Matthew Paige Damon, actor and screenwriter. 1970 - date
"I've gone from eating fried ramen noodles out of the box to eating real spaghetti"
Born in Boston MA, 8th October 1970, Matt had decided to become an actor at age sixteen. Following his parents' divorce, he went with his mother to live in Cambridge, MA. Here he began acting in school plays and met Ben Affleck, both of them working as extras in films being shot in the area.
With only the money from his part in a T.J. Maxx commercial, he made his way to New York in 1986, where he landed a one-line role in the film Mystic Pizza. After this, he returned to education, studying for an English Literature degree at Harvard. During his time there, he took a part in a TV movie, Rising Son (1990), and his first substantial role, in School Ties in 1992, alongside his childhood buddy, Ben. Following this he found the call of acting was too strong, and he left (needing only another 12 credits to complete his degree) to move to Los Angeles in 1993.
He landed a role almost immediately with a supporting role in Geronimo: An American Legend, and as a result of this, picked up the lead role of Cotton Calloway in The Good Old Boys. By 1996, he had worked with many of the bigger Hollywood names such as Julia Roberts, Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Denzil Washington and Meg Ryan. Thus readied, he played a magnificent part as Rudy in Ford Coppola's 1997 film The Rainmaker.
The Rainmaker was the film which got him noticed. Hollywood talked, the critics talked, the public noticed, and he was suddenly a name and a face to remember. Encouraged by this success and fame, he and Ben Affleck began the process of raising interest in Good Will Hunting. They took their script to everyone who would read it, but whilst many studios took a great deal of interest, they were put off by the pair's insistence that they play the lead roles. Finally, after much perserverance and a little compromising over some script elements, they persuaded Miramax to buy the script.
The film became a hit, gathering Oscars for Best Actor (Matt himself), Best Supporting Actor (Robin Williams), and Best Original Screenplay (Damon and Affleck). Flushed with pride, Matt went on acting, with starring roles in several films, including the risque Dogma and the extremely challenging role of Tom Ripley in The Talented Mr. Ripley.
His love life has been as varied as his film career to date: Minnie Driver, Winona Ryder, Claire Danes and Penelope Cruz. At 31, he is still an actor to watch, and he will doubtless continue to be a hot property both on and off the silver screen.