Real name: Owen Cunningham Wilson
Birthdate: November 18, 1968
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Owen Cunningham Wilson (born November 18, 1968) is an Academy Award-nominated American actor and writer. Wilson was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on the screenplay of The Royal Tenenbaums, but he is perhaps best known for his successful comedic roles such as John Beckwith in Wedding Crashers and as Hansel in Zoolander.
Wilson was born in Dallas, Texas, to Laura Wilson (née Cunningham), a photographer, and Robert Andrew Wilson, an advertising executive and operator of a public television station. He is left handed. His family is Irish American and Roman Catholic. While living in Dallas, Wilson attended The Lamplighter School, which he revisited in 2005; and St. Mark's School of Texas, when in the tenth grade after stealing his teacher's textbook in an attempt to help him finish his math homework quicker, he was expelled.
Wilson quickly landed roles in big-budget movies such as The Cable Guy, directed by Ben Stiller, an early admirer of Bottle Rocket. After minor appearances in action films like Anaconda, Armageddon and The Haunting, Wilson appeared in two dramatic roles: supporting actor in Permanent Midnight, which starred Stiller as a drug-addicted TV writer; and a role as a serial killer in The Minus Man.
Owen is considered a part of the Frat Pack, a group of actors including Steve Carell, Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Vince Vaughn, and brother Luke Wilson who often work in each other's movies.
Gene Hackman took notice of Wilson's performance in Shanghai Noon and recommended Wilson to play opposite himself in the 2001 action film Behind Enemy Lines, Wilson's last dramatic starring role to date. Also in 2001, Wilson and Anderson collaborated on their third film, The Royal Tenenbaums, which was a financial and critical success. The comedy featured an all-star cast, including Gene Hackman, Ben Stiller, Bill Murray, Anjelica Huston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Danny Glover, Seymour Cassel and brother Luke. Owen Wilson had a memorable supporting role in the film as Eli Cash, a wigged-out, drug-addled bon vivant who becomes a literary celebrity. It earned the writing team an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay; Owen is the only "Frat Pack" member to receive an Academy Award nomination.
Wilson returned to the buddy comedy genre in 2002 with the action comedy I Spy, co-starring Eddie Murphy. This big-screen remake of the television series flopped at the box office. He then reunited with Chan to make Shanghai Knights (2003) and the movie remake of the television series Starsky & Hutch (2004). Due to his busy schedule as an actor and his ongoing sinus malady, Wilson was unable to collaborate on the script for Wes Anderson's fourth feature, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The 2004 film was ultimately co-written by filmmaker Noah Baumbach. However, Wilson did star in the film as Bill Murray's would-be son, Ned Plimpton—a role written specifically for Wilson.
Wilson has appeared in eight movies with Stiller (a long-time friend) to date: The Cable Guy (1996), Permanent Midnight (1998), Meet the Parents (2000), Zoolander (2001), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), Starsky & Hutch (2004), Meet the Fockers (2004) and Night at the Museum (2006).