Hans Lundgren, known as "Dolph", hails from Spånga, Sweden. He's a versatile individual, being a Swedish actor, filmmaker, and accomplished martial artist. His journey into martial arts began in his early years, eventually leading him to attain an impressive 4th dan black belt in Kyokushin karate. Notably, he secured the European champion title in 1980 and 1981.
In 1982, while pursuing a master's degree, he entered a new chapter by becoming romantically involved with the renowned singer Grace Jones. This relationship prompted a significant change as they relocated to the bustling streets of New York City. There, Lundgren took acting classes, marking the beginning of his acting career.
The turning point in his acting career came in 1985 when he landed a breakthrough role. He portrayed Ivan Drago, a formidable Soviet boxer, in Sylvester Stallone's iconic film, "Rocky IV." This role catapulted him to stardom and solidified his status as a prominent figure in cinema.
Hans Lundgren, born on November 3, 1957, in Spånga, Sweden, had a challenging upbringing. His parents were Sigrid Birgitta, a language teacher, and Karl Hugo Johan Lundgren, a government engineer and economist. He spent his early years in Spånga but moved to Nyland, Ångermanland, at 13.
Lundgren has two sisters, Katarina and Annika, and a younger brother named Johan. His relationship with his father was complex, as his father was physically abusive and often called him a "loser." Despite this, Lundgren still had respect and admiration for his father.
Lundgren was insecure and suffered from allergies as a child, describing himself as a "runt." He initially dreamed of becoming a rock star and was interested in drumming. However, he began his journey into martial arts at a young age, trying judo and Gōjū-ryū at seven and starting Kyokushin karate at ten. He also began weightlifting during his teenage years.
His father's advice to make something special of his life by going to America motivated him. After excelling in high school, he received academic scholarships to study chemical engineering in the United States, attending Washington State University and Clemson University.
While in the U.S., Lundgren served a year in the Swedish Coastal Artillery and later studied chemical engineering at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, earning a degree in the early 1980s.
While pursuing his education, he continued to train in karate and achieved a black belt in Kyokushin. He even captained the Swedish Kyokushin karate team and participated in international tournaments, including the 1979 World Open Tournament.
In 1982, Lundgren graduated with a master's in chemical engineering from the University of Sydney. During his time in Sydney, he worked as a nightclub bouncer.
In 1983, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to MIT but decided to pursue a different path. While in Sydney, Grace Jones hired him as a bodyguard, and they became romantically involved. Lundgren moved to New York City with Jones, where he briefly tried modeling and worked as a bouncer.
His exposure to the entertainment world in New York City led him to discover his passion for acting. Lundgren quit studying at MIT and decided to embark on a career in acting, finding it more attractive and rewarding than chemical engineering.
Dolph Lundgren's net worth in 2023 is estimated at around $40 million. His impressive wealth is a result of his prolific acting career, which includes not only movies but also television appearances, endorsements, and various business ventures.
Dolph Lundgren's journey in the entertainment industry began in 1985 when he debuted in "A View to a Kill," the final James Bond film starring Roger Moore. He played the role of Venz, a KGB assassin, recommended for the role by his former lover, Grace Jones, who portrayed the villain May Day. Lundgren's imposing presence in the movie earned him praise from Roger Moore, who famously remarked, "Dolph is larger than Denmark."
The Iconic 'Rocky IV' Role and Beyond
However, it was his role as Ivan Drago, the Soviet boxer in "Rocky IV," that catapulted him to stardom. Initially turned down for the role due to his height, Lundgren eventually beat out 5,000 other hopefuls. He underwent intense training in bodybuilding and boxing to prepare for the role, weighing around 240-245 pounds during filming.
His character's iconic lines, "If he dies, he dies" and "I must break you," became widely recognized in pop culture. Lundgren accidentally struck Sylvester Stallone during a fight scene and ended up in intensive care for nine days.
In 1987, Lundgren released a workout video called "Maximum Potential" and starred as He-Man in "Masters of the Universe," a film based on the popular children's toy line. However, the movie received criticism for its violence and was considered a critical failure. In 1988, Lundgren played a Soviet KGB agent in "Red Scorpion," a film poorly received by critics. Despite this, his muscular physique became a focal point of the movie.
From The Punisher to Sci-Fi Thrillers and Action Hits
Lundgren took on the role of Marvel Comics character Frank Castle, also known as The Punisher, in the 1989 film adaptation. The film deviated from the original comic book, and Lundgren's performance received mixed reviews. In 1990, Lundgren starred in the sci-fi thriller "I Come in Peace," showcasing a broader range of acting skills beyond action. He portrayed a tough Houston cop pursuing a gang of drug dealers.
Throughout the early 1990s, Lundgren continued to appear in various action films, including "Cover Up" (1991), "Showdown in Little Tokyo" (1991), and "Universal Soldier" (1992), the latter of which was a box office hit despite mixed critical reviews. In 1993, Lundgren appeared in "Joshua Tree," a film portraying a former racecar driver framed for murder.
In 1994, he starred in "Pentathlon" as an East German Olympic pentathlete and "Men of War" as a former Special Ops soldier leading mercenaries. In 1995, Lundgren was part of "Johnny Mnemonic" and "The Shooter," both receiving mixed to negative reviews.
Lundgren divides his time between two vibrant cities, Stockholm and Los Angeles. He is proficient in Swedish and English and has some knowledge of other languages, including French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. However, it's worth noting that he could be more fluent in all five languages, as has often been mistakenly reported.
Apart from his illustrious career, Lundgren is a devoted football enthusiast. He initially supported Everton F.C. while residing in Europe. Still, after his move to Los Angeles, his interest in the sport broadened to encompass international football tournaments, such as the UEFA European Championship and the FIFA World Cup.
From Chemical Engineering to Hollywood Relationships
During the 1980s, Lundgren had notable relationships with Jamaican singer Grace Jones and American model Paula Barbieri. Interestingly, his connection with Grace Jones began when she spotted him at a dance club in Australia, where he was completing his master's degree in chemical engineering through an exchange program with the University of Sydney. Jones hired him as a bodyguard, leading to Lundgren's journey to the United States to finalize his thesis.
Dolph Lundgren's Love Story
In 1994, Lundgren tied the knot with Anette Qviberg, a talented jewelry designer and fashion stylist, in Marbella. They fell in love with the city and spent several years renting accommodations there before purchasing a family home. The couple has two daughters, Ida Sigrid Lundgren and Greta Eveline Lundgren, born in Stockholm. Their decision to live outside Hollywood was rooted in their desire to give their children a normal upbringing.
The Burglary That Shattered Dolph Lundgren's Family
In early May 2009, Lundgren's Marbella home was targeted by burglars. They tied up and threatened his wife but fled upon realizing the house was owned by Lundgren after seeing a family photo. Lundgren believed the intruders to be from Eastern Europe and sought investigations in Bulgaria, but without success. The incident left his elder daughter, Ida, suffering from PTSD, and ultimately, Lundgren and his wife divorced in 2011.
From 2011 to 2017, Lundgren was in a relationship with Jenny Sanderson. In June 2020, he became engaged to Emma Krokdal, a personal trainer significantly younger than him. Their wedding occurred at their villa in Mykonos on July 13, 2023. In a revelation made in May 2023, Lundgren disclosed that he had been battling kidney cancer since 2015, shedding light on his health journey.
The family of Dolph Lundgren expanded with the birth of two daughters: Ida Sigrid Lundgren in 1996 and Greta Eveline Lundgren in 2001, both born in Stockholm.