Biography

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 U.S. Shot on a meager 1.5 million dollar budget, it became a U.S 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), A.W.O.L.: 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).

Read More

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 U.S. Shot on a meager 1.5 million dollar budget, it became a U.S 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), A.W.O.L.: 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).

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Male

Known Credits 79

Birthday 1960-10-18

Place of Birth Sint-Agatha Berchem, Belgium

Official Site http://jcvdofficial.com

Also Known As

  • "The Muscles from Brussels"
  • "Van Damme"
  • "JCVD"
  • "Jean-Claude"
  • "Jean-Claude Van Varenbergh "

Acting TV ShowsMovies

2018 Black Water as Wheeler
2017 Kickboxer: Retaliation as Master Durand
2017 Kill 'em All as Philip
2016 Jean-Claude Van Johnson(1 episode) as Johnson
2016 Kickboxer: Vengeance as Master Durand
2016 Kung Fu Panda 3 as Master Croc (voice)
2015 Jian Bing Man as Himself
2015 Pound of Flesh as Deacon
2014 The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films as Himself
2014 Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films as Gibson Rickenbacker (archive footage) (uncredited)
2014 Swelter as Stillman
2013 Enemies Closer as Xander
2013 Welcome to the Jungle as Storm
2012 U.F.O. as George
2012 Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning as Luc Deveraux
2012 6 Bullets as Samson Gaul
2012 The Expendables 2 as Vilain
2012 Dragon Eyes as Tiano
2012 Corporal vs. Napoleon
2011 Beur sur la ville as Colonel Merot
2011 Assassination Games as Vincent Brazil
2011 Kung Fu Panda 2 as Master Croc (voice)
2011 Jean-Claude Van Damme: Behind Closed Doors(8 episodes)
2010 Full Love as Frenchie
2009 Universal Soldier: Regeneration as Luc Deveraux
2008 JCVD as J.C.V.D.
2008 The Shepherd: Border Patrol as Jack Robideaux
2007 Until Death as Anthony Stowe
2006 Sinav as Charles
2006 The Hard Corps as Phillippe Sauvage
2006 Second In Command as Cmdr. Samuel 'Sam' Keenan
2004 Wake of Death as Ben Archer
2004 Narco as Himself
2003 In Hell as Kyle LeBlanc
2003 Las Vegas(1 episode)
2003 Celebrities Uncensored(1 episode)
2003 Dans la peau de Jean-Claude Van Damme
2002 Derailed as Jacques Kristoff
2002 All the Love You Cannes! as Himself
2002 Ultimate Fights from the Movies as Max Walker (archive footage)
2001 The Unbeatable Bruce Lee as Himself (archive footage)
2001 The Order as Rudy Cafmeyer / Charles Le Vaillant
2001 Replicant as Replicant / Garrotte
1999 Inferno as Eddie Lomax
1999 Universal Soldier: The Return as Luc Devereux
1999 Beckmann(1 episode)
1998 Legionnaire as Alain Lefevre
1998 Knock Off as Marcus Ray
1998 The Path of the Dragon as Himself
1997 Double Team as Jack Quinn
1996 Maximum Risk as Mikhail Suverov
1996 The Quest as Christopher Dubois
1996 E! True Hollywood Story(1 episode)
1995 Sudden Death as Darren Francis Thomas McCord
1995 Top Fighter as Himself (Archive Footage)
1994 Street Fighter as Colonel William Guile
1994 Friends(1 episode) as Himself
1994 Timecop as Max Walker
1994 Cinema of Vengeance as Himself (archive footage)
1993 Hard Target as Chance Boudreaux
1993 Last Action Hero as Jean-Claude Van Damme
1993 Nowhere to Run as Sam Gillen
1993 The Curse of the Dragon as Himself (uncredited)
1992 Universal Soldier as Luc Devreux/GR44
1992 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno(1 episode)
1991 Double Impact as Alex / Chad Wagner
1990 Death Warrant as Louis Burke
1990 Lionheart as Leon Gaultier
1990 The Best of Martial Arts Films as Himself
1989 Kickboxer as Kurt Sloane
1989 Cyborg as Gibson Rickenbacker
1988 Black Eagle as Andrei
1988 Bloodsport as Frank Dux
1986 No Retreat, No Surrender as Ivan Kraschinsky the Russian
1984 Missing in Action as Soldier (uncredited)
1984 Breakin' as Spectator in First Dance Sequence
1984 Barbarous Street as Extra in Police Arrival Sequence (uncredited)
1984 Monaco Forever as Gay Karate Man
1979 Woman Between Wolf and Dog as Movie Goer / Man in Garden (uncredited)

Writing

2016 Kickboxer: VengeanceCharacters
2010 Full LoveWriter
2001 The OrderWriter
1996 The QuestScreenplay
1991 Double ImpactScreenplay
1990 LionheartScreenplay
1989 KickboxerStory

Production

2010 Full LoveProducer
2008 JCVDExecutive Producer
1999 InfernoProducer
1999 Universal Soldier: The ReturnProducer
1998 LegionnaireProducer
1991 Double ImpactProducer

Directing

2010 Full LoveDirector
1996 The QuestDirector
1989 KickboxerDirector

Editing

2010 Full LoveEditor
1989 CyborgEditor

Crew

1984 Missing in ActionStunts

By signing up for an account on TMDb, you can post directly to Twitter and Facebook.

You need to be logged in to continue. Click here to login or here to sign up.