Chris O'Donnell

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Chris O’Donnell
O'Donnell at the premiere of Max Payne in 2008
Christopher Eugene O'Donnell

(1970-06-26) June 26, 1970 (age 53)
Alma materBoston College (BS)
Years active1986–present
Caroline Fentress
(m. 1997)

Christopher Eugene O'Donnell (born June 26, 1970) is an American actor. He played Charlie Sims in Scent of a Woman, Chris Reece in School Ties, D'Artagnan in The Three Musketeers, Jack Foley in the drama film Circle of Friends, Dick Grayson/Robin in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, Jason Brown in Robert Altman's Cookie's Fortune, Peter Garrett in Vertical Limit, and Wardell Pomeroy in Kinsey. O'Donnell starred as Special Agent G. Callen on the CBS crime drama television series NCIS: Los Angeles, a spin-off of NCIS.

Early life[edit]

O'Donnell was born in the Chicago suburb of Winnetka, Illinois, the son of William Charles O'Donnell Sr., a general manager of WBBM-AM, and Julie Ann Rohs von Brecht.[1][2] He is the youngest of seven children, with four sisters and two brothers, and is of German and Irish descent.[3][4] O'Donnell was raised in a Catholic family and attended Catholic schools.[5] He graduated from Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois in 1988.[6][7] O'Donnell then attended Boston College and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in marketing in 1992.[8][9]

O'Donnell began modeling at the age of 13.[10][9]


O'Donnell started his career by appearing in numerous commercials as a teenager, including commercials for Cap'n Crunch cereal and Fruit Roll-Ups snacks, as well as a McDonald's fast food commercial in which he served NBA great Michael Jordan. An early television series role was an appearance on the TV series Jack and Mike in 1986. In the early 1990s, he appeared in several films including Men Don't Leave (1990), starring Jessica Lange; Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), reuniting him with Kathy Bates with whom he appeared with in Men Don't Leave; School Ties (1992); and Scent of a Woman (1992) with Al Pacino; O'Donnell would receive two nominations: one for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor-Motion Picture (which was won by Gene Hackman for Unforgiven), and one for a Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actor (which he won). He was also named one of the 12 Promising New Actors of 1992 in John Willis's Screen World, Vol. 44.

After appearing in the film Blue Sky (1994), reuniting him with Jessica Lange from Men Don't Leave, he starred in Circle of Friends (1995) with Minnie Driver, Mad Love (1995) with Drew Barrymore, and In Love and War (1996) with Sandra Bullock. O'Donnell then went on to play the character of Dick Grayson/Robin in Batman Forever, in which Barrymore also made an appearance. He reportedly was part of a field of candidates for the role of Robin that included Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Ewan McGregor, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Toby Stephens, and Scott Speedman.[citation needed] Casting directors narrowed their choices to O'Donnell and DiCaprio with O'Donnell eventually winning the role. O'Donnell was said to be one of the considerations of 20th Century Fox studios to play the lead role of Jack Dawson in Titanic (1997), but that role was ultimately won by DiCaprio.[11]

O'Donnell followed with a starring role in 1996's The Chamber, based on the John Grisham novel. He subsequently reprised his role as Robin in 1997's Batman & Robin. Although it was a box-office success, the movie was critically panned and O'Donnell attested he believed it didn't turn out well.[12]

O'Donnell did not appear in another movie for two years. He was the choice of one of the producers for the role of James Darrell Edwards III/Agent J in Men in Black (1997), but after turning it down because he thought the character would be too similar to his role in Batman Forever, the role went to Will Smith.[13][better source needed] The subsequent films Cookie's Fortune (1999) and The Bachelor (1999) were moderately successful, while Vertical Limit (2000) was a box office hit.

Following a four-year hiatus, O'Donnell returned in 2004 with the widely praised Kinsey. He also appeared in the 2004 episode of Two and a Half Men entitled "An Old Flame With A New Wick." O'Donnell took a lead role in the Fox Network television series Head Cases in 2005. The show was the first of the fall 2005 season to be canceled, and only two episodes were aired. He was subsequently cast as veterinarian Finn Dandridge on the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy.

O'Donnell and Mark Harmon filming in 2009

O'Donnell featured prominently in the TNT miniseries The Company as CIA case officer Jack McAuliffe, a character who progressed from spoonfed Yale elitist to jaded, post-Cold War cynic. In 2008 he appeared in Kit Kittredge: An American Girl as the titular character's father Jack Kittredge, and in Max Payne as Jason Colvin.

Between 2009 and 2023, O'Donnell starred on NCIS: Los Angeles, a spinoff of NCIS, as G. Callen,[14] an NCIS Special Agent in charge of the Office of Special Projects Team stationed in Los Angeles. CBS describes Callen as "a chameleon who transforms himself into whomever he needs to be to infiltrate the criminal underworld."[15]

In 2010, O'Donnell appeared in the sequel to the 2001 movie Cats & Dogs, The Revenge of Kitty Galore.

