|Estimated value:||€27 million|
|Country of origin:||Belgium|
|Source of Wealth:||actor|
Jean-Claude van Damme, real name Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg, is a Belgian actor from near Brussels who preferred to act in action films, mostly those in which martial arts played a central role.
Van Damme was born on October 18, 1960 in Sint-Agatha-Berchem, not far from Brussels. His father, a florist, enrolled van Damme in karate training at the age of ten. His first coach in Belgium was Claude Goetz. His greatest achievement here was winning the European Professional Karate Association Middleweight Championship when he was just 19 years old. He successfully completed the difficult examinations for a black belt in karate in Shotokan karate.
In addition, van Damme was involved in bodybuilding, which was crowned by winning the Mr. Belgium bodybuilder competition. And at the age of 16, van Damme trained in ballet. Using his athletic skills, he opened a bodybuilding studio in his native Brussels.
Driven by the ambition to become an actor, van Damme moved to the USA together with Michel Quissi in 1982, where the friends shared an apartment in Hollywood. Under his stage name Frank Cujo at the time, van Damme earned his living with small supporting roles, as an extra, but above all as a limousine driver and bouncer. 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. Now a US citizen, he was subsequently signed for a role in Karate Tiger. After showing off a 360-degree jump to B-movie producer Menahem Golan, Golan hired van Damme to direct the budget production Bloodsport, which became a 1988 box office hit, grossing over $35 million. The next film, Kickboxer, was similarly successful, after which major productions followed. Including Double Impact in 1991 and Universal Soldier a year later. After productions like Time Cop, Sudden Death or Maximum Risk, van Damme tried his hand at directing in 1996. While his first production The Quest did reasonably well, it was followed by a series of flops.
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 arrest for drug abuse in 1999. As part of medical treatment and rehab, van Damme was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the symptoms of which could be brought under control with medication.
From 2008, van Damme played himself in the partly satirical JCVD, for which he received ample applause and recognition. He immediately went on to act in 2010’s Universal Soldier: Regeneration, lent his voice to the character of Master Croc in Kung Fu Panda 2, and co-acted with Sylvester Stallones in The Expendables 2.
Van Damme’s five marriages produced three children. His son Kris Van Varenberg and daughter Bianca Bree, like their father, started acting careers.
“God gave me a great body and I have a duty to take care of this temple. ”
“I’ve turned 40 and my audience is partly the same age! ”
Fans voted the following as his best quote from a film:
“You should know best of all people that I would never wear black silk underwear.”
Also popular are:
“Even poor people get bored.” and “I can do the splits, no problem”
Jean-Claude van Damme started his sporting career in martial arts at the age of 16. For more than six years he competed in full-contact and half-contact fights, as well as in karate and 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 able to come up with a record of 18:1 in kickboxing with 18 KO’s. In semi-contact he shone with 41 wins and four losses.
After the film Bloodsport, shot in Hong Kong, was finished editing, it was stored in the archive as unscreenable for more than two years. The editing was so miserable that no producer wanted to subject the audience to this strip. A new version was made at the request and with the help of van Damme. Bloodsport celebrated its world premiere with great success in Malaysia, followed by France and the USA. This low-budget production cost just $1.5 million, but grossed over $35 million in its first year thanks to van Damme’s intervention. Bloodsport is occasionally broadcast on TV to this day.
A statue of the actor was unveiled in van Damme’s hometown of Brussels in 2012, showing him in a combative stance.
|Estimated value:||€27 million|