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Matthew McConaughey

Background Information

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Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey, 2008
Born Matthew David McConaughey
(1969-11-04) November 4, 1969
Uvalde, Texas, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1991–present
Partner(s) Camila Alves (2007–present; 2 children)

Matthew David McConaughey (pronounced  /məˈkɒnəheɪ/; born November 4, 1969) is an American actor.

After a series of minor roles in the early 1990s, McConaughey gained notice for his breakout role in Dazed and Confused (1993). He then appeared in films such as A Time to Kill, Contact, U-571, Sahara, and We Are Marshall. McConaughey is best known more recently for his performances as a leading man in the romantic comedies The Wedding Planner, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and Fool's Gold.

Early life

McConaughey, the youngest of three boys, was born in Uvalde, Texas, the son of Mary Kathleen "Kay" ( née McCabe), a substitute teacher, and James Donald McConaughey, a gas station owner who ran an oil pipe supply business and once played football for the Green Bay Packers. McConaughey has Irish ancestry and had a Methodist upbringing. McConaughey's mother and late father divorced and re-married each other several times.

McConaughey moved to Longview, Texas— located east of Dallas, where he attended Longview High School. While in high school, he was voted most handsome in the Longview Lobo Yearbook. He lived for a year in Warnervale, New South Wales, Australia as a Rotary exchange student in 1988. McConaughey attended the College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin, where he was a member of the Delta Tau Delta International Fraternity. He began in fall of 1989 and graduated in the spring of 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in Radio-Television-Film.


McConaughey began his acting career in 1991, appearing in television commercials, before being cast in Richard Linklater's film Dazed and Confused, which became a critical success, garnering largely positive reviews. After appearing in some smaller roles in Angels in the Outfield, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, Boys on the Side, the television series Unsolved Mysteries, and as the male lead in the Trisha Yearwood music video for the song Walkaway Joe, McConaughey's big break came as the lawyer "Jake Brigance" in the 1996 film A Time to Kill, based on the John Grisham novel of the same name.

McConaughey was cast in leading roles in many more movies: Contact, Amistad, The Newton Boys, Edtv, and U-571. By the early 2000s, he was frequently cast in romantic comedies, including The Wedding Planner and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, both of which were successful at the box office. During this period, he appeared as a firefighter in the low-budget film Tiptoes, opposite Rene Russo, in Two For The Money as a protege to Al Pacino's gambling mogul, and in Frailty, cast against type as a serial killer, opposite Bill Paxton. On September 10, 2000, he appears as himself on the show Sex and the City on HBO, talking with Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) about optioning her columns to make a movie.

McConaughey starred in the feature film Sahara, along with Steve Zahn and Penélope Cruz. Prior to the release of the movie, he promoted it by repeating some trips he took in the late 1990s, including sailing down the Amazon River and trekking to Mali. That same year, McConaughey was named People magazine's “Sexiest Man Alive” for 2005.

In 2006, he co-starred with Sarah Jessica Parker in the romantic comedy Failure to Launch, which was reasonably successful at the box office. McConaughey also provided voice work for an ad campaign of the Peace Corps in late 2006. Matthew's production company, j.k. livin, is currently in development on projects with Warner Bros., Universal, Paramount Pictures and Imagine Entertainment. McConaughey starred in the football drama We Are Marshall. He also appeared in Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder, replacing Owen Wilson after Wilson's suicide attempt.

On January 21, 2008, McConaughey became the new spokesman for the national radio campaign, "Beef: It's What's For Dinner", replacing actor Sam Elliot.

In June 2010 it was announced that McConaughey is teaming up with Marc Hyman to develop a scripted comedy for FX (TV Network) based on material from J.R. Reed.

Personal life

McConaughey approaching the finish line in a triathlon, September 2008

McConaughey is an avid fan of the Texas Longhorns and the Washington Redskins.

On October 26, 1999, McConaughey was arrested in Austin, Texas, for resisting arrest following a disturbance in the early hours of the morning and for possession of cannabis. He had been found to be playing music very loudly on bongo drums while nude in his own home. McConaughey denied the drug charges (which were subsequently dropped), but was charged with disturbing the peace. He pleaded guilty and paid a fine of $50.

McConaughey's personal motto is "Just Keep Livin". His foundation is called j.k. livin foundation (all lower-case), which "is dedicated to helping teenage kids lead active lives and make healthy choices to become great men and women."

McConaughey rescued various pets stranded after the flooding of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina. In 2006, in Sherman Oaks, California, he rescued a cat from two youths who had doused the animal in hairspray and were attempting to set it on fire.

McConaughey lives in Malibu, California with his girlfriend, Brazilian model and designer Camila Alves, whom he met in 2007. Alves is host of the third season of Bravo TV's reality competition show Shear Genius. The couple have two children together: their son, Levi Alves McConaughey, was born on July 7, 2008, and their daughter, Vida Alves McConaughey, was born on January 3, 2010.


Year Film Role US Gross
1993 My Boyfriend's Back Teenage Moviegoer $3,060,000
Dazed and Confused David Wooderson $7,060,000
1994 Angels in the Outfield Ben Williams $50,010,000
1995 Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation Vilmer $1,860,000 (estimated)
Boys on the Side Officer Abe Lincoln $23,560,000
1996 A Time to Kill Jake Tyler Brigance $108,290,000
Lone Star Buddy Deeds $13,090,000
Glory Daze Rental Truck Guy $15,134
Larger Than Life Tip Tucker $8,000,000
Scorpion Spring El Rojo
1997 Amistad Roger Baldwin $44,020,000
Contact Palmer Joss $100,920,329
1998 The Newton Boys Willis Newton $10,490,000
1999 EDtv Ed 'Eddie' Pekurny $22,362,500
2000 U-571 Lt. Andrew Tyler, Executive Officer $77,086,030
2001 The Wedding Planner Steve "Eddie" Edison $60,400,856
2002 Reign of Fire Denton Van Zan $43,061,982
Thirteen Conversations About One Thing Troy $3,287,435
Frailty "Fenton Meiks"/Adam Meiks $13,103,828
2003 Tiptoes Steven Bedalia
How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days Benjamin Barry $105,813,373
2004 Paparazzi McConaughey $15,712,072
2005 Two for the Money Brandon Lang $22,862,049
Sahara Dirk Pitt $68,642,452
2006 We Are Marshall Jack Lengyel $43,532,294
Failure to Launch Tripp $88,658,172
2008 Fool's Gold Ben 'Finn' Finnegan $70,224,196
Tropic Thunder Rick Peck $110,515,313
Surfer, Dude Steve Addington $75,000
2009 Ghosts of Girlfriends Past Connor Mead $102,223,269
2011 Bernie
The Lincoln Lawyer Mickey Haller
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