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Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt (born
August 15, 1972), better known as Ben Affleck, is an American actor, film
director, writer, and producer. He became known with his performances in Kevin
Smith's films such as Mallrats (1995) and Chasing Amy (1997). Affleck won an
Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for the screenplay for Good Will Hunting
(1997), which he co-wrote with Matt Damon, and has appeared in lead roles in
such popular hits as Armageddon (1998), Pearl Harbor (2001), Changing Lanes
(2002), The Sum of All Fears (2002), Daredevil (2003), Hollywoodland (2007) and
State of Play (2009).
Affleck is a critically acclaimed
filmmaker. He directed Gone Baby Gone (2007) and The Town (2010),
playing the lead in the latter. He has worked with his younger brother, actor
Casey Affleck, on several projects, including Good Will Hunting and Gone Baby
Affleck has been married to
Jennifer Garner since June 2005. They have two daughters, Violet Anne, born
December 2005, and Seraphina Rose Elizabeth, born January 2009, and are
currently expecting their third child. He dated the actress Gwyneth Paltrow in
1998. His relationship with actress/singer Jennifer Lopez attracted worldwide
media attention, in which Affleck and Lopez were dubbed "Bennifer". The two
broke up in 2004.
Affleck has been actively involved
in politics and charitable causes. He and Matt Damon also founded the production
Born Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt
August 15, 1972 (1972-08-15) (age
Berkeley, California, U.S.
Alma mater University of Vermont
Occupation Actor, director,
Years active 1981–present
Spouse Jennifer Garner Affleck
Children Violet (2005), Seraphina
Awards Academy Award for Best
Original Screenplay, Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
Affleck was born in Berkeley,
California. His mother, Christine Anne "Chris" (née Boldt), is a school
district employee and teacher, and his father, Timothy Byers Affleck, has been,
at various times, a drug counselor, social worker, janitor, auto mechanic,
bartender, writer, director, and actor with the Theater Company of Boston.
Affleck's mother graduated from Harvard University and was a freedom rider in
the 1960s; she teaches in Cambridge Public Schools. His younger brother is
actor Casey Affleck. Affleck has Irish, Scottish, English, and German
ancestry (the surname "Affleck" is Scottish). He was raised in a mostly
Episcopal family. His family moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, when he was
very young and his parents divorced in 1984. At age eight, Affleck met
10-year-old Matt Damon, who lived two blocks away (Damon is Affleck's tenth
cousin, once removed, through a common New England ancestor). The two
later attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin School together, although they were in
different grades. Affleck attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, as
well as the University of Vermont, and majored in Middle Eastern affairs.
Affleck worked as a child actor,
appearing on the PBS kids' series The Voyage of the Mimi, as well as in several
movies made for television. Throughout the 1990s, he had roles in
Lifestories: Families in Crisis, as a steroid-abusing athlete, as well as in
several films, including 1992's School Ties (with Damon), the original Buffy the
Vampire Slayer movie (uncredited), 1993's Dazed and Confused, 1995's
Mallrats, and 1997's Chasing Amy. Mallrats and Amy marked the beginning of
his collaboration with writer/director Kevin Smith. He had the starring role in
Smith's Jersey Girl and has appeared in every View Askewniverse-Jersey film
Smith has made to date, with the exception of Clerks.
office ups and downs
Affleck came to national attention
working with Damon in Good Will Hunting in 1997, for which they shared
writing credit and received the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. They also
both starred in the film. Good Will Hunting's success transformed Affleck from
virtual unknown to being one of the world's best known celebrities. Along with
Damon and producers Chris Moore and Sean Bailey, Affleck founded the production
company LivePlanet, through which the four created the documentary series
Project Greenlight, as well as the failed mystery-hybrid series Push, Nevada,
among other projects.  Project Greenlight was nominated for an Emmy for
Outstanding Reality Program in 2002, 2004 and 2005.
Following Good Will Hunting,
Affleck starred in Armageddon (1998) as A. J. Frost, opposite Bruce Willis.
The film generated mixed to negative critical reviews, but was a box office
success, earning $553 million worldwide. In 1999, he co-starred with Sandra
Bullock in the romantic comedy Forces of Nature. In 2001, Affleck
collaborated with Armageddon director Michael Bay in the war film Pearl Harbor.
The film opened to a mixed to negative reception, but was a box office
success, earning $449 million worldwide.
