Damon, Matt 1970–

views updated May 23 2018

Damon, Matt 1970–


Full name, Matthew Paige Damon; born October 8, 1970, in Cambridge, MA; son of Kent Damon (a tax preparer and stockbroker) and Nancy Carlsson-Paige (a professor of childhood education); married Luciana Barroso, December 9, 2005; children: Alexia (stepdaughter). Education: Studied English at Harvard University, 1988–91.

Addresses: Agent—Endeavor, 9601 Wilshire Blvd., 6th Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Publicist—PMK/HBH Public Relations, 700 San Vicente Blvd., Suite G910, West Hollywood, CA 90069.

Career: Actor, producer, and writer. Appeared in a radio commercial for Samuel Adams beer, 2001, and National Mentoring Month, 2005.

Awards, Honors: National Board of Review Award (with Affleck), special achievement in filmmaking, 1997, Academy Award (with Ben Affleck), best writing—screenplay written directly for the screen, Academy Award nomination, best actor in a leading role, Golden Globe Award (with Affleck), best screenplay—motion picture, Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a motion picture—drama, Silver Berlin Bear, outstanding single achievement, Berlin International Film Festival, Writers Guild of America Screen Award nomination (with Affleck), best screenplay written directly for the screen, Humanitas Prize (with Affleck), feature film category, Human Family Educational and Cultural Institute, Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards, best screenplay-original (with Affleck) and breakthrough artist, MTV Movie Award nominations, best kiss (with Minnie Driver), best on-screen duo (with Affleck), and best male performance, Florida Film Critics Circle Award (with Affleck), newcomer of the year, Online Film Critics Society Award nomination (with Affleck), best screenplay, Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, outstanding performance by a cast (with others), and outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role, Golden Satellite Award (with Affleck), best motion picture screenplay—original, International Press Academy, Golden Satellite Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a motion picture—drama, Chicago Film Critics Award, most promising actor, Sierra Award, most promising actor, Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award, all 1998, London Critics Circle Award nominations, screenwriter of the year (with Affleck) and actor of the year, Blockbuster Entertainment Award, favorite actor in a video, 1999, all for Good Will Hunting; Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite actor—drama, 1998, for John Grisham's "The Rainmaker"; ShoWest Award, male star of tomorrow, National Association of Theatre Owners, 1998; chosen as one of the fifty most beautiful people in the world, People Weekly, 1998; Screen Actors Guild Award nomination (with others), outstanding performance by a cast, Online Film Critics Society Award (with others), best ensemble cast performance, 1999, both for Saving Private Ryan; Golden Globe Award nomination, best actor in a motion picture drama, Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite actor—suspense, Sierra Award nomination, best actor, Las Vegas Film Critics Society, and MTV Movie Award nominations, best musical performance (with others) and best villain, Teen Choice Award nominations, film—choice actor and film—choice liar, all 2000, for The Talented Mr. Ripley; Sierra Award nomination, Las Vegas Film Critics Society, best actor, 2000, Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite actor—drama/romance, 2001, both for All the Pretty Horses; Phoenix Film Critics Society Award nomination (with others), best acting ensemble, MTV Movie Award nomination (with others), best on-screen team, 2002, DVD Premiere Award nomination (with Brad Pitt and Andy Garcia), best audio commentary—new release, DVD Exclusive Awards, 2003, all for Ocean's Eleven; Bronze Wrangler (with others), theatrical motion picture, Western Heritage Awards, Blimp Award nomination, favorite voice from an animated movie, Kids' Choice Awards, 2003, for Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron; Emmy Award nomination (with others), outstanding non-fiction program—reality, 2002, Television Producer of the Year Award nomination (with others), reality/game/informational series, PGA Golden Laurel Awards, 2003, both for Project Greenlight; Emmy Award nomination (with others), outstanding reality program, Television Producer of the Year Award nomination (with others), reality/game/informational series, PGA Golden Laurel Awards, 2004, both for Project Greenlight 2; Teen Choice Award nomination, choice movie actor—action/adventure/thriller, MTV Movie Award nomination, best male performance, Empire Award, best actor, Empire magazine, Saturn Award nomination, best actor, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, 2005, all for The Bourne Supremacy; Emmy Award nomination (with others), outstanding reality program, 2005, for Project Greenlight 3; Broadcast Film Critics Association Award nomination (with others), best acting ensemble, 2005, for Ocean's Twelve; ShoWest Award, male star of the year, National Association of Theatre Owners, 2005.


