Chris O'Donnell

Chris O'Donnell
Chris O'Donnell

Attending the premiere of Max Payne in Hollywood, October 13, 2008.
Born Christopher Eugene O'Donnell
June 26, 1970 (1970-06-26) (age 41)
Winnetka, Illinois, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1990–present
Spouse Caroline Fentress
(m. 1997–present; 5 children)

Christopher Eugene "Chris" O'Donnell (born June 26, 1970) is an American actor. He has played Robin in two Batman films, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, Charlie Simms in Scent of a Woman, Finn Dandridge in Grey's Anatomy, Peter Garrett in Vertical Limit, and more recently, Jack McAuliffe in The Company. O'Donnell currently stars as NCIS Special Agent G. Callen on the CBS crime drama television series NCIS: Los Angeles.


Early life

O'Donnell, the youngest of seven children (with four sisters and two brothers), was born in Winnetka, Illinois. He is the son of Julie Ann Rohs von Brecht and William Charles O'Donnell, Sr., a general manager of WBBM-AM, a CBS radio station.[1][2] O'Donnell is of paternal Irish and maternal German descent;[3][4] he was raised in a devout Roman Catholic family and attended Roman Catholic schools,[5] including Loyola Academy in Willmette, Illinois for high school, graduating in 1988. O'Donnell attended Boston College and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in marketing.

O'Donnell began modeling at the age of thirteen 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 was offered a chance to audition for a part in the movie Men Don't Leave, with Jessica Lange, and he won the role. In the early 1990s, O'Donnell was a featured player in many successful movies such as 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' Screen World, Vol. 44.

O'Donnell as Robin in Batman Forever, 1995

After the success of Blue Sky (1994) and Circle of Friends (1995), O'Donnell played Dick Grayson/Robin in Batman Forever. 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. By coincidence, 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.

O'Donnell followed with a starring role in 1996's The Chamber, based on the John Grisham novel. He subsequently reprised his role in the Batman sequel, Batman & Robin, in 1997. Although a box office success, the movie was critically panned and O'Donnell himself has called it a low point in his career.[6] 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 Edwards in Men in Black (1997), but, after he turned it down, the role went to Will Smith.[7] 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 his career. However, he came back in 2004 with the widely praised Kinsey. O'Donnell also appeared in the 2004 episode of Two and a Half Men entitled "An Old Flame With A New Wick." He played Charlie Sheen's former girlfriend, Jill, who had a sex change and resurfaced in Charlie's life as Bill.

O'Donnell took a lead role in the Fox Network television series Head Cases in 2005. The show was the first show 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 drama Grey's Anatomy.

He figured prominently in the TNT miniseries The Company (which incidentally, also featured former Bruce Wayne/Batman actor Michael Keaton, who didn't co-star with O'Donnell in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin) as fictional CIA case officer Jack McAuliffe, in a performance that subtly portrayed his character's progression from spoon-fed Yale elitist to jaded, post-Cold War cynic. Film projects for 2008 included Kit Kittredge: An American Girl and Max Payne.

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

O'Donnell stars in NCIS: Los Angeles, a spin-off of NCIS, as G. Callen,[8] 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."[9]

Personal life

O'Donnell filming with Mark Harmon the two-episode backdoor pilot "Legend" for NCIS: Los Angeles in 2009.

Was once in a relationship with the actress Reese Witherspoon. In 1996, O’Donnell proposed to girlfriend Caroline Fentress. He met her while in college and they married in 1997. The couple have five children – three sons and two daughters:

  • Lily Anne O'Donnell (born September 6, 1999)
  • Christopher Eugene "Chip" O'Donnell Jr. (born October 24, 2000)
  • Charles McHugh O'Donnell (born July 11, 2003)
  • Finley O'Donnell (born March 24, 2006)
  • Maeve Frances O'Donnell (born December 10, 2007).[10]

He has a home in Islesboro, Maine.


Year Title Role Notes
1986 Jack and Mike Evan TV series – 1 episode
1990 Men Don't Leave Chris Macauley
1991 Fried Green Tomatoes Buddy Threadgoode
1992 School Ties Chris Reece
Scent of a Woman Charlie Simms Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor
1993 The Three Musketeers D'Artagnan
1994 Blue Sky Glenn Johnson
1995 Circle of Friends Jack Foley
Mad Love Matt Leland
Batman Forever Robin/Richard "Dick" Grayson
1996 The Chamber Adam Hall
In Love and War Ernest 'Ernie' Hemingway
1997 Batman & Robin Robin/Richard "Dick" Grayson Nominated—Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor
Nominated—Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (with George Clooney)
1999 Cookie's Fortune Jason Brown
The Bachelor Jimmie Shannon
2000 Vertical Limit Peter Garrett
2002 29 Palms The Hitman
2003 The Practice Brad Stanfield TV series – 4 episodes
2004 Kinsey Wardell Pomeroy
Two And A Half Men Jill/Bill TV series – 1 episode
2005 The Sisters David Turzin
Head Cases Jason Payne TV series – 2 episodes
2007 Grey's Anatomy Dr. Finn "McVet" Dandridge TV series – 9 episodes
The Company Jack McAuliffe TV miniseries
2008 Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Mr. Kittredge
Max Payne Jason Colvin
2009 NCIS G. Callen Episode: "Legend (Parts 1 & 2)"
2009–present NCIS: Los Angeles TV series – all episodes
starring alongside LL Cool J and Daniela Ruah
2010 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Shane
A Little Help Bob


  1. ^ "Chris O'Donnell Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Retrieved May 26, 2011. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Polunsky, Bob. "Express-News Archives :". 
  4. ^ "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. 
  5. ^ Chris O'Donnell's Personal High : Rolling Stone[dead link]
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Trivia for Men in Black". at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved October 21, 2007. 
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 27, 2009). "O'Donnell nabs lead role in "NCIS" spin-off". Reuters. Retrieved February 27, 2009. 
  9. ^ "NCIS Los Angeles". CBS. Retrieved August 11, 2009. 
  10. ^ Chiu, Alexis (December 18, 2007). "Chris O'Donnell and Wife Have Fifth Baby – Babies, Chris O'Donnell". People.,,20167075,00.html. Retrieved May 26, 2011. 

External links

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