Chris O'Donnell

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Chris O'Donnell
Chris ODonnell Max Payne 2008.jpg
O'Donnell at the premiere of Max Payne in 2008
BornChristopher Eugene O'Donnell
(1970-06-26) June 26, 1970 (age 44)
Winnetka, Illinois, U.S.
Years active1986–present
Spouse(s)Caroline Fentress (m. 1997)
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For the Delaware Republican senatorial candidate, see Christine O'Donnell.
Chris O'Donnell
Chris ODonnell Max Payne 2008.jpg
O'Donnell at the premiere of Max Payne in 2008
BornChristopher Eugene O'Donnell
(1970-06-26) June 26, 1970 (age 44)
Winnetka, Illinois, U.S.
Years active1986–present
Spouse(s)Caroline Fentress (m. 1997)

Christopher Eugene "Chris" O'Donnell (born June 26, 1970) is an American actor. He played Dick Grayson/Robin in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, Charlie Simms in Scent of a Woman, Finn Dandridge in Grey's Anatomy, Peter Garrett in Vertical Limit, and Jack McAuliffe in The Company. O'Donnell currently stars as NCIS Special Agent G. Callen on the CBS crime drama television series NCIS: Los Angeles, a spin-off of NCIS (TV series).

Early life[edit]

O'Donnell was born in Winnetka, Illinois, the son of Julie Ann Rohs von Brecht and William Charles O'Donnell, Sr., a general manager of WBBM-AM, a CBS radio station.[1][2] He is the youngest of seven children, with four sisters and two brothers, and is of German and Irish descent.[3][4] He was raised in a Roman Catholic family and attended Roman Catholic schools,[5] including Loyola Academy in Willmette, Illinois for high school, graduating in 1988. He attended Boston College and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in marketing. He began modeling at the age of 13, and was featured in several commercials.


O'Donnell was discovered when he was cast in a McDonald's commercial, in which he served Michael Jordan. His first television role was an appearance on the series Jack and Mike in 1986. At the age of 17, he was offered a chance to audition for a part in the movie Men Don't Leave, with Jessica Lange, and he won the role. In the early 1990s, O'Donnell was a featured player in many successful movies such as Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), School Ties (1992), and Scent of a Woman (1992) with Al Pacino (receiving a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor, which he lost to Gene Hackman for Unforgiven). He was named one of the 12 Promising New Actors of 1992 in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 44.

O'Donnell as Robin in Batman Forever (1995)

After the success of Blue Sky (1994) and Circle of Friends (1995), O'Donnell played Dick Grayson/Robin in Batman Forever. He reportedly was part of a field of candidates that included Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Ewan McGregor, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Toby Stephens, and Scott Speedman.[citation needed] Producers narrowed their choices to DiCaprio and O'Donnell. At a comic book convention, they asked a group of 11-year-old boys, the target audience, which actor could win a fistfight. After the boys overwhelmingly declared O'Donnell the winner,[citation needed] he was ultimately given the role. O'Donnell was said to be 20th Century Fox's favorite choice to play Jack Dawson in Titanic, but DiCaprio ended up with the role.[citation needed]

O'Donnell followed with a starring role in 1996's The Chamber, based on the John Grisham novel. He subsequently reprised his role as Robin in the Batman sequel, Batman & Robin, in 1997. Although a box office success, the movie was critically panned and O'Donnell himself has called it a low point in his career.[6] He was considered for the lead role in Spider-Man, when the project was in development with James Cameron directing in 1996. Tobey Maguire was ultimately cast.[citation needed]

O'Donnell did not appear in another movie for two years. He was the producers' original choice for the role of James Edwards in Men in Black (1997), but, after he turned it down, the role went to Will Smith.[7][citation needed] The Robert Altman film Cookie's Fortune, The Bachelor (1999) and Vertical Limit (2000) were only moderately successful. Following Vertical Limit, a four-year hiatus led some to believe Batman & Robin had damaged his career. However, he came back in 2004 with the widely praised Kinsey. O'Donnell also appeared in the 2004 episode of Two and a Half Men entitled "An Old Flame With A New Wick." O'Donnell took a lead role in the Fox Network television series Head Cases in 2005. The show was the first show of the fall 2005 season to be canceled, and only two episodes were aired. He was subsequently cast as veterinarian Finn Dandridge on the ABC drama Grey's Anatomy.

