Owen Wilson

Owen Wilson
Owen Wilson 2017 Daytona 500.jpg
Wilson in 2017
Owen Cunningham Wilson

(1968-11-18) November 18, 1968 (age 52)[1]
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Alma mater University of Texas at Austin (BA)
  • Actor
  • producer
  • screenwriter
  • comedian
Years active 1996–present
Children 3
Parent(s) Laura Wilson (mother)

Owen Cunningham Wilson (born November 18, 1968)[2] is an American actor, producer, screenwriter, and comedian. He has had a long association with filmmaker Wes Anderson with whom he shared writing and acting credits for Bottle Rocket (1996), Rushmore (1998), and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), the latter of which earned him a nomination for the Academy Award and BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay.

He has had leading roles in Behind Enemy Lines (2001), I Spy (2002), Marley and Me (2008), Midnight in Paris (2011), and a number of Frat Pack comedies including Zoolander (2001), Starsky & Hutch (2004), Wedding Crashers (2005), You, Me and Dupree (2006), Drillbit Taylor (2008), How Do You Know (2010), The Big Year (2011), and The Internship (2013). For his role as unsatisfied screenwriter Gil Pender in Midnight in Paris, he earned a Golden Globe nomination. He has voiced Lightning McQueen in the Cars film series (2006–2017), Coach Skip in Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), the title character in Marmaduke (2010) and Reggie in Free Birds (2013).

Early life

Wilson was born in Dallas, the middle child of three sons of photographer Laura Cunningham Wilson (born 1939) and Robert Andrew Wilson (1941–2017), an advertising executive and operator of a public television station. His brothers Andrew and Luke are also actors. Wilson's parents are of Irish descent.[3] He attended New Mexico Military Institute and the University of Texas at Austin, where he pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.[4]



After his film debut in Bottle Rocket (1996), Wilson co-wrote with Wes Anderson the script for Anderson's next two directorial films, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, for which they garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Wilson then landed a role in The Cable Guy, directed by Ben Stiller, an early admirer of Bottle Rocket. After appearing in supporting roles in action films like Anaconda and Armageddon and the horror film The Haunting, Wilson appeared in two dramatic roles: a supporting role in Permanent Midnight, which starred Stiller as a drug-addicted TV writer; and the lead role (as a serial killer) in The Minus Man, in which his future girlfriend, singer Sheryl Crow, was a co-star.


Wilson in 2003

Wilson starred in the 2000 comedy action film Shanghai Noon alongside Jackie Chan. The film grossed nearly $100 million worldwide. His fame continued to rise after starring alongside Ben Stiller and Will Ferrell in the 2001 film Zoolander. Gene Hackman reportedly took notice of Wilson's performance in Shanghai Noon and recommended the actor to co-star in the 2001 action film Behind Enemy Lines. Also in 2001, Wilson and Anderson collaborated on their third film, The Royal Tenenbaums, a financial and critical success. The film earned the writing team an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.[5]

Wilson returned to the buddy-comedy genre in 2002 with the action comedy I Spy, co-starring Eddie Murphy. The big-screen remake of the same-named television series did not perform well at the box office. He made a cameo appearance in the Girl Skateboards video Yeah Right! in 2003. He then reunited with Chan to make Shanghai Knights (2003), and co-starred in the film remake of the 1970s television series Starsky & Hutch (2004). Due to his busy schedule as an actor and an ongoing sinus condition, Wilson was unavailable to collaborate on the script for Wes Anderson's fourth feature film, 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 him.[6] In 2004, he and his brother Luke played the Wright brothers in the 2004 film Around the World in 80 Days.

Wilson partnered with Vince Vaughn in the 2005 comedy film Wedding Crashers which grossed over $200 million in the US alone. Also in 2005, Owen collaborated with his brothers in The Wendell Baker Story, written by Luke and directed by Luke and Andrew.[7] In 2006, Wilson voiced Lightning McQueen in the Disney/Pixar film Cars, starred in You, Me and Dupree with Kate Hudson, and appeared with Stiller in Night at the Museum as cowboy Jedediah.

Wilson at the London premiere of You, Me and Dupree in 2006

Wilson has starred with Ben Stiller in twelve films, including The Cable Guy (1996), Permanent Midnight (1998), Meet the Parents (2000), Zoolander (2001), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), Starsky & Hutch (2004), Meet the Fockers (2004), Night at the Museum (2006), and the sequels Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009), Little Fockers (2010), Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014) and Zoolander 2 (2016).

