The American Actor Matt Damon

The American Actor, Screenwriter, and producer Matt Damon is among the most famous, most successful, and most talented Hollywood stars of his generation. The American business magazine Forbes included him in its list of most Bankable stars list (2016). At the North American box office, his films have earned over $3.12 billion, which makes him the highest-grossing star of all time. He has been a part of many blockbuster movies over the years, and his talent as an actor has earned him several awards and award nominations. He has won two Golden Globe awards and one Academy Award. On July 26, 2007, he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Matt Damon addressing media in New York

Matt Damon made headlines in 1997, when he co-starred in, and co-written the blockbuster movie Goold Will Hunting, with Ben Affleck. Good Will Hunting (1997), was well received by the public and by the critics. It won the Golden Globe award and the Academy Award in the Best Screenplay category. He has been one of the most praised by critics actors. His performances over the years have earned him critical acclaim, and public admiration. Some of his best and most successful movies are; Saving Private Ryan (1998), The Talented Mr. Riply (1999), Dogma (1999), Syriana (2005), The Departed (2006), Invictus (2009), Behind the Candelabra (2013), The Martian (2015), Manchester by the Sea (2016), and Ford v Ferrari (2019).

Matt Damon has also done some voice-over work in documentary films and animated films. He also co-founded two production companies, with his close friend and schoolmate, Ben Affleck. He is also well-known for his humanitarian and charitable works, with the organizations like H2O Africa Foundation, One Campaign,, and Feeding America.

Matt Damon is married to Luciana Bozan Barroso. They started dating in 2003 in Miami. In September 2005, the couple was engaged, and in December 2005, they married each other in a private ceremony at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau. They have three daughters, and a step-daughter from Barroso’s previous marriage. They have been living in Pacific Palisades Los Angeles, since 2012. As of 2021, the net worth of Matt Damon is $170 million.

Matt Damon with his daughters and wife Luciana Barroso
Matt Damon with his family

Early life of Matt Damon

His full name is Matthew Paige Damon. He was born on October 8, 1970, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S. He was born to Kent Telfer Damon, who was a stockbroker, and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, who was an early education professor at Lesley University. He also had an older brother. His family moved to Newton where they lived for two years, then his parents separated, and his mother moved back to Cambridge along with him and his brother, where they lived in a communal house where six families lived together. Kyle Damon, his brother, is an artist and a sculptor. Matt Damon lived a tough and lonely life as a child, he has said that he felt like he did not belong anywhere as a teenager.

Damon went to the Cambridge Alternative School, and Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. He was a very intelligent and good student. He also used to perform in high school theater productions. He has said that his drama teacher Gerry Speca was a great artistic influence, and was one of the reasons he got into theater. The American actor and producer Ben Affleck was his schoolmate and a very close friend. Damon then got admission to the Harvard University. He was a member of the class of 1992, and a resident of Lowell House. While studying at Harvard, he began writing the screenplay for Good Will Hunting, for his English class, which he later completed with Ben Affleck and won an Academy Award for it. He left the university before receiving his degree to play the lead role in the film Geronimo: An American Legend. He was also a member of one of Harvard’s select Final Clubs, the Delphic Club. Harvard University awarded him with its Harvard Arts Medal in 2013.

Acting Career of Matt Damon

Matt Damon entered into acting at a very early age in his school where he used to perform in school theater productions. In 1988, when he was studying at Harvard he appeared in several theater plays; A… My Name is Alice, and Burn This. Later that year he made his film debut in Mystic Pizza (1988), a romantic comedy, in which he only had one single line dialogue. He also had small roles in Rising Son, a TNT original film, School Ties, an ensemble prep-school drama. In 1992, he left the Harvard University without completing his degree, while his degree was about to end, to star in the film Geronimo: An American Legend. Damon hoped that this movie would be a big success and would earn him recognition, but the movie did not do good. He then appeared in the 1996 movie Courage Under Fire as an opiate-addicted soldier, which got him the attention of the critics, who praised his performance. The Washington Post described his talent as “impressive”. For his role in this film, he lost 40 pounds in 100 days.

