Ryan Phillippe
Birth Date:
September 10, 1974
Birth Place:
New Castle, Delaware, USA
5' 9
Famous for:
His role in 'Cruel Intentions' (1999)
New Castle Baptist Academy in New Castle, Delaware (1992)
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Cruel Intentions


A young leading man with the chiseled looks of a Greco-Roman statue, Ryan Phillippe initially came to prominence on the small screen as gay teenager Billy Douglas in the daytime soap ”One Life to Live” (ABC, 1992-1993) before acquiring worldwide fame as a movie actor. He is well-known for playing the conceited jock Barry Cox in the blockbuster smash hit I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997, opposite Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr.), naïve bartender Shane O’Shea in 54 (1998), and modern-day Valmont in the critical and box office victory Cruel Intentions (1999, with Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Michelle Gellar). In 2002, Phillippe took home a Screen Actors Guild for his brilliant turn as Henry Denton in the Oscar-nominated feature Gosford Park (2001), directed by Robert Altman.

Fans can also watch Phillippe in recent and upcoming projects such as Company Man (2000), The Way of the Gun (2000), Antitrust (2001), the critically admired comedy Igby Goes Down (2002), the sci-fi thriller The I Inside (2003), the Oscar winning feature Crash (2004), Chaos (2005), Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers (2006), Breach (2006) and Tlatelolco: Mexico 68 (2006).

Ryan Phillippe, who earned $250,000 for I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), $500,000 for 54 (1998), Cruel Intentions (1999), The Way of the Gun (2000) and Igby Goes Down (2002), and $2,750,000 for Chaos (2004I), runs his own production company named Lucid Films with long-time friends Breckin Meyer, Seth Green, and David E. Siegal, and is becoming more actively involved in his films as a producer.

“It just makes so many other things insignificant. It is the most incredible thing that has happened to me and I feel so lucky to have found the person I want to be with, and to be prepared and enthusiastic.” Ryan Phillippe on starting a family with Reese Witherspoon

On a more private note, the actor has been married to Hollywood darling Reese Witherspoon since 1999 and has two children with her. The marriage, however, is rumored to have been in trouble recently. Lately, they’ve played the happy couple at pre-Oscar events, but on the night of the Academy Awards, it was clear that their relationship is still on the rocks. The Best Actress Academy Award winner Witherspoon was even overheard asking at the Vanity Fair party, “Did I thank Ryan (during the acceptance speech)? He’s so easy to forget most of the time!”

Frank Sinatra Fan

Childhood and Family:

Born Matthew Ryan Phillippe, on September 10, 1974, Ryan Phillippe grew up in New Castle, Delaware, along with his three sisters, Kirsten, Lindsay, and Katelyn Phillippe. His father is Richard Phillippe, a chemist, and his mother, Susan Phillippe, managed a day care. He attended New Castle Baptist Academy in New Castle, Delaware, and excelled in baseball and soccer. An active student, Phillippe also earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and was the Yearbook Editor in his senior year. He idolized Frank Sinatra and frequently spent his weekends driving around in his old pickup truck, listening to the tunes of Sinatra, rather than partying with friends. Commenting about this, he said, “I had friends, so I wasn't a complete loner, but I was a bit anti-social. High School is so much about groups and I was never comfortable about that. It was almost a phobia. I was definitely more of a Ducky (the Pretty in Pink character).”

At age 15, he developed a love for acting and decided to try his hand in the cinematic industry after receiving advice from his neighbor. Two years later, while in a barbershop, he was spotted by an agent who immediately sent the 17-year-old boy to auditions in New York.

Phillippe met Reese Witherspoon (actress; born on March 22, 1976) in 1997 when he attended a party given for the actress’s 21st birthday. Within a second, he was captivated and spent all night talking to her. After a two-year relationship, the couple became engaged and exchanged wedding vows on June 5, 1999, in a small private ceremony on a plantation near North Charleston, South Carolina. Phillippe and Witherspoon have two children, daughter Ava Elizabeth Phillippe (born on September 9, 1999) and son Deacon Phillippe (born on October 23, 2003). When he is not spending time with his wife or children, Phillippe enjoys photography, cartooning and writing.