Wilson appeared in another Wes Anderson film, The Darjeeling Limited which screened at the 45th annual New York Film Festival, the Venice Film Festival, and opened September 30, 2007. It co-stars Jason Schwartzman and Adrien Brody.[8] The Darjeeling Limited was selected for a DVD and Blu-ray release by The Criterion Collection in October 2010.[9] Wilson next starred in the Judd Apatow comedy, Drillbit Taylor which was released in March 2008. He appeared in a film adaptation of John Grogan's best-selling memoir, Marley & Me (2008), co-starring Jennifer Aniston.[10]

He provided the voice for the Whackbat Coach Skip in Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox. He starred in the film The Big Year, an adaptation of Mark Obmascik's book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession.[11] The film was released in October 2011 by 20th Century Fox, and co-starred Jack Black, JoBeth Williams, Steve Martin and Rashida Jones.

Wilson is a member of the comedic acting brotherhood colloquially known as the Frat Pack. Wilson made a guest appearance on the NBC comedy Community with fellow Frat Pack member Jack Black.[12]


Wilson with Woody Allen at the Cannes Film Festival premiere of Midnight in Paris in 2011

In 2011, Wilson starred as a nostalgia-seized writer in the romantic comedy Midnight in Paris, written and directed by Woody Allen. The film premiered at the 64th Cannes Film Festival to critical acclaim. Wilson earned a Golden Globe Award for his performance. The film became Allen's highest grossing thus far,[13] and was also well received by critics.[14]

Wilson returned to voice McQueen in Cars 2. In March 2012, Wilson was signed to star in the John Erick Dowdle thriller The Coup,[15] later renamed "No Escape", in which he played the role of the father of an American family that moves to Southeast Asia, only to find itself swept up in a wave of rebel violence that is overwhelming the city. The film was not released until 2015, and was Wilson's return to the action genre for the first time since Behind Enemy Lines in 2001.[16] He also voiced turkey Reggie in Reel FX's first animated film, Free Birds.[17][18]

In 2014, Wilson appeared in Wes Anderson's acclaimed ensemble comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel and in Paul Thomas Anderson's book adaptation of Inherent Vice.[19] In 2015, he starred with Jennifer Aniston in Peter Bogdanovich's film She's Funny That Way, and in the action thriller film No Escape alongside Lake Bell and Pierce Brosnan. Wilson's films have grossed more than US$2.25  billion domestically (United States and Canada), with an average of US$75M per film. In 2017, Wilson again voiced Lightning McQueen in Cars 3, played a suburban father in the drama Wonder, and co-starred with Ed Helms in the comedy Father Figures.[20]

In November 2017, Wilson became the face of a new £20 million advertising campaign for the UK sofa retailer Sofology.[21] He returned to work with Sofology in 2019 for a second advertising campaign.[22]

Upcoming projects

Wilson will next appear in The French Dispatch, directed by Wes Anderson;[23] Bliss, directed by Mike Cahill opposite Salma Hayek for Amazon Studios;[24] and Marry Me alongside Jennifer Lopez and directed by Kat Coiro for Universal Pictures.[25]

Wilson is said to be attached to a sequel to Shanghai Knights, marking his third collaboration with Jackie Chan.[26]

Wilson is to appear in the Loki series on Disney+ as Mobius M. Mobius.[27][28]

Personal life

In April 2002, the release of the album C'mon C'mon by former girlfriend Sheryl Crow features the song "Safe and Sound.” This was dedicated to Wilson in the liner notes, and is said to be an account of Wilson and Crow's relationship.[citation needed]

In August 2007, Wilson attempted suicide and was subsequently treated for depression at St. John's Health Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.[29][30] A few days after his hospitalization, Wilson withdrew from his role in Tropic Thunder[31] which was produced by and co-starred his friend and frequent collaborator Ben Stiller and was replaced by Matthew McConaughey.[32] The incident resulted in much unwanted publicity for Wilson and he has been wary of doing interviews ever since.[33][34]