In 1997, Damon co-starred with Claire Danes, Danny DeVito, and Jon Voight in the legal drama The Rainmaker (1997). Damon played the lead role of a young lawyer in this film. The critics gave very good reviews to this film and loved the performance by Damon. Los Angeles Times wrote of Damon’s performance as “a talented young actor on the brink of stardom”.

Rudy Baylor in the 1997 legal drama film The Rainmaker
Matt Damon in The Rainmaker (1997)

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck co-wrote the screenplay for the blockbuster movie Good Will Hunting in the early 1990s. Damon started writing the screenplay when he was still at the Harvard University. He and Ben Affleck would perform scenes of the movie in front of their class. Later, Matt Damon moved to Ben Affleck’s apartment in Los Angeles, where they started working on the script of Good Will Hunting more seriously. To write a perfect script they sought advice from the director/writer Kevin Smith, the screenwriter William Goldman, and the director Rob Reiner. The film was set in Cambridge, their hometown, and they co-wrote it from their own experiences. In 1994, they had sold the film’s script to Castle Rock, but that didn’t work out and they later sold to film to Miramax Film, which later distributed the film. In this Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck co-starred with Robin Williams. The film was released on December 5, 1997. Upon its release, the film received very good reviews and was critically acclaimed. The people loved the film, so it was a huge commercial success. With its budget of $10 million it grossed over $225.9 million, and Damon and Affleck were paid $600,000 each. Damon’s performance was praised by the critics. Variety’s Emanuel Levy wrote of Damon’s performance as  “(he) gives a charismatic performance in a demanding role that’s bound to catapult him to stardom. Perfectly cast, he makes the aching, step-by-step transformation of Will realistic and credible.” Good Will Hunting (1997), received many awards and award nominations. It was nominated for Academy Awards in nine categories, including a nomination for Matt Damon in the best actor category. Damon and Affleck won a Golden Globe award and an Academy Award in the Best Screenplay category. The renowned director Steven Spielberg met Damon on the set of Good Will Hunting and later cast him in his film Saving Private Ryan (1998).

Will Hunting in the 1997 romance film Good Will Hunting
Damon in Good Will Hunting

In 1998, Matt Damon appeared in two successful movies; Saving Private Ryan, and Rounders. In Saving Private Ryan he co-starred with Tom Hanks and played the title role of Ryan. This was a World War II drama film, which was directed by Steven Spielberg, and was a commercially and critically successful movie. The other movie was Rounders, which was a poker film, in which he played the role of a young law school student who is a reformed gambler. In this movie, he co-starred with Edward Norton. This film did not do good on the box office but has its own fan base.

Private Ryan in the WW2 action film Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)

In 1999, he played the lead and title role of Tom Riply in the psychological thriller The Talented Mr. Riply (1999). This film was based on a 1995 novel by Patricia Highsmith. Damon’s role as Mr. Riply was highly praised by critics, and the film was a huge success. And it received five Academy Award nominations. Variety Magazine wrote of Damon’s performance as “Damon outstandingly conveys his character’s slide from innocent enthusiasm into cold calculation”. Later that year, he co-starred again with his co-writer, co-star from Good Will Hunting (1997), and a very close friend, Ben Affleck, in the fantasy comedy film Dogma (1999). The film received good reviews overall, but it was criticized by the religious groups who thought of it as blasphemous.

Private Ryan with and Captain Miller in WW2 film Saving Private Ryan (1998).
Matt Damon and Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan (1998)

In 2000, Matt Damon played the lead role in two romantic dramas, All the Pretty Horses, and The Legend of Bagger Vance. Both of these films failed critically and commercially.

In 2002, Matt Damon wrote and starred in the American drama film Gerry. He co-starred and co-wrote the film with Casey Affleck. This film tells the story of two friends who go hiking in a desert, without any supplies. The film was a commercial failure but received good reviews overall.  In 2002, he played the voice of Spirit in the animation film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, and in 2003 he played the lead role of Robert “Bob” Tenor, in the comedy film Stuck on You. In this film, he co-starred with Greg Kinnear as his twin brother. The film did fine at the box office, but it received both positive and negative reviews. Damon co-starred with Heath Ledger and Lena Headey in Terry Gilliams’s adventure fantasy film The Grim Brothers (2005), the film received very bad reviews from the critics and did not do good on the box office.

