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Matt Damon

Matt Damon

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Also Known As: Matthew Paige Damon Died:
Born: October 8, 1970 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA Profession: actor, screenwriter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Despite his all-American persona, actor Matt Damon has thrived in roles that ran counter to his mom-and-apple-pie image. Whether playing a combative mathematics genius, a serial killer hunting the rich and famous or a lethal spy unable to recall his identity, Damon built a strong and respected career tackling characters against type. After appearing in several supporting roles, Damon forged his own path with best friend Ben Affleck by writing and starring in "Good Will Hunting" (1997), which earned the duo an Academy Award for Best Screenplay while opening numerous doors. From there, he delivered a brief but acclaimed performance as the titular soldier in "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), followed by a more devious part as a social-climbing killer in "The Talented Mr. Ripley" (1999). Though he stalled a bit with "The Legend of Bagger Vance" (2000) and "All the Pretty Horses" (2000), Damon became a bona fide star by aptly trading one-liners with the likes of George Clooney and Brad Pitt in the stylish action comedy "Ocean's Eleven" (2001) and its sequels. But Damon became his own man with "The Bourne Identity" (2002), which allowed him to solo drive a successful action franchise that earned big box-office...

Despite his all-American persona, actor Matt Damon has thrived in roles that ran counter to his mom-and-apple-pie image. Whether playing a combative mathematics genius, a serial killer hunting the rich and famous or a lethal spy unable to recall his identity, Damon built a strong and respected career tackling characters against type. After appearing in several supporting roles, Damon forged his own path with best friend Ben Affleck by writing and starring in "Good Will Hunting" (1997), which earned the duo an Academy Award for Best Screenplay while opening numerous doors. From there, he delivered a brief but acclaimed performance as the titular soldier in "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), followed by a more devious part as a social-climbing killer in "The Talented Mr. Ripley" (1999). Though he stalled a bit with "The Legend of Bagger Vance" (2000) and "All the Pretty Horses" (2000), Damon became a bona fide star by aptly trading one-liners with the likes of George Clooney and Brad Pitt in the stylish action comedy "Ocean's Eleven" (2001) and its sequels. But Damon became his own man with "The Bourne Identity" (2002), which allowed him to solo drive a successful action franchise that earned big box-office dollars and critical acclaim across the board. By the time he landed a meaty leading role in Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning thriller, "The Departed" (2006), Damon was one of the biggest stars working in Hollywood.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Martian, The (2015)
2.
3.
4.
 Interstellar (2014)
5.
 Elysium (2013)
6.
7.
 Promised Land (2012)
8.
 Happy Feet Two (2011)
9.
 American Teacher (2011)
10.
 Margaret (2011)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Newton and Cambridge, MA
:
Lived in a commune-like house in Cambridge with his mother and older brother
1981:
Met and became friends with Ben Affleck, who lived two blocks away (date approximate)
1988:
Made feature film debut in "Mystic Pizza"; had one line
1990:
TV acting debut in the TV-movie "Rising Son" (TNT)
:
Acted with the prestigious American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge and with various Harvard theatre groups
1992:
Played first prominent screen role in "School Ties," also featuring Affleck
1995:
Appeared in the TNT movie "The Good Old Boys," directed by Tommy Lee Jones
1996:
Landed a supporting role in "Courage Under Fire"
1996:
Sold script co-written with Ben Affleck, "Good Will Hunting"; Damon and Affleck co-starred in the feature which was released in 1997; received Oscar for Best Original Screenplay; had also been nominated as Best Actor
1997:
Made cameo appearance in "Chasing Amy," starring Affleck and directed by Kevin Smith
1997:
Starred in "John Grisham's 'The Rainmaker,'" directed by Francis Ford Coppola
:
With Ben Affleck, formed Pearl Street Productions
1998:
Had titular role in Steven Spielberg's WWII drama "Saving Private Ryan"
1998:
Played leading role of a reformed gambler in "Rounders"
1999:
Reteamed with Affleck to play a pair of renegade angels in Kevin Smith's "Dogma"
1999:
Co-starred with Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law in "The Talented Mr Ripley," scripted and directed by Anthony Minghella
:
Formed LivePlanet with Affleck and producers Sean Bailey and Chris Moore
2000:
LivePlanet sponsored Project Greenlight, an Internet screenwriting competition created in partnership with HBO and Miramax
2000:
Portrayed a 1930s golfer in "The Legend of Bagger Vance," directed by Robert Redford
2000:
Starred in the film version of "All the Pretty Horses," scripted and directed by Billy Bob Thornton
2001:
Appeared in the ensemble of "Ocean's Eleven"
2001:
Was an executive producer (with Ben Affleck and others) and appeared in the HBO series "Project Greenlight" which followed the making of the film "Stolen Summer" (2002)
2002:
With Casey Affleck, co-wrote and co-starred in the Sundance-screened "Gerry"
2002:
Guest starred on the NBC sitcom "Will & Grace," playing a heterosexual who poses as a gay man to land a spot in a chorale group
2002:
Won lead role of Jason Bourne, a spy with amnesia, in "The Bourne Identity," based on the Robert Ludlum novel
2003:
Co-starred with Greg Kinnear in the comedy "Stuck on You," directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly
2004:
Reprised role of Jason Bourne in "The Bourne Supremacy" based on the Robert Ludlum novel
2004:
Returned with the original cast for "Ocean's Twelve," directed by Steven Soderbergh
2005:
Cast in Terry Gilliam's "The Brothers Grimm" opposite Heath Ledger
2005:
Cast as an oil executive in the geopolitical thriller "Syriana," based on the real-life memoirs of CIA agent Robert Baer; produced by George Clooney
2006:
Executive produced "Feast" a horror film, which is a result of the third season of the Project Greenlight contest
2006:
Cast as a criminal who has infiltrated the police department in Martin Scorsese's mob drama "The Departed"
2006:
Portrayed CIA agent Edward Wilson in Robert De Niro's long-anticipated "The Good Shepherd," which recounts the history of the CIA from World War II through its involvement in the Bay of Pigs
2007:
Re-teamed with the original cast for "Ocean's 13"
2007:
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
2007:
Reprised role of Jason Bourne in "The Bourne Ultimatum"
2009:
Portrayed Mark Whitacre, the ADM executive turned whistle-blower in Steven Soderbergh's "The Informant"
2009:
Portrayed Francois Pienaar, the South African Rugby team captain, opposite Morgan Freeman as former President Mandela in Clint Eastwood's "Invictus"
2010:
Re-teamed with director Paul Greengrass for the war thriller "Green Zone"
2010:
Guest starred as a pilot named Carol on the season finale of "30 Rock," starring Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin
2010:
Played an American factory worker who communicates with the dead in "Hereafter," a film written by Peter Morgan and directed by Clint Eastwood
2010:
Played Texas Ranger La Boeuf in the Western written and directed by the Coen brothers, "True Grit"
2011:
Starred opposite Emily Blunt in the romantic thriller "The Adjustment Bureau"
2011:
Joined an ensemble cast for Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion"
2011:
Co-starred with Anna Paquin and Mark Ruffalo in "Margaret"; filming began in 2005, but spent five years in post-production
2011:
Played a father who moves his family to the countryside to renovate a struggling zoo in "We Bought a Zoo," directed by Cameron Crowe and co-starring Scarlett Johansson
2012:
Co-wrote screenplay for "Promised Land" with John Krasinski; film based on a story by Dave Eggers and directed by Gus van Sant; also starred as a corporate salesperson
2013:
Featured in the HBO TV movie "Behind the Candelabra"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Harvard University: Cambridge , Massachusetts - 1988 - 1991
Cambridge Rindge and Latin School: Cambridge , Massachusetts - 1988

