Image of Jean-Claude Van Damme

Jean-Claude Van Damme

1960-10-18 Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Brussels, Belgium

Image of Jean-Claude Van Damme


Van Damme was born Jean-Claude Camille François van Varenberg in Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Brussels, Belgium, to Eliana and Eugène van Varenberg, an accountant. “The Muscles from Brussels” started martial arts at the age of eleven. His father introduced him to martial arts when he saw his son was physically weak. At the age of 12, van Damme began his martial arts training at Centre National De Karate (National Center of Karate) under the guidance of Master Claude Goetz in Ixelles, Belgium. Van Damme trained for 4 years and earned a spot on the Belgium Karate Team. He won the European professional karate association's middleweight championship as a teenager, and also beat the 2nd best karate fighter in the world. His goal was to be number one but got sidetracked when he left his hometown of Brussels. In 1976 at the age of sixteen, Jean-Claude started his Martial Arts fight career. Jean-Claude retired from martial arts in 1982, following a knockout over Nedjad Gharbi in Brussels, Belgium. Jean-Claude posted a 18-1 (18 knockouts) kickboxing record, and a semi-contact record of 41-4. He came to Hong Kong at the age of 19 for the first time and felt insured to do action movies in Hong Kong. In 1981, van Damme moved to Los Angeles. He took English classes while working as carpet layer, pizza delivery man, limo driver, and thanks to Chuck Norris he got a job as a bouncer at a club. Norris gave van Damme a small role in the movie Missing in Action (1984), but it wasn't good enough to get anybody's attention. In 1984, he got his first significant role as a villain named Ivan in the low-budget movie, No Retreat, No Surrender (1986). Then one day, while walking on the streets, Jean-Claude spotted a producer for Cannon Pictures and showed some of his martial arts abilities which led to a role in Bloodsport (1988). The movie, filmed in Hong Kong, was so bad when it was completed, it was shelved for almost two years. It might have never been released if van Damme did not help them to re-cut the film and begged producers to release it. They finally released the film, first in Malaysia and France and then into the US shot on a meager 1.5 million dollar budget, it became a US box-office hit in the spring of 1988. It made about 30 million worldwide and audiences supported this film for its new sensational action star, Jean-Claude van Damme. His good looks led to starring roles in higher budgeted movies like Cyborg (1989), AWOL: Absent Without Leave (1990), Double Impact (1991) and Universal Soldier (1992). In 1994, he scored with his big breakthrough $100 million worldwide hit Timecop (1994). But in the meantime, his personal life was coming apart. A divorce, followed by a new marriage, followed by another divorce. It began to show up in his career when his projects began to tank at the box office: The Quest (1996), which he directed; Maximum Risk (1996) and Double Team (1997). The three films made less than $50 million combined. In 1999, he remarried his ex-wife, Gladys Portugues, and restarted his lost career to attain new goals. With help from his family, he faced his problems and made movies like Replicant (2001), Derailed (2002), and In Hell (2003).


