Photo of Jean-Claude Van Damme Jean-Claude Van Damme

Born in Agathe, Belgium, on Oct. 18, 1960, athletic action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme was practicing martial arts by age 11 and went on to win a string of competitive honors, including the European Professional Karate Association's middleweight championship, and even studied ballet to improve his form.

His dreams of becoming a movie star began to take shape when he moved to America and was cast as a Russian in No Retreat, No Surrender (1986), which led to high-profile but formulaic roles in films such as Bloodsport (1988), Kickboxer (1989), Double Impact (1991) and The Quest (1996).

Despite his catchy nickname as "the Muscles from Brussels," Van Damme hasn't experienced the same degree of crossover success as fellow strongmen Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger -- but he's come close with the high-grossing hits Universal Soldier (1992) and Nowhere to Run (1993).

Jean-Claude Van Damme in The Expendables 2

The Expendables 2

2012 R

In this high-octane thriller, Mr. Church brings the Expendables back together for an easy job -- but things go wrong, and one of the mercenaries is brutally murdered. Now the band of hired guns goes on a mission of revenge in hostile territory.

  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Kickboxer: Vengeance Kickboxer: Vengeance
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Kung Fu Panda 2 Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Universal Soldier Universal Soldier
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Hard Target Hard Target
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Street Fighter Street Fighter
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Bloodsport Bloodsport
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Cyborg Cyborg
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Lionheart Lionheart
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Nowhere to Run Nowhere to Run
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in 6 Bullets 6 Bullets
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in The Quest The Quest
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in In Hell In Hell
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Second in Command Second in Command
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Universal Soldier: Regeneration Universal Soldier: Regeneration
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Assassination Games Assassination Games
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Dragon Eyes Dragon Eyes
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Swelter Swelter
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Welcome to the Jungle Welcome to the Jungle
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Pound of Flesh Pound of Flesh
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Kickboxer Kickboxer
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Sudden Death Sudden Death
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Universal Soldier: The Return Universal Soldier: The Return
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in The Order The Order
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in The Shepherd The Shepherd
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in JCVD JCVD
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Alien Uprising Alien Uprising
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Enemies Closer Enemies Closer
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Death Warrant Death Warrant
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Double Impact Double Impact
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in The Best of Friends: Season 2 The Best of Friends: Season 2
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Double Team Double Team
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Knock Off Knock Off
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Legionnaire Legionnaire
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Replicant Replicant
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Wake of Death Wake of Death
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in The Hard Corps The Hard Corps
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme in Until Death Until Death