Matthew David McConaughey (/məˈkɒnəheɪ/; born November 4, 1969) is an American actor. He first gained notice for his breakout role in the coming-of-age comedy Dazed and Confused (1993). He appeared in such films as the slasher Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994), the legal thriller A Time to Kill (1996), Steven Spielberg's historical drama Amistad (1997), the science fiction drama Contact (1997), the comedy EDtv (1999), and the war film U-571 (2000).
In the 2000s, McConaughey became best known for starring in romantic comedies, including The Wedding Planner (2001), How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003), Failure to Launch (2006), Fool's Gold (2008), and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009). Since 2011 he has preferred dramatic roles, in such films as The Lincoln Lawyer (2011), Bernie (2011), Killer Joe (2011), The Paperboy (2012), Mud (2012), Magic Mike (2012), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Dallas Buyers Club (2013), Interstellar (2014) and Free State of Jones (2016).
McConaughey achieved much success in 2013 for portraying a cowboy diagnosed with AIDS in the biographical film Dallas Buyers Club, which earned him the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor, among other awards and nominations. In 2014, he also starred as Rust Cohle in the first season of HBO's crime anthology series True Detective, for which he won a Critics' Choice Award and was nominated for an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award.
Matthew McConaughey, the youngest of three boys, was born on November 4, 1969 in Uvalde, Texas. His mother, Mary Kathleen "Kay" or "KMac" (née McCabe), is a former kindergarten teacher and a published author. She was originally from Trenton, New Jersey. His father, James Donald McConaughey, was from Louisiana and ran an oil pipe supply business. He played for the Kentucky Wildcats and the Houston Cougars college football teams. In 1953, Jim McConaughey was drafted in the 27th round by the NFL football team the Green Bay Packers. He was released before the season began and never played an official league game in the NFL. Matthew's mother and late father married each other three times (having divorced each other twice). His ancestry includes Scottish, English, Irish, Swedish and German. He is a relative of Confederate brigadier general Dandridge McRae. McConaughey had a Methodist upbringing.
McConaughey moved to Longview, Texas in 1980, where he attended Longview High School. He lived for a year in Warnervale, New South Wales, Australia, as a Rotary exchange student in 1988. He attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he joined Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He began in the fall of 1989 and graduated in the spring of 1993 with a bachelor's degree in Radio-Television-Film. His original plan had changed as he wanted to attend Southern Methodist University until a brother told him that private school tuition would have been a burden on the family finances. He also had planned to attend law school after graduation from college, but he realized he was not interested in becoming a lawyer.
McConaughey began working in television commercials, including one for the Austin, Texas daily newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman, which is credited as his first speaking role. The line, "How else am I gonna keep up with my 'Horns?" – a reference to his beloved Texas Longhorns sports teams – gave the local community a look at the young actor, before he was cast in Richard Linklater's film Dazed and Confused. In 1992, he was cast as "Joe" in Trisha Yearwood's video for her hit song "Walkaway Joe."
After some smaller roles in Angels in the Outfield, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, Boys on the Side, the television series Unsolved Mysteries, and as the male lead in the Trisha Yearwood music video for the song "Walkaway Joe", McConaughey's big break came as the lawyer Jake Brigance in the film A Time to Kill (1996), based on the John Grisham novel of the same name. In the late 1990s, McConaughey was cast in leading roles in more movies, including Contact, Amistad, The Newton Boys, EDtv and U-571.
2001–11: Romantic comedies
By the early 2000s, he was frequently cast in romantic comedies, including The Wedding Planner and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, both of which were successful at the box office. During this period, he appeared as a firefighter in the low-budget film Tiptoes, with Kate Beckinsale, in Two for the Money as a protégé to Al Pacino's gambling mogul, and in Frailty, with Bill Paxton, who also directed.
McConaughey starred in the 2005 feature film Sahara, along with Steve Zahn and Penélope Cruz. Prior to the release of the film, he promoted it by sailing down the Amazon River and trekking to Mali. That same year, McConaughey was named People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" for 2005. In 2006, he co-starred with Sarah Jessica Parker in the romantic comedy Failure to Launch and as Marshall head football coach Jack Lengyal in We Are Marshall. McConaughey also provided voice work in an ad campaign for the Peace Corps in late 2006. He replaced Owen Wilson in Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder after Wilson's suicide attempt. On January 21, 2008, McConaughey became the new spokesman for the national radio campaign, "Beef: It's What's for Dinner", replacing Sam Elliot.
