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File: Matt Damon
Matthew Paige "Matt" Damon (born October 8, 1970) is an American actor, screenwriter, and philanthropist whose career was launched following the success of the film Good Will Hunting (1997), from a screenplay he co-wrote with friend Ben Affleck. The pair won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay for their work and Damon received multiple Best Actor nominations, including the Academy Award, for his lead performance in the film.
Damon has since starred in commercially successful films such as Saving Private Ryan (1998), the Ocean's trilogy, and the Bourne series, while also gaining critical acclaim for his performances in dramas such as Syriana (2005), The Good Shepherd (2006), and The Departed (2006). He garnered a Golden Globe nomination for portraying the title character in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) and was nominated for an Academy Award as a supporting actor in Invictus (2009). He is one of the top forty highest grossing actors of all time. In 2007, Damon received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was named Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine.
Damon has been actively involved in charitable work, including the ONE Campaign, H2O Africa Foundation, and Water.org.
Matt Damon was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Kent Telfer Damon, a stockbroker, and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, an early childhood education professor at Lesley University.
Damon is of Scottish, English, Finnish, and Swedish ancestry, and is a distant cousin of actors Ben Affleck and Casey Affleck. He has a brother, Kyle, who is an accomplished sculptor and artist. He and his family moved to Newton and lived there for two years. After his parents divorced, Damon and his brother moved with their mother back to Cambridge, where they lived in a six-family communal house. Damon grew up near Ben Affleck, a close friend since childhood and collaborator on several films, and historian and author Howard Zinn, whose biographical film You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train and audio version of A People's History of the United States Damon later narrated.
Damon took to role-playing as a child partly because his mother raised him "by the book," which made him feel as though "you couldn’t define yourself, because you already had been defined by her." He attended Cambridge Alternative School (now Graham & Parks) and then Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, where he was a disciplined student but had a "terrifying" first two years due to his short height at the time. As a lonely adolescent, Damon has described feeling "such pain in wanting to belong somewhere and not belonging." Damon performed as an actor in several high school theater productions; he has credited his drama teacher at Rindge and Latin, Gerry Speca, as an important artistic influence, even though Damon recalls that, "Mr. Speca always seemed to trust Ben with the biggest roles and longest speeches."
Damon attended Harvard University from 1988 to 1992 but did not graduate. While at Harvard, he studied English and lived in Lowell House. He took part in student theater, appearing in plays such as Burn This in Winthrop House and A... My Name is Alice (in one of the three male roles usually performed by women). Damon dropped out of the university to pursue his acting career in Los Angeles because he mistakenly expected Geronimo: An American Legend to become a big success. "By the time I figured out I had made the wrong decision, it was too late. I was living out here with a bunch of actors, and we were all scrambling to make ends meet," Damon has said.
Damon dated his Good Will Hunting co-star Minnie Driver. He later had a two-year relationship with actress Winona Ryder. From 2001 to 2003, he dated Odessa Whitmire, a former personal assistant of Billy Bob Thornton and Ben Affleck. While filming Stuck on You in 2003, Damon met Argentine-born Luciana Bozán Barroso (born 1976) in Miami, where she was working as a bartender. They married in a private civil ceremony on December 9, 2005, at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau near New York City Hall. Damon became stepfather to Barroso's young daughter, Alexia, from her previous marriage. The couple's first child together, daughter Isabella, was born on June 11, 2006. On August 20, 2008, Barroso gave birth to the couple's second child, Gia Zavala Damon, both girls born in Miami, Florida. On October 20, 2010, Barroso gave birth to their third daughter, Stella Zavala Damon, in New York. As of 2011, Damon and his family reside in Manhattan.
Damon is a fan of the Boston Red Sox. After the team won the 2007 World Series, he narrated the commemorative DVD release of the event.
Damon enjoys playing poker and has competed in several World Series of Poker (WSOP) events including the 2010 World Series of Poker main event. He dropped $25,000 at the WSOP while researching his role as a professional poker player in Rounders (1998) and after filming the movie Damon was busted out of the 1998 WSOP by poker professional Doyle Brunson.
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