Chris O’Donnell

Chris O'Donnell Headshot

Actor

Birth Name: Christopher Eugene O'Donnell

Birth Date: June 26, 1970

Age: 54 years old

Birth Place: Winnetka, Illinois

Golden Globe nominated actor Chris O'Donnell was deemed the next "golden boy" of Hollywood following his breakout supporting role opposite a particularly crusty Al Pacino in "Scent of a Woman" (1992). He held his own with unexpected strength, and because of this performance, went on to enjoy a steady film career playing clean-cut, regular-guys-turned-heroes who fought to save people in courtrooms and from dangerous mountainsides.

Among his more famous "hero" roles was that of comic book character Robin; first opposite Val Kilmer in "Batman Forever" (1995) and then alongside George Clooney in the dismal, franchise-halting sequel, "Batman & Robin" (1997). In the new millennium, O'Donnell's flagging film career gave way to stability as a dramatic TV actor on "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 2005- ) and "NCIS: Los Angeles" (CBS, 2009- ), where his sturdy, everyman quality found a warm reception among primetime audiences.

Christopher Eugene O'Donnell was born on June 26, 1970 in Winnetka, IL to William O'Donnell Sr. and Julie O'Donnell. He was the youngest child in a family with seven kids - four brothers and two sisters. Inspired by a female classmate who earned about $60 per session, he started modeling at age 13 and continued to do so until he was 16, when he began appearing in local commercials including McDonald's and in print ads for Marshall Fields department stores.

O'Donnell's squeaky clean good looks soon landed him television roles; the first of which was in an episode of the drama series "Jack and Mike" (ABC, 1986-87) shot in Chicago.

At 17, O'Donnell considered quitting modeling and acting, but was persuaded otherwise by his mother with a new car. He subsequently auditioned and appeared in what became his screen debut, "Men Don't Leave" (1990), playing the role of Jessica Lange's teenage son. He had a bit part in "Fried Green Tomatoes" (1991) as the older brother of Idgie Threadgoode (Mary Stuart Masterson), who dies in a freak train accident. In 1992, he appeared as the preppie student rooming with a Jewish student in "School Ties," starring a roster of up-and-coming young actors including Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

More preppie, straight-laced roles followed. In 1991, he was originally cast to appear in "The Prince of Tides" starring Barbara Streisand. But Streisand changed her mind and wanted her real son to play the part. Rumor was that she had wanted to personally apologize to O'Donnell for her change of heart, so she called his dorm room. One of O'Donnell's roommates took the call, which came as a huge surprise because O'Donnell had not divulged to anyone in school that he was an actor. In 1992, he was cast in "Scent of a Woman" as a student who has to accompany a belligerent military officer (Pacino) to New York City. O'Donnell portrayed Charlie Simms, a young college student who agrees to look after his charge over Thanksgiving to earn money to go home for the holidays. Simms, however, is unaware that the arrangement would take him to the Big Apple for good food, fine women, a memorable tango and a loaded 45. The role catapulted O'Donnell front and center among moviegoers worldwide and earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.

Attempting to broaden his appeal, O'Donnell appeared as the inexperienced and strangely coiffed D'Artagnan in another remake of "The Three Musketeers" (1993) co-starring Charlie Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland. He appeared in several films in 1995 - as a college dreamboat who becomes the object of Minnie Driver's affection in "Circle of Friends" and as the other half of a frantic teenage couple co-starring Drew Barrymore in "Mad Love." Even while he beefed up his acting resume, O'Donnell studied at Loyola Academy in Chicago and UCLA, graduating from Boston College in 1995 with a degree in marketing.

John Grisham's novel "The Chamber" was O'Donnell's most intense project in 1996, in which he portrayed the role of young, naive lawyer out to save his racist grandfather from Death Row. The actor wore his leading man shoes for "In Love and War" (1996) opposite Sandra Bullock, as a young Ernest Hemingway, a role that was not much of a stretch from his earlier performances.

