THE JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME STORY

29 Jan

FIRST FEATURE
THE JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME STORY
Beware, Jean-Claude Van Damme has escaped the DVD dungeon and is back on the big screen. Here’s a reminder of just who the legendary splits-performing, face-kicking, body-punching all-action star is and how he got to where he is today. KELVIN CHAN and JONATHAN ROBERTS bring you that story
January 29, 2010
 
 

Once upon a time in Belgium…

1960

Jean-Claude Camille Francois Van Varenburg is born to Eliana and Eugene, who own a flower shop.

1970

But flowers are not for Van Varenburg. At the age of 10, his dad decides it is time for the awkward child to learn karate. He is good at kicking.

1976

Van Varenburg goes on to win major European karate tournaments. At 16, he decides to take up ballet as well as other martial arts.

1979

Van Varenburg also starts body-building. Inspired by a gym in California, he opens the very succesful California Gym in Belgium.

1981

But running a gym won’t make him a star. He moves to the US to become an actor. Van Varenburg gets some small roles and meets CHUCK NORRIS. He becomes Norris’ personal trainer.

1985

To make his name easier to pronounce, Van Varenburg changes his name to Jean-Claude Van Damme. He later scores a breakout role with BLOODSPORT.

1992

After starring in lots of ‘choptacular’ fighting films, Van Damme hits the big time with UNIVERSAL SOLDIER, followed by HARD TARGET, director JOHN WOO’s first big US film.

1994

But John and Van Damme don’t talk much after that. Despite being the world’s highest-paid martial arts actor, after TIMECOP, the box-office hits stop coming, and straight-to-DVD beckons. Until…

2008

…JCVD, a film in which he stars as himself, revives his credibility. And now in 2010, comes UNVERSAL SOLDIER: A NEW BEGINNING. Welcome back, Van Damme. It has been a while.

 

The NewPaper

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