Capital: € 27 million
Age: 59
Born: October 18, 1960
Country of origin: Belgium
Source of wealth: actor
Last updated: 2022

Short introduction

Jean-Claude van Damme, real name Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg, is a Belgian actor who came from the Brussels area and preferred to act in action films, mostly in those in which martial arts play a central role.

Early life

Van Damme was born in Sint-Agatha-Berchem on October 18, 1960 near Brussels. His father, a florist, registered van Damme for karate training at the age of ten. Claude Goetz became his first coach in Belgium. His greatest success here was winning the European Professional Karate Association’s middleweight championship at the age of just 19. He successfully passed the difficult tests for the black belt in karate in Shotokan karate.

Van Damme was also involved in bodybuilding, which was crowned by the victory in the bodybuilding competition Mr. Belgium. And at the age of 16, van Damme trained in ballet. With his sporting skills, he opened a bodybuilding studio in his home in Brussels.


Driven by the ambition to become an actor, van Damme and Michel Quissi moved to the USA in 1982, where the friends shared an apartment in Hollywood. Under his artist name at that time, Frank Cujo, van Damme earned his living with minor supporting roles, but as an extra he mainly made a living as a limousine driver and as a doorman. Also in a club run by Chuck Norris’ wife. On his recommendation, van Damme was hired as a stuntman for the Hollywood production Missing in Action. He is now a US citizen and was signed on for a role in Karate Tiger. After showing a bumped 360 ° kick to B-movie producer Menahem Golan, he hired van Damme for the cheap production Bloodsport, which was a surprising hit in 1988 with revenues of over $ 35 million. The next Kickboxer film was similarly successful, followed by major productions. Among them 1991 Double Impact and one year later Universal Soldier. After productions like Time Cop, Sudden Death or Maximum Risk, van Damme tried himself as a director in 1996. While his first production The Quest did reasonably well, flops followed in series.

One of the main reasons for this may have been his addiction to cocaine and sleeping pills, which had existed since the early 1990s and culminated in his 1999 drug abuse arrest. As part of medical treatment and an withdrawal treatment, van Damme was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, the symptoms of which could be brought under control by medication.

From 2008 van Damme played himself in JCVD, partly for which he received a lot of applause and recognition. In 2010 he acted in Universal Soldier: Regeneration, lent his voice to Master Croc’s character in Kung Fu Panda 2 and worked with Sylvester Stallones in The Expendables 2.

Van Damme’s five marriages gave birth to three children. His son Kris Van Varenberg and daughter Bianca Bree, like their father, started a career as an actor.

Famous quotes

“God gave me a great body and it is my duty to take care of this temple. ”

“I turned 40 and some of my audience is the same age! ”

For his best film quote, fans chose the saying:
“Best of all people, you should know that I would never wear black silk underwear.”

Also popular are:
“Even poor people get bored.” and “I can do the balancing act, no problem”

Amazing facts

Jean-Claude van Damme started his sporting career in martial arts at the age of 16. For more than six years he appeared in fights in full contact and half contact, in karate but also in kickboxing. At the Challenge De Espoirs Karate tournament in 1978, he defeated 25 opponents within a week, but had to admit defeat in the final. When van Damme gave up active martial arts in 1982, he was kickboxing with a score of 18: 1 at 18 KO’s. In semi-contact, he shone with 41 wins and four losses.

After the film Bloodsport, which was shot in Hong Kong, had been cut, it was filed in the archive for over two years as unavailable. The cut was so miserable that no producer wanted to put the film on the audience. At the request and with the help of van Damme, a new version was made. Bloodsport celebrated its world premiere in Malaysia with great success, followed by France and the United States. This cheap production had only cost $ 1.5 million, but grossed over $ 35 million in the first year thanks to van Damme’s intervention. Up to now, Bloodsport is occasionally broadcast on TV.

A statue of the actor was unveiled in van Damme’s hometown of Brussels in 2012, showing his fighting spirit.


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