In 2002, he was cast as Jack Ryan,
a role previously played by Alec Baldwin and then Harrison Ford, in the fourth
film in the Techno-thriller series, The Sum of All Fears. The movie, which
ignored the events of the previous Jack Ryan films, also starred Morgan Freeman.
The Sum of All Fears is based on the book of the same name by Tom Clancy.
Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post wrote, Affleck and Freeman "create a
believable chemistry". In the same year, Affleck starred opposite Samuel L.
Jackson in the popular thriller Changing Lanes.
The following year he starred as
the lead character Matt Murdock/Daredevil in Mark Steven Johnson's film
Daredevil (2003). Affleck said Daredevil was his favorite comic book as a
kid, and explained why he took the role by saying "Everybody has that one
thing from childhood that they remember and that sticks with them. This story
was that for me." He also said "I didn't want someone else to do it, because
I was afraid that they would go out and do it different from the comic and screw
it up." Roger Ebert, in review of Daredevil, wrote that both Affleck and
co-star Jennifer Garner, were suitable for their roles. Daredevil grossed
over $179 million worldwide.
Despite some critical missteps, his
box office successes reportedly earned Affleck an average of $15M per film.
However, following Daredevil, Affleck starred in several critically panned box
office flops, including Gigli (2003) and Surviving Christmas (2004), and his
career waned. During the production of the 2005 Lars von Trier film Manderlay, a
donkey was slaughtered for "dramatic purposes". Because of this, Afleck quit his
role. The scene was then cut from the film before it was released.
Affleck starred in the critically
acclaimed George Reeves noir biopic Hollywoodland, directed by HBO TV-series
veteran Allen Coulter. His performance was well-received; Peter Travers of
Rolling Stone, reviewing the film, wrote: "The irony is that Affleck's battering
at the hands of fame has prepped him beautifully to play Reeves. He knows this
character from the inside: the surface charm, the hidden vulnerability, the ache
of watching a career become a joke and being helpless to stop it." Claudia
Puig of USA Today wrote that Affleck gives a "strong performance". He was
awarded the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival, won the
Supporting Actor of the Year award at the Hollywood Film Festival, and was
nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting
Role in a Motion Picture for this performance. Following the success of
Hollywoodland, he appeared in the 2007 action film Smokin' Aces, playing Jack
Dupree, a bounty hunter. Smokin' Aces received mixed reviews from
critics, and was a box office failure.
However, also in 2007, Affleck made
his directorial debut with Gone Baby Gone, for which he also co-wrote the
screenplay — based on the book by Dennis Lehane — about two Boston area
detectives investigating a little girl's kidnapping and how it affects their
lives. His brother Casey starred in the film. It opened to rave reviews in
October 2007. When asked why he decided to direct the film, Affleck said:
"Directing a movie was really instructive for me. I think I learned a lot about
writing, and a lot about acting, and I learned how all the pieces fit together
from the inside. That was really valuable. It was a good thing." The film
received critical acclaim. Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly noted
that Affleck "shows excellent instincts" as a director. Stephanie Zacharek
of Salon.com wrote, "As a director, Ben Affleck may turn out to be quite good
with actors [...] But he may need to work harder at shaping material, and at
making his characters emerge as rounded, believable people."
Affleck appeared in Jimmy Kimmel's
2008 video 'I'm f*cking Ben Affleck'; a response to Kimmel's then girlfriend,
Sarah Silverman's, video 'I'm f*cking Matt Damon'. Many other
celebrities appeared in the video including Good Charlotte's Joel and Benji
Madden, Macy Gray, Dominic Monaghan, Lance Bass, Josh Groban, Don Cheadle, Brad
Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Robin Williams, Harrison Ford, Huey Lewis, Joan Jett, Pete
Wentz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Meat Loaf, Dicky Barrett and many more.
In 2009, Affleck returned to
acting, starring in three features, He's Just Not That into You, State of Play,
and Extract. In He's Just Not That into You, a romantic comedy, he was part of
an ensemble cast that included Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Scarlett
Johansson, Justin Long, and Jennifer Connelly. The film generated mostly
mixed reviews, but was a box office success, earning $165 million
worldwide. In State of Play, an adaptation of the British television serial
State of Play, Affleck played Congressman Stephen Collins. The film is a
political thriller which explores the relationship between politicians and the
media. In the comedy film Extract, Affleck played Dean, a bartender, and the
best friend to Jason Bateman's character. His performance in the film was
well-received, with Barbara Vancheri of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporting
that "Affleck is a hoot as a long-haired fount of bad advice and drugs he keeps
in a little tin behind the bar. After playing a square-jawed crimefighter, an
actor turned Superman and a congressman, he is actually loose and funny."
