Born on November 4, 1969, actor Matthew McConaughey is known for his laid-back lifestyle, rugged physique, and charming appeal. He was born and raised in the small Texas town of Ulvaide. He was an athlete, playing golf and tennis at Longview High School. His classmates choose him as the school’s “Most Handsome” student.
McConaughey stayed in Texas for college, graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 1993. While he had previously appeared in commercials and in small film roles, McConaughey got his first big break in 1993’s Dazed and Confused.
Known for his good looks and easy-going personality, McConaughey soon achieved leading man status with A Time to Kill (1996), which also starred Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kevin Spacey. The press often speculated about the nature of McConaughey’s relationship with Bullock, but sources close to the pair insisted that they were only friends.
Making the cover of Vanity Fair magazine in 1996, McConaughey was seen as a rising star in Hollywood. He had several dramatic projects that helped further establish his talents as an actor. He appeared in Contact (1997) with Jodie Foster, a science fiction film directed by Robert Zemeckis. For Amistad (1997), McConaughey played a lawyer involved in the trial of African slaves who staged a revolt onboard the ship they were imprisoned on. The Academy Award-winning film was directed by Stephen Spielberg.
Returning to his comedic roots, McConaughey starred in EdTv (1999) as a lowly clerk who becomes the star of his own reality show. The film was both a critical and a commercial disappointment. Later that year, McConaughey started developing some notoriety for his offbeat off-screen behavior. The police visited his Austin, Texas home after receiving a noise complaint in 1998. There they discovered a naked McConaughey playing the bongos as well as some marijuana. He was booked on drug charges and resisting arrest. The drug charges were later dropped, and he paid a fine for violating a local noise ordinace
Bouncing back, McConaughey emerged as the king of romantic comedies. He starred in The Wedding Planner (2001) with Jennifer Lopez and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003) with Kate Hudson. He tried his hand at action with 2005’s Sahara and became romantically involved with his co-star Penelope Cruz. Working with Al Pacino, McConaughey played a con man in the dramatic thriller Two for the Money (2005). While neither Sahara nor Two for the Money scored at the box office, McConaughey remained popular. He cemented his status as a heartthrob later that year as he was named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” for 2005.
In 2006, McConaughey returned to familiar territory with the romantic comedy Failure to Launch, co-starring with Sarah Jessica Parker. He also reteamed with Hudson for Fool’s Gold (2008). Shortly before the time of the film’s release, McConaughey announced that he was going to become a father on his website. He and girlfriend Camila Alves welcomed a baby boy, Levi Alves McConaughey, on July 7, 2008.
In the meanwhile, McConaughey has been working on his latest film, The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, with Jennifer Garner and Michael Douglas, which is slated to be released in 2009. In a part he took over from Owen Wilson, he also appeared in the 2008 comedy, Tropic Thunder, with Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr.