Chris O'Donnell

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

(1970-06-26) June 26, 1970 (age 51)
Alma materBoston College (BS)
Years active1986–present
Caroline Fentress
(m. 1997)

Christopher Eugene O'Donnell (born June 26, 1970) is an American actor and former model. 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 stars 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 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] He was raised in a Catholic family and attended Catholic schools,[5] including Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois for high school, graduating in 1988. He attended Boston College and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in marketing. He began modeling at the age of 13, and was featured in several commercials.


O'Donnell was discovered when he was cast in a McDonald's commercial, in which he served Michael Jordan. His first television role was an appearance on the series Jack and Mike in 1986. At the age of 17, he landed a role in the movie Men Don't Leave, with Jessica Lange. In the early 1990s, he was in many successful movies including Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), School Ties (1992) and Scent of a Woman (1992) with Al Pacino (receiving a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor, which he lost to Gene Hackman for Unforgiven). He was named one of the 12 Promising New Actors of 1992 in John Willis's Screen World, Vol. 44.

After the success of Blue Sky (1994) and Circle of Friends (1995), O'Donnell co-starred with Drew Barrymore in the movie Mad Love (1995), then went on to play Dick Grayson/Robin in Batman Forever, in which Drew Barrymore also made an appearance. He reportedly was part of a field of candidates that included Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Ewan McGregor, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Toby Stephens, and Scott Speedman.[citation needed] Producers narrowed their choices to DiCaprio and O'Donnell. At a comic book convention, they asked a group of 11-year-old boys, the target audience, which actor could win a fistfight. After the boys overwhelmingly declared O'Donnell the winner,[citation needed] he was ultimately given the role. O'Donnell was said to be 20th Century Fox's favorite choice to play Jack Dawson in Titanic, but DiCaprio ended up with the role.[6]

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 himself called it a low point in his career.[7] He was considered for the lead role in Spider-Man, when the project was in development with James Cameron directing in 1996. Tobey Maguire was ultimately cast.[citation needed]

O'Donnell did not appear in another movie for two years. He was the producers' original choice 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.[8][citation needed] The Robert Altman film Cookie's Fortune, The Bachelor (1999) and Vertical Limit (2000) were only moderately successful.

Following Vertical Limit, a four-year hiatus led some to believe Batman & Robin had damaged O'Donnell's career. However, he came back 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.

Since 2009, O'Donnell has starred in NCIS: Los Angeles, a spinoff of NCIS, as G. Callen,[9] 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."[10]

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's Cathedral in Washington, D.C..[11] They have five children.[12][13][14]

O'Donnell is a practicing Catholic.[15] O'Donnell's brother, John, founded the clothing company johnnie-O.[16][17]

According to Rolling Stone, O'Donnell has acrophobia.[11]



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 Nominated – Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor
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 Nominated – Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor
Nominated – Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (with George Clooney)
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 Episode: An Old Flame with a New Wick
The Amazing Westermans TV movie
2005 Head Cases Jason Payne 2 episodes
2005–06 Grey's Anatomy Dr. Finn "McVet" Dandridge 9 episodes
The Company Jack McAuliffe TV miniseries, 6 episodes
2009 NCIS G. Callen 2 pilot episodes: "Legend"
2009–present NCIS: Los Angeles 280 episodes
Nominated – People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Crime Drama Actor (2017)[18]
2010 WWII in HD: The Air War John Gibbons Voice
2012 Hawaii Five-0 G. Callen Crossover 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 The Price Is Right Himself February 24, 2017: Celebrity Charity Week
American Dad! G. Callen Voice; Episode: "Casino Normale"


  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. ^ Chris O'Donnell's Personal High : Rolling Stone Archived October 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "'Titanic' Casting: What Other Stars Were Considered For James Cameron's Masterpiece?". HuffPost. June 22, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  7. ^ [1] Archived September 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Trivia for Men in Black". at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved October 21, 2007.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "NCIS Los Angeles". CBS. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  11. ^ a b Smith, Russel Scott (December 8, 2000). "Chris O'Donnell's Personal High". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  12. ^ Chiu, Alexis (December 18, 2007). "Chris O'Donnell and Wife Have Fifth Baby". People. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  13. ^ "Chris O'Donnell's Daughter Steals the Show on 'NCIS: Los Angeles' Set". ET Online. October 12, 2015.
  14. ^ Donahue, Wendy (November 25, 2014). "Johnnie-O label finds sweet spot between East and West Coast prep". Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  15. ^ "Chris O'Donnell Interview - Sarah's Backstage Pass".
  16. ^ Gardner, Chris (January 7, 2015). "Designers Dish: Johnnie-O Founder John O'Donnell". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  17. ^ "Johnnie-O label finds sweet spot between East and West Coast prep".
  18. ^ "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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