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Jean-Claude Van Damme

© Jean-Claude Van Damme

Jean-Claude Van Damme, born Jean-Claude Van Varenberg in 1960 in the Brussels suburbs of Belgium, is a Belgian actor, director, film producer and martial arts practitioner. He has been practising martial arts since he was ten years old and was first successful in his native country as a bodybuilder. He also won the title of “Mister Belgium”. He also practiced classical dance for five years.

In 1982, with two thousand dollars in his pocket and without knowing how to speak English, he left for Los Angeles to conquer Hollywood. Success was not immediate. Jean-Claude Van Damme started out doing odd jobs as a pizza delivery boy and carpet fitter, but it was while working as a limousine driver that he made some important encounters. Nicknamed The Muscles from Brussels, he realised his American dream and became a world star.

My motto is always: recreate yourself. You have to recreate yourself… To recreate… A better you. And that’s very hard! And, and, and, and, and… it’s very easy at the same time.

He had box-office success, most notably with Universal Soldier (1992) and Timecop (1994), which between them brought in more than two hundred million dollars in revenues and made him one of the biggest action movie stars of the 1990s. His role in the film Street Fighter : The Final Fight in 1994 earned him $8 million. Jean-Claude Van Damme is often referred to by his simple initials JCVD.  In the 2000s, he moved on to more personal film roles, for example playing his semi-autobiography in JCVD.

He launched his own clothing line in 2001, available in London in Harrods shops only. As for his private life, he married three times, with two different wives and has three children.

  • Actor
  • 18 October 1960
  • Belgium