Matthew McConaughey

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Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey 2011.jpg
McConaughey at the 83rd Academy Awards in 2011
Born (1969-11-04) November 4, 1969 (age 50)
OccupationActor, producer
Years active1991–present
Full list
Camila Alves
(m. 2012)
Awards Full list

Matthew David McConaughey ( /məˈkɒnəh/ ; born November 4, 1969) is an American actor and producer. He first gained notice for his supporting performance in the coming-of-age comedy Dazed and Confused (1993), considered by many to be his breakout role. [1] [2] [3] After a number of supporting roles in films including Angels in the Outfield (1994) and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994), his breakthrough performance as a leading man came in the legal drama A Time to Kill (1996). He followed this with leading performances in the science fiction film Contact (1997) and the historical drama Amistad (1997), the comedy-drama The Newton Boys (1998), the satire EDtv (1999), the war film U-571 (2000), and the psychological thriller Frailty (2001).


In the 2000s, McConaughey became best known for starring in romantic comedies, [4] including The Wedding Planner (2001), How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003), Failure to Launch (2006), Fool's Gold (2008), and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009), establishing him as a sex symbol. After a two-year hiatus from film acting, McConaughey began to appear in more dramatic roles beginning with the legal drama The Lincoln Lawyer (2011). He was acclaimed for his supporting performances in Bernie (2011), Magic Mike (2012) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), and for his leading roles in Killer Joe (2011) and Mud (2012). [5]

McConaughey's portrayal of Ron Woodroof, a cowboy diagnosed with AIDS, in the biopic Dallas Buyers Club (2013) earned him widespread praise and numerous accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Actor. In 2014, he starred as Rust Cohle in the first season of HBO's crime anthology series True Detective , for which he was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. His film roles since have included Interstellar (2014), The Sea of Trees (2015), Free State of Jones (2016), Gold (2016), and The Dark Tower (2017), earning varying degrees of commercial and critical success, as well as voice work in Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) and Sing (2016).

Early life

Matthew David McConaughey was born on November 4, 1969, in Uvalde, Texas. [6] His mother, Mary Kathleen "Kay"/"KMac" (née McCabe), is a former kindergarten teacher and published author who taught him. [7] She was originally from Trenton, New Jersey. [8] His father, James Donald "Jim" McConaughey, [9] was born in Mississippi in 1929 and raised in Louisiana, [10] where he ran an oil pipe supply business; he played for the Kentucky Wildcats and the Houston Cougars college football teams. [11] In 1953, Jim was drafted in the 27th round by the NFL's Green Bay Packers. He was released before the season began and never played an official league game in the NFL. [12]

McConaughey's parents married each other three times, having divorced each other twice. [13] He has two older brothers, Michael and Patrick (who was adopted). [14] Michael, nicknamed "Rooster", is a self-made millionaire who stars in the CNBC docu-series West Texas Investors Club , [15] and as of 2018 stars in the A&E reality show Rooster & Butch with Wayne (Butch) Gilliam. McConaughey's ancestry includes English, German, Irish, Scottish, and Swedish, with some of his Irish roots being from the Cavan/Monaghan area. [6] He is a relative of Confederate brigadier general Dandridge McRae. [16] He had a Methodist upbringing. [17]

McConaughey moved to Longview, Texas, in 1980, [8] where he attended Longview High School. He lived in Australia for a year, in Warnervale, New South Wales, as a Rotary exchange student in 1988. [18] He attended the University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin), where he joined Delta Tau Delta fraternity. [19] He began in the fall of 1989 and graduated in the spring of 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in Radio-Television-Film. [20] His original plan had changed as he wanted to attend Southern Methodist University until one of his brothers told him that private school tuition would have been a burden on the family's finances. He also had planned to attend law school after graduation from college, [21] but he realized he was not interested in becoming a lawyer. [8]


