Matthew McConaughey

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Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey Cannes 2015.jpg
McConaughey at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival
Born Matthew David McConaughey
(1969-11-04) November 4, 1969 (age 46)
Uvalde, Texas, United States
Residence Austin, Texas
Alma mater University of Texas at Austin
Years active 1991–present
Net worth US$75 million (2014)
Religion Christian[1]
Spouse(s) Camila Alves (m. 2012)
Children 3

Matthew David McConaughey (/məˈkɒnəh/;[2] born November 4, 1969)[3] is an American actor and producer. He first gained notice for his breakout role in the coming-of-age comedy Dazed and Confused (1993), and went on to appear in films such as the slasher Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994), the legal thriller A Time to Kill (1996), Steven Spielberg's historical drama Amistad (1997), the science fiction drama Contact (1997), the comedy EDtv (1999) and the war film U-571 (2000).

In the 2000s, he 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). Since 2010 he has moved away from romantic comedies and has had roles in the films The Lincoln Lawyer (2011), Bernie (2011), Killer Joe (2011), The Paperboy (2012), Mud (2012), Magic Mike (2012), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Dallas Buyers Club (2013) and Interstellar (2014). Some film critics and journalists even refer to this era of film as the 'McConaissance'.[5]

McConaughey achieved much success in 2013 for portraying a cowboy diagnosed with AIDS in the biographical film Dallas Buyers Club, which earned him both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, among other awards and nominations. In 2014, he also starred as Rust Cohle in the acclaimed HBO crime anthology series True Detective, for which he won a Critics' Choice Award.

Early life[edit]

Matthew McConaughey, the youngest of three boys, was born on November 4, 1969 in Uvalde, Texas.[3] His mother, Mary Kathleen "Kay" or "KMac" (née McCabe), is a former kindergarten teacher and a published author, who is originally from Trenton, New Jersey.[6][7][8] His father, James Donald McConaughey, ran an oil pipe supply business and played for the Kentucky Wildcats and the Houston Cougars football teams.[6][9] Jim McConaughey was from Louisiana[6] and in 1953 was drafted in the 27th round by the NFL football team the Green Bay Packers was released before the season began, and never played an official League Game in the National Football League.[7][10][11][12][13] McConaughey's mother and late father married each other three times (having divorced each other twice).[14][15] His ancestry includes Scottish, English, Irish, Swedish and German.[16] He is a relative of Confederate brigadier general Dandridge McRae.[17][18][19] McConaughey had a Methodist upbringing.[20][21][22]

McConaughey moved to Longview, Texas in 1980,[6] where he attended Longview High School. He lived for a year in Warnervale, New South Wales, Australia, as a Rotary exchange student in 1988.[23] McConaughey attended the University of Texas at Austin College of Communication, where he joined Delta Tau Delta fraternity.[24] He began in the fall of 1989 and graduated spring of 1993 with a Bachelor's degree in Radio-Television-Film.[25] McConaughey's original plan had changed as he wanted to attend Southern Methodist University until a brother told him that private school tuition would have been a burden on the family finances, and his plan was to attend law school after graduation from college,[26] but he realized he was not interested in becoming a lawyer.[6]


1991–2000: Beginnings[edit]

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.[27] In 1992, he was cast as "Joe" in Trisha Yearwood's video for her hit song "Walkaway Joe."[28]

After 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 film A Time to Kill (1996), based on the John Grisham novel of the same name.[29] In the late 1990s, McConaughey was cast in leading roles in more movies, including Contact, Amistad, The Newton Boys, EDtv and U-571.[3] During the early start of McConaughey's career, he appeared in several movies, rated highly among his peers.