Darkness of Man Russell Hatch 2024-05-07
Albert Pyun: King of Cult Movies Self 2023-11-26
Jean-Claude Van Damme, coup sur coup Self - Portait Subject & Interviewee (archive) 2023-03-17
Minions: The Rise of Gru Jean Clawed (voice) 2022-06-29
Le Dernier Mercenaire Richard Brumére 2021-07-30
Monsieur Jean-Claude (uncredited) 2021-07-15
Haters Jean-Claude Van Damme 2021-12-03
JCVD's Day Out JCVD 2020-03-27
The Making of Double Impact, Parts 1 & 2 2019-05-28
We Die Young Daniel 2019-05-09
In Search of the Last Action Heroes 2019-09-01
Black Water Wheeler 2018-05-18
Kickboxer: Retaliation Master Durand 2018-01-26
Lukas Lukas 2018-08-22
Kill 'em All Philip 2017-06-06
Kickboxer: Vengeance Master Durand 2016-07-14
Kung Fu Panda 3 Master Croc (voice) 2016-01-23
Pound of Flesh Deacon 2015-05-07
煎饼侠 Jean-Claude Van Damme 2015-07-17
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films Gibson Rickenbacker (archive footage) (uncredited) 2014-10-06
Swelter Stillman 2014-04-20
The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films Self 2014-10-22
Enemies Closer Xander 2013-12-04
Welcome to the Jungle Storm 2013-04-27
Days of Reckoning: The Making of Universal Soldier 4 Self 2013-01-22
The Expendables 2 Jean Vilain 2012-08-08
Dragon Eyes Tiano 2012-05-10
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning Luc Deveraux 2012-10-04
6 Bullets Samson Gaul 2012-09-11
Ржевский против Наполеона Himself 2012-01-25
U.F.O. George 2012-12-15
Kung Fu Panda 2 Master Croc (voice) 2011-05-25
Beur sur la ville Colonel Merot 2011-10-11
Assassination Games Vincent Brazil 2011-07-28
Full Love Frenchy 2010-05-13
Universal Soldier: Regeneration Luc Deveraux 2009-10-01
JCVD J.C.V.D. 2008-06-04
The Shepherd: Border Patrol Jack Robideaux 2008-03-04
Until Death Anthony Stowe 2007-01-19
The Hard Corps Phillippe Sauvage 2006-08-15
Sınav Charles 2006-10-20
Second in Command Cmdr. Samuel 'Sam' Keenan 2006-05-02
Universal Soldier: A Tale of Two Titans Himself 2004-10-19
Narco Jean-Claude Van Damme fantasmé par Lenny 2004-12-01
Guns, Genes & Fighting Machines: The Making of 'Universal Soldier' Himself 2004-10-19
Wake of Death Ben Archer 2004-12-28
In Hell Kyle LeBlanc 2003-11-24
Dans la peau de Jean-Claude Van Damme 2003-05-07
Derailed Jacques Kristoff 2002-05-19
Replicant Replicant / Garrotte 2001-05-11
The Order Rudy Cafmeyer 2001-05-05
Universal Soldier: The Return Luc Devereux 1999-08-05
Inferno Eddie Lomax 1999-09-25
Legionnaire Alain Lefevre 1998-12-03
Knock Off Marcus Ray 1998-09-04
Double Team Jack Quinn 1997-04-04
The Quest Christopher Dubois 1996-04-19
Maximum Risk Alain Moreau / Mikhail Suverov 1996-09-13
Sudden Death Darren Francis Thomas McCord 1995-10-27
Top Fighter (archive footage) 1995-06-15
Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor Kurt Sloane (archive footage) (uncredited) 1994-07-27
Timecop Max Walker 1994-09-15
Street Fighter Colonel William Guile 1994-12-23
Nowhere to Run Sam Gillen 1993-01-15
Hard Target Chance Boudreaux 1993-04-27
Last Action Hero Jean-Claude Van Damme (uncredited) 1993-06-18
Universal Soldier Luc Deveraux / GR44 1992-07-10
Double Impact Alex / Chad Wagner 1991-07-31
Death Warrant Louis Burke 1990-09-14
The Best of the Martial Arts Films Self (archive footage) 1990-01-01
Lionheart Leon Gaultier 1990-06-07
Kickboxer Kurt Sloane 1989-04-20
Cyborg Gibson Rickenbacker 1989-04-07
Bloodsport Frank Dux 1988-02-26
Black Eagle Andrei 1988-05-01
No Retreat, No Surrender Ivan Kraschinsky "The Russian" 1986-05-02
Breakin' Spectator in First Dance Sequence (uncredited) 1984-01-10
Rue Barbare Extra in Police Arrival Sequence (uncredited) 1984-01-04
Monaco Forever Gay Karate Man 1984-01-01
Een vrouw tussen hond en wolf Movie Goer / Man in Garden (uncredited) 1979-06-04
Dolph Self
What's My Name?
Silent Kill
Kill 'em All 2 Philip
Le Jardinier Léo