Notes

"I wasn't looking to become an overpaid sensation... At nineteen I did a TNT movie 'Rising Son' for $25,000. Five years later, after two feature shots, here I was getting $20,000 for another TNT movie 'The Good Old Boys'. Talk about a lesson in humility, somebody was obviously trying to tell me something."---Matt Damon quoted in Details, September 1998.

"It was surreal. 'Surreal' is an overused word. But it's the only way I can describe the whole thing. I had this Stepford-child glaze in my eyes the whole time. When Ben [Affleck] and I went up and we looked at the front row and saw Jack Nicholson and all those guys we revere, we froze. I mean, last year we were in Toronto, filming some 'Good Will Hunting' scenes, watching the awards with Gus [Van Sant], drinking beers and making smart-ass comments. And a year later we're in the front row and Billy Crystal's singing about us!"---Matt Damon describing the Academy Awards ceremonies Details, September 1998.

"To me this [celebrity] is all a statement about the power of the media. The press guys who met me last year know I wasn't turning anyone's head then. I hope I'm the same guy. I've been working straight. I haven't had the time to lose my mind yet."---Damon to the Boston Herald, July 21, 1998.

"I wish I could say it was part of some master plan. I was just a guy with my hat in my hand, looking for work."---Matt Damon on his casting in "Saving Private Ryan" to Entertainment Weekly, September 18, 1998.

"I don't have the natural talent to act the same way other people can do it. I'm always looking for every advantage I can get ... you want every possible angle covered. So I do a lot of research."---Matt Damon quoted in the San Francisco Examiner, July 19, 1998.

"... it would be harder to go through this without Ben, To see it happen to him makes it more real, too. It's great to be able to talk to him about what's going on because so much of it is weird and trippy and a little unhealthy and creepy."---Damon as quoted in the The Boston Globe, July 19, 1998.