In 1995, O'Donnell was cast in "Batman Forever" starring Val Kilmer (as the Caped Crusader), Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey and Nicole Kidman. Insiders said that he and "Titanic" (1997) dreamboat Leonardo DiCaprio were the final choices for the role. Instead of a coin toss, fans were polled about who they thought would win a fight between the two; O'Donnell beat out DiCaprio. In the movie, his natural charisma and rebellious streak made his performance of Dick Grayson, a circus acrobat whose parents are murdered by one of Batman's notorious enemies, and later as Robin, utterly convincing even in green tights. In 1997, he reprised his sidekick role in "Batman & Robin" opposite George Clooney. It was a mishmash of a movie that was said to have put O'Donnell's career in jeopardy, as it did everyone involved with the unfortunate project which tanked the franchise for over a decade. He reportedly was offered the role of J in "Men in Black" (1997) but turned it down; the role ultimately went to Will Smith, making him an A-list star.

But in truth, O'Donnell took time off from showbiz to spend more time with his wife, Caroline Fentress, an elementary schoolteacher and his longtime sweetheart. The couple wed in 1997 and had five children - three sons and two daughters. An avid golfer, he participated in a golf event in 2000 and raised $500,000 for the Motion Picture and Television Fund. O'Donnell's big screen return was in Robert Altman's comedy "Cookie's Fortune" in 1999, as a bumbling cop romancing Liv Tyler. The same year, he starred in "The Bachelor," a lighthearted romantic comedy that he also produced under the auspices of George Street Films, his own production company. O'Donnell scaled new heights in the action flick "Vertical Limit" (2000), playing a mountain climber who rescues his sister in a vertical cave on a climb to the Himalayas.

A year after "Vertical Limit," O'Donnell reached new career heights when he took to the stage in the Arthur Miller production of "The Man Who Had All the Luck" (2001) at the Williamstown Theater Festival, as well as in a Broadway performance in 2002. He also made several notable television appearances, with a recurring role on the drama series "The Practice" (ABC, 1997-2004), and a guest-starring role on a 2004 episode of "Two and a Half Men" (CBS, 2003-15) titled "An Old Flame With A New Wick" as a transsexual - a role that was definitely a far cry from the parts he was accustomed to playing. In 2006, O'Donnell joined the cast of "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 2005- ) as Dr. Finn Dandridge. He also scored the lead role in "The Company" (TNT, 2007), a miniseries about the Cold War-era CIA.

In 2008, O'Donnell had a supporting role as a pharmaceutical executive in "Max Payne," a live-action adaptation of the popular video game starring Mark Wahlberg as a detective thrust into New York's criminal underworld. Later that year, O'Donnell appeared as the father of plucky, aspiring journalist Kit Kittredge (Abigail Breslin) in the kids' book adaptation, "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" (2008). A starring role in a special two-part episode of the hit police drama "NCIS" (CBS, 2003-) as an undercover agent led to O'Donnell landing the lead role in the spin-off series, "NCIS: Los Angeles" (CBS, 2009- ), a moderately well received offering that paired O'Donnell with rapper-actor LL Cool J as a fellow undercover agent and former Navy SEAL.

