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Facts about Matt Damon
Biography for Matt DamonMatthew Paige Damon (born Oct. 8, 1970 (43 years ago)) is an American actor, writer and philanthropist whose career was launched following the success of the movie Good Will Hunting, from a screenplay he co-wrote with friend Ben Affleck. The pair won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay for the work and Damon garnered multiple nominations for Best Actor for his lead performance in the same film.
Damon has gone on to star in movies such as Saving Private Ryan, The Talented Mr. Ripley, the Ocean's series, the Bourne series, Syriana, The Good Shepherd, and The Departed. He has received multiple award nominations for his movie performances and has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Damon is one of the top thirty-five highest grossing actors of all time. In 2007 (6 years ago), he was named Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine.
Damon has been actively involved in charitable work, including the ONE Campaign, H2O Africa Foundation, and Water.org. With his wife, Luciana Bozán Barroso, Damon has two daughters, Isabella and Gia, and stepdaughter Alexia from Barroso's prior marriage.
Early lifeMatt Damon was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Kent Telfer Damon, a stockbroker, and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, an early childhood education professor at Lesley University. Damon is of Finnish, English, and Scottish ancestry. Damon has a brother, Kyle, who is an accomplished sculptor and artist. He and his family lived in Newton for the first two years of his life, but after his parents divorced, Damon and his brother moved with his mother to Cambridge.
Damon grew up near Ben Affleck (7 walls), a close friend since childhood and collaborator on several films, and historian and author Howard Zinn, whose biographical movie You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train and audio version of A People's History of the United States Damon narrated. He attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, and performed in several theater productions before graduating in 1988 (25 years ago). He attended Harvard University from 1988 (25 years ago) to 1992 (21 years ago) but did not graduate. He instead pursued acting projects, including the TNT original movie Rising Son and ensemble prep-school drama School Ties. While at Harvard, he studied English and lived in Lowell House. He did not take part in student theater generally, but did appear in A... My Name is Alice (in one of the three male roles usually performed by women). Damon dropped out of the university to pursue his acting career in Los Angeles when Geronimo: An American Legend was expected to be a big success.
Personal lifeDamon has had relationships with several actresses throughout his career. Damon had a two-year relationship with actress Winona Ryder. He also dated Odessa Whitmire, who has worked as a personal assistant for Billy Bob Thornton and Affleck, from 2001 (12 years ago) to 2003 (10 years ago). Although the media often claimed Damon dated actress Eva Mendes (113 walls), both have denied any relationship.
Damon met Argentine-born Luciana Bozan Barroso in Miami, where she was working as a bartender. They married in a private civil ceremony on dec. 9, 2005 (8 years ago), at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau near New York City Hall. Damon became stepfather to Bozan's young daughter, Alexia, from her previous marriage. The couple's first child together, daughter Isabella, was born in Miami, Florida on Jun. 11, 2006 (7 years ago). On Aug. 20, 2008 (5 years ago), Luciana gave birth to the couple's second child, Gia Zavala Damon.
Among Damon's interests include his support of the Boston Red Sox. After the team won the 2007 (6 years ago) World Series, he narrated the commemorative DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) release of the event.
Damon is a beekeeper, having learned the art from his grandfather as a child, and was made an honorary member of the British Beekeepers' Association after giving a talk in the UK in 2005 (8 years ago).
PhilanthropyDamon, along with frequent co-stars George Clooney (5 walls) and Brad pitt (17 walls), supports ONE, a campaign fighting AIDS and poverty in Third World countries. He has appeared in their print and TV advertising. Damon is also an ambassador for OneXOne, a non-profit foundation committed to supporting, preserving and improving the lives of children at home in Canada, the United States, and around the world.
Damon is a board member of Tonic Mailstopper (formerly GreenDimes), a company that attempts to halt junk mail delivered to American homes each day. Appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show on Apr. 20, 2007 (6 years ago), Damon promoted the organization's efforts to prevent the trees used for junk mail letters and envelopes from being chopped down. Damon stated: "For an estimated dime a day they can stop 70 per cent of the junk mail that comes to your house. It's very simple, easy to do, great gift to give, I've actually signed up my entire family. It was a gift given to me this past holiday season and I was so impressed that I'm now on the board of the company."
Damon, along with George Clooney (5 walls), Brad pitt (17 walls), Don Cheadle, and Jerry Weintraub, is one of the founders of Not On Our Watch, an organization that focuses global attention and resources to stop and prevent mass atrocities such as in Darfur. He was the founder of H2O Africa Foundation, the charitable arm of the Running the Sahara expedition, which merged with WaterPartners to create Water.org in Jul. 2009 (4 years ago).
Kimmel and DamonComedian Jimmy Kimmel has often stated near the end of his ABC TV show Jimmy Kimmel Live "My apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time." The line is a gag lampooning instances where shows cannot feature their last guest due to time constraints. On sep. 12, 2006 (7 years ago), after a segment highlighting the running gag and a lengthy introduction by Kimmel, Damon finally appeared on the show, only for Kimmel to apologetically cut his interview and head to credits, as Damon cursed him. It was later determined that the skit was entirely planned by Kimmel and Damon. Kimmel's girlfriend at the time, comedian Sarah Silverman, also used this line at the end of the 2007 (6 years ago) MTV Movie Awards. Silverman also aired a clip of her singing a song entitled "I'm Fucking Matt Damon" on Jan. 31, 2008 (5 years ago) on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Damon appeared in the song with Silverman and at the end when she is apologizing to Jimmy, Damon interrupts her saying, "Jimmy, we're out of time. Sorry." Kimmel himself later responded by showing a music video in which he announced, through song, that he is "fucking Ben Affleck". The video aired on Feb. 24, 2008 (5 years ago) and featured Affleck along with celebrities such as Don Cheadle, Cameron Diaz (31 walls), Harrison Ford, Brad pitt (17 walls), Robin Williams, and various others.