1991–2000 - Early work

McConaughey began working in television commercials, including one for the Austin, Texas daily newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman , which is credited as his first speaking role. The line, "How else am I gonna keep up with my 'Horns?" – a reference to his beloved Texas Longhorns sports teams – gave the local community a look at the young actor before he was cast in Richard Linklater's film Dazed and Confused . [22] In 1992, he was cast as "Joe" in Trisha Yearwood's music video "Walkaway Joe". [23]

After some smaller roles in Angels in the Outfield , Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation , Boys on the Side , and the television series Unsolved Mysteries , McConaughey's big break came as the lawyer Jake Brigance in the film A Time to Kill (1996), based on the John Grisham novel of the same name. [24] In the late 1990s, McConaughey was cast in leading roles in more movies, including Contact , Amistad , The Newton Boys , EDtv and U-571 . [25]

2001–2011 - Rise to prominence & Rom-coms

McConaughey in 2008, participating in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon Matthew McConaughey.jpg
McConaughey in 2008, participating in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon

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. [26] During this period, he appeared as a firefighter in the low-budget film Tiptoes , with Kate Beckinsale, in Two for the Money as a protégé to Al Pacino's gambling mogul, and in Frailty with Bill Paxton, who also directed. [25] [27]

McConaughey starred in the 2005 feature film Sahara , along with Steve Zahn and Penélope Cruz. [28] Prior to the release of the film, he promoted it by sailing down the Amazon River and trekking to Mali. [29] That same year, McConaughey was named People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" for 2005. [30] In 2006, he co-starred with Sarah Jessica Parker in the romantic comedy Failure to Launch and as Marshall head football coach Jack Lengyel in We Are Marshall . McConaughey also provided voice work in an ad campaign for the Peace Corps in late 2006. [31] He replaced Owen Wilson in Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder after Wilson's suicide attempt. [32] On January 21, 2008, McConaughey became the new spokesman for the national radio campaign, "Beef: It's What's for Dinner", replacing Sam Elliott. [33] [34]

2012–present - Established actor

McConaughey at the premiere of Dallas Buyers Club at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival Dallas Buyers Club 08 (9765736361).jpg
McConaughey at the premiere of Dallas Buyers Club at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival

McConaughey recognized that his "lifestyle, living on the beach, running with my shirt off, doing romantic comedies" had caused him to be typecast for certain roles, and he sought dramatic work with other themes. [35] This shift in his choice of roles has been known as the "McConaissance" between 2011 to 2014. [36] He said:

I got to feeling like, for a few years, I was doing something that I liked to do with romantic and action comedies. But believe me, I noticed there were other things that were not coming in. And if they were coming in, it was in an independent form with a much smaller paycheck, and nobody really wanting to get behind them ... But I knew I could say no to the things I'd been doing. In saying no to those things, I knew work was going to dry up for awhile ... Year and a half, still nothing. At two years, all of a sudden, in my opinion, I became a new good idea for some good directors. [35]

In 2012, McConaughey starred alongside Channing Tatum in Magic Mike , based on Tatum's early life, which was directed by Steven Soderbergh. [37] He returned to his East Texas roots, working again with director Richard Linklater on Bernie, playing district attorney Danny Buck Davidson. [38] In June 2012, McConaughey was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. [39]

In 2013, he portrayed Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. The role of a rodeo rider who discovers he has AIDS and struggles to get treatment required him to lose nearly 50 lb (22 kg). [40] The film earned McConaughey many acting awards, including the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Drama, and the Academy Award for Best Actor. [41] [42] His co-star Jared Leto won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, making Dallas Buyers Club the first film since Mystic River (2003) to win both awards. [43] [44] He also featured in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street as Mark Hanna, an early boss of Jordan Belfort. [45]

McConaughey at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival Matthew McConaughey Cannes 2015.jpg
McConaughey at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival

During this time, McConaughey recorded a public service announcement in Austin, Texas for the LBJ Presidential Library. [46] In April 2014, Time magazine included McConaughey in its annual Time 100 as one of the "Most Influential People in the World". [47] In August 2014, the Lincoln Motor Company signed a multi-year collaboration with McConaughey for an ad campaign. The commercials, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn ( Drive ), featured McConaughey as a storyteller driving around in Lincoln's MKC crossover. [48] Shortly after the commercials debuted in September 2014, they were parodied by Ellen DeGeneres, Conan O'Brien, Jim Carrey, South Park, and Saturday Night Live . Overall sales for Lincoln increased by 25 percent one month after the ads debuted. [49] The series of commercials starring McConaughey continued for several more years; during this period he also endorsed the MKZ sedan, MKX and Nautilus crossovers and Aviator SUV.