Affleck directed his second
feature, The Town, an adaptation of Chuck Hogan's novel Prince of Thieves, that
was both a critical and commercial success when it was released in theaters in
2010. Along with directing and co-writing the film, he was part of the cast
that includes Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Chris Cooper and Blake Lively.
Affleck was awarded the Chairman's
Award in the 2011 Palm Springs International Film Festival. Commenting on
Affleck, Festival Chairman Harold Matzner said,
If there is truly a renaissance man
in today’s cinema, it’s Ben Affleck. He has distinguished himself as a premier
writer and director, as well as an actor with a broad-ranging and impressive
filmography. In his latest work, The Town, Affleck once again puts his acting,
writing and directorial skills to work, in a stinging portrait of a New England
town and the grip it has on generation after generation, who find it impossible
to leave. For his ability to “do it all” and constantly evolve as an artist, The
Palm Springs International Film Festival is proud to present Ben Affleck with
the 2011 Chairman’s Award.” 
Affleck will star in an upcoming
romantic drama written and directed by Terrence Malick, alongside Olga
Kurylenko, Javier Bardem, Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz. Filming took place in
fall 2010 in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and Pawhuska, Oklahoma.
Affleck will also be directing his
third feature, Argo, for producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov. The film
tells the story of a CIA operation to save six ambassadors during the 1979 Iran
hostage crisis by faking a production for a large-scale science fiction
Following Argo, Affleck was
selected to replace David Yates as the director for Warner Bros.' upcoming
adaptation of Stephen King's novel, The Stand.
Charitable and humanitarian projects
Like Matt Damon, Affleck is a
philanthropist.Affleck's support of the non-profit charitable organization, the
A-T Children's Project, began while he was filming Forces of Nature.
Affleck met a then nine-year-old child, Joe Kindregan, who has the rare disease
ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T). The disease, described as like having
muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, immune deficiency and cancer all at once,
is progressive; children with A-T usually do not live beyond their late
teens. Affleck attends benefits and spoke to Congress to advocate for the
charity, and in 2007 was the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony
of Falls Church High School in Fairfax, Virginia, from which Kindregan was
In June 2008, he appeared in an ABC
News exclusive report exploring the humanitarian crisis in the Eastern Congo.
Affleck travelled to the African nation and interviewed refugees, warlords, and
members of parliament. "I think the more painful something is, the more you want
to distance yourself from it," he said. "I think the hard part is actually to
let some of that go and to realize that when you see some of these images of
people suffering in some way or another, to kind of remember that these are
people who are in fact just in different circumstances than you are, but that
are kind of dealing with [those circumstances] in a pretty brave and enduring
way." In December 2008, he teamed up with the United Nations releasing a
short film highlighting the plight of Congolese refugees, and in March 2010,
Affleck announced the formation of the Eastern Congo Initiative, which he
founded as "the first U.S. based advocacy and grant-making initiative wholly
focused on working with and for the people of eastern Congo."
In the final weeks of the 2000
Presidential campaign, Affleck promoted the Democratic ticket, supporting Al
Gore and repeatedly delivering a get-out-the-vote plea: "It's very important to
vote. The president will appoint three or four Supreme Court justices."
During the final week of the race, Affleck – along with Helen Hunt, Martin
Sheen, Rob Reiner and other actors – spent an hour at a phone bank calling
registered Democrats. "People in my generation have a low voter turnout. One
of the reasons that I'm here is to demonstrate that no matter who you are going
to vote for ... I think it's important to get involved and get out and vote," he
told reporters. "But I'm going to tell people to vote for Gore."
On October 28, 2000, Affleck flew
with Hillary Clinton, who was running for a Senate seat, to Ithaca, New York,
where he introduced her at a Cornell University rally. He told the college crowd
that Clinton had been advocating for women and working families since "Rick
Lazio was running around the frat house in his underwear". Lazio, then a Long
Island congressman, was Clinton's Republican opponent.
