Crowe's spirituality takes wing
By Louis B. Hobson, Hollyword
London Free Press, March 18, 2000

Russell Crowe believes that when people die their souls take wing.

"I definitely believe in an afterlife. I've had a couple of experiences in my life that confirm it for me," says Crowe, who is nominated for a best actor Oscar for The Insider.

Crowe's grandfather, Stanley Weans, was a cinematographer who received an MBE from Queen Elizabeth for his service to New Zealand as a war photographer in Japan.

"Six months before he died, my grandfather came to Australia to try to explain to me that he was dying.

"I was a young kid, very much into myself at the time. I was busking on the streets just to make enough money to pay my rent," recalls Crowe, who began his career as a rock singer and in touring productions of such musicals as The Rocky Horror Show.

"There was this Japanese restaurant I'd always wanted to eat at, but couldn't afford, so I suggested we go there."

It was an unfortunate choice. In Weans's weakened condition, the smell of the rice and soya sauce brought back memories of the Second World War.

"We couldn't have the talk he wanted to.

"The day he died, I was in the kitchen of a flat in Woollahra (an eastern suburb of Sydney). Suddenly a kookaburra bird flew in the window. It just looked at me. I knew my grandfather had died. I phoned home and my mother confirmed it.

"I insisted the bird was my grandfather's spirit, but my mom would have nothing of it."

One day last year, Crowe had a dream in which he was holding his mother and she was crying. He phoned home immediately.

"My mother said a woman who had worked closely with my grandfather had come to visit and, without prompting, had told her that on the day my grandfather died, a bird visited her as well. Learning this had reduced my mother to tears."

Crowe says he believes that "With all this talk of angels, maybe they are just birds sent to us by those who have crossed over."

"I am going to be doing this all of my life, in one form or another, I am going to be an entertainer. So if that really bugs you, go and see a therapist, because I am not going to stop because it bugs you because there are a lot of other people that dig it."