Casey Affleck and Matt Damon in 2003 survival film Gerry
Casey Affleck and Matt Damon in Gerry (2003)

Damon then played the role of Bryan Woodman, an energy analyst, in the geopolitical thriller Syriana (2005). He co-starred with George Clooney and Jeffery Wright in this film. His performance received good reviews, with Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers writing of his performance as “whiplash”.

In 2006, Matt Damon co-starred with Robert De Niro, and Angelina Jolie in the spy/crime film The Good Shepherd, directed by Robert De Niro. This film did fine on the box office and received overall good reviews.

Angelina Jolie and Matt Damon in 2006 drama thriller The Good Shepherd
Angelina Jolie and Matt Damon in The Good Shepherd (2006)

In the same year he co-starred with Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jack Nicholson in the 2006 blockbuster film The Departed. The Departed was directed by Martin Scorcese and co-produced by Brad Pitt and others. In this film, Damon played the role of Colin Sullivan, a corrupt FBI agent. The film was well-received by the critics, and it also did very well at the box office. With its budget of $90 million, it grossed over $290 million. The Departed (2006) won four Academy Awards in the Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Film Editing categories.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon co-starring in 2006 crime drama The Departed .
Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon in The Departed (2006)

In 2008 and 2009, he had two cameo roles in Youth Without Youth(2007), and Che(2008).

His other great roles are in; The Informant! (2009), a dark comedy for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe award, Invictus (2009), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Supporting Actor category, The Adjustment Bureau (2011), Contagion (2011), We Bought a Zoo (2011), Promised Land (2012), which he co-wrote and starred in, Behind the Candelabra (2013), Elysium (2013), a science fiction, The Monuments Men (2014), and many more.

Ocean’s Series (2002-2007)

In the early 2000s, Damon was cast in Steven Soderbergh’s film Ocean’s Eleven, in which he co-starred with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Julia Roberts. In this film, he played the role of Linus Caldwell, a thief. The film was a critical and commercial success. With its budget of $83 million, Ocean’s Eleven grossed over $450 million worldwide. Matt Damon reprised his role as Linus Caldwell in two sequels of Ocean’s Eleven; Ocean’s Twelve (2004), and Ocean’s Thirteen (2007).

Matt Damon with his co-stars in Ocean's Eleven (2002), Brad Pitt and George Clooney
Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, George Clooney in Ocean’s 11 (2002)

Bourne Series (2002-2016)

In the Bourne (2002-2016) series, he played the title and lead role of Jason Bourne. Bourne is action thriller film series that follows the story of a CIA assassin Jason Bourne who is suffering from dissociative amnesia. His role as the action hero Jason Bourne was loved by the public, and well-received by the critics. The film series was also a huge commercial and critical success. Matt Damon played the lead in three parts; The Bourne Identity (2002), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), out of a total of four parts of the Bourne series. Damon underwent a lot of stunts, use of weapons, boxing, and eskrima fight training as he wanted to perform most of his stunts himself. With its collective budget of $490 million, the Bourne series has earned over $1.637 billion worldwide.

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in Bourne series
As Jason Bourne in Bourne Series

The Project-Greenlight (2001-2015)

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, along with others, Project-Greenlight, a documentary series that aired on HBO and Bravo. The main purpose of this series was to help new directors, and producers develop their first film. There are four parts of the series which were released in 2001, 2004, 2005, and 2015. Project-Greenlight received Prime Time Emmy Award nominations in the Outstanding Reality Program category in 2001, 2004, and 2005. The series has helped many directors and producers to introduce themselves to the film and television industry. Both Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have worked as executive producers in the projects which were directed by the people who were winners of the show/series Project-Greenlight.

Matt Damon as Mark Watney in Sci-fi adventure film The Martian (2015)
The Martian (2015)

In 2015, Matt Damon played the main character of Mark Watney, an astronaut, left behind on planet Mars, in the critically acclaimed film The Martian. The film was based on Andy Weir’s novel of the same name. His role as Mart Watney earned him an Academy Award nomination in the Best Actor category, and he won the Golden Globe award in the Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. In 2016 he reprised his role as Jason Bourne in the Bourne Sequel. Then in 2017, he appeared as Zhang Yimou (lead role) in the commercially and critically flop film The Great Wall (2017). Later that same year, he starred in George Clooney’s Suburbicon and Alexandra Payne’s Downsizing.

Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby in the 2019 race/sports film Ford v Ferrari
Ford v Ferrari (2019)

In 2019, he co-starred with Christian Bale in the American sports drama film Ford v Ferrari. The film was very loved by the public and received very good reviews from the critics. With its budget of $97.6 million, it grossed over $225.5 million worldwide. Ford v Ferrari received numerous awards and nominations, including four Academy Award nominations of which it won two.

Upcoming Movies of Matt Damon

Matt Damon will next appear in the 2021 crime drama thriller, No Sudden Move. This movie is complete and is set to be released in 2021. He will also appear as Bill Baker in Stillwater (2021), and as Jean de Carrouges in The Last Duel (2021), both of these films are in the post-production phase.

In 2022, he will appear as Actor Loki in the action-fantasy film Thor Love and Thunder, which is in its filming phase.

Matt Damon with film star Robert de Niro.
Matt Damon and Robert de Niro

Matt Damon (Awards and Nominations)

  • Matt Damon has been nominated for an Academy Award six times in different categories such as; Best Actor (1998), Best Original Screenplay (1998), Best Supporting Actor (2010), Best Actor (2016), and Best Picture (2017). He won the Academy Award in the Best Original Screenplay category for his 1997 movie Good Will Hunting.
  • Matt Damon has received eight Golden Globe nominations in several categories, of which he has won in two categories; Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Drama category for his role as Mark Watney in the 2016 film The Martian, and Best Screenplay – Motion Picture category for the 1998 movie Good Will Hunting.
  • Though he has not received a BAFTA award yet, he has been nominated for a BAFTA award six times in several categories.
  • He has also been nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award seven times in different categories, he hasn’t won any yet.

Matt Damon has been nominated for an award 147 times for his different works in several movies, documentaries, or television series, of which he has won 35 awards.

Matt Damon and his wife Luciana Barroso at an award show.
Matt Damon at awards show with his wife.

Amazing Facts about Matt Damon

  • Matt Damon is a very old, and good friend of Ben Affleck. They used to live a few blocks from each other as children, then they went to the same school, and the same university. They have been good friends since childhood. They also had a shared bank account when they were struggling actors.
  • In 1998, People Magazine included him in its list of “the 50 most beautiful people in the world”. And in 2007, he was named the sexiest man alive by
  • Matt Damon is well-known for his charity work. Every penny he earns from advertisement work, he donates to charity.
  • Matt Damon Loves to play poker, he has participated in several World Series of Poker.
  • Before Damon got the role of Jason Bourne in the Bourne series, the part was offered to Russell Crowe, Brad Pitt, and Sylvester Stallone.
  • To play the role of a soldier in the 1996 movie Courage Under Fire he lost 47 pounds, and in 1999, he lost 30 pounds to play young Mr. Riply in The Talented Mr. Riply. He also learned to play piano for his role as Mr. Riply.
  • Matt Damon has dated different celebrities over the years such as, Winona Ryder, Minnie Driver, Skyler Satenstein, Claire Danes, Penelope Cruz, and Luciana Barroso, with who he is currently married.
  • He has offered the role of Harvey Dent in the 2008 film The Dark Knight, but he turned down.
  • To get the lead role in the 1992 film Geronimo: An American Legend, he dropped out of Harvard University just 12 credits short of graduating.
  • In the 1989 film Field of Dreams, Damon and Affleck worked as extras.

Best Movies of Matt Damon

1997Good Will HuntingWill Hunting
2010True GritLa Boeuf
2015The MartianMark Watney
2019Ford v FerrariCarroll Shelby
1999The Talented Mr. RiplyTom Riply
1997The RainmakerRudy Baylor
2004The Bourne SupremacyJason Bourne
2006The DepartedColin Sullivan
2001Ocean’s ElevenLinus Caldwell
2011The Adjustment BureauDavid Norris
11 thoughts on “Matt Damon (Early Life, Career, Amazing Facts, Best Movies)”
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