Film Appearances:

Extra, The Good Mother (also known as The Price of Passion), Buena Vista, 1988.

Steamer, Mystic Pizza, Samuel Goldwyn, 1988.

Charlie Dillon, School Ties, Paramount, 1992.

Second Lieutenant Britton Davis, Geronimo: An American Legend, Columbia, 1993.

Edgar Pudwhacker, Glory Daze (also known as Last Call), Columbia TriStar, 1995.

Specialist Ilario, Courage Under Fire, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1996.

Executive number two, Chasing Amy (also known as Comic Strip), Miramax, 1997.

Rudy Baylor, John Grisham's "The Rainmaker" (also known as The Rainmaker), Paramount, 1997.

Will Hunting, Good Will Hunting, Miramax, 1997.

Mike McDermott, Rounders, Miramax, 1998.

Private James Francis Ryan, Saving Private Ryan, DreamWorks Distribution, 1998.

Himself, Return to Normandy (documentary; also known as The Making of "Saving Private Ryan"), 1998.

Himself, Into the Beach: "Saving Private Ryan" (documentary short), 1998.

Loki/Larry, Dogma, Lions Gate Films, 1999.

Tom Ripley, The Talented Mr. Ripley (also known as The Mysterious Yearning Secretive Sad Lonely Trouble Confused Loving Musical Gifted Intelligent Beautiful Tender Sensitive Haunted Passionate Talented Mr. Ripley), Miramax, 1999.

Himself, "The Talented Mr. Ripley" : Making the Soundtrack (documentary short), Paramount 1999.

Himself, Inside "The Talented Mr. Ripley" (documentary short), Paramount, 1999.

Voice of Cal, Planet Ice (animated), Twentieth Century-Fox, 1999.

Himself, Reflections on "The Talented Mr. Ripley" (documentary), 2000.

Voice of Cale, Titan A.E. (animated; also known as Titan: After Earth), Twentieth Century-Fox, 2000.

Rannulph Junuh, The Legend of Bagger Vance, DreamWorks, 2000.

John Grady Cole, All the Pretty Horses, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2000.

Steven Sanderson, Finding Forrester, Columbia, 2000.

Linus Caldwell, Ocean's Eleven (also known as 11 and O11), Warner Bros., 2001.

Voice of Luke Trimble, The Majestic, Warner Bros., 2001.

Himself, Judge Not: In Defense of Dogma (documentary short), Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment, 2001.

Himself and Will Hunting, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Dimension, 2001.

Voice of Spirit, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (animated; also known as Spirit), DreamWorks, 2002.

Jason Bourne, The Bourne Identity (also known as Die Bourne Identitat), Universal, 2002.

Title role, Gerry, ThinkFilm, 2002.

Kevin, The Third Wheel, Miramax, 2002.

Matt, bachelor number two, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (also known as Confessions d'un homme dangereux), Miramax, 2002.

Himself, Saltlake Van Sant (documentary short), Miramax, 2003.

Bob, Stuck on You, Twentieth Century-Fox, 2003.

Donny, EuroTrip, DreamWorks, 2004.

Public relations executive number two, Jersey Girl, Miramax, 2004.

Jason Bourne, The Bourne Supremacy (also known as Die Bourne Verschworung), Universal, 2004.

Linus Caldwell, Ocean's Twelve, Warner Bros., 2004.

Himself, "Saving Private Ryan": Boot Camp (documentary short), DreamWorks Home Entertainment, 2004.

Himself, Making "Saving Private Ryan" (documentary), 2004.

Himself, "Saving Private Ryan" Miller and His Platoon (documentary short), DreamWorks Home Entertainment, 2004.

Narrator, Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train (documentary short), DreamWorks Home Entertainment, 2004.

Himself, Sur les traces de Gerry (documentary short; also known as From Gerry to Elephant), 2004.

Voice, Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D (animated documentary short), IMAX, 2005.

Wilhelm Grimm, The Brothers Grimm, Miramax, 2005.

Bryan Woodman, Syriana, Warner Bros., 2005.

Mr. Aaron, Margaret, Fox Searchlight, 2006.

