Chris O’Donnell rose to fame as G. Callen in the hit series NCIS Los Angeles, becoming a household name in the process. He has been a part of the show since its inception and is now heading into the highly anticipated 13th season.
However, O’Donnell’s success in NCIS is just a fraction of his impressive career. Even before his role on the show, he had already made a name for himself. Notably, he had a significant role in a Batman movie.
Contrary to what one might expect, the 51-year-old actor has faced some undeserved criticism from the celebrity press in Hollywood. Surprisingly, the reason behind this animosity is not what one might think.
Let’s delve into the life of Chris O’Donnell. Born on June 26, 1970, in Winnetka, Illinois, he grew up in a large Catholic family as the youngest of seven siblings.
O’Donnell credits his large family for shaping his character and instilling in him values he carried throughout his life. His religious upbringing played a significant role in his development.
At the age of 13, O’Donnell surprised his family by expressing his desire to become a model, seeing it as an easy way to make money. He took the initiative and began calling talent agencies listed in the Yellow Pages. Although those calls didn’t yield immediate results, O’Donnell’s sister happened to meet an agent at a wedding, leading to an opportunity for him. O’Donnell impressed the agent during a meeting in downtown Chicago, and soon he found himself working as a model, starting with pajamas for Sears and Montgomery Ward’s. He eventually transitioned to appearing in commercials, including a memorable McDonald’s ad where he served breakfast to basketball legend Michael Jordan.
His acting career took off in the early 1990s, with notable roles in films such as “Men Don’t Leave” and “Fried Green Tomatoes.” While studying marketing at Boston College, O’Donnell discovered his true passion for acting, leading him to pursue it more seriously.
It was during his college years that O’Donnell’s talent became evident to those around him, although he had initially kept his filmmaking pursuits a secret. In a twist of fate, he missed out on a role in the film “Prince of Tides” alongside Barbara Streisand when she decided not to cast him. O’Donnell only learned about this decision after receiving a message from Streisand for him from his roommate.
However, O’Donnell’s breakthrough came in 1992 when he starred opposite Al Pacino in the film “Scent of a Woman.” His exceptional performance earned him a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, while Pacino won an Oscar. Working with Pacino provided O’Donnell with invaluable acting lessons and greatly enhanced his skills.
Beyond acting advice, Pacino imparted an important life lesson to O’Donnell. During their time together, Pacino advised him against marrying an actress, claiming they would prioritize their careers over their partners. O’Donnell heeded this advice and instead found love with Carolina Fentress, the younger sister of one of his college roommates. They began dating in 1993 and tied the knot in 1997, after O’Donnell sought permission from Carolina’s father in a traditional manner. Their wedding ceremony took place at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Washington, D.C., with Sandra Bullock, O’Donnell’s co-star from “In Love and War,” among the guests.
Price praised Chris O’Donnell’s performance in a European-cast film, acknowledging the potential for resentment due to his status as the highest-paid American star. However, Price commended O’Donnell’s down-to-earth nature, friendliness, thoughtfulness, and consideration. Despite his leading role, O’Donnell remained unassuming and likable, winning the admiration of those around him. Price emphasized O’Donnell’s ability to maintain audience empathy while delivering a remarkable performance, highlighting his strong grounding and instincts.
Moving on to O’Donnell’s role in “NCIS Los Angeles,” he has not only become a beloved presence on set but has also achieved true stardom. Having appeared in 287 episodes of the show, alongside notable cast members like Linda Hunt, O’Donnell has become a familiar face to audiences. According to Celebrity Net Worth, his net worth is estimated to be $25 million.
During his time on the show, O’Donnell’s children have grown up, and he considers his role in “NCIS Los Angeles” to be a great gift. Reflecting on the experience, he expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to witness his children’s growth while having a stable job. As an actor, he appreciates the character development and rich storylines that have elevated the show. The emotional depth raises the stakes, adding to the overall impact.
From a personal standpoint, O’Donnell describes his time on the show as an incredible experience. As an actor, the profession often involves constant movement and uncertainty, but having a steady job during his children’s formative years has been a tremendous blessing. O’Donnell expresses his gratitude for the opportunity to work on such an amazing show and acknowledges the shared appreciation among the cast for being able to establish themselves in one place for an extended period.