O'Donnell and Mark Harmon filming in 2009

He featured prominently in the TNT miniseries The Company as fictional CIA case officer Jack McAuliffe, in a performance that subtly portrayed his character's progression from spoon-fed Yale elitist to jaded, post-Cold War cynic. Film projects for 2008 included Kit Kittredge: An American Girl and Max Payne.

Since 2009, O'Donnell stars in NCIS: Los Angeles, a spin-off of NCIS, as G. Callen,[8] an NCIS Special Agent in charge of the Office of Special Projects Team stationed in Los Angeles. CBS describes Callen as "a chameleon who transforms himself into whomever he needs to be to infiltrate the criminal underworld."[9]

In 2010, O'Donnell appeared in the sequel to the 2001 movie Cats & Dogs, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.

Personal life[edit]

O'Donnell is married to Caroline Fentress. They have five children.[10]


1986Jack and MikeEvanTV series – 1 episode
1990Men Don't LeaveChris Macauley
1991Fried Green TomatoesBuddy Threadgoode
1992School TiesChris Reece
Scent of a WomanCharlie SimmsNominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor
1993The Three MusketeersD'ArtagnanNominated – Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor
1994Blue SkyGlenn Johnson
1995Circle of FriendsJack Foley
Mad LoveMatt Leland
Batman ForeverDick Grayson/Robin
1996The ChamberAdam Hall
In Love and WarErnest 'Ernie' Hemingway
1997Batman & RobinDick Grayson/RobinNominated – Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor
Nominated – Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (with George Clooney)
1999Cookie's FortuneJason Brown
The BachelorJimmie Shannon
2000Vertical LimitPeter Garrett
200229 PalmsThe Hitman
2003The PracticeBrad StanfieldTV series – 4 episodes
2004KinseyWardell Pomeroy
Two and a Half MenJill/BillTV series – 1 episode
2005The SistersDavid Turzin
Head CasesJason PayneTV series – 2 episodes
2007Grey's AnatomyDr. Finn "McVet" DandridgeTV series – 9 episodes
The CompanyJack McAuliffeTV miniseries
2008Kit Kittredge: An American GirlJack Kittredge
Max PayneJason Colvin
2009NCISG. CallenEpisode: "Legend (Parts 1 & 2)"
2009–presentNCIS: Los AngelesTV series – 106 episodes
starring alongside LL Cool J and Daniela Ruah
2010Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty GaloreShane
A Little HelpBob
2012Hawaii Five-0G. CallenEpisode: "Pa Make Loa"
2013Who Do You Think You Are?HimselfTV series (1 episode)


  1. ^ "Chris O'Donnell Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Retrieved May 26, 2011. [dead link]
  2. ^ Kessler, Mike (2010-12-08). "William C. O'Donnell dies at 88 — Winnetka & Northfield news, photos and events —". Retrieved 2013-01-18. 
  3. ^ Polunsky, Bob. "Express-News Archives :". 
  4. ^ "Actor's roles range from the birds & the bees to just a bird – Robin.(Originated from The Virginian-Pilot)". Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. April 13, 1995. 
  5. ^ Chris O'Donnell's Personal High : Rolling Stone[dead link]
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "Trivia for Men in Black". at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved October 21, 2007. 
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 27, 2009). "O'Donnell nabs lead role in "NCIS" spin-off". Reuters. Retrieved February 27, 2009. 
  9. ^ "NCIS Los Angeles". CBS. Retrieved August 11, 2009. 
  10. ^ Chiu, Alexis (December 18, 2007). "Chris O'Donnell and Wife Have Fifth Baby – Babies, Chris O'Donnell". People. Retrieved May 26, 2011. 

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