Good Will Hunting
American actor Ben Affleck was launched to stardom after he won the 1998 Oscar (shared with Matt Damon) for his spectacular writing in Good Will Hunting (1997). He next attracted public attention for his performance as Ned Alleyn in the Academy Award-winning Shakespeare in Love (1998, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes), in which he won the Screen Actor Guild Award in 1998. In 1999, Affleck netted a Blockbuster Entertainment Award after portraying Liv Tyler's boyfriend in the mega-blockbuster film Armageddon (1998). He again garnered praise for playing such roles as wayward groom Ben Holmes, opposite Sandra Bullock, in the romantic comedy Forces of Nature (1999) and alcoholic advertising executive Buddy Amaral, along with Gwyneth Paltrow, in the romantic drama Bounce (2000). For his good performances in the films, Affleck took home two Blockbuster Entertainment Awards in 2000. Affleck gained even more recognition in 2001's World War II-era drama Pearl Harbor, where he netted the Teen Choice Award in 2001.
Off screen, Affleck was voted one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World in 1999 and in 2000, and was named the 2002 People's Sexiest Man Alive. Inspired by Molly Hanna, his mother's fifth-grade student who died of cancer in 2002, Affleck has donated to the Neil Bogart Memorial Fund, a charity foundation supporting cancer research at the Los Angeles Children's Hospital.
Additionally, Affleck is also a political activist. In 2000, he spent time campaigning for the Democratic ticket, supporting Al Gore and First Lady Hillary Clinton at a Cornell University rally in Ithaca, New York. In 2004, Affleck also actively campaigned for Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.
"Certainly all the attention that was focused on us didn't help. It does make you more sensitive to how your relationship is becoming a media event instead of something private. We still talk on the phone.
Fortunately, we're on good terms and there is no bitterness or animosity." Ben Affleck on his split from Jennifer Lopez As for his romantic life, Ben Affleck had an on and off again relationship with high school sweetheart Cheyenne Rothman. He next had a short, but high profile, romance with actress Gwyneth Paltrow following her breakup with Brad Pitt. While on the set of Gigli, Affleck met singer/actress Jennifer Lopez and subsequently fell in love with her. In 2002, they proclaimed their engagement, but split up on January 2004 after postponing the wedding. He is now the husband of actress Jennifer Garner, whom he wed on June 29, 2005.
Fervent Poker Player
Childhood and Family:
Son to a Scottish father and Irish mother, Benjamin Geza Affleck was born on August 15, 1972, in Berkeley, California, but was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His father is Tim Affleck, a former actor and social worker, and her mother is Chris, a schoolteacher. After the divorce of his parents, Ben and his younger brother, actor Casey Affleck (born on August 12, 1975), grew up under the guidance of their single mother.
Ben considered acting his career choice since childhood. At a very young age, Ben received his first acting experience in a commercial gig for Burger King, and was a child actor by the time he was 12. At about the same time, he met lifelong friend and fellow actor Matt Damon who leaved a few blocks away in Cambridge.
With Damon, Ben took acting lessons while also attending Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School together. Ben continued to receive bit parts on television and join auditions while studying. He briefly was enrolled at the University of Vermont in Burlington, but left his studies after only one semester. Soon after, he studied Middle Eastern Studies at Occidental College in Eagle Rock, but again dropped out to pursue acting.
Off screen, 6' 3" tall Ben is a passionate poker player and frequently entered local events. Having been trained by poker professionals Annie Duke and Amir Vahedi, Ben won the first prize of $356,000 at the California State Poker Championship on June 20, 2004.
He also succeeded at the 2004 World Poker Tour final tournament. As for his private life, Ben met actress Jennifer Garner (born on April 17, 1972) while on the set of Daredevil (2003) and the two began dating in 2004. On June 29, 2005, Ben married her at the Parrot Cay resort in the Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos. When free from work, Ben likes reading poetry, collecting motorcycles and vintage video-arcade games, and smoking Camel Lights.
Ben Affleck wanted to be an actor since he was a little boy. As a child, he entered the spotlight when he appeared in a Burger King commercial, and was seen in the drama The Dark End of the Street (1981). At age 12, he landed his first role as regular C.T. Granville in PBS' documentary series "The Voyage of the Mimi" (1984). He continued to receive small parts in such television projects as Wanted: The Perfect Guy (1986, played Madeline Kahn's son), Hands of a Stranger (1987), "The Second Voyage of the Mimi" (1988) and Daddy (1991). He moved to wide screen in 1992 playing the unaccredited part of Basketball Player No. 10 in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) and joined childhood pal, actor Matt Damon, in School Ties (1992). He next appeared in Dazed and Confused (1993) before being cast as a regular in the short-lived NBC series "Against the Grain" (1993).
Venturing into independent film, Affleck received positive reviews for his work at the Sundance film festival. He first teamed up with director Kevin Smith in the independent film Mallrats (1995) starring Claire Forlani and Shannen Doherty. After Glory Daze (1996) and Going All the Way (1997), impressed by Affleck's performance in Mallrats, Smith cast him as the lead in the independent Chasing Amy (1997), portraying a comic book artist who falls for a lesbian (played by Joey Lauren Adams). Through his fine performance in the film, Affleck wooed critics and audiences alike.
