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Jean-Claude Van Damme
Birthday:18 Oct 1960
Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg (born 18 October 1960), professionally known as Jean-Claude Van Damme , is a Belgian martial artist and actor. Van Damme is best known for his martial arts action movies. His most successful films include Bloodsport (1988), Kickboxer (1989), Double Impact (1991), Universal Soldier (1992), Hard Target (1993), Timecop (1994), and JCVD (2008). Due to his physique and his Belgian background, he is known as “The Muscles from Brussels.”
After studying martial arts intensively from the age of ten, Van Damme achieved national success in Belgium as a martial artist and bodybuilder, earning the “Mr. Belgium” bodybuilding title. He emigrated to the United States in 1982 to pursue a career in film, and achieved success with Bloodsport (1988), based on a story written by Frank Dux. He attained subsequent box office success with Timecop (1994), which grossed over $100 million worldwide and became his most financially successful film.
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He started his own gym in Brussels and netted some modeling work, but was charmed with the idea of becoming a film star. He briefly worked as a bouncer at a night club during this time.
He participated in a number of tournaments and semi-contact matches and signed his first professional full-contact career in karate in 1977. From 1977 to 1982, he compiled a whopping record of 18 victories and only 1 defeat, where he was knocked down by Sherman Bergman.
After fleetingly attempting to get a break in the booming martial arts movie industry in Hong Kong, he moved to Los Angeles, in 1982 to pursue his Hollywood dreams.
He was cast as an extra in the film, ‘Breakin’ along with his childhood friend, Michel Qissi. In 1986, he was seen as Ivan Krushensky in the film, ‘No Retreat, No Surrender’.
The year 1987 would prove to be one of the most successful years for the actor, earning him a breakthrough in Hollywood. His dream of combining martial arts and acting finally realized with the character of ‘Frank Dux’ in the movie, ‘Bloodsport’.
In 1988, he was given a non-speaking role as a Secret Service agent in the TV miniseries, ‘War and Remembrance’. The same year, he was seen in a small role in the film, ‘Black Eagle’.
He signed a number of low-budget film contracts around this time and was seen in two films, ‘Cyborg’ and ‘Kickboxer’ in 1989, the latter of which proved to be a more successful film at the US box office.
From 1990 to 1993, he was seen in a wide array of films including ‘Death Warrant’, ‘Lionheart’, ‘Double Impact’, ‘Universal Soldier’, ‘Last Action Hero’, ‘Nowhere to Run’ and ‘Hard Target’. He was also the producer for ‘Double Impact’ and the fight choreographer for ‘Lionheart’.
In 1994, he was seen in the commercially successful film, ‘Timecop’, where he played the role of a time traveling cop. This film is believed to be the highest-grossing film for the actor.
After the success of ‘Timecop’, many of his projects began to fare poorly at the box-office. From 1995 to 1999, he appeared in a series of box-office duds including ‘Sudden Death’, ‘The Quest’, ‘Maximum Risk’, ‘Double Team’, ‘Knock-Off’ and ‘Universal Soldier: The Return’.
He took a hiatus from films and was seen in the 2003 music video by Bob Sinclair, ‘Kiss My Eyes’. The following year, he was cast as himself in an episode of the television show, ‘Las Vegas’.
He returned to mainstream cinema in 2008 with the limited theatrical release of the film, ‘JCVD’, which was a moderate success. His performance in the film was rated well by the critics and was considered second-best after Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’.
In 2009, he reprised his role as Luc Deveraux for the film, ‘Universal Soldier: Regeneration’. The same year, he appeared in an episode of ‘Robot Chicken’, a television series.
In 2011, he lent his voice for ‘Master Croc’ for the hit animated film, ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’. He was also seen in a number of commercials for ‘Coors Light Beer’. Two years later, he appeared in the comedy film, ‘Welcome to the Jungle’.