Jean-Claude Van Damme

Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg  is professionally known as Jean-Claude Van Damme is a Belgian actor, martial artist, screenwriter, film producer, and director best known for his martial arts action films. Born on 18 October 1960 in Brussels Capital Region Sint-Agatha-Berchem (Belgium).

At the age of 15, Van Damme started his competitive karate career in Belgium. From 1976 to 1980, Van Damme compiled a record of 44 victories and 4 defeats in tournament and non-tournament semi-contact matches.

On 8 March 1980, in Brussels, Belgium, Van Damme competed against his former team-mate Patrick Teugels at the Forest National Arena on the undercard of the Dan Macaruso-Dominique Valera Professional Karate Association Light-Heavyweight World Championship bout.Prior to this match, Teugels had defeated Van Damme twice by decision, including a match for the Belgium Lightweight Championship. Van Damme had a 1977 victory over Teugels. Teugels was coming off an impressive showing at the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations World Championships four months earlier, and was favored by some to win this match. According to reports, and Patrick Teugels' own interview (with photos), Teugels lost to Van Damme by TKO in the 1st round.

From 1977 to 1982, Van Damme compiled a record of 18 victories (18 knockouts) and 1 defeat.He was even named "Mr. Belgium" in a bodybuilding competition.

In 1980, Van Damme caught the attention of Professional Karate Magazine publisher and editor Mike Anderson, and multiple European champion Geert Lemmens. Both men tabbed Van Damme as an upcoming prospect. Van Damme retired from competition in 1982.

In 1982, Van Damme and childhood friend Michel Qissi moved to the United States in the hope of becoming action stars. They were both cast as extras in the film, Breakin'. After a small part in Missing In Action, Van Damme was next cast in the film No Retreat, No Surrender, as the role of the villain, Ivan the Russian. Van Damme worked for director John McTiernan for the 1987 film Predator as an early (eventually abandoned) version of the titular alien, before being removed and replaced by Kevin Peter Hall.

Breakthrough and career in the 1990s

His breakout film was Bloodsport, based on the alleged true story of Frank Dux. Shot on a 1.5 million dollar budget, it became a U.S. box-office hit in the spring of 1988. He then starred in the smaller budgeted film Cyborg. His last role for 1989 was Kurt Sloane in the successful Kickboxer.

Double Impact featured Van Damme in the dual role of Alex and Chad Wagner, estranged twin brothers fighting to avenge the deaths of their parents. This film reunited him with his former Bloodsport co-star, Bolo Yeung. He then starred opposite Dolph Lundgren in the action film Universal Soldier. While it grossed $36,299,898 in the U.S., it was an even bigger success overseas, making over $65 million, well over its modest $23 million budget, making it Van Damme's highest grossing film at the time. Van Damme followed Nowhere To Run and Hard Target with Timecop in 1994. In the film, Van Damme played a time-traveling cop, who tries to prevent the death of his wife. The film was a huge success, grossing over $100 million worldwide, and remains his highest grossing film in a lead role to date. He starred in the poorly received Street Fighter that same year.

His further projects started to fail at the box office. Sudden Death (1995); The Quest (1996), which he directed; Maximum Risk (1996), Double Team (1997) and Knock Off (1998) were box-office flops. The 1999 film Universal Soldier: The Return, also a box-office flop, was Van Damme's last theatrically released film until 2008. In 2003, Van Damme employed his dancing training in the music video for Bob Sinclar's "Kiss My Eyes."

The 2000s and return to theatrical films

Van Damme returned to the mainstream with the limited theatrical release of the 2008 film JCVD, which received positive reviews. Time Magazine named Van Damme's performance in the film the second best of the year (after Heath Ledger's The Joker in The Dark Knight),having previously stated that Van Damme "deserves not a black belt, but an Oscar." Van Damme indicated while promoting the film, he experienced a period of homelessness "sleeping on the street and starving in L.A."

Van Damme reprised his role as Luc Deveraux in the 2009 film Universal Soldier: Regeneration.

The 2010s

He was offered a lead role in Sylvester Stallone's 2010 film The Expendables. Stallone called Van Damme personally to offer him the role, but Van Damme turned it down. He scheduled a series of film projects for 2011, including another Universal Soldier movie. On 30 June 2011, Van Damme confirmed his participation in The Expendables 2, which was released on 17 August 2012.

Van Damme returned to the Universal Soldier series with Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, which again co-stars Dolph Lundgren.He starred in the thriller Enemies Closer, which reunited him with Timecop and Sudden Death director Peter Hyams. Van Damme indicated that Stallone might include him in The Expendables 3, in which Van Damme would play Claude Villain, the brother to his Expendables 2 character Jean Villain. The casting of Mel Gibson as the film's villain, however, made this less than likely. Van Damme ended up not featuring in the film. In 2015 he features in a new situation comedy television series JC 1er which is set to broadcast on French television channel Canal+.

The most successful of these 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).

 

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