2012–present: "The McConaissance"
McConaughey recognized that his "...lifestyle, living on the beach, running with my shirt off, doing romantic comedies" had caused him to be typecast for certain roles, and he sought dramatic work with other themes.
I got to feeling like, for a few years, I was doing something that I liked to do with romantic and action comedies. But believe me, I noticed there were other things that were not coming in. And if they were coming in, it was in an independent form with a much smaller paycheck, and nobody really wanting to get behind them ... But I knew I could say no to the things I'd been doing. In saying no to those things, I knew work was going to dry up for awhile ... Year and a half, still nothing. At two years, all of a sudden, in my opinion, I became a new good idea for some good directors.
In 2012, McConaughey starred alongside Channing Tatum in Magic Mike, based on Tatum's early life, which was directed by Steven Soderbergh. He returned to his East Texas roots, working again with director Richard Linklater on Bernie, playing district attorney Danny Buck Davidson. In June 2012, McConaughey was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In 2013, he played Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. The role of a rodeo rider who discovers he has AIDS and struggles to get treatment, required him to lose nearly 50 pounds (22 kilograms). The film gathered wide critical acclaim and earned McConaughey many acting awards, including the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Drama, and the coveted Academy Award for Best Actor. His co-star Jared Leto won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, making Dallas Buyers Club the first film since Mystic River (2003) to win both awards.
During this time, McConaughey recorded a public service announcement in Austin, Texas for the LBJ Presidential Library. In April 2014, Time magazine included McConaughey in its annual Time 100 as one of the "Most Influential People in the World." In August 2014, the Lincoln Motor Company signed a multi-year collaboration with McConaughey for an ad campaign. The commercials, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive), featured McConaughey as a storyteller driving around in Lincoln's MKC crossover. Shortly after the commercials debuted in September 2014, they were parodied by Ellen DeGeneres, Conan O'Brien, Jim Carrey, South Park, and Saturday Night Live. Overall sales for Lincoln increased by 25 percent one month after the ads debuted. The series of commercials starring McConaughey continued until October 2015; during this period he also endorsed the MKZ sedan and MKX crossover.
He shared star billing with Woody Harrelson in HBO's 2014 series True Detective. For his role as Rustin Cohle, he won the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series. He was also nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, which he lost to Bryan Cranston and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film. With his first Oscar win and the critical acclaim received for True Detective, "McConaughey seems to be tapping into something essential, remaining himself while stretching, getting older while staying the same age." Critic Rachel Syme dubbed his recognition and performances while taking on more complex, dramatic roles as "The McConaissance."
McConaughey also played Cooper, a widowed father and astronaut, alongside Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Mackenzie Foy, and Casey Affleck in Christopher Nolan's science fiction film Interstellar (2014). After finishing Gus van Sant's 2015 film The Sea of Trees with Ken Watanabe, In 2016, McConaughey starred in two films, Free State of Jones and Gold, and voiced leading characters in two animated films, Kubo and the Two Strings and Sing.
In 2016, McConaughey was hired as creative director and celebrity spokesman for Wild Turkey's latest campaign, to bring in more women and more international customers.
McConaughey met Brazilian model and television performer Camila Alves in 2006. The couple became engaged on December 25, 2011, and were married on June 9, 2012, in Austin, Texas (where they reside) in a private Catholic ceremony. Together they have three children: sons Levi Alves McConaughey (born July 7, 2008), Livingston Alves McConaughey (born December 28, 2012), and daughter Vida Alves McConaughey (born January 3, 2010).
He is a Christian and attends a non-denominational church.
McConaughey started the just keep livin foundation, which is "dedicated to helping teenage kids lead active lives and make healthy choices to become great men and women". On February 25, 2016, McConaughey received the Creative Conscience award from unite4:humanity for his work with his foundation.
He rescued various pets stranded after the flooding of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina. In 2006, he rescued a cat from two youths in Sherman Oaks, California before they could set it on fire.
McConaughey's older brother Mike, nicknamed "Rooster", is a self-made millionaire who stars in the CNBC series West Texas Investors Club.
McConaughey is teaching classes at the University of Texas, the first session of which was about the filming of the 2016 film Free State of Jones. For the second session, he will team with The Hunger Games director Gary Ross and university lecturer Scott Rice. The college course, part of Moody College of Communications, will be open to juniors and seniors. There are no prerequisites or fees to take the once a week course. McConaughey frequently returns to his alma mater to see Longhorns football games.