Chris O'Donnell

Christopher Eugene O'Donnell (born June 26, 1970) is an American actor and former model. He played Charlie Simms in Scent of a Woman, Chris Reece in School Ties, D'Artagnan in The Three Musketeers, Jack Foley in the drama film Circle of Friends, Dick Grayson/Robin in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, Jason Brown in Robert Altman's Cookie's Fortune, Peter Garrett in Vertical Limit, and Wardell Pomeroy in Kinsey. O'Donnell currently stars as special Agent G. Callen on the CBS crime drama television series NCIS: Los Angeles, a spin-off of NCIS.

Chris O'Donnell
O'Donnell at the premiere of Max Payne in 2008
Christopher Eugene O'Donnell

(1970-06-26) June 26, 1970
ResidencePacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California, U.S.[1]
EducationBachelor of Science
Alma materBoston College
Years active1986–present
Caroline Fentress (m. 1997)

Early life

O'Donnell was born in Winnetka, Illinois, the son of William Charles O'Donnell, Sr., a general manager of WBBM-AM, and Julie Ann Rohs von Brecht.[2][3] He is the youngest of seven children, with four sisters and two brothers, and is of German and Irish descent.[4][5] He was raised in a Roman Catholic family and attended Roman Catholic schools,[6] including Loyola Academy in Wilmette, 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 landed a role in the movie Men Don't Leave, with Jessica Lange. In the early 1990s, he was in many successful movies including 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's Screen World, Vol. 44.

After the success of Blue Sky (1994) and Circle of Friends (1995), O'Donnell co-starred with Drew Barrymore in the movie Mad Love (1995), then went on to play Dick Grayson/Robin in Batman Forever, in which Drew Barrymore also made an appearance. 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. 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, 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.[7]

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 1997's Batman & Robin. Although a box office success, the movie was critically panned and O'Donnell himself called it a low point in his career.[8] 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.

O'Donnell did not appear in another movie for two years. He was the producers' original choice for the role of James Darrell Edwards III/Agent J in Men in Black (1997), but, after turning it down because he thought the character would be too similar to his role in Batman Forever, the role went to Will Smith.[9] 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 O'Donnell's career. However, he came back in 2004 with the widely praised Kinsey. He 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 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 medical drama Grey's Anatomy.

O'Donnell featured prominently in the TNT miniseries The Company as CIA case officer Jack McAuliffe, a character who progressed from spoonfed Yale elitist to jaded, post-Cold War cynic. In 2008 he appeared in Kit Kittredge: An American Girl as the titular character's father Jack Kittredge, and in Max Payne as Jason Colvin.

Since 2009, O'Donnell has starred in NCIS: Los Angeles, a spinoff of NCIS, as G. Callen,[10] 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."[11]

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

Personal life

O'Donnell married Caroline Fentress in April 1997 at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, D.C.[12] They have five children.[13][14][15]

O'Donnell is a practicing Roman Catholic.[16] O'Donnell's brother, John, founded the clothing company johnnie-O.[17] [18]

It was also stated in Rolling Stone that he has acrophobia.[12]



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
2004KinseyWardell Pomeroy
2005The SistersDavid Turzin
2008Kit Kittredge: An American GirlJack Kittredge
Max PayneJason Colvin
2010Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty GaloreShane
A Little HelpBob Pehlke
2016 PG Max Short film


1986Jack and MikeEvanEpisode: Cry Uncle
2003The PracticeBrad Stanfield4 episodes
2004Two and a Half MenBillEpisode: An Old Flame with a New Wick
2004 The Amazing Westermans TV Movie
2005Head CasesJason Payne2 episodes
2005–06Grey's AnatomyDr. Finn "McVet" Dandridge9 episodes
The CompanyJack McAuliffeTV miniseries, 6 episodes
2009NCISG. Callen2 pilot episodes: "Legend"
2009–presentNCIS: Los Angeles216 episodes
Nominated People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Crime Drama Actor (2017)[19]
2010 WWII in HD: The Air War John Gibbons Voice
2012Hawaii Five-0 G. CallenCrossover episode: "Pa Make Loa"
2013Who Do You Think You Are?HimselfEpisode:
2014 Robot Chicken Mr. Fantastic/RoboCop/Commander Rex Kling Voice
2017The Price Is RightHimselfFebruary 24, 2017: Celebrity Charity Week
American Dad!G. Callen


  1. I Am Happy! | Live Happy Magazine Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  2. "Chris O'Donnell Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Archived from the original on February 9, 2011. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
  3. Kessler, Mike (December 8, 2010). "William C. O'Donnell dies at 88 — Winnetka & Northfield news, photos and events —". Archived from the original on June 14, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  4. Polunsky, Bob. "Express-News Archives :".
  5. "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.
  6. Chris O'Donnell's Personal High : Rolling Stone Archived October 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  7. "'Titanic' Casting: What Other Stars Were Considered For James Cameron's Masterpiece?". HuffPost. June 22, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  8. Archived September 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  9. "Trivia for Men in Black". at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved October 21, 2007.
  10. Andreeva, Nellie (February 27, 2009). "O'Donnell nabs lead role in "NCIS" spin-off". Reuters. Retrieved February 27, 2009.
  11. "NCIS Los Angeles". CBS. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  12. Smith, Russel Scott; Smith, Russel Scott (December 8, 2000). "Chris O'Donnell's Personal High". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  13. Chiu, Alexis (December 18, 2007). "Chris O'Donnell and Wife Have Fifth Baby". People. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  14. "Chris O'Donnell's Daughter Steals the Show on 'NCIS: Los Angeles' Set". ET Online. October 12, 2015.
  15. Donahue, Wendy (November 25, 2014). "Johnnie-O label finds sweet spot between East and West Coast prep". Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  16. "Chris O'Donnell Interview - Sarah's Backstage Pass".
  17. Gardner, Chris (January 7, 2015). "Designers Dish: Johnnie-O Founder John O'Donnell". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  19. "People's Choice Awards 2017: Full List Of Winners". People's Choice. January 19, 2017. Archived from the original on January 20, 2017. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
Preceded by
Burt Ward
Actors to portray Robin
Succeeded by
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
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