Jean-Claude Van Damme Biography
Jean-Claude Van Damme, abbreviated as JCVD, birth name Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg, is a Belgian actor, martial artist, screenwriter, film producer, and director best known for his martial arts action films.
His most successful films include Bloodsport (1988), Kickboxer (1989), Lionheart (1990), Double Impact (1991), Universal Soldier (1992), Hard Target (1993), Street Fighter (1994), Timecop (1994), Sudden Death (1995), JCVD (2008) and The Expendables 2 (2012).
Jean-Claude Van Damme Childhood
Van Damme was born on 18 October 1960, in Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Brussels, Belgium, the son of Eliana and Eugène Van Varenberg, who was an accountant and florist. His father is Walloon (French-speaking) from Brussels, and his mother is Flemish (Dutch-speaking). Van Damme’s paternal grandmother was Jewish. He has an elder sister by the name Veronique Van Varenberg.
He began martial arts at the age of ten, enrolled by his father in a Shōtōkan Karate School. His styles consist of Shōtōkan Karate and Kickboxing. He eventually earned his black belt in karate at 18. He started lifting weights to improve his physique, which eventually led to a Mr. Belgium bodybuilding title. At the age of 16, he took up ballet, which he studied for five years. Later he took up both Taekwondo and Muay Thai.
Jean-Claude Van Damme Career
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, Van Damme compiled a tremendous record of 18 victories and only 1 defeat, having been knocked down by Sherman Bergman.
After 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 earned him a breakthrough in Hollywood with his dream of combining martial arts and acting finally being 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’.
He then appeared in the commercially successful film, ‘Timecop’, in 1994, where he played the role of a time traveling cop. This film is believed to be the highest-grossing film for the actor. Many of his projects began to fare poorly at the box-office thereafter. From 1995 to 1999, he appeared in a series of box-office duds
He took a temporary break 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’.
Jean-Claude Van Damme Personal life
Van Damme became addicted to cocaine and sleeping pills while at the height of his stardom in the 1990s, and was arrested for DUI in 1999. He was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder during this period, though his condition improved after he began taking medication and got his personal life in order.
Van Damme has been married five times and has three children: Kris Van Damme (b. 1987) and Bianca Brigitte VanDamme (b. 1990) with Gladys Portugues; son Nicolas Van Varenberg (b. 1995) with Darcy LaPier. Kris and Bianca, have followed in their father’s footsteps as actors.
His marriages were as follows:
- Gladys Portugues (M. 1999)
- Cynthia Derderian (M. 1985–1986)
- Darcy LaPier (M. 1994–1997)
- Gladys Portugues (M. 1987–1992)
- Maria Rodriguez (M. 1980–1984)
He has a height of 1.77 M
Jean-Claude Van Damme Filmography
- 1979 Woman Between Wolf and Dog
- 1984 Monaco Forever
- 1984 Breakin’
- 1986 No Retreat, No Surrender
- 1988 Bloodsport
- 1988 Black Eagle
- 1989 Cyborg
- 1989 Kickboxer
- 1990 Death Warrant
- 1990 Lionheart
- 1991 Double Impact
- 1992 Universal Soldier
- 1993 Last Action Hero
- 1993 Nowhere to Run
- 1993 Hard Target
- 1994 Timecop
- 1994 Street Fighter
- 1995 Sudden Death
- 1996 The Quest Yes
- 1996 Maximum Risk
- 1997 Double Team
- 1998 Knock Off
- 1998 Legionnaire
- 1999 Universal Soldier: The Return
- 1999 Inferno
- 2001 The Order
- 2001 Replicant
- 2002 Derailed
- 2003 In Hell
- 2004 Wake of Death
- 2004 Narco
- 2006 The Hard Corps
- 2006 Second in Command
- 2006 The Exam
- 2007 Until Death
- 2008 The Shepherd: Border Patro
- 2008 JCVD
- 2009 Universal Soldier: Regeneration
- 2011 Kung Fu Panda 2
- 2011 Assassination Games
- 2011 Beur sur la ville
- 2012 Rzhevsky versus Napoleon
- 2012 Dragon Eyes
- 2012 The Expendables 2
- 2012 Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning
- 2012 Six Bullets
- 2012 U.F.O.
- 2014 Welcome to the Jungle
- 2013 Enemies Closer
- 2014 Swelter
- 2014 Full Love Yes
- 2015 Pound of Flesh
- 2015 Jian Bing Man
- 2016 Kung Fu Panda 3
- 2016 Kickboxer: Vengeance
- 2017 Kill ‘Em All
- 2018 Kickboxer: Retaliation
- 2018 Black Water
- 1996 Friends
- 2004 Las Vegas
- 2009 Robot Chicken
- 2011 Jean Claude Van Damme: Behind Closed Doors
- 2011 Les Anges Gardiens
- 2016 – 2017 Jean-Claude Van Johnson
Jean-Claude Van Damme Facebook
Jean-Claude Van Damme Instagram
⚠ Attention friends: ⚠ This is the NEW post office box for all fan mail: PO BOX 6568 COVENTRY CV6 9NR ENGLAND UNITED KINGDOM ⚠ PLEASE BE AWARE: ⚠ – Do NOT write Jean-Claude van Damme on the envelope/package as it will not be received. – A pre-paid envelope with British stamps or UK POUNDS must be enclosed to enable the return of any items. – Any requests or instructions must be written in English. #JCVD
Jean-Claude Van Damme Awards & Achievements
He holds a ‘Black Belt’ in Shotokan Karate.
He also holds a record of 18 Kickboxing wins in his professional career and a total of 44 wins in his amateur career.
He was honored with a lifetime statue of himself on October 21, 2012 in Brussels.
- (1998) A Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screen Couple (with Dennis Rodman) in the film Double Team
- (2004) A Bollywood Movie Award for International Action Super Star
- (2014) A Golden Lotus Award for Outstanding Achievement of Action Movies Show at the Macau International Film Festival.
Jean-Claude Van Damme Net Worth
$30 Million as of April 21, 2017