was just 18 when he made his movie debut with a small role in 1988's "Mystic Pizza," which was also the second feature of Julia Roberts
In 1992's "School Ties," Damon played a prep school bully who antagonized a Jewish student played by Brendan Fraser
in a naked shower room fight.
Damon grew a peculiar, Ethan Hawke
-like goatee for his role as Lt. Britton Davis in 1993's "Geronimo: An American Legend."
Damon played a drug-addled Gulf War veteran opposite Meg Ryan
in 1996's "Courage Under Fire."
For the "Courage Under Fire" role, Damon famously dropped 40 pounds off his already thin frame -- without a doctor's supervision.
Damon was back in fitter, hotter form in the 1997 John Grisham
adaptation of "The Rainmaker."
Damon and his childhood buddy Ben Affleck
co-wrote the script for 1997's "Good Will Hunting," and the two starred opposite Robin Williams
Affleck and Damon won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for "Good Will Hunting," delivering a memorably enthusiastic speech at the podium. (He was also nominated for Best Actor.)
In 1998's "Rounders," Damon had an unfortunate blond dye job to play a law student struggling with a poker addiction opposite Edward Norton
Damon played the title character in Steven Spielberg
's 1998 WWII epic "Saving Private Ryan."
In 1999's "The Talented Mr. Ripley," Damon was a creepily seductive sociopath who pined for Jude Law
's trust fund lifestyle (and his body). Damon's wasn't so shabby either, despite the bright yellow bathing suit.
Damon teamed with George Clooney
and Brad Pitt
for the first time in the star-studded 2000 caper "Ocean's Eleven," which spawned two sequels.
In 2001, Damon reteamed with Ben Affleck
to executive produce "Project Greenlight," a reality series that aired on HBO and chronicled the making of an indie film.
In 2002, Damon showed surprising action-hero moves as a trained government agent with amnesia in 2002's "The Bourne Identity."
Damon had an uncharacteristic punkish look (including a shaved head) in a cameo in 2004's "EuroTrip." He played the lead singer of a band whose main song, "Scotty Doesn't Know," reveals that Damon's been banging the longtime girlfriend of the movie's high school grad lead. Foreshadowing of his later Jimmy Kimmel stunt?
On December 9, 2005, Damon married Luciana Barroso, an Argentine-born woman he met while she was bartending in a Miami nightclub. (Two days later, they were together at the New York City premiere of "The Good Shepherd.")
He was back in fighting form in 2007's "The Bourne Ultimatum" -- which looked like it might be the final installment in the franchise.
In 2007, People Magazine named the self-described "aging suburban dad" the Sexiest Man Alive.
Damon has long been the affectionate target of ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who ended his show with apologies for running out of time for the actor. But Damon turned the tables in 2008 when Kimmel's then-girlfriend Sarah Silverman
introduced a videotaped song declaring, "I'm F---ing Matt Damon
Damon packed on 20 to 30 extra pounds to play a schlubby corporate whistleblower in Steven Soderbergh
's 2009 comedy "The Informant!"
Damon earned an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor portraying the captain of South Africa's championship 1995 rugby team in 2009's "Invictus."
Starting in 2010, Damon had a recurring role on "30 Rock" as an airline pilot named Carol who tried to woo Tina Fey
's TV exec Liz Lemon.
Damon got buff (and tatted) to play a paroled car thief fighting to survive in a dystopian future in Neill Blomkamp
's 2013 sci-fi movie "Elysium."
Damon earned an Emmy nomination for the 2013 HBO movie "Behind the Candelabra," camping it up as the much-younger boyfriend of the flamboyant pianist Liberace (Michael Douglas
Damon earned his third acting Oscar nomination for Ridley Scott
's 2015 space drama "The Martian" -- playing solo for much of the film as an astronaut stranded on the red planet.
After nine years, Damon returned as "Jason Bourne" in his fourth installment in the action franchise.
Damon stumbled with a big-budget dud -- and a freaky ponytail -- in Zhang Yimou's 2017 fantasy epic "The Great Wall."
Damon reteamed with director George Clooney for the 2017 period drama set in an all-white suburb in 1959.
In Alexander Payne's high-concept 2017 movie "Downsizing," Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig play a couple who decide to shrink themselves -- literally -- to live in a more affordable micro-world.