On November 6, 2000, the final day
of the campaign, he was one of several high-profile celebrities summoned to
Miami Beach by Miramax Films boss Harvey Weinstein for a late-night Gore rally,
just hours before polls opened nationwide. The Gore campaign's last event, a
final effort to energize South Beach voters, did not end until about 1:00 a.m.,
but Affleck flew back to New York that morning and made a surprise live
appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show. It was 10:15 a.m. when he made his final
public pitch from a Rockefeller Center studio, noting that he was "a little bit
tired ... I've been out getting involved, doing stuff and trying to get people
to vote. And that's why I came by here". Also, "Today is the get-out-the-vote
day and ... I think this is the time to get involved, especially the young folks
who are here ... I'm about to go vote," He then said, "I am personally gonna
vote for Al Gore".
As votes were tallied that night,
Affleck told Salon.com's Amy Reiter, "I'm nervous this evening, but one of the
things that's exciting to me is the number of people who voted. No matter who
wins, I think it's a healthy thing for our country that so many voters have come
out and participated in the process. Either way, I think the most important
number will be the turnout".
In the May 2001 issue of GQ,
Affleck said, "My fantasy is that someday I'm independently wealthy enough that
I'm not beholden to anybody, so I can run for Congress on the grounds that
everyday people should be in government". However, when he was asked about
his political ambitions in an April 2009 interview to promote the 2009 film,
State of Play, Affleck said, "I really like my job that I have now. Plus, unlike
in Hollywood where you need one director to hire you, in politics you have to
have a lot of people to vote for you. I think it's harder work. I really am
happy with what I'm doing now. In fact I've never been at a place where I've
felt better about going to work everyday. I'm more engaged and very, very
In 2004, Affleck actively
campaigned for Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. During the first
day of the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he was featured on Larry King
Live with Tucker Carlson and Al Sharpton. Larry King asked if he would
consider running for office, and Affleck admitted to contemplating the
proposition. Specific attention focused on whether he would run for Kerry's open
Senate seat (as Affleck was from Massachusetts). He noted that the line between
politics and entertainment is becoming increasingly blurred, as Ronald Reagan
and Arnold Schwarzenegger both came from the entertainment business.
Affleck supports legalizing gay
marriage, saying in 2004, "I don't think the government should be involved in
any way in people's bedrooms or lives. With so much hatred and unpleasantness in
the world, why would you want to get in the way of people who love each other
marrying each other? Anybody who wants to be able to get married to anybody else
should be able to. It's not my business." He also appeared in a print
advertisement with his openly gay cousin in support of Parents and Friends of
Lesbians and Gays. Though supporting the Democratic ticket in 2004, Affleck
disagreed with their position on regulation of firearms and increased gun
Despite his opposition to George W.
Bush's policies as president, in an interview with Bill O'Reilly in July 2004
Affleck said, "I had the pleasure of and the honor of meeting the President of
the United States at the Daytona 500. I found him to be a collegial, affable,
kind guy." He went on to say Bush "is a patriot and he’s a man who believes in
the country. He's trying to further an agenda he believes in. I happen to
disagree with most of his policies, but I respect the man."
On December 21, 2010, Ben Affleck
appeared on NPR and criticized CEOs for making so much money. "CEOs' pay
shouldn't be 200 times the average worker. It used to be nine times." On
November 4, 2010, Affleck was commended for returning a second check for
$250,000 that was mistakenly sent to him for appearing at the opening of a
casino at the Greenbriar resort.
Affleck has described himself as a
An avid poker player, Affleck has
regularly entered local events. He has been tutored by poker professionals Amir
Vahedi and Annie Duke, and won the California State Poker Championship on June
20, 2004, taking home the first prize of $356,000, which qualified him for the
2004 World Poker Tour final tournament. He is a fan of the Boston Red
Sox, New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, and Boston Bruins.
