Jean-Claude Van Damme

Jean-Claude Van Damme

  • Born on
    • October 18th, 1960
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 US shot on a meager 1.5 million dollar budget, it became a US 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), AWOL: 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).

Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme on Plex


Acting (64 Credits)

2022Minions: The Rise of Gru as Jean Clawed (voice)
2021The Last Mercenary
2021Monsieur Jean-Claude as (uncredited)
2019We Die Young as Daniel
2019In Search of the Last Action Heroes
2018Black Water as Wheeler
2018The Bouncer as Lukas
2018Kickboxer: Retaliation as Master Durand
2017Kill 'Em All as PhilipWatch Free
2016Kickboxer: Vengeance as Master Durand
2016Kung Fu Panda 3 as Master Croc (voice)
2016Jean-Claude Van Johnson as Johnson
2015Pound of Flesh as Deacon
2015Jian Bing Man as Jean-Claude Van Damme
2014Swelter as Stillman
2014Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films as Gibson Rickenbacker (archive footage) (uncredited)
2013Welcome to the Jungle as Storm
2013Enemies Closer as Xander
2012Dragon Eyes as Tiano
2012Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning as Luc DeverauxWatch Free
20126 Bullets as Samson Gaul
2012Alien Uprising as George
2012The Expendables 2 as Jean Vilain
2011Assassination Games as Vincent Brazil
2011Beur sur la ville as Colonel Merot
2011Kung Fu Panda 2 as Master Croc (voice)
2010Frenchy as Frenchie
2009Universal Soldier: Regeneration as Luc Deveraux
2008The Shepherd as Jack RobideauxWatch Free
2008JCVD as J.C.V.D.
2007Until Death as Anthony Stowe
2006The Hard Corps as Phillippe SauvageWatch Free
2006Second in Command as Cmdr. Samuel 'Sam' KeenanWatch Free
2006Heist School as Charles
2004Wake of Death as Ben Archer
2003In Hell as Kyle LeBlancWatch Free
2002Derailed as Jacques Kristoff
2001The Order as Rudy Cafmeyer / Charles Le Vaillant
2001Replicant as Replicant / GarrotteWatch Free
1999Universal Soldier: The Return as Luc Devereux
1999Inferno as Eddie Lomax
1998Legionnaire as Alain Lefevre
1998Knock Off as Marcus Ray
1997Double Team as Jack Quinn
1996Maximum Risk as Alain Moreau / Mikhail Suverov
1996The Quest as Christopher Dubois
1995Sudden Death as Darren Francis Thomas McCord
1994Timecop as Max Walker
1994Street Fighter as Colonel William Guile
1993Hard Target as Chance Boudreaux
1993Nowhere to Run as Sam Gillen
1993Last Action Hero as Jean-Claude Van Damme (uncredited)
1992Universal Soldier as Luc Devreux/GR44
1991Double Impact as Alex / Chad Wagner
1990Lionheart as Leon GaultierWatch Free
1990Death Warrant as Louis Burke
1989Kickboxer as Kurt Sloane
1989Cyborg as Gibson Rickenbacker
1988Bloodsport as Frank Dux
1988Black Eagle as AndreiWatch Free
1985No Retreat, No Surrender as Ivan Kraschinsky "The Russian"
1984Monaco Forever as Gay Karate Man
1984Breakin' as Spectator in First Dance Sequence
1984Missing in Action as Soldier (uncredited)

Director (2 Credits)


Writer (2 Credits)


Himself (3 Credits)

2012Rzhevskiy protiv Napoleona as Himself
2004The Secret Adventures of Gustave Klopp as Himself
1993The Curse of the Dragon as Self (archive footage)


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