Winnetka, Illinois native Chris O'Donnell was planning to study for a career in finance when he was spotted by a talent agent, who was so taken by the young man's natural star quality that he advised him not to take acting lessons. After a handful of roles in such films as Men Don't Leave (1989) and Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), O'Donnell made the quantum leap to A-list performer in the 1992 film Scent of a Woman, in which he played the high school-age companion and general factotum to a blind, ornery retired military officer (Al Pacino). "Hunk hearthrob" status came O'Donnell's way with his appearance as D'Artagnan in the 1993 filmization of The Three Musketeers and 1994's Circle of Friends, in which he played an innocent young Irish lad dealing with burgeoning hormones and Catholic values in the 1950s. With 1995's Batman Forever, O'Donnell's star ascended into blockbuster heaven with his high-octane performance as Robin, the Boy Wonder; he reprised the role two years later, this time playing opposite George Clooney in Batman & Robin (1997). Subsequently turning away from action roles, O'Donnell could next be seen as a bumbling, small-town policeman in Robert Altman's Cookie's Fortune (1999). That same year, he starred as the title character in The Bachelor, a commitment-phobe who must find a woman to marry in twenty-four hours so he can inherit a large fortune. Over the next decade O'Donnell gravitated increasingly toward television, essaying recurring roles on Grey's Anatomy, The Practice, and NCIS: Los Angeles and appearing in the Emmy-nominated mini-series The Company while occasionally returning to the big screen in such films as Max Payne and Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- The youngest of seven children.
- Began modeling at age 13 before appearing in a McDonald's commercial, serving Michael Jordan breakfast.
- While he was in college, Barbra Streisand called him to apologize for giving the role of her son in Prince of Tides (a role originally promised to him) to her own son.
- In 1992, received the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actor for Scent of a Woman and School Ties.
- In 2001, made his Broadway stage debut in Arthur Miller's The Man Who Had All the Luck.
- Appeared in two episodes of NCIS in 2009 that served as a backdoor pilot for his new spin-off series NCIS: Los Angeles.