Affleck had a high-profile romance
with actress Gwyneth Paltrow in 1998, following her breakup with actor Brad
Pitt. In 2002, he began dating actress/singer Jennifer Lopez, whom he had met
prior to filming Gigli. The same year, his engagement to Lopez was
announced, and the relationship between the two received much attention from the
entertainment media, who dubbed the couple "Bennifer". Despite a wedding
planned for September 14, the couple broke up in 2004, both blaming the media
attention - including an alleged incident in which Affleck partied with
Christian Slater and some lap dancers in Vancouver. The negative publicity
and media attention carried over to the 2003 film Gigli, which also was a box
He subsequently began seeing his
Daredevil co-star, actress Jennifer Garner, and the two were engaged after nine
months of dating. Affleck and Garner were married on June 29, 2005 in Turks
and Caicos, located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Haiti and the Dominican
Republic. They have two daughters, Violet Anne, born in December 2005
and Seraphina Rose Elizabeth, born in January 2009. It was announced on
August 22, 2011 that the couple is expecting their third child, due in early
2012. They have a vacation home in Savannah, Georgia.
Quitting alcohol and smoking
Affleck entered alcohol rehab in
2001, with a spokesman for the actor saying that "Ben is a self-aware and smart
man who had decided that a fuller life awaits him without alcohol." He quit
smoking after starring in Smokin' Aces, in which he was required to smoke
heavily, and lost his taste for it after a week of chain-smoking for his
Year Title Role Notes
List of film and television credits
as actor 1981 Dark End of the Street, TheThe Dark End of the Street Kid in the
1984 Voyage of the Mimi, TheThe
Voyage of the Mimi C.T. Granville TV series
1987 Hands of a Stranger Billy
Hearn TV movie
1988 Second Voyage of the Mimi,
TheThe Second Voyage of the Mimi C.T. Granville TV series
1991 Almost Home Kevin Johnson
Daddy Ben Watson TV movie
1992 School Ties Chesty Smith
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Basketball
Player 10 Uncredited
1993 Dazed and Confused Fred
Against the Grain Joe Willie
Clemons TV series; 8 episodes
1995 Mallrats Shannon Hamilton
1996 Glory Daze Jack
1997 Good Will Hunting Chuckie
Sullivan Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) shared with Matt
Golden Globe Award for Best
Screenplay shared with Matt Damon
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award
for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Chasing Amy Holden McNeil
Going All the Way Tom "Gunner"
1998 Shakespeare in Love Ned Alleyn
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion
Nominated—American Comedy Award for
Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Armageddon A. J. Frost
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Performance - Male
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best
On-Screen Duo shared with Liv Tyler
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best
Phantoms Sheriff Bryce Hammond
1999 Dogma Bartleby
Forces of Nature Ben Holmes
200 Cigarettes Bartender
2000 Bounce Buddy Amaral
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss shared with Gwyneth Paltrow
Reindeer Games Rudy Duncan
Boiler Room Jim Young
Joseph: King of Dreams Joseph Voice
2001 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Daddy and Them Lawrence Bowen
Pearl Harbor Captain Rafe McCawley
Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor
Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award
for Worst Screen Couple (with either Kate Beckinsale or Josh Hartnett)
2002 Sum of All Fears, TheThe Sum
of All Fears Jack Ryan
Changing Lanes Gavin Banek
The Third Wheel Michael
2003 Daredevil Matt
Murdock/Daredevil Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best
Kiss (with Jennifer Garner)
Gigli Larry Gigli Golden Raspberry
Award for Worst Actor
Golden Raspberry Award for Worst
Screen Couple(with Jennifer Lopez)
Paycheck Michael Jennings Golden
Raspberry Award for Worst Actor
2004 Surviving Christmas Drew
Latham Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor
Jersey Girl Ollie Trinke
Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor
Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award
for Worst Screen Couple (with either Liv Tyler or Jennifer Lopez)
2005 Elektra Matt Murdock/Daredevil
2006 Clerks II Gawking Guy
Hollywoodland George Reeves Saturn
Award for Best Supporting Actor
Hollywood Film Festival Award for
Supporting Actor of the Year
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics
Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics
Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for
Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Man About Town Jack Giamoro
2007 Smokin' Aces Jack Dupree
2009 He's Just Not That Into You
State of Play Stephen Collins
2010 Company Men, TheThe Company
Men Bobby Walker
Town, TheThe Town Doug MacRay
2012 Argo Tony Mendez
1.^ He is listed as "Benjamin G.
Affleckbold"; born on August 15, 1972 in Alameda County according to the State
of California. California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics,
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http://www.familytreelegends.com/records/39461 Archived 18 January 2010 at
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"No escape". San Francisco Chronicle.
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"In 'Sum,' Too Many Parts That Don't Add Up". The Washington Post.
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31.^ Gunn, John (2002-06-20).
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