Matt Damon was born into a well-to-do family on October 8, 1970. His father was a tax preparer and his mother was a college professor. Nonetheless, Damon would bring the strong work ethic and the patience necessary to become a star on his own.
After Damon had studied at Harvard for three years, he did the unthinkable. With much of his college education behind him, he dropped out of school to pursue a career in Hollywood.
Despite finding a small role in Mystic Pizza (1988) and a more substantial role in School Ties (1992), Damon was unable to find steady work and steady income.
Not willing to give up on his dreams, he returned to a screenplay that he began writing for one of his English classes in Harvard. With the help of Ben Affleck, the unfinished assignment would into 1997’s critically acclaimed Good Will Hunting.
After Good Will Hunting was released in 1997, Damon would finally earn the praise that he had been working to receive for nearly a decade. For his role in the movie, he received an Oscar. His star, though, was perhaps solidified by a pair of war movies.
Dropping 40 pounds to accurately portray a drug-addicted soldier in Courage Under Fire, Damon received significant praise for his dedication to his part. But the major exposure that Saving Private Ryan received was the last piece Damon needed to fit the pieces of his career together.
Since the release of Saving Private Ryan in 1998, Damon has had the freedom to pick and choose which roles he plays and has become a fixture in Hollywood.
Not forgetting his roots and the half-decade it took him to get from his first substantial role in School Ties in 1992 to his Oscar-winning performance in Goodwill Hunting in 1997, Damon launched Project Greenlight, which gives up and coming screenwriters the chance to make their films.
Although the films made in Project Greenlight, including 2002’s Stolen Summer, have been largely unsuccessful, Damon’s effort and concern for the next generation of Hollywood stars is an admirable endeavor.