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Jean-Claude Van Damme

Jean-Claude Van Damme

JEAN CLAUDE VAN DAMME is one of the world's foremost action film stars, having established a strong following among a wide spectrum of moviegoers, both in the U.S. and around the world. One of the industry's top box office draws, Van Damme most recently made his directorial debut with the action-adventure The Quest, in which he also starred opposite Roger Moore.

Van Damme recently starred as a fire marshal who thwarts a vice presidential assassination plot during the Stanley Cup finals in the thriller Sudden Death. He also starred as Lt. Guile in Street Fighter, a role which led to the creation of a video game hero in his image. His previous film, the futuristic action thriller Timecop, was a critical and box office success, having already earned over $135-million worldwide.

A native of Belgium, the 35-year-old actor was born Jean-Claude Van Varenberg, adopting the name Van Damme from an early mentor. Even as a self-described skinny kid, the young Van Damme began to transform himself physically and mentally, studying ballet and martial arts, and body building until he was a master in all three areas.

While still in his early 20s, Van Damme, already a karate and body-building champion, turned down an offer from a professional ballet company in order to follow his dream to Hollywood. There, he lived from hand to mouth for several years working as a cab driver, a pizza delivery boy and a night club bouncer -- until an impromptu display of martial arts prowess for a startled producer outside of a chic restaurant won the determined performer his starring role in the blockbuster Bloodsport.

Since then, the action actor has enjoyed a string of box office successes. He is by far the most versatile of the new action stars, having successfully tackled a wide range of character in such films as Lionheart, Double Impact, Universal Soldier, Death Warrant, Nowhere to Run and Hard Target. Next, Van Damme is scheduled to star in The Colony for Mandalay Entertainment.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2002.

Jean-Claude Van Damme Facts

Birth NameJean-Claude Van Varenberg
OccupationActor, Director
BirthdayOctober 18, 1960 (63)
BirthplaceSint-Agatha Berchem, Belgium
Height5' 10" (1m78)  How tall is Jean-Claude Van Damme compared to you?

Selected Filmography

RiffTrax: No Retreat, No Surrender
Jean-Claude Van Johnson
Kung Fu Panda 2
Second in Command
The Expendables 2
Heist School
No Retreat, No Surrender
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