Matthew Paige Damon is an American actor, film producer, philanthropist and screenwriter. He’s ranked among Forbes Magazine’s wealthiest stars and is one of the highest grossing actors of all time. Damon has received various accolades, including an Academy Award from five nominations, two Golden Globe Awards from eight nominations, and has been nominated for three British Academy Film Awards and six Emmy Awards. Take a look below for 30 more fun and interesting facts about Matt Damon.
1. Damon was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He began his acting career by appearing in high school theater productions.
2. Damon made his professional acting debut in the movie Mystic Pizza.
3. He came in the spotlight in 1997 when he wrote and starred in Good Will Hunting with Ben Affleck, which won them the Academy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Screenplay. It also earned Damon a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.
4. He got more praise from critics for his roles as the eponymous character in Saving Private Ryan, the antihero in The Talented Mr. Ripley, a fallen angels in Dogma, an energy analyst in Syriana, and a corrupt Irish-American police officer in The Departed.
5. He’s very well known for his starring roles as Jason Bourne in the Bourne franchise and as a con man in the Ocean’s Trilogy.
6. For his supporting role as the rugby player Francois Pienaar in Invictus, and his leading role as an astronaut stranded on Mars in The Martian, Damon received Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor.
7. Damon received Emmy Award nominations for his portrayal of Scott Thorson in the biopic Behind the Candelabra and for producing the reality series Project Greenlight.
8. Damon received an Academy Award nomination for producing Manchester by the Sea.
9. He has performed voice-over work in both animated and documentary movies.
10. Damon has been involved in charitable work, including the ONE Campaign, H2O Africa Foundation, Feeding America, and Water.org.
11. Damon’s parents divorced when he was two years old and he spent a part of his childhood in a commune in Boston with his mother, who was a specialist in child education.
12. He first began acting at the age of 10 while attending Rindge and Latin prep school alongside his neighborhood friend Ben Affleck.
13. He used to play Dungeons and Dragons, video baseball, and short-stop in Little League. He also used to watch Godzilla and Kung Fu double features on Saturdays with Ben Affleck when they were kids.
14. He appeared in a PBS mini-series called The Voyage of the Mimi alongside Ben Affleck. The 13 episode educational program follows the crew of the Mimi as they explore the ocean.
15. Damon dropped out of Harvard University 12 credits short of graduating to pursue his acting career. He was studying English.
16. He used to breakdance in the middle of Harvard Square for money as a teenager.
17. He was an extra with Ben Affleck in the Field of Dreams movie in 1989.
18. While trying to find work in the acting world, he lived with Ben Affleck and his brother Casey.
19. Damon dated his Good Will Hunting co-star Minnie Driver for a year. The relationship ended in a very public way when Damon denied having a girlfriend during an interview on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
20. He dated Winona Ryder from December, 1997, to May, 2000.
21. One of Damon’s biggest roles was in Courage Under Fire with Denzel Washington. In the movie, he played a war veteran and heroin addict. He had to lose 40 pounds for the role.
22. Originally, Tom Hanks didn’t want Damon to play Private James Ryan in Saving Private Ryan because he thought that Damon was too skinny.
23. Between 2001 and 2003, Damon secretly dated Odessa Whitmire, who was a personal assistant to Billy Bob Thornton and later Ben Affleck, for two years.
24. Damon met his wife, Luciana Barroso, while filming Stuck on You in Florida.
25. He used to smoke but quit after doing hypnotherapy.
26. To perfect a Southern accent for his role in The Rainmaker, he worked as a bartender in Tennessee and hired a customer to be his dialect coach.
27. He appeared in The Sum of All Fears as a cameo, but his part as a waiter was later cut from the final editing.
28. He started a bowling league in Berlin while making The Bourne Supremacy.
29. He is listed as one of the Top 5 of the Best Autographers in Hollywood by Autograph Collector’s 14th annual survey held in May, 2006.
30. Damon turned down the part of Bobby Mercer in Four Brothers, because he found the script to be ultra-violent. The part eventually went to Mark Wahlberg.