In January 2011, Wilson and his girlfriend Jade Duell had a son.[35][36] Wilson and Duell ended their relationship later that year. In January 2014, Caroline Lindqvist gave birth to Wilson's second son.[37][38][39] He had a third child, a daughter in October 2018 with ex-girlfriend Varunie Vongsvirates.[40] According to Vongsvirates, as of November 2019 Wilson has never met his daughter.[41]



Year Title Role Notes
1996 Bottle Rocket Dignan Also writer
The Cable Guy Robin's Date
1997 Anaconda Gary Dixon
As Good as It Gets N/A Associate producer
1998 Armageddon Oscar Choice
Permanent Midnight Nicky
Rushmore N/A Co-writer; Wilson also appeared in a photograph in the film.[42][43][44]
1999 The Haunting Luke Sanderson
Breakfast of Champions Monte Rapid
The Minus Man Vann Siegert
2000 Shanghai Noon Roy O'Bannon
Meet the Parents Kevin Rawley
2001 Zoolander Hansel McDonald
The Royal Tenenbaums Eli Cash Also writer
Behind Enemy Lines Lt. Chris Burnett
2002 I Spy Alex Scott
The Sweatbox Himself Archive footage; haven't been released to the public
2003 Shanghai Knights Roy O'Bannon
Yeah Right! Himself Cameo
2004 The Big Bounce Jack Ryan
Starsky & Hutch Ken Hutchinson
Around the World in 80 Days Wilbur Wright
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Ned Plimpton
Meet the Fockers Kevin Rawley
2005 The Wendell Baker Story Neil King
Wedding Crashers John Beckwith
2006 Cars Lightning McQueen Voice
Mater and the Ghostlight Voice; Short
You, Me and Dupree Randolph Dupree Also producer
Night at the Museum Jedediah Uncredited
2007 The Darjeeling Limited Francis Whitman
2008 Drillbit Taylor Drillbit Taylor
Marley & Me John Grogan
Over Her Dead Body Guy on Phone Uncredited
2009 Night at the Museum 2 Jedediah
Fantastic Mr. Fox Coach Skip Voice
2010 Marmaduke Marmaduke Voice
How Do You Know Matty Reynolds
Little Fockers Kevin Rawley
2011 Hall Pass Richard "Rick" Mills
Midnight in Paris Gil Pender
Cars 2 Lightning McQueen Voice
The Big Year Kenny Bostick
2013 The Internship Nick Campbell
Free Birds Reggie Voice
Are You Here Steve Dallas
2014 The Grand Budapest Hotel M. Chuck
The Hero of Color City Ricky The Dragon Voice
Inherent Vice Coy Harlingen
Night at the Museum 3 Jedediah
2015 She's Funny That Way Arnold Albertson
No Escape Jack Dwyer
2016 Zoolander 2 Hansel McDonald
Masterminds Steve Chambers
2017 Lost in London Himself
Cars 3 Lightning McQueen Voice
Wonder Nate Pullman
Father Figures Kyle Reynolds
2021 Bliss Greg Post-production
The French Dispatch Herbsaint Salzerac Post-production
Marry Me Charlie Gilbert Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1999 Heat Vision and Jack Heat Vision Voice; Short
2001 King of the Hill Rhett Van Der Graaf Voice; Episode: "Luanne Virgin 2.0"
2010 Community Other Study Group's Leader Episode: "Investigative Journalism"; uncredited
2013 Drunk History John Harvey Kellogg Episode: "Detroit"
2014 Cars Toons: Tales From Radiator Springs Lightning McQueen Voice; Episode: "The Radiator Springs 500 ½"
2016 Saturday Night Live Hansel McDonald Episode: "Larry David/The 1975"
2019 Documentary Now! Father Ra-Shawbard Episode: "Batsh*t Valley" (2 parts)
2021 Loki Mobius M. Mobius Filming

Video games

Year Title Role
2006 Cars Lightning McQueen
2012 Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure
2014 Cars: Fast as Lightning
2018 Lego The Incredibles

