Matthew Paige Damon was born on October 8, 1970, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The son of a realtor and an early-childhood education professor, Damon was involved in several theater productions while studying at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School. His love of acting became apparent at an early age, and Damon and childhood buddy Ben Affleck made their debuts as extras in films that were being shot locally.
With no more than a credit in a commercial, as well as some experience in local plays and as a film extra, 16-year-old Damon was ready to head for New York City and try his hand at acting. His parents (who are now divorced) did not fund his trip, so he went with nothing more than a paycheck from a stint in a commercial. With the help of a casting agency, Damon made his feature film debut in Mystic Pizza, albeit a one-line role.
matt damon in school ties
Although he had landed parts -- he appeared in Rising Son and had a supporting role in the 1992 film School Ties -- Damon went on to further his education at his prestigious hometown university, Harvard. His minor glimpse of an acting career became more inspirational than the pursuit of an English Literature degree, and Damon left the preppy halls of Harvard (a mere 12 credits away from a degree) to join the throng of young aspiring actors in L.A.
As one of the acting hopefuls who did not have to wait too long for roles, Damon began his journey to stardom with a supporting role in Geronimo: An American Legend. Thanks to his work in the Western, Damon landed the lead in TNT's The Good Old Boys. By the time he was cast in Courage Under Fire in 1996, starring Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan, Damon had already worked with such heavy hitters as Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones.
Although Courage Under Fire showcased Damon's undeniable acting skills, The Rainmaker can be considered the role that launched him into the Hollywood spotlight. The film industry was abuzz about this fresh face who was cast by Francis Ford Coppola to star in the John Grisham film adaptation of the novel.
good will hunting is a hit
In the meantime, Damon and Affleck were doing the rounds of movie studios to pitch their script about a troubled genius. Studios were interested in the "little script that could," but were not interested in the proviso of the script: that Damon and Affleck co-star as the lead roles. After some script retooling, perseverance on the part of the childhood friends, and Damon's Rainmaker lead, Miramax bought the script.
Good Will Hunting, the brainchild of Damon and Affleck, became the sleeper hit of 1997, with Oscar nominations in the way of Best Actor Matt Damon, Best Supporting Actor Robin Williams, and Best Original Screenplay. Williams took home the Oscar, as did the writing team and shining duo of 1997, Damon and Affleck. Damon was nominated in the same categories at the Golden Globe Awards of that year.
matt damon in rounders and dogma
In 1998, Damon appeared in Saving Private Ryan as the titular role of Private James Francis Ryan, as well as a co-starring role with Edward Norton in Rounders. He followed up his role in the controversial Dogma (reuniting him with Ben Affleck) with the title role in the drama The Talented Mr. Ripley, sharing the screen with Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law.
Damon's romantic life seems to be as full as his acting repertoire. He has been romantically linked with model Kara Sands; his Rainmaker co-star, Claire Danes; and his Good Will Hunting co-star Minnie Driver. Damon also had a long-term relationship with Winona Ryder and was reportedly cozy with his All The Pretty Horses co-star, sexy Penelope Cruz.
matt does the film rounds
After providing one of the lead voices in 2000's animated feature Titan A.E., Damon portrayed a golfer in The Legend of Bagger Vance, which co-starred Will Smith and Charlize Theron.
In 2001, Matt Damon joined the star-studded cast of Ocean's Eleven, while his voice made a cameo in The Majestic. His voice was also used as the narrator of the 2002 animated featuire, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.
matt damon stars in bourne identity
The summer of 2002 saw Damon in the highly-anticipated spy thriller, The Bourne Identity, in which he stars alongside Franka Potente. Damon stars as Jason Bourne, an expert assassin unaware of his identity. Suffering from amnesia, he must run from the dangers of his past while trying to piece together why he's in danger.
Damon was also cast as a game show contestant in George Clooney's directorial debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, released in 2002. In 2003, Damon joined Greg Kinnear for the comedy Stuck On You. He had bit parts in Eurotrip and Jersey Girl, before reprising his role as Jason Bourne for The Bourne Supremacy.
matt damon in ocean's twelve
In December 2004, Damon stars in the heist sequel, Ocean's Twelve. In 2005, he can add The Brothers Grimm and Syriana to his resume.