The Bold Man and the Sea
Russell Crowe is a strong person and a great actor because of his intensity and savant-like dedication to his characters [Nov. 10]. It was refreshing to read an article about him that wasn't sensationalized. The quirks of temperament in his personality are what you find in most people who are as dedicated to their work as he is. While I like finding out a little bit about the person behind the actor, I have to agree with his statement about his privacy that you quoted: "I'll make movies, and you go to the cinema. Why can't we just keep it at that?" What is this insatiable need that so many people have to live vicariously through movie stars' lives? CYNTHIA WARREN Walnut Creek, Calif.
Crowe is an athletic reincarnation of the great Richard Burton, except that Crowe doesn't have to get drunk to behave obnoxiously. Nonetheless, he is today (as Burton once was) the finest actor on the planet. ANTHONY F. PROVENZANO Bronxville, N.Y.
Crowe didn't just take Hollywood by storm; he took it by tornado, hurricane and tsunami. After reading Josh Tyrangiel's fine cover story, I admire Crowe even more than before. EVAN DALE SANTOS Adelanto, Calif.
Crowe will eventually be seen as the pre-eminent actor of his era--surpassing Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Sean Penn and the rest. With Crowe you see a conflicted cop, a sensitive gay plumber, a fragile genius; with others, you see an actor playing a role. I respect Crowe's tenacity in staying true to himself. Because he won't play the fame game, he has been assigned a persona: arrogant bad boy. Your story unfairly perpetuated that image, leaving out instances of Crowe's generosity, loyalty and zest for life. Crowe is rugged, rebellious and tender. His complexity makes his roles mesmerizing and accessible to all. RHONDA PETERSON New York City
Tyrangiel included Hanks among the actors "condemned to deliver endless variations on the same performance." He is forgetting Road to Perdition, The Green Mile and Cast Away, all starring Hanks and all with very diverse characters and plot lines. FRANCES MOORE Gresham, Ore.
I am aggrieved by TIME's choice of cover story. Why feature a self-absorbed actor for an issue chock-full of stories about real heroes who have given so much for liberty and the sake of their fellow man? I hope our culture has the maturity to recognize the difference between those who are rewarded for how well they pretend and those who give everything with no thought of recognition. The fire fighters in California and the recovering wounded from Iraq deserved to be on your cover. MURRAY HILLS Auckland, New Zealand
Your reporting that Crowe "is frequently perceived as one of the world's biggest jerks" was uncalled for. Most people believe that an actor owes the public nothing more than good performances, and Crowe always delivers them. Because he is world famous, has won an Oscar for Best Actor and is earning megabucks, must he suffer fools like gossip columnists? Give him a break already; he's a great actor and deserves to be his own person, not the person journalists believe he should be. He's only human and has his faults, just like all the rest of us. JAN M. BARBARITA Novato, Calif.
Beyond the Ambushes