Music videos

Awards and nominations

Year Title Association Category Results
1996 Bottle Rocket Lone Star Film & Television Award Debut of the Year (shared with Wes Anderson & Luke Wilson) Won
1998 Rushmore New York Film Critics Circle Award Best Screenplay (shared with Wes Anderson) Nominated
1999 Lone Star Film & Television Award Won
National Society of Film Critics Award Nominated
2000 The Haunting Blockbuster Entertainment Award Favorite Supporting Actor - Horror Nominated
Rushmore Chlotrudis Award Best Screenplay (shared with Wes Anderson) Nominated
2001 The Royal Tenebaums Awards Circuit Community Award Best Cast Ensemble Nominated
Meet the Parents Blockbuster Entertainment Award Favorite Supporting Actor - Comedy Nominated
Shanghai Noon Favorite Action Team - Internet Only (shared with Jackie Chan) Nominated
The Royal Tenebaums New York Film Critics Circle Award Best Screenplay (shared with Wes Anderson) Nominated
Shanghai Noon Satellite Award Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical Nominated
Zoolander The Stinkers Bad Movie Award Worst On-Screen Hairstyle Nominated
The Royal Tenebaums Toronto Film Critics Association Award Best Screenplay (shared with Wes Anderson) Nominated
2002 Academy Award Best Original Screenplay (shared with Wes Anderson) Nominated
British Academy Film Award Best Screenplay - Original (shared with Wes Anderson) Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Award Best Screenplay (shared with Wes Anderson) Nominated
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award Nominated
Zoolander MTV Movie + TV Award Best On-Screen Team (shared with Ben Stiller) Nominated
The Royal Tenenbaums Online Film & Television Association Award Best Original Screenplay (shared with Wes Anderson) Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Award Nominated
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best Screenplay - Original (shared with Wes Anderson) Nominated
Best Acting Ensemble Nominated
Satellite Award Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical Nominated
Writers Guild Award Best Original Screenplay (shared with Wes Anderson) Nominated
2003 I Spy Golden Raspberry Award Worst Screen Couple (shared with Eddie Murphy) Nominated
Shanghai Knights MTV Movie + TV Award Best On-Screen Team (shared with Jackie Chan) Nominated
2004 The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Boston Society of Film Critics Award Best Ensemble Cast Nominated
Starsky & Hutch MTV Movie + TV Award Best On-Screen Team (shared with Ben Stiller) Nominated
Best Kiss (shared with Carmen Electra & Amy Smart) Won
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Actor - Comedy Nominated
Choice Movie - Chemistry (shared with Ben Stiller) Nominated
2005 The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Critics Choice Movie Award Best Acting Ensemble Nominated
N/A Oldenburg Film Festival Award German Independence Honorary Award (shared with Ken Russell, Andrew Wilson & Luke Wilson) Won
Starsky & Hutch People's Choice Award Favorite On-Screen Chemistry (shared with Ben Stiller) Nominated
2006 Wedding Crashers MTV Movie + TV Award Best Comedic Performance Nominated
Best On-Screen Team (shared with Vince Vaughn) Won
People's Choice Award Favorite On-Screen Match-Up (shared with Vince Vaughn) Won
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie - Liplock (shared with Rachel McAdams) Nominated
2009 Marley & Me Choice Movie - Liplock (shared with Clyde the dog) Nominated
2011 N/A Dubai International Film Festival Award International Star of the Year Won
Midnight in Paris Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best Acting Ensemble Nominated
2012 Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award Most Egregious Age Difference Between the Leading Man and the Love Interest (shared with Lea Seydoux) Nominated
Gold Derby Award Ensemble Cast Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical Nominated
Cars 2 People's Choice Award Favorite Animated Voice Nominated
Midnight in Paris Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
2013 The Internship CinemaCon Award Comedy Duo of the Year (shared with Vince Vaughn) Won
2014 The Grand Budapest Hotel Detroit Film Critics Society Award Best Ensemble Won
Florida Film Critics Circle Award Won
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best Acting Ensemble Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Award Best Ensemble Nominated
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award Won
Washing DC Area Film Critics Association Award Best Acting Ensemble Nominated
2015 Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award Best Ensemble Won
Georgia Film Critics Association Award Won
Gold Derby Award Ensemble Cast Nominated
Inherent Vice Independent Spirit Award Won
The Grand Budapest Hotel Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
2017 Zoolander 2 Golden Raspberry Award Worst Supporting Actor Nominated
Worst Screen Combo (shared with Ben Stiller) Nominated
Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Award BFFs (Best Friends Forever) (shared with Ben Stiller) Nominated
Cars 3 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Actor - Comedy Nominated
Choice Summer Movie Star - Male Nominated


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External links