One Life to Live


A native of New Castle, Delaware, Ryan Phillippe was discovered by a talent agent at age 17 and soon began trekking three hours to New York for auditions. His first acting job, as well as his breakthrough role, arrived when he landed a landmark role in the ABC soap opera “One Life to Live” (1992-1993) playing gay teenager Billy Douglas, reportedly the first male homosexual teenaged character on a daytime drama. Following the early success, Phillippe headed for Hollywood and, just like other struggling actors, he had to deal with hardship. Without a car, he frequently rode the bus or skateboarded to auditions. Phillippe’s uphill struggles paid off as the actor secured a number of primetime TV credits, including “The Secrets of Lake Success” (1993), A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Grimacing Governor (1994) and Deadly Invasion: The Killer Bee Nightmare (1995). He also received notice for his fine guest starring performance as a juvenile with heart problems in an episode of the CBS drama “Chicago Hope” (1996).

Phillippe’s got his first film role in 1995 when director Tony Scoot tapped him to play a crewman named Seaman Grattam in the Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman vehicle Crimson Tide. After a supporting turn in the sci-fi movie Invader (1996), Phillippe was cast in his first major screen role as timorous student Gil Martin in the ensemble of White Squall (1996), opposite Jeff Bridges, Caroline Goodall and John Savage. He was next seen in the ensemble cast of Gregg Araki’s Nowhere (1997) and undertook his first starring role in a movie as a young man determined to be normal in a dysfunctional family in the little seen Little Boy Blue (1997).

The actor’s rising star status was further confirmed when he costarred with Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. in the horror thriller I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), portraying the cocky jock Barry Cox. The film was a huge hit, debuting at No. 1 on the blockbuster chart and remaining in the position for three consecutive weeks. The film’s phenomenal victory led to Phillippe gaining popularity and being cast in more high-profile projects in the following years.

Next up for Phillippe, he found himself acting with Billy Bob Thornton and Kelly Lynch in the independent flick Homegrown (1998) before delivering perhaps his finest acting performance (to date) as innocent bartender Shane O’Shea, who lands in the hedonistic world of disco, in 54 (1998), based on the popular 70’s nightclub called Studio 54. The drama movie also starred Mike Myers, Neve Campbell, Salma Hayek, his good buddy Breckin Meyer, and Sela Ward. The same year, he joined the large ensemble of talent in the film Playing By Heart. Among his costars were Sean Connery, Gena Rowlands and Angelina Jolie. Phillippe rounded out the end of century with a memorable portrayal of blemished rich kid Sebastian Valmont in the critical and box office success Cruel Intentions (1999), a modern adaptation of the Choderlos de Laclos’ novel titled “Les Liaisons Dangereuses.” The Roger Kumble-directed movie, which also starred future wife Reese Witherspoon and I Know What You Did Last Summer co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar, was a sensation among its projected teenage audiences, cementing Phillippe’s aptitude to play characters that require sex appeal.

Entering the new millennium, Phillippe was featured as a Russian dancer, along with Woody Allen, John Turturro and Sigourney Weaver, in the comedy Company Man (2000) and acted in Christopher McQuarrie’s feature directorial debut The Way of the Gun (2000), which starred James Caan and Benicio Del Toro. He was then seen as a famed computer-whiz in the high-tech thriller Antitrust (2001, opposite Tim Robbins and Claire Forlani) and played Henry Denton, the manservant of a visiting American movie producer, in Robert Altman’s critically-acclaimed Gosford Park (2001). For his efforts in the latter film, Phillippe was handed a 2002 Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture.

The following years saw roles in such films as the admired comedy Igby Goes Down (2002, as the smooth older brother Oliver Slocumb) and the effective, but little-seen, sci-fi thriller The I Inside (2003, opposite Sarah Polley and Piper Perabo). Philippe was also cast in the supporting turn of an LAPD patrol officer in Paul Haggis’ directorial debut Crash (2004), which was one of the best-reviewed films of 2005 and won 3 Oscars, including one for “Best Picture.” In 2005, he was cast as Martijn in the drama/ thriller Five Fingers and costarred with Jason Statham and Wesley Snipes in Chaos. The 32-year-old actor will soon play the small role of John Bradley, opposite Adam Beach and Jesse Bradford, in Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers (2006). He is also scheduled to portray Eric O’Neill in the crime/drama Breach (2006) and Patrick in the drama Tlatelolco: Mexico 68 (2006).


  • Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture, Gosford Park, 2002

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