"I heard these rumors around Oscar time. The theory is that a certain camp was trying to undermine me and Ben because then they would have a better chance of winning the best screenplay Oscar. As for the rumor, it's insulting. Variety called me about it. I said, 'I don't care. I'm not going to comment on it. Go ask Woody Allen if he wrote his script.' It's offensive, especially since it was so well documented that Ben and I wrote the script."---Matt Damon addressing the rumors that he and Affleck did not really write the script for "Good Will Hunting" as quoted in The Chicago Sun-Times, July 19, 1998.

"There's a whole group of us that stick together. It's like Actors Anonymous, and that's important because we all go through the same stuff. It's a life based on rejection, even at its highest level; you're never the first choice so I think it helps to have friends who understand the business. You can talk to them and they know where you're coming from."---Damon quoted in the London Times, February 28, 1998.

"A big shift in my life is not talking about personal things. I was raised in a family [in which] you always talked about whatever issues you were dealing with. My folks felt it was important for inner personal growth."

"I've done a 180-degree turn, for I find myself being guarded. It's definitely a transition for me, but I think it's an occupational necessity."---Matt Damon quoted in Daily News, September 6, 1998.

"I think he's right up there with the best actors I've worked with, Absolutely. They're all different, of course. But what Matt has shown steadily is the courage to be himself."---stage director David Wheeler (who taught Damon at The American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts) as quoted in Daily News, March 12, 1998.

"There's something so apple-pie about him. You know he was the best-looking kid in his school, and won all the awards at track and field and dated the most popular girl."---director Anthony Minghella to the London Times, February 28, 1998.

"Matt has the gift and he's a writer in his own right. That gives him something special."---Francis Ford Coppola quoted in the London Times, February 28, 1998.

"We never fancied ourselves writers. And actually, it was a source of embarrassment for us when we sold the script, because a lot of our friends really are writers and can write a lot better than we can, except maybe for dialogue. Writing a script is different, though, because to me it's not really writing. It's acting, is what it is. We still don't call ourselves writers. We just kind of go, 'Well, I guess that worked.'"---Damon quoted in Interview, December 1997.

"I think I probably care too much what people think about me. That's probably... another reason I'm an actor. It's not a compliment to myself; it's just being somebody who wants to be all things to all people, and I actually found a way to do that. It'll still never happen. It's something I'm working on."---Damon quoted in Premiere, January 2000.

"... it's really always for me more about the group of people that you're with that's gonna determine how much fun, how much value the experience is gonna have in your life."---Damon on working with the cast of "Ocean Eleven" to zap2it.com, November 27, 2001.

"When you're famous, you get a lot more credit for simple things," Damon says. "I'm not the nicest guy in the world. I like to think of myself as a nice guy and maybe, compared to these others, I am. Being polite to people and being professional doesn't take much energy."---Damon quoted in USA Today, December 11, 2003.

"This is the most insecure profession," Damon continues. "Everyone is on shaky ground, I don't care who they are. Look at all the people who were stars 10 and 20 years ago. Not many of them are around. That doesn't mean you can't act. It just depends on what you're in it for. And if you're in it to be a movie star, you're f---ed. Because no matter who you are, that s--- will go away, I guarantee you."---Damon to EW, July 23, 2004.

"I can imagine growing old with Ben. My longest relationship with a woman lasted 2 1/2 years, which is short when I consider how long I've been friends with him."---Damon to Brigitte Magazine, November 2004.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Skylar Statenstein. Emergency-room doctor. Born c. 1961; reportedly the model for Minnie Driver's character in "Good Will Hunting"; later married rock musician Lars Ulrich of Metallica.
companion:
Kara Sands. Model. No longer together.
companion:
Claire Danes. Actor. Dated during filming of "The Rainmaker".
companion:
Minnie Driver. Actor. Met during filming of "Good Will Hunting"; dated in 1997.
companion:
Winona Ryder. Actor. Introduced by Gwyneth Paltrow at a New Year's Eve party on December 31, 1997; began relationship in 1998; separated in April 2000.
companion:
Odessa Whitmire. Personal assistant. Reportedly dating as of 2001; worked as a personal assistant to Billy Bob Thornton and Ben Affleck; rumored to be engaged as of December 2002; no longer together as of October 2003.
companion:
Luciana Barroso. Interior designer. Rumored to be dating as of fall 2003.
companion:
Eva Mendes. Actor. Rumored to be dating as of December 2003; met while filming "Stuck On You".
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Kent Damon. Realtor, former stockbroker. Divorced from Damon's mother c. 1973; born c. 1943.
mother:
Nancy Carlsson-Paige. Professor. Divorced from Damon's father c. 1973.
brother:
Kyle Damon. Artist. Older; born c. 1967.

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