Belgian kickboxer, bodybuilder and actor Jean-Claude Van Damme is celebrating his 50th birthday today.
His father was an accountant and owned a flower shop. When he was ten his father enrolled him in karate and at age sixteen he took up ballet. The actor is often called “The Muscles from Brussels.” He has been married five times and has three children.
His most successful films include Bloodsport (1988), Kickboxer (1989), Double Impact (1991), Universal Soldier (1992), Hard Target (1993), Timecop (1994), and Street Fighter (1994).
Despite turning half a century old, Van Damme plans to pursue a kickboxing fight, according to an article at ESPN.com. The Belgian actor "intends to fight Somluck Kamsing, a Thai boxer with 300-plus bouts to his credit."
Kamsing is 37. Van Damme is 50. Fighting at that age is "kind of dangerous, but life is short," the actor said. At his press conference, Van Damme also explained his plans for a reality TV show.
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This contest is fueled by the following news: JJean-Claude Van Damme (birth name: Jean-Claude Kamill François Van Varenberg, born October 18, 1960, Sint-Agatha-Berchem, Brussels, Belgium) is an American actor, film director, script writer and film producer of Belgian origin, professional karate martial artists and kick boxer.
Famous movies of the actor include: "Bloodsport" (1988), "Kickboxer " (1989), "Double Impact" (1991), "Universal Soldier" (1992), "Hard Target" (1993), "Timecop" and "Street Fighter" (1994).
In April 2010, he received the global awards - "The Grand World Prize" and "Golden Talents of the Planet" for the will to win, for staunch fighting spirit and his for stupendous success in the film industry.
Jean-Claude Van Damme was born on October 18, 1960 in the Belgian municipality Sint-Agatha-Berchem, the capital city Brussels into the family of an accountant and a flower salesgirl. Before the age of 10, his father sent him to Shotokan School to learn karate. From the age of 12, Van Damme continued training under the guidance of Claude Goetz.
At the age of 16, Van Damme got into the Belgium Karate team, became Champion of Europe as a member of the team and received a Black Belt. Later on, Van Damme continued to perform in various tournaments and in 1979, met American kick boxer Sherman Bergman and also tasted success in a knockout victory in just 59 seconds. In the next year, Van Damme defeated Great Britain champion Michael. J. Heming. The total victory record of Van Damme - 18-1 and the only time when Van Damme was knocked out was by Patrick Teugels in November 1979. Van Damme's last professional career fight was organized against the same fighter and Jean-Claude scored a victory via knockout in the first round.
In March, 2011, Jean-Claude Van Damme will fight the 1996 Olympic gold medalist in boxing from Thailand Mr. Somluck Kamsing. Preparation for this fight turned into a reality show.
The beginning of his film career in the USA:
Van Damme received his first major role in film "No Retreat No Surrender" (1986), portraying the role of Russian fighter Ivan Krushensky. Due to the difficulty in pronouncing his name, Jean-Claude Van Varenberg changed his name to Jean-Claude Van Damme, in memory of friend, who died.
With great difficulty, Jean-Claude got into the office of famous producer Menahem Golan. After much persuasion, the unknown actor received the role in the film "Bloodsport" (1988), the script of which was accumulating dust in the office of the producer for the last 2 years. For the first time, the film was released only in Malaysia, later on in France and only then in the USA. The film was a huge success all over the world grossing more than 30 million dollars worldwide.
The success of "Bloodsport" immediately made Jean-Claude a new star of action movies. Looking at Van Damme, young men all over the world took to sports and enrolled in karate classes. Van Damme's new films - "Cyborg" (1989), "Kickboxer" (1989), "Lionheart" (1990), "Death Warrant" (1990) and "Double Impact" (1991) have only reinforced his success.
After gaining experience, Jean-Claude started receiving roles in high-class films such as - "Universal Soldier" (1992), "Hard Target" (1993), "Nowhere to Run" (1993) and "Timecop" (1994). Soon Van Damme was in the same league as action movie stars such as Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. His pay per film was hiked up to 6 million dollars.
The film "The Quest", released in 1996, was Van Damme's debut film as a director. Jean-Claude also wrote the script and produced it.
Years passed and Jean-Claude Van Damme rose as an actor. In films such as "Legionnaire" (1998), "Replicant" (2001), "In Hell" (2003) and "Wake of Death' (2004), fans of Van Damme have seen his acting improve and mature.
His pictures have become the mark of thorough action movies. His karate style with masterful leg skills distinguished Van Damme from other screen heroes.
Jean-Claude refused to act in high-budget movies such as "Street Fighter 2" and "Rush Hour 3" and he refused Sylvester Stallone's proposal to act in his action movie "The Expendables", citing the reason that the role that was offered did not suit him.
Nevertheless, Jean-Claude Van Damme agreed to play with another Hollywood action movie star Stephen Siegel in the film "Weapon". Stephen Siegel refused to act in the film and was promptly replaced by Scott Adkins. The film is slated for release in 2011.
In 2008, the semi-biographical film "JCVD" was released in which Van Damme's role was well received worldwide. In 2009, Van Damme showed the movie "Youth 39" during the International Film Festival, held in Kiev.
In the autumn of 2009, Van Damme visited the cities of Ukraine: Kiev, Odessa and Krivoy Rog, where he is planning to shoot his new film "Tower". Van Damme also paid a visit to an orphanage in Krivoy Rog (he is planning to choose children from this orphanage for his film).