Chris O’Donnell from ‘NCIS LA’: Age, net worth, family, children

On June 26, 1970, Chris O’Donnell was born in Winnetka, Illinois, roughly 30 kilometers of Chicago. He grew up in a large, Catholic family, the youngest of seven siblings.

Having a large family has helped O’Donnell a lot, according to the man himself. He certainly learned his “altar-boy” values, and his religious upbringing seems to have helped him later in life.

At 13, Chis surprised his family when he told them about his plans. He wanted to become a model, since he figured it was easy money.

Chris O'Donnell

JB Lacroix/WireImage

“So one day, I literally took the Yellow Pages and started calling talent agencies,” he told Rolling Stone.

Now, the calls didn’t work, but when O’Donnell’s sister met an agent at a wedding, he got a shot. O’Donnell went into the agent’s office in downtown Chicago – and she loved him!

Not long after, Chris was working as a model, wearing pajamas for Sears and Montgomery Ward’s. Before long, he moved on to commercials. In 1987, he starred in a McDonald’s ad as a cashier who waits on the one and only Michael Jordan.

“I was in the McDonald’s polyester outfit and served him his breakfast,” Chris O’Donnell recalled in an interview with NBC.

“It was a crazy day because it rained 10 inches that day, so Jordan was six hours late for the shoot. So I was waiting around for six hours in a McDonald’s for Jordan to arrive, and then he came, and it was awesome.”

Even then it was apparent that Chris could act; he served Michael Jordan’s burgers with such enthusiasm.

Before he went to Hollywood to try his luck, O’Donnell went to school. He graduated from the Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois, in 1988, and later majored in marketing at Boston College.

O’Donnell was a traditionalist, largely sticking to his studying plan. By that time, he had already gotten his first gigs before college. When he finished at Boston College, he realized that acting was what he wanted to do.

Chris O'Donnell

Shutterstock/Jaguar PS

He starred in his first feature films in the early 1990s, including Men Don’t Leave and Fried Green Tomatoes. It was clear to see that he was a raw talent.

When he studied in Boston, no one knew that O’Donnell was a star in the making. That’s not so strange when it’s considered he didn’t study drama, but marketing.

However, his roommate others in his circle soon understood just how big of a talent he was.

In 1991, O’Donnell was set to appear in the film Prince of Tides, as the son of Barbara Streisand. In the end, she decided not to give him the role – he learned only after she left a message with his roommate.

“It was sophomore year, and I was living with some random people I didn’t know very well, and I hadn’t told anyone I had been making films because I wanted to know everybody without being the guy who made the films,” O’Donnell recalled on Watch What Happens Live.

“So I’m at the library, and I come home, and my roommate goes, ‘Oh hey, D, uh, Barbra Streisand called you,’” O’Donnell added. “I go, ‘Okay man, thanks.’ He goes, ‘What’s up with that?’ And I go, ‘What’d they say?’ ‘She’s calling back tomorrow at 1 o’clock.’ And so the entire hall was waiting to answer the phone.”

But Barbara never called him back. At the time, Chris might have seen this as a huge setback.


In 1992, however he starred alongside Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman, which became his huge breakthrough. O’Donnell went on to win a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture. Pacino, meanwhile, won an Oscar.

Not only was it a great pleasure for him to work with the great Al Pacino, but O’Donnell also learned plenty of things about acting. According to himself, the experience made him a better actor.

“It doesn’t get much better than Al. He’s one of the greats of his generation, maybe of all time. To have spent five or six months one on one for the majority of those scenes was incredible,” O’Donnell said.

“And I would, I would just listen. He’s just a creative genius. He could do 15 takes of one scene. Every take was completely different. And at the end of those 15 takes, he knew which ones he liked, specifically.”

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