Edward Wilson, The Good Shepherd, Universal, 2006.

Colin Sullivan, The Departed, Warner Bros., 2006.

Jason Bourne, The Bourne Ultimatum, Universal, 2007.

Film Work:

Producer, Stolen Summer, Miramax, 2002.

Executive producer, Speakeasy, Miramax, 2002.

Executive producer, The Third Wheel, Miramax, 2002.

Editor, Gerry, ThinkFilm, 2002.

Executive producer, The Battle of Shaker Heights, Miramax, 2003.

Executive producer, Turning It Over, 2004.

Executive producer, Feast, 2005.

Television Appearances; Series:

Himself, Project Greenlight, HBO, 2001.

Himself, Project Greenlight 2, HBO, 2003.

Himself, Project Greenlight 3, HBO, 2005.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Narrator, Journey to Planet Earth, 2003.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Charlie Robinson, Rising Son, TNT, 1990.

Cotton Calloway, The Good Old Boys, TNT, 1995.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Seventeen: The Faces for Fall, The WB, 1998.

The Untitled Jay Lacopo Project, Sundance, 1999.

AFI's 100 Years, 100 Thrills: America's Most Heart-Pounding Movies, CBS, 2001.

(Uncredited) Himself, Shirtless: Hollywood's Sexiest Men (documentary), AMC, 2002.

Ben Affleck & Matt Damon: The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 2003.

Reel Comedy: Stuck on You, Comedy Central, 2003.

Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope, 2005.

Red Carpet Confidential, CBS, 2005.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

Presenter, The 70th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1998.

Presenter, The 56th Annual Golden Globe Awards, 1999.

Presenter, The 71st Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1999.

The 2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, Fox, 2000.

Presenter, The 2002 MTV Movie Awards, MTV, 2002.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2002.

The Oprah Winfrey Show (also known as Oprah), syndicated, 1998, 2002.

Howard Stern, E! Entertainment Television, 1998.

Mundo VIP, 1998.

Himself, "Saving Private Ryan," HBO First Look, HBO, 1998.

The Howard Stern Radio Show, syndicated, 1999.

Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, 1999, 2002, 2003.

Himself, "The Legend of Bagger Vance," HBO First Look, HBO, 2000.

Himself, "Billy Bob Thorton," Bravo Profiles, Bravo, 2000.

(Uncredited) Himself, Inside the Actors Studio, Bravo, 2001.

(Uncredited) Himself, Saturday Night Live (also known as SNL), NBC, 2001.

Himself, "Matt Damon," Revealed with Jules Asner, E! Entertainment Television, 2001.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 2001, 2002, 2005.

Host, Saturday Night Live (also known as SNL), NBC, 2002.

(Uncredited) Himself, Extra (also known as Extra: The Entertainment Magazine), syndicated, 2002.

Himself, "Keep It on the Short Grass," The Bernie Mac Show, Fox, 2002.

Owen, "A Chorus Lie," Will & Grace, NBC, 2002.

Celebrities Uncensored, E! Entertainment Television, 2003.

Bob Tenor, "Stuck on You," HBO First Look, HBO, 2003.

Tinseltown TV (also known as Tinseltown.TV), International Channel, 2003, 2004.

Late Show with David Letterman (also known as Late Show Backstage and The Late Show), CBS, 2004.

MovieReal, Arts and Entertainment, 2004.

Himself, "Ocean's Twelve," HBO First Look, HBO, 2004.

Live with Regis and Kelly, syndicated, 2004.

Enough Rope with Andrew Denton, ABC [Australian Broadcast Corp.], 2004.

Rove Live, Ten Network, 2004.

The Panel, Ten Network, 2004.

Mondo Thingo, ABC [Australian Broadcast Corp.], 2004.

60 Minutes, CBS, 2004.

Tout le monde en parle, 2004.

GMTV, ITV, 2004, 2005.

Himself, "Syriana," HBO First Look, HBO, 2005.

Cinema mil, Televisio de Catalunya, 2005.

Corazon de …, 2005.

"Bruce Willis," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 2005.

(Uncredited) Voice of himself, "The Unblinking Eye," Law & Order: Criminal Intent (also known as Law & Order: CI), 2005.

The Film Programme, BBC, 2005.

Television Executive Producer; Series:

Project Greenlight, HBO, 2001.

