t always so lucky; his mother was later diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This eventually led to the family selling their house and moving into a camper van. They eventually settled down in Palo Alto, where they bought a house for $128,000 in 1974.

Was Active In Boy Scouts

Even as a teenager, Steven Seagal was a Scoutmaster, and he later recalled that it was through the Scouting program that he learned more about teamwork and leadership than he would have from any other experience. He said, “I learned so much from the Scouts. If I had to do it all over again, I would do it differently.”

Started A Camp In His Name

In 1975, Steven Seagal and some pals started a camp for at-risk youth and teenagers in the Bay Area. He named it Camp Grizzly after himself, and the campers would get to take part in a variety of activities, from archery to horseback riding, mountain biking, and swimming. One of the activities at the camp was designed to teach the kids about responsibility; they would have to take care of a camp animal friend for a week. This was intended to help the campers understand that sometimes you have to put your needs last. It wasn’t just about being a tough kid; it was about having empathy and being a good person.

Gave His First On-Camera Interview

In 1976, Steven Seagal gave his first ever on-camera interview, which was for the short-lived television program, In Search Of… On the show, he spoke about his acting career, his travels, and the upcoming Camp Grizzly summer camp. He also talked about being a Scoutmaster and how he got involved with Scouting in the first place. This was initially broadcast on August 6, 1976, and although it was short-lived—the episode only aired for three days before being pulled from the air—it introduced the world to Steven Seagal and confirmed him as one of Hollywood’s most exciting new actors.

Was A Golden Globe Nominee For Best Supporting Actor

In 1979, Steven Seagal was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Dr. Richard Kimble in the film, The Fall of the Eagles. The film is based on the John W. Campbell novel of the same name, which was also made into a film in 1963. Seagal had a small speaking part as a physician in the movie, but he wasn’t the only one who got recognition for their performance; the whole cast was nominated for the Golden Globes, and it was eventually won by Robert Duvall for his performance in The Great Santini. The film was directed by Sidney J. Pollack and starred Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman, and Shirley MacLaine.

Is An Edward R. Murrow Fellow

In addition to being a Golden Globe nominee, Steven Seagal was also chosen to be a Fellow by the Edward R. Murrow Institute of American Journalism. The prestigious fellowship honors journalists who strive to inform the public about important social issues as well as cover those issues objectively. Seagal is one of the only 100 recipients of this prestigious academic honor.

Picked Up A Few Awards

In 1981, Steven Seagal was awarded the International Terence MacLaurin Award for his portrayal of a Native American in the movie, Last Stand. The following year, he picked up a similar award for his performance as an American soldier in the film, Above All. The award-winning film was directed by John Woo and starred Jean-Claude Van Damme and Seagal. In addition, Seagal received the Award of Excellence from the National American Indian Council for his efforts in bringing awareness to Native American issues through his acting. He also received the Humanitarian Award from the Native American Journalists Association for his work in promoting Native American culture through the media. In 1983, he once again won the NAIC Award of Excellence in Drama for his role as an American soldier in the film, Cry Freedom. The following year, he was nominated for a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for his book, Into The Fire. The award-winning album was based on William Booth’s book of the same name and was narrated by Seagal. The record label also nominated him for seven more Grammys, but he didn’t win any of them.

Turned Down An Oscar Nomination

In 1982, Steven Seagal turned down an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as a Native American in the movie, Bloodbrothers. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Tim O’Brien and was directed by John Boorman. Seagal had the chance to work with his real-life brother, Peter Seagal, on the movie, and although he wasn’t nominated, he did get to attend the Oscars as a guest of honor. Peter’s film, The Return of the Gunfighter, was also nominated that year, and although it didn’t win any awards, it did receive a Best Picture nomination. John Boorman was also nominated for a Best Director award for the film. Tim O’Brien wrote the screenplay for Bloodbrothers, and he also wrote the screenplay for and directed The Mission, which was released in 2013. The Mission is currently the highest-grossing film from Miramax, and it stars Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep. In 2015, it was revealed that Tim O’Brien had written a memoir about his life which was titled, The Way Of The Gun: A Writer’s Life In Arms, and it was released in May 2016.

Was One Of The First Actors To Play A Native American Role On Television

In addition to turning down an Oscar nomination, Steven Seagal also helped to create the first Native American character to appear on American television. His character, Nick George, is a medicine man who helps a white man (Lester Leisure) travel back in time to prevent the Trail of Tears from happening. The historical drama, Legend Of The Bear, was based on the 1973 book by the same name and was aired on NBC in 1977. According to legend, this is where Steven Seagal’s career would’ve ended—a footnote of sorts in a movie no one has ever heard of. But, against all odds, Seagal’s acting career did go on to greater things. He continued to appear in both major and independent films, and although he mostly shied away from starring roles, he did land a few lead parts. To date, Steven Seagal has never starred in a TV show, but he did appear in an episode of the HBO series, The Sopranos as “Mr. Saverio.’

The Sopranos was created by former Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane and his company, The MLB Group, and the series follows the criminal lives of three New York City Mafia families, the DiSimones, the Genovese, and the Luccheses. The story revolves around Tony Soprano (played by Steve Buscemi), an average man who accidentally becomes a mob boss after being blackmailed by his own family. After helping them with a few assassination attempts, Tony agrees to become a made man and help them run their criminal empire. The series was praised for its dark humor and tense drama, and it ultimately won five Golden Globes, including Best Drama Series.

Steven Seagal is one of Hollywood’s most interesting and complex actors, and although he’s had many ups and downs over the years, he continues to fight for social justice and never forgotten his roots. The fact that he’s been able to stay afloat as an actor for so long is a testament to both his tenacity and talent—and he’s still going strong at the age of 71.