Credits

Come Dance with MeStream

Executive Producer
Reality
2022

NCIS: Hawai'iStream

Guest Star
G. Callen
Series
2021
60%

CBS Mornings

Guest
News
2021

The Drew Barrymore ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2020

The James Brown Show

Guest
Show
2017

Live with Kelly and Ryan

Guest
Talk
2017

Super Bowl's Greatest Halftime Shows

Narrator
Show
2016

The Late Show With Stephen ColbertStream

Guest
Talk
2015

The Late Late Show With James Corden

Guest
Talk
2015

ACM Presents: An All-Star Salute to the Troops

Host
Show
2014

The Queen Latifah Show

Guest
Talk
2013

omg! Insider

Guest
Show
2013

Live! With Kelly and Michael

Guest
Talk
2012

CBS This Morning

Guest
Show
2012

LIVE with Kelly

Guest
Talk
2011

Big Morning Buzz Live

Guest
Show
2011

Dr. Steve

Guest
Show
2011

WWII In HD: The Air War

Voice
Show
2010

ConanStream

Guest
Talk
2010

The TalkStream

Guest
Talk
2010

Hawaii Five-0Stream

Guest Star
Series
2010

Access Hollywood Live

Guest
Show
2010

Who Do You Think You Are?Stream

Guest Star
Reality
2010

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty GaloreStream

Actor
Shane
Movie
2010
13%

A Little Help

Actor
Bob
Movie
2010

NCIS: Los AngelesStream

Actor
Special Agent G. Callen
Series
2009

NCIS: Los AngelesStream

Director
Series
2009

ES.TV

Guest
Show
2009

Watch What Happens Live With Andy CohenStream

Guest
Talk
2009

The Bonnie Hunt Show

Guest
Talk
2008

The Doctors

Guest
Talk
2008

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

Actor
Mr. Kittredge
Movie
2008

Max PayneStream

Actor
Jason Colvin
Movie
2008
16%

The Company

Actor
Show
2007

The Company

Actor
Jack McCauliffe
Show
2007

The Better Show

Guest
Show
2007

Rachael Ray ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2006

Head Cases

Actor
Jason Payne
Show
2005

Entertainment Tonight Canada

Guest
Show
2005

Grey's AnatomyStream

Guest Star
Series
2005
84%

Robot ChickenStream

Guest Voice
Series
2005

American DadStream

Guest Voice
G. Callen
Series
2005

The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

Guest
Talk
2005

The Sisters

Actor
David Turzin
Movie
2005

The Insider

Guest
Show
2004

KinseyStream

Actor
Wardell Pomeroy
Movie
2004
90%

NCISStream

Guest Star
NCIS Special Agent G. Callen
Series
2003

Two and a Half MenStream

Guest Star
Bill/Jill
Series
2003
65%

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Guest
Talk
2003

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

Guest
Talk
2003

29 Palms

Actor
The Hitman
Movie
2002

Live With Regis and Kelly

Guest
Show
2001

The Triangle

Executive Producer
Movie
2001

Entertainment Studios.com

Guest
Show
2000

Vertical LimitStream

Actor
Peter Garrett
Movie
2000
48%

The Early Show

Guest
Show
1999

The Daily Show With Jon StewartStream

Guest
Talk
1999

Cookie's FortuneStream

Actor
Jason Brown
Movie
1999
86%

The Bachelor

Actor
Jimmie Shannon
Movie
1999

The Bachelor

Executive Producer
Movie
1999

Miracle on the 17th Green

Executive Producer
Movie
1999

Kickin' It: With Byron Allen

Guest
Show
1998

The ViewStream

Actor
Talk
1997

The ViewStream

Guest
Talk
1997

The PracticeStream

Guest Star
Series
1997

Batman & RobinStream

Actor
Dick Grayson/Robin
Movie
1997
11%

Access Hollywood

Guest
News
1996

The Chamber

Actor
Adam Hall
Movie
1996

In Love and War

Actor
Ernest "Ernie" Hemingway
Movie
1996

Circle of Friends

Actor
Jack Foley
Movie
1995

Mad Love

Actor
Matt Leland
Movie
1995

Batman ForeverStream

Actor
Dick Grayson/Robin
Movie
1995
40%

Blue SkyStream

Actor
Glenn Johnson
Movie
1994
80%

Late Show With David Letterman

Guest
Talk
1993

The Three MusketeersStream

Actor
D'Artagnan
Movie
1993
30%

School TiesStream

Actor
Chris Reece
Movie
1992
60%

Scent of a WomanStream

Actor
Charlie Simms
Movie
1992
85%

E! News

Actor
News
1991

Men Don't Leave

Actor
Chris Macauley
Movie
1990

Entertainment Tonight

Guest
News
1981

The Price Is RightStream

Guest
Game Show
1972

Sesame StreetStream

Guest
Series
1969

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