In 1997, Affleck changed his reputation as struggling actor to Hollywood golden boy through Good Will Hunting (1997), a script he co-wrote with Matt Damon. Due to his spectacular work, Affleck netted the 1998 prestigious Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (shared with Matt Damon). In the drama, directed by Gus Van Sant, Damon played the lead and Affleck was his Boston homeboy. They also shared the screen with Robin Williams.
The triumph of Good Will Hunting brought Ben a string of important roles. Following a performance in the thriller Phantoms (1998), Affleck gained box-office exposure through 1998's mega-blockbuster Armageddon, opposite superstar Bruce Willis. He also took home the 1999 Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor - Sci-Fi. On the other hand, Affleck received a Razzie nomination for Worst Screen Couple (shared with Liv Tyler) in 1999. He was next cast opposite former girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow, and Joseph Fiennes in the Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love (1998, played Ned Alleyn). His bright performance handed him a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in 1998.
At the end of decade, Affleck was still in the Hollywood mainstream. He first appeared as a dull bartender in the ensemble comedy-drama 200 Cigarettes (1999) before turning heads again with his work in Bronwen Hughes' romantic comedy Forces of Nature (1999), where he portrayed wayward groom Ben Holmes, opposite Sandra Bullock. Affleck earned his second Blockbuster Entertainment award for Favorite Actor - Comedy/Romance in 2000. He was also seen paired with Matt Damon in Kevin Smith's controversial Dogma (1999).
2000 caught Affleck in the hit film about Wall Street brokers, Boiler Room (2000), playing Jason for the television movie SNL Fanatic (2000), starring as ex-con Rudy Duncan in John Frankenheimer's suspense thriller Reindeer Games (2000, also starring Charlize Theron) and providing the voice for the title character in the direct-to-video DreamWorks sequel, Joseph: King of Dreams (2000). He also costarred with Gwyneth Paltrow in the romantic drama Bounce (2000), by playing alcoholic advertising executive Buddy Amaral. Affleck won the 2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actor - Drama/Romance for his work in the film.
Affleck cemented his position as a star when he starred as Captain Rafe McCawley in the World War II-era drama Pearl Harbor (2001, director Michael Bay). The film skyrocketed at the box office and became a hit. Affleck won the Teen Choice Award for Film - Choice Actor in 2001. Pearl Harbor also starred Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale and Cuba Gooding Jr. That same year, he also played the supporting role of Lawrence Bowen in Billy Bob Thornton's sophomore directorial effort Daddy and Them (2001) and joined the star-studded cast of Matt Damon, Shannon Elizabeth and Eliza Dushku in Kevin Smith's Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001).
The actor continued to play roles in the high-profile film Changing Lanes (2002, opposite Samuel L. Jackson), teamed up with Morgan Freeman in the adaptation of Tom Clancy's novel The Sum of All Fears (2002), worked again with Damon as an executive producer, and also acted in The Third Wheel (2002), starring as blind lawyer Matt Murdock, who turns into the urban superhero, in the big screen adaptation of Marvel Comics' Daredevil (2003) and played the titular hit man Larry Gigli, opposite Jennifer Lopez, in the crime-romance Gigli (2003). Gigli did not do well at the box office. Additionally, Affleck and Lopez were named the Worst Screen Couple at the 2004 Razzie Awards. Affleck bounced back with a starring role in the John Woo sci-fi thriller Paycheck (2003, also with Aaron Eckhart, Uma Thurman and Paul Giamatti).
Starring as Ollie Trinke, a widowed father who finds love again, opposite Liv Tyler, in the romantic comedy Jersey Girl (2004, helmed by Kevin Smith) was his first film in the year 2004. Affleck next showcased his comedic talent in the holiday film Surviving Christmas (2004, portrayed Drew Latman). Affleck will soon play roles in the forthcoming Man About Town (2005) and the dramatic thriller Truth, Justice, and the American Way (2006, also starring Adrien Brody, Diane Lane and Kathleen Robertson).
In addition to acting, Affleck has directing experience with the 1993 short film I Murdered My Lesbian Wife, Hung Her on a Meathook and Now I Have a Three-Picture Deal at Disney, and the 2006 Gone, Baby, Gone (2006). In addition to Good Will Hunting (1997), Affleck also co-created, with Sean Bailey, the ABC drama-game show hybrid "Push, Nevada" (2002).
- Teen Choice: Film - Choice Actor, Pearl Harbor, 2001
- Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Actor - Drama/Romance, Bounce, 2000
- Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Actor - Comedy/Romance, Forces of Nature, 2000
- Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Supporting Actor - Sci-Fi, Armageddon, 1999
- Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by a Cast, Shakespeare in Love, 1998
- Oscars: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Good Will Hunting; shared with Matt Damon, 1998