In 2014, he shared star billing with Woody Harrelson in HBO's crime drama anthology series True Detective. [50] For his role as Rust Cohle, he won the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series. [51] He was also nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, which he lost to Bryan Cranston and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film. [52] [53] [52] With his first Oscar win and the critical acclaim received for True Detective, "McConaughey seems to be tapping into something essential, remaining himself while stretching, getting older while staying the same age." Critic Rachel Syme dubbed his recognition and performances while taking on more complex, dramatic roles as "The McConaissance". [5]

McConaughey also played Cooper, a widowed father and astronaut, alongside Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Mackenzie Foy, and Casey Affleck in Christopher Nolan's science fiction film Interstellar (2014). [54] After finishing Gus Van Sant's 2015 film The Sea of Trees with Ken Watanabe, [55] in 2016, McConaughey starred in two films, Free State of Jones and Gold , and voiced leading characters in two animated films, Kubo and the Two Strings and Sing .

In 2016, McConaughey was hired as creative director and celebrity spokesman for Wild Turkey's latest campaign, to bring in more women and more international customers. [56]

McConaughey starred as Walter Padick in the 2017 Stephen King adaptation The Dark Tower , which received negative reactions from the critics. [57] [58] [59] [60] In 2018, he starred in the true life gangster drama White Boy Rick , [61] which gained mixed reviews. In 2019, he headlined the erotic thriller Serenity , that also starred Diane Lane and Anne Hathaway. The film was panned by both critics and audiences after its release on January 25. [62] McConaughey next had the starring role in Harmony Korine's The Beach Bum , a comedy also featuring Zac Efron and Jonah Hill. The film was released on March 29, 2019. [63] [64] In late 2019, McConaughey appeared in the Guy Richie film The Gentlemen, playing fictional cannabis baron Mickey Pearson.

Personal life

McConaughey and his wife, Camila Alves, in 2010 McConaugheyAlves2010-Crop.jpg
McConaughey and his wife, Camila Alves, in 2010

McConaughey met Camila Alves in 2006. He and Alves became engaged on December 25, 2011, and were married in a private Catholic ceremony [65] on June 9, 2012, in Austin, Texas, where they reside. [66] [67] Together, they have three children: a son born in July 2008, [68] a daughter born in January 2010, [69] and a second son was born in December 2012. [70]

McConaughey is a Christian and attends a non-denominational church. [71]

On November 17, 2014, McConaughey received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located on 6931 Boulevard. [72]

McConaughey started the just keep livin foundation, which is "dedicated to helping teenage kids lead active lives and make healthy choices to become great men and women". [73] On February 25, 2016, McConaughey received the Creative Conscience award from unite4:humanity for his work with his foundation. [74]

McConaughey rescued various pets stranded after the flooding of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina. [75]

In 2019, McConaughey officially became a professor of practice for the Department of Radio-Television-Film at the Moody College of Communication in his alma mater, UT-Austin; he had served as a visiting instructor since 2015. [76] [77] The first two sessions were about the filming of the movie Free State of Jones . [78]

McConaughey is a lifelong Redskins fan, having begun following the team because of Chris Hanburger and his support of the Indians in Cowboy and Indian Western Movies. He even claims to have attended the last Redskins game at RFK Stadium and first game at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium as well as the first one at the renamed FedEx Field. [79] He is also a lifelong fan of the Texas Longhorns, the team of his alma mater. [80] In 2019, he became a minority owner of Austin FC, a team in Major League Soccer scheduled to begin play in 2021. [81]

Filmography and awards

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