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Wilson at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival for the premiere of Midnight in Paris
|Born||Owen Cunningham Wilson
November 18, 1968 
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
|Education||University of Texas at Austin (BA)|
|Occupation||Actor, producer, screenwriter|
Owen Cunningham Wilson (born November 18, 1968) is an American actor, producer, and screenwriter. He has had a long association with filmmaker Wes Anderson, with whom he shared writing and acting credits for Bottle Rocket (1996) and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), the latter of which earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. His older brother Andrew and younger brother Luke are also actors. He is known for his roles in Frat Pack comedies and as well as voicing Lightning McQueen in the Cars franchise.
Wilson was born in Dallas, Texas, the middle of 3 sons to photographer Laura (née Cunningham) Wilson (born October 17, 1939) and Robert Andrew Wilson (1941–2017), an advertising executive and operator of a public television station. His parents, of Irish descent, were originally from Massachusetts. Wilson attended New Mexico Military Institute and the University of Texas at Austin, where he pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
After his film debut in Bottle Rocket (1996), Wilson co-wrote with Wes Anderson the script for Anderson's next two directorial films, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, for which they garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Wilson then landed a role in The Cable Guy, directed by Ben Stiller, an early admirer of Bottle Rocket. After appearing in minor roles in action films like Anaconda and Armageddon and the horror film The Haunting, Wilson appeared in two dramatic roles: a supporting role in Permanent Midnight, which starred Stiller as a drug-addicted TV writer; and the lead role (as a serial killer) in The Minus Man, in which his future girlfriend, singer Sheryl Crow, was a co-star.
Wilson starred in the 2000 comedy action film Shanghai Noon alongside Jackie Chan. The film grossed nearly US$100 million worldwide. His fame continued to rise after starring alongside Ben Stiller and Will Ferrell in the 2001 film Zoolander. Gene Hackman reportedly took notice of Wilson's performance in Shanghai Noon and recommended the actor to co-star in the 2001 action film Behind Enemy Lines. Also in 2001, Wilson and Anderson collaborated on their third film, The Royal Tenenbaums, a financial and critical success. The film earned the writing team an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Wilson returned to the buddy-comedy genre in 2002 with the action comedy I Spy, co-starring Eddie Murphy. This big-screen remake of the television series did not perform well at the box office. He made a cameo appearance in the Girl Skateboards video Yeah Right! in 2003. He then reunited with Jackie Chan to make Shanghai Knights (2003), and co-starred in the film remake of the 1970s television series Starsky & Hutch (2004). Due to his busy schedule as an actor and an ongoing sinus condition, Wilson was unavailable to collaborate on the script for Wes Anderson's fourth feature film, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The 2004 film was ultimately co-written by filmmaker Noah Baumbach. However, Wilson did star in the film as Bill Murray's would-be son, Ned Plimpton; a role written specifically for Wilson. In 2004, he and his brother, Luke played the Wright brothers in the 2004 film Around the World in 80 Days.
Wilson partnered with Vince Vaughn in the 2005 comedy film Wedding Crashers, which grossed over US$200M in the U.S. alone. Also in 2005, Owen collaborated with his brothers by appearing in The Wendell Baker Story, written by brother Luke, directed by Luke and brother Andrew. In 2006, Wilson voiced Lightning McQueen in the Disney/Pixar film Cars, starred in You, Me and Dupree with Kate Hudson, and appeared with Stiller in Night at the Museum as cowboy Jedediah.
Wilson starred with Ben Stiller in twelve films, including The Cable Guy (1996), Permanent Midnight (1998), Meet the Parents (2000), Zoolander (2001), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), Starsky & Hutch (2004), Meet the Fockers (2004), Night at the Museum (2006), and the sequels Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009), Little Fockers (2010), Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014) and Zoolander 2 (2016).
Wilson appeared in another Wes Anderson film, The Darjeeling Limited, which screened at the 45th annual New York Film Festival, the Venice Film Festival and opened September 30, 2007, co-starring Jason Schwartzman and Adrien Brody. Wilson next starred in the Judd Apatow comedy, Drillbit Taylor, released in March 2008. He appeared in a film adaptation of John Grogan's best-selling memoir, Marley & Me (2008), co-starring Jennifer Aniston.
He also starred in The Darjeeling Limited with Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman, which was selected for a DVD and Blu-ray release by The Criterion Collection in October 2010. He provided the voice for the Whackbat Coach Skip in Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox. He starred in the film The Big Year, an adaptation of Mark Obmascik's book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession. The film was released in October 2011 from 20th Century Fox, and co-starred Jack Black, JoBeth Williams, Steve Martin and Rashida Jones.
Wilson is a member of the comedic acting brotherhood colloquially known as the Frat Pack. Wilson made a guest appearance on the NBC comedy Community with fellow Frat Pack member Jack Black. He starred as a nostalgia-seized writer in the romantic comedy Midnight in Paris, written and directed by Woody Allen. The film was Allen's highest grossing thus far, and was also well received by critics.
In March 2012, Wilson starred in the John Erick Dowdle thriller The Coup, in which he played the role of the father of an American family that moves to Southeast Asia, only to find itself swept up in a wave of rebel violence that is overwhelming the city. Wilson later returned to the action genre for the first time since Behind Enemy Lines in 2001. He also voiced turkey Reggie in Reel FX's first animated film, Free Birds.
In 2014, Wilson appeared in Wes Anderson's acclaimed ensemble comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel and in Paul Thomas Anderson's book adaptation of Inherent Vice. In 2015, he starred with Jennifer Aniston, in Peter Bogdanovich's film She's Funny That Way, and in action thriller film No Escape alongside Lake Bell and Pierce Brosnan. Wilson's films have grossed more than US$2.25 billion domestically (United States and Canada), with an average of US$75M per film. In 2017, Wilson again voiced Lightning McQueen, in Cars 3, played a suburban father in the drama Wonder, and co-starred with Ed Helms in the comedy Father Figures.
Wilson will be working on a sequel to Shanghai Knights, marking his third collaboration with Jackie Chan. Wilson and brother Luke have co-written a Wright Brothers biopic, in which they also plan to star.
In April 2002, the release of the album C'mon C'mon by former girlfriend Sheryl Crow features the song "Safe and Sound", which is dedicated to Wilson in the liner notes, and is said to be an account of Wilson and Crow's relationship.
In August 2007, Wilson attempted suicide and was subsequently treated for depression at St. John's Health Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. A few days after his hospitalization, Wilson withdrew from his role in Tropic Thunder, which was produced by and co-starred his friend and frequent collaborator Ben Stiller. He was replaced by Matthew McConaughey.
|1999||Heat Vision and Jack||Heat Vision (voice)||Short|
|2001||King of the Hill||Rhett Van Der Graaf (voice)||Episode: "Luanne Virgin 2.0"|
|2010||Community||Other Study Group's Leader||Episode: "Investigative Journalism"; uncredited|
|2013||Drunk History||John Harvey Kellogg||Episode: "Detroit"|
|2014||Cars Toons: Tales From Radiator Springs||Lightning McQueen (voice)||Episode: "The Radiator Springs 500 ½"|
|2016||Saturday Night Live||Hansel||Episode: "Larry David/The 1975"|
|2012||Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure|
|2014||Cars: Fast as Lightning|
|2006||God's Gonna Cut You Down||Johnny Cash|
|2013||Christmas in L.A.||The Killers|
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