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  Jean-Claude Van Damme
Jean-Claude Van Damme
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Jean Claude Van Damme (born Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg on October 18, 1960), is a Belgian martial artist and actor who is most known for his action movies. His Belgian background gave rise to the nickname "The Muscles from Brussels."


A black belt in karate[1], Van Damme was first seen on screen in the 1984 movie Monaco Forever. His first major role came in 1985, when he played Ivan Krushensky in No Retreat, No Surrender, which also starred Kurt McKinney. He was scheduled to play the part of the camouflaged extraterrestrial monster in the Arnold Schwarzenegger action film Predator, but wearing the heavy alien costume in the jungle was too difficult, and Van Damme, unhappy with his role, left the production. How he left the picture is disputed: some say he quit, others say he was replaced when the character was revised. Van Damme claims he intentionally got fired so he could move on to other movies. Van Damme's appearance in Bloodsport earned him a nomination as "Worst New Star" in the 1988 Golden Raspberry Awards. He did not win.

Van Damme worked his way up to Hollywood mainstream in the 1990s, often working with acclaimed foreign directors. Notable movies include Double Impact (1991), Universal Soldier (1992), Nowhere to Run (1993), Hard Target (1993), and his most critically praised work, Timecop (1994). Many of these roles included doppelgänger or Lazarus themes involving Van Damme's characters, an aspect unusual for the action movie genre.

By the end of the 1990s, Van Damme's high-profile career had faded but he continues to star in smaller, often direct-to-video movies. His movies have earned over $650 million worldwide, earning him a place in the action movie world along with others like Steven Seagal and Chuck Norris.

He has had troubles with cocaine and is also reported to have experienced bipolar disorder. He has been married five times, including two marriages with his current wife Gladys Portugues.

In 1998, Van Damme and his former bodyguard Chuck Zito were involved in a fist-fight at a New York strip-tease bar called Scores. Allegedly, Van Damme had said something negative about Zito while drunk, and when Zito confronted Van Damme about this Van Damme prepared himself for a fight and Zito began punching Van Damme. This event became notorious in the news and somewhat of a scandal for Van Damme.

On Screen Nudity

Jean Claude Van Damme has gained a reputation for numerous nude appearances in his films and has become a definite favourite for fans for his onscreen nudity. He first appeared nude in Bloodsport, with numerous such appearances in his subsequent films, including a lengthy one in Universal Soldier. Though only showing rear nudity, the athletic quality of Van Damme's posterior has heightened his appeal. Van Damme is on record as saying "If you have a decent body why not show it? I'm very proud of my butt." This was the subject of parody in the television show Friends, where Van Damme, playing "himself", flirts with a main character by announcing that he can "crack a walnut with my butt."

An "abstract thinker"

In the French-speaking world, Jean-Claude Van Damme is well-known for the picturesque aphorisms that he delivers on a wide range of topics (personal well-being, ecology, etc.) in a strange mixture of French and English. He is especially well-known for his usage of the word aware (in English).

Marriage history

  • Gladys Portugues (25 June 1999 - present)
  • Darcy LaPier (3 February 1994 - November 1997) (divorced) 1 child
  • Gladys Portugues (1986 - 1992) (divorced) 2 children
  • Cynthia Derderian (1985 - 1985) (divorced)


  • Sudden Death (1995) $5,000,000
  • Street Fighter (1994) $6,200,000
  • Timecop (1994) $3,000,000
  • Hard Target (1993) $3,000,000
  • Universal Soldier (1992) $1,000,000
  • Death Warrant (1990) $70,000
  • Lionheart (1990) $70,000
  • Kickboxer (1989/I) $70,000
  • Cyborg (1989) $70,000
  • Bloodsport (1988) $70,000
  • Black Eagle (1988) $70,000
  • The Average Joe Fishing (1987) - non-profit


  • Breakin' (1984) (as an extra)
  • Monaco Forever (1984)
  • No Retreat, No Surrender (1985)
  • Black Eagle (1988)
  • Bloodsport (1988)
  • Cyborg (1989)
  • Kickboxer (1989)
  • Lionheart (1990)
  • Death Warrant (1990)
  • Double Impact (1991)
  • Universal Soldier (1992)
  • Nowhere to Run (1993)
  • Last Action Hero (1993) (Cameo appearance)
  • Hard Target (1993)
  • Timecop (1994)
  • Street Fighter (1994)
  • Sudden Death (1995)
  • The Quest (1996)
  • Maximum Risk (1996)
  • Double Team (1997)
  • Knock Off (1998)
  • Legionnaire (1998)
  • Universal Soldier: The Return (1999)
  • Desert Heat (1999)
  • Replicant (2001)
  • The Order (2001)
  • Derailed (2002)
  • In Hell (2003)
  • Narco (2004)
  • Wake of Death (2004)
  • Second in Command (post-production) (2006)
  • The Hard Corps (filming) (2006)
  • Astérix aux jeux olympiques (pre-production) (2007)
  • Kumite (announced) (2007)

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