Push, Nevada, ABC, 2002.

Project Greenlight 2, HBO, 2003.

Project Greenlight 3, HBO, 2005.

Television Executive Producer; Pilots:

General Manager, 2003.

Los Angeles, ABC, 2003.

All Grown Up, CBS, 2003.

Stage Appearances:

(London stage debut) This Is Our Youth, London, 2002.



(With Ben Affleck) Good Will Hunting, Miramax, 1997.

Gerry, ThinkFilm, 2002.



Diamond, Maxine and Harriet Hemmings, Matt Damon: A Biography, Pocket Books (New York City), 1998.

International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, 4th ed., St. James Press, 2000.


Entertainment Weekly, July 23, 2004, p. 22.

Interview, December, 1997, p. 118.

Los Angeles Times, November 30, 1997, pp. 3, 78-79.

Parade, November 30, 2003, pp. 6-7.

People Weekly, February 23, 1998, p. 87; August 2, 2004, p. 67.

Teen People, August 1, 2004, p. 106.

Time, December 1, 1997, p. 78.

Damon, Matt

views updated May 29 2018


Nationality: American. Born: Cambridge, Massachusetts, 8 October 1970. Education: Studied English at Harvard University for three years. Awards: Academy Award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, National Board of Review Award for Special Achievement in Filmmaking, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay and Breakout Artist, Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay—Motion Picture, Silver Bear Award for Outstanding Single Achievement (for acting and screenwriting), Berlin International Film Festival, and Golden Satellite Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay—Original, all for Good Will Hunting, 1997; ShoWest Award for Male Star of Tomorrow, 1998. Agent: PMK, 955 S. Carillo Dr., Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90048, U.S.A.

Films as Actor:


The Good Mother (Nimoy) (uncredited); Mystic Pizza (Petrie) (as Steamer)


Rising Son (Coles—for TV) (as Charlie Robinson)


School Ties (Mandel) (as Charlie Dillon)


Geronimo: An American Legend (Hill) (as Lieutenant Britton Davis)


The Good Old Boys (Tommy Lee Jones—for TV) (as Cotton Calloway)


Courage Under Fire (Zwick) (as Specialist Ilario); Glory Daze (Wilkes) (as Edgar Pudwhacker)


Good Will Hunting (Van Sant) (as Will Hunting, + sc with Ben Affleck); Chasing Amy (Kevin Smith) (as Exec #2); The Rainmaker (Coppola) (as Rudy Baylor)


Rounders (Dahl) (as Mike McDermott); Saving Private Ryan (Spielberg) (as Private James Francis Ryan)


The Talented Mr. Ripley (Minghella) (as Tom Ripley); Dogma (Kevin Smith) (as Loki/Larry)


The Legend of Bagger Vance (Redford) (as Rannulph Junuh); Titan A.E. (Titan: After Earth) (Bluth, Goldman, Vitello) (as Cale [voice]); All the Pretty Horses (Thornton) (as John Grady Cole)

Other Films:


A People's History of the United States (doc—for TV)


On DAMON: book—

Diamond, Maxine, and Harriet Hemmings, Matt Damon: A Biography, New York, 1998.

On DAMON: articles—

Sischy, Ingrid, "The Sands Are Shifting," in Interview (New York), vol. 27, no. 12, December 1997.

Kamp, David, "Meet Matt Damon," in Vanity Fair (New York), no. 448, December 1997.

Blum, David, "Reign Man," in Time (New York), vol. 150, no. 23, 1 December 1997.

Brodie, John, "Boston Uncommon," in Premiere (New York), vol. 11, no. 5, January 1998.

Chambers, L., "Matt Damon: Good Word Hunting," in Written By (Los Angeles), vol. 2, February 1998.

Rich, Frank, "American Pseudo," in New York Times Magazine, 12 December 1999.

Corliss, Richard, "Can Matt Play Ripley's Game?" in Time (New York), vol. 154, no. 26, 27 December 1999.

Luscombe, Belinda, "Matt Damon Acts Out," in Time (New York), vol. 154, no. 26, 27 December 1999.

Sansom, Ian, "Matt's Giant Goes to Mongibello," in Times Literary Supplement (London), no. 5058, 10 March 2000.

Lochte, Dick, "Ears to You," in Playboy (Chicago), vol. 47, April 2000.