2001–11: Romantic Comedies[edit]

McConaughey in 2008

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.[30] 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.[3][31]

McConaughey starred in the 2005 feature film Sahara, along with Steve Zahn and Penélope Cruz.[32] Prior to the release of the film, he promoted it by sailing down the Amazon River and trekking to Mali.[33] That same year, McConaughey was named People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" for 2005.[34] In 2006, he co-starred with Sarah Jessica Parker in the romantic comedy Failure to Launch and as Marshall head football coach Jack Lengyal in We Are Marshall. McConaughey also provided voice work in an ad campaign for the Peace Corps in late 2006.[35] He replaced Owen Wilson in Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder after Wilson's suicide attempt.[36] On January 21, 2008, McConaughey became the new spokesman for the national radio campaign, "Beef: It's What's for Dinner", replacing Sam Elliot.[37][38]

2012–present: The "McConaissance"[edit]

McConaughey recognized that his ", living on the beach, running with my shirt off, doing romantic comedies" had typecast him into certain roles, and sought other work:[39]

McConaughey at the premiere of Dallas Buyers Club at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival

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.

In 2012, McConaughey starred alongside Channing Tatum in Magic Mike, based on Tatum's early life, which was directed by Steven Soderbergh.[40] He returned to his East Texas roots, by working again with director Richard Linklater on Bernie, which follows a small-town funeral director (Jack Black), who kills the town's grande dame (Shirley MacLaine). McConaughey played real-life district attorney Danny Buck Davidson, who had prosecuted the real Bernie Tiede in 1998.[41] McConaughey's mother, KayMac, played one of the town gossips in the film. In June 2012, McConaughey was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[42]

In 2013, he played Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club, which required him to lose nearly 50 pounds (22 kilograms).[43] The film gathered wide critical acclaim and 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 coveted Academy Award for Best Actor.[44][45] 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. It also won Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and received a nomination for Best Picture. It grossed $55.2 million in box office revenue against a budget of $5 million.[46][47]

McConaughey at the awards of the Goldene Kamera in Berlin, 2014

During this time, he recorded a public service announcement in Austin, Texas for the LBJ Presidential Library.[48] In April 2014, Time magazine included McConaughey in its annual Time 100 as one of the "Most Influential People in the World."[49] 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.[50] Shortly after the commercials debuted in September 2014, they were parodied by Ellen DeGeneres, Conan O'Brien, South Park, and Saturday Night Live. Overall sales for Lincoln increased by 25 percent one month after the ads debuted.[51] The series of commercials starring McConaughey continued until October 2015, with him also endorsing MKZ sedan and MKX crossover.

He shared star billing with Woody Harrelson in HBO's 2014 series True Detective.[52] For his role as Rustin Cohle on the show, he won the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series.[53] He was also nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, which he lost to Bryan Cranston.[54] 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." Some critics have dubbed this comeback in his career and his move towards more complex roles "The McConaissance".[55]

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, which was released on November 7, 2014.[56] After finishing Gus van Sant's 2015 film The Sea of Trees with Ken Watanabe,[57] McConaughey will lead two films in 2016, Gold and The Free State of Jones as well as lend his voice to two animated films,Kubo and the Two Strings and Sing.

Personal life[edit]

McConaughey and his wife Camila Alves in 2010

McConaughey met Brazilian model and television performer Camila Alves in 2006.[58] The couple became engaged on December 25, 2011, and were married on June 9, 2012, in Austin, Texas (where they reside)[59][60] in a private Catholic ceremony.[61] Together they have three children: sons Levi Alves McConaughey (born July 7, 2008),[62] Livingston Alves McConaughey (born December 28, 2012),[63] and daughter Vida Alves McConaughey (born January 3, 2010).[64]

He is a Christian and attends a non-denominational church.[65]

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".[66] He also rescued various pets stranded after the flooding of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina.[67] In 2006, he rescued a cat from two youths in Sherman Oaks, California; the youths had doused the cat in hairspray and were attempting to set it on fire.[68]

McConaughey's older brother Mike, nicknamed "Rooster", is a self-made millionaire who stars in the CNBC series West Texas Investors Club.[69]


Awards and nominations[edit]


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External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Daniel Day-Lewis
Academy Award for Best Actor
Succeeded by
Eddie Redmayne