One of the biggest names in Hollywood, Matt Damon, has done it all. He is a popular actor, but has also donned the hat of a producer and a screenwriter. He is on Forbes List of the most bankable stars in Hollywood, has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, has been conferred the title of the Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine, and has won innumerable awards including the elusive Oscar. He is one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood, who can mold effortlessly into any character and how.
Matt was born on October 8, 1970, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His father, Kent Telfer Damon, was a stockbroker, while his mother, Nancy Carlsson Paige, was a university professor. He also has an elder brother, Kyle, who is an artist. Matt was only two years old, when his parents got a divorced and the brothers started living with their mother in a communal home. He attended the Cambridge Alternative School and the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School later. He was a good student, but was a lonely teenager and his struggle for finding his identity was what attracted him towards acting. Ben Affleck, the actor, who is also his distant cousin, attended school with him and was his close friend. His drama teacher, Gerry Speca has had a significant influence on his artistic sensibilities, although Affleck was the one who got the meatier roles.
After school, Matt Damon went on to attend Harvard University, where he wrote the screenplay for Good Will Hunting as one of his class assignments. He was also a member of the Delphic Club at Harvard. While there, he did a cameo in a romantic comedy called Mystic Pizza. Though the movie did not do well, it did give Matt a platform to showcase his skills and the confidence to pursue the profession. Though he was in the class of 1992, Matt Damon never graduated and dropped out of Harvard to act as the lead in the movie, School Ties (1992) that also starred Brandan Fraser. The movie was a success and marked a start of his long and illustrious career in Hollywood.
In 1996, came Courage Under Fire (1996), in which he played the part of a drug-addicted soldier. For this role, he lost around 40 pounds within 3 months by himself. He later had to take medication to counter the stress that the crazy diet regimen had caused on his organs and escaped consequent heart problems only by a sliver. His dedication to the role came through in the movie and the Washington Post called it an ‘impressive’ performance. However, his big break only came in 1997, from his original work, Good Will Hunting (1997). It brought him many accolades that included an Oscar for Best Screenplay, which he shared with Ben Affleck, a Best Actor nomination, and also a role in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998), which was another commercial and critical success. He then starred in a variety of other successful projects, including Rounders (1998), Dogma (1999), and The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999). However, it was the romantic dramas that always eluded him, since movies such as The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000) and All The Pretty Horses (2000) bit dust.
Though Matt Damon had played a variety of impactful roles by now, it was the new decade that made a Hollywood star out of him. The first of the series, was an all-star studded movie that later turned into a franchise, Ocean’s Eleven (2001), followed by Ocean’s Twelve (2004) and Ocean’s Thirteen (2007), directed by Steven Soderbergh. Then came the legendary series of Bourne, which included The Bourne Identity (2002), The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). For this role he had to completely reinvent himself to set him apart from his earlier success. Meanwhile, he kept starring in diverse roles like the comedy, Stuck on You (2003), a fantasy film, The Brothers Grimm (2005), a crime drama, The Departed (2006), and so on. Not much known for his comedy, he got a lot of attention for the video with Sarah Silverman. He did not stop surprising people and kept changing his accent and appearances in the movies such as The Informant! (2009), Invictus (2009), Green Zone (2010), and so on. His latest movies, most notably, Interstellar (2014) and The Martian (2015) are in line with his constant evolution.
Apart from his acting career, Matt Damon is also well known for his humanitarian work that includes being a founder of a charity called H2O Africa Foundation, which has now merged to create Water.org. He has also actively been involved with charities related to environment, AIDS, and child welfare, among many others.