* * *

On the third of April 1998, 27-year-old Matt Damon and his childhood friend, 25-year-old Ben Affleck, won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting. Amid much levity about the youth of the recipients, two stars were born that night. In their personal lives and their careers, Damon and Affleck have often seemed inseparable. In addition to winning the Oscar for their screenplay, the pair acted together in Good Will Hunting, Dogma, and School Ties. But following the 1998 Oscars, it was the affable, sandy-haired Damon who emerged as Hollywood's millennial Golden Boy, on the heels of a Best Actor nomination for his portrayal of a troubled mathematical genius in the film that he also co-wrote.

Much has been made of Damon's unusual upbringing in a Cambridge, Massachusetts, commune and his decision to drop out of Harvard University one semester shy of graduation to pursue a career as an actor. In fact, the determined Damon knew he wanted to act from the time he was ten years old, and while still in high school, he landed a bit part in 1988's Mystic Pizza. But it was a minor role in the 1992 prep school drama, School Ties—the film that launched the careers of Brendan Fraser and Chris O'Donnell—that allowed Damon to believe he had what it took to make it. After dropping out of Harvard and moving to Hollywood, however, Damon's all-American teen idol good looks brought him little more than bit parts in such little-seen movies as Geronimo: An American Legend. Four years passed before he landed his breakthrough role in the underrated 1996 Gulf War film, Courage Under Fire. Determined to make an impression, Damon lost 40 pounds to play the part of Specialist Ilario, a heroine-addicted Gulf War veteran. Damon's evocative portrayal of a junkie haunted by his traumatic experience in combat stood out in a film featuring such star players as Meg Ryan, Denzel Washington, and Lou Diamond Phillips. It even attracted the attention of Francis Ford Coppola. The legendary director cast Damon as the lead in John Grisham's courtroom drama, The Rainmaker. Damon's solid performance as a crusading, young Southern lawyer caught the attention of Steven Spielberg, who tapped the actor for the title role of Saving Private Ryan. In Spielberg's World War II epic, Damon's disarming and understated depiction of a soldier who has lost three of his brothers in combat was the lynchpin that held the Oscar-winning film together. It put Damon on the map. Suddenly studios were clamoring for more of the 26-year-old all-American boy. The savvy Damon used this opportunity to revive interest in a screenplay that he and Affleck had written, and Miramax offered the pair a cool million for Good Will Hunting. Within months, Gus van Sant had signed on to direct.

Good Will Hunting transformed Damon from just another up-andcoming young actor into Hollywood wunderkind. As the South Boston genius delinquent, Damon managed to craft a sympathetic portrayal that ran the gamut of emotions from rough-edge cynicism to youthful sex appeal to heartbreaking optimism. Buoyed by a strong supporting cast that included Robin Williams, Minnie Driver, and Affleck, the independent film earned nine Oscar nominations, including Best Actor, Actress, and Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture.

With a writing Oscar and an acting nomination under his belt, Damon was one of Hollywood's hottest young male stars with first choice on all of the best projects. Damon began carefully constructing a career that would earn the respect of the acting community. He starred as a reformed gambler and law student in Rounders, with some of acting's hot young turks, including Edward Norton, John Turturro, and John Malkovich. Next came The Talented Mr. Ripley, a project that Damon had signed on to do prior to Good Will Hunting. This time the young actor chose to play a difficult role, and a potentially unlikable one. As the talented but troubled Tom Ripley, a young man who so desperately wants to be accepted and loved by the beautiful people that he becomes a killer, Damon managed to imbue his character with an unlikely pathos, allowing the audience to empathize with him instead of revile him. His ability to completely throw himself into a role surfaced once again, as he turned his affable, all-American good looks into a detriment instead of an asset. Damon's Ripley was good-looking but never handsome, personable but never charming.

Damon's next roles, a cowboy in All the Pretty Horses and war hero turned golfer in The Legend of Bagger Vance, are both star turns in epic films with big name directors—Billy Bob Thornton and Robert Redford. For all of his success, Damon is still unsure of himself as an actor. He knows he has been lucky, and he certainly has been savvy. But intelligence is sometimes the bailiwick of the actor, and Damon will continue to try to prove to himself and to others that he is, indeed, a good actor.

—Victoria Price