Political viewsDamon appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews in dec. 2006 (7 years ago) and discussed the ongoing war in Iraq. Responding to Chris Matthews, Damon stated:
“ I don't think that it's fair, as I said before, that it seems like we have a fighting class in our country that's comprised of people who have to go for either financial reasons, or... I don't think that that is fair, and if you're gonna send people to war, then that needs to be shared by everybody. ”
On sep. 10, 2008 (5 years ago) a video was released on YouTube by the Associated Press in which Matt Damon criticized the Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. In the interview excerpt he expresses doubt on Palin's readiness to lead in case John McCain does not make it through his first term. Damon refers to it as a "... bad Disney movie... 'I'm just a hockey mom from Alaska here to take on the White House'. It's absurd... I need to know if she really thinks dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago. Because she’s gonna have the nuclear codes". He also says "You do the actuarial tables. There's a 1 out of 3 chance that McCain doesn't survive his first term, and it'll be President Palin."
Acting careerEarly years
His first movie role came in 1988 (25 years ago) when he was eighteen, with a single line of dialogue in the romantic comedy Mystic Pizza. Damon appeared in small roles before landing a big part in Geronimo: An American Legend with Gene Hackman and Jason Patric. He next appeared as a heroin-addicted soldier in 1996's Courage Under Fire. He was required to lose 40 pounds (18 kg) in 100 days (for only two days of filming). After following a self-prescribed diet and fitness regimen to lose the weight, Damon was told after filming that he was fortunate his heart did not shrink. Damon took medication for several years afterwards to correct the stress inflicted on his adrenal gland, and has stated that it was worthwhile to properly portray his character and show the industry how committed he was to the role. In 1995 (18 years ago), he auditioned for a small role in Cutthroat Island, but was turned away.
Brad pitt (17 walls), George Clooney (5 walls), Damon, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts (the cast of Ocean's Eleven), with director Steven Soderbergh in dec. 2001Damon and Affleck wrote a screenplay about a young math genius, which they had pitched around Hollywood. Receiving advice from writer/director/actor Rob Reiner, screenwriter William Goldman, and their friend writer/director Kevin Smith, the two made changes to the script. The script eventually became Good Will Hunting, and received nine Academy Awards nominations, earning Damon and Affleck Oscars for Best Original Screenplay. Damon was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for the same movie and the movie netted an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for co-star Robin Williams. Damon and Affleck were each paid salaries of $500,000; the movie grossed over $100 million at the box office. Damon and Affleck parodied their roles in the movie in Kevin Smith's Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. After meeting Damon on the set of Good Will Hunting, director Steven Spielberg cast Damon in the 1998 (15 years ago) World War II movie Saving Private Ryan.
Damon has been known to choose a wide variety of movie roles, from his portrayal of murderer Tom Ripley in The Talented Mr. Ripley, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor, to a fallen angel who discusses pop culture as intellectual subject matter in Dogma, in which he co-starred with Affleck (1999, 14 years ago); from a conjoined twin in Stuck on You, to a movie he co-wrote with friend Casey Affleck and Gus Van Sant with limited dialogue—the low budget experimental movie Gerry. Damon has been part of two major movie franchises. He played amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne in the successful action movies The Bourne Identity (5 walls), The Bourne Supremacy (4 walls), and The Bourne Ultimatum (13 walls), and starred as the youthful, optimistic thief Linus Caldwell, opposite George Clooney (5 walls), Brad pitt (17 walls), and Julia Roberts in Steven Soderbergh's 2001 (12 years ago) remake of the Rat Pack's 1960 (53 years ago) caper classic Ocean's Eleven. The successful crime dramedy spawned two sequels: Ocean's Twelve (2004, 9 years ago) and Ocean's Thirteen (2007, 6 years ago).
Among other roles, Damon played a fictionalized version of Wilhelm Grimm in Terry Gilliam's fantasy adventure The Brothers Grimm and an energy analyst in Syriana. He joined Robert De Niro (6 walls) in The Good Shepherd as a career CIA officer, and played an undercover mobster working for the Massachusetts State Police in Martin Scorsese's The Departed, a remake of the Hong Kong police thriller Infernal Affairs. He had an uncredited cameo in Francis Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth (released in 2007 (6 years ago)), a cameo in the 2008 (5 years ago) Che Guevara biopic Che, and a supporting role in Kenneth Lonergan's movie Margaret, due in 2009 (4 years ago).
Damon's projects include five movies that are expected to debut in 2009 (4 years ago), including his portrayal of Mr. Aaron in the drama Margaret. He began filming Green Zone in Jan. 2008 (5 years ago), and commenced filming Steven Soderbergh's thriller, The Informant opposite Melanie Lynskey, in Central Illinois on May 3, 2008 (5 years ago). Damon will provide a voice for the English version of the movie Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, which is set for release in the United States in Aug. 2009 (4 years ago). Damon will portray rugby team captain François Pienaar in the Clint Eastwood-directed Nelson Mandela movie Invictus, a movie based on a 2008 (5 years ago) The Human Factor book by John Carlin, and also featuring Morgan Freeman as Mandela.
Producing careerAlong with Affleck and producers Chris Moore and Sean Bailey, Damon founded the production company LivePlanet, through which the four created the documentary series Project Greenlight to find and fund worthwhile movie projects from novice filmmakers. The company produced and founded the failed mystery-hybrid series Push, Nevada among other projects. Project Greenlight was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Program in 2002 (11 years ago), 2004 (9 years ago), and 2005 (8 years ago).
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