Personal life[edit]

O'Donnell married Caroline Fentress in April 1997 at St. Patrick in the City in Washington, D.C.[16] They have five children.[17][18][19] He is not related to actress Rosie O'Donnell.

O'Donnell is a practicing Catholic.[20]

According to Rolling Stone, O'Donnell is afraid of heights.[16]

O'Donnell is an avid golfer and is a member of Bel-Air Country Club, Cypress Point Club, Valley Club of Montecito, Seminole Golf Club, Shoreacres Golf Club, Tarratine Golf Club and Chicago Golf Club.



Year Title Role Notes
1990 Men Don't Leave Chris Macauley
1991 Fried Green Tomatoes Buddy Threadgoode
1992 School Ties Chris Reece
Scent of a Woman Charlie Simms Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor
1993 The Three Musketeers D'Artagnan
1994 Blue Sky Glenn Johnson
1995 Circle of Friends Jack Foley
Mad Love Matt Leland
Batman Forever Dick Grayson/Robin
1996 The Chamber Adam Hall
In Love and War Ernest "Ernie" Hemingway
1997 Batman & Robin Dick Grayson/Robin
1999 Cookie's Fortune Jason Brown
The Bachelor Jimmie Shannon
2000 Vertical Limit Peter Garrett
2002 29 Palms The Hitman
2004 Kinsey Wardell Pomeroy
2005 The Sisters David Turzin
2008 Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Jack Kittredge
Max Payne Jason Colvin
2010 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Shane
A Little Help Bob Pehlke
2016 PG Max Short film


Year Title Role Notes
1986 Jack and Mike Evan Episode: "Cry Uncle"
2003 The Practice Brad Stanfield 4 episodes
2004 Two and a Half Men Bill Shrader Episode: "An Old Flame with a New Wick"
The Amazing Westermans TV movie
2005 Head Cases Jason Payne 2 episodes
2006 Grey's Anatomy Dr. Finn "McVet" Dandridge 9 episodes
2007 The Company Jack McAuliffe TV miniseries
2009 & 2023 NCIS G. Callen 3 episodes
2009–2023 NCIS: Los Angeles 323 episodes
Nominated – People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Crime Drama Actor (2017)[21]
2010 WWII in HD: The Air War John Gibbons Voice
2012 Hawaii Five-0 G. Callen Episode: "Pa Make Loa"
2013 Who Do You Think You Are? Himself Episode: "Chris O'Donnell"
2014 Robot Chicken Mr. Fantastic / Commander Rex Kling Voice; Episode: "Catdog on a Stick"
2017 American Dad! G. Callen Voice; Episode: "Casino Normale"
2017 & 2021 The Price Is Right Himself 2 episodes
2023 NCIS: Hawaiʻi G. Callen Episode: "Deep Fake"
Bupkis Pete's Agent Episode: "Crispytown"; uncredited


  1. ^ "Chris O'Donnell Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Archived from the original on February 9, 2011. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
  2. ^ Kessler, Mike (December 8, 2010). "William C. O'Donnell dies at 88 — Winnetka & Northfield news, photos and events —". Archived from the original on June 14, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  3. ^ Polunsky, Bob. "Express-News Archives :".
  4. ^ "Actor's roles range from the birds & the bees to just a bird – Robin.(Originated from The Virginian-Pilot)". Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. April 13, 1995.
  5. ^ "Music News". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007.
  6. ^ "Actor Chris O'Donnell sells seldom-used townhouse here". Chicago Tribune.
  7. ^ "Chris O'Donnell from 'NCIS LA': Age, net worth, family, children". November 26, 2021.
  8. ^ "Boston College to Celebrate 150 Years with Concert at Symphony Hall". March 19, 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Chris O'Donnell helps Boston College celebrate 150 years".
  10. ^ "Watch! Magazine Photos on CBS" – via
  11. ^ "'Titanic' Casting: What Other Stars Were Considered For James Cameron's Masterpiece?". HuffPost. June 22, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  12. ^ [1] Archived September 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine [dead link]
  13. ^ "Trivia for Men in Black". at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved October 21, 2007.
  14. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 27, 2009). "O'Donnell nabs lead role in "NCIS" spin-off". Reuters. Archived from the original on January 7, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2009.
  15. ^ "NCIS Los Angeles". CBS. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  16. ^ a b Smith, Russel Scott (December 8, 2000). "Chris O'Donnell's Personal High". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  17. ^ Chiu, Alexis (December 18, 2007). "Chris O'Donnell and Wife Have Fifth Baby". People. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  18. ^ "Chris O'Donnell's Daughter Steals the Show on 'NCIS: Los Angeles' Set". ET Online. October 12, 2015.
  19. ^ Donahue, Wendy (November 25, 2014). "Johnnie-O label finds sweet spot between East and West Coast prep". Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  20. ^ "Chris O'Donnell Interview – Sarah's Backstage Pass".
  21. ^ "People's Choice Awards 2017: Full List Of Winners". People's Choice. January 19, 2017. Archived from the original on January 20, 2017. Retrieved January 19, 2017.

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