Name: Matthew Ryan Phillippe
DoB: 10/09/1974 - New Castle, Delaware (U.S.A)
Siblings: Kirsten, Lindsay, and Katelyn
Born in Delaware as the son of a maternity nurse and a chemical engineer, Ryan grew up in a traditional family, the only son of four children. At the age of 17 and still in high school, he had a conversation in a local barbershop with a stranger (who in fact was a talent scout) and from this he decided that acting was as good a choice as any for a career.
Soon after this encounter he started attending auditions in New York. Unfortunately for Ryan these castings never paid off, but it did convince him that this was the way for him to go.
After graduating he moved to New York and started auditioning again. Within in weeks he was offered a role in the soap opera 'One Life to Live'.
This role as well as kick starting his career was significant for the fact that he portrayed the first American openly gay teenager seen on TV. This job only lasted for a year but I gave the inspiration, drive and money to move to Los Angeles and expand his horizons.
Los Angeles was hard on Ryan. He found himself in dire need of funds, lacking even a car to go to casting sessions. The few jobs he did land were small and not very fruitful. Over the next three years he appeared in a relatively unknown miniseries, an episode of Perry Mason and the wonderfully titled TV movie 'Deadly Invasion: The Killer Bee Nightmare'(1995). He also made a buck or two by acting in a handful of well know television series, though he never appeared more then once in each of them. In this time he met friends and fellow actors Seth Green and Breckin Meyer (from 'Road Trip'(2000) and co-star with Ryan in '54'(1998)).
Ryan's charms were not to be discovered quite yet; he was still struggling to maintain himself, and he started sharing a flat with Seth and Breckin who had similar misfortunes.
In 1995 he was cast for a very small role in the Gene Hackman submarine flop 'Crimson Tide'. This seemed to catch someone's eye as the very next year he acted along side Jeff Bridges in the also nautical; 'White Squall' (1996).
Even though no great things cam after 'White Squall', he had stepped up the ladder. Instead of acting in B-series TV shows he was now acting in B-series films, such as 'Invader' (1996) and 'Nowhere' (1997) along side Kathleen Robertson of Beverly Hills 90210 notoriety.
And seemingly at the end of the line he auditioned for the lead part in the summer chillier 'I Know What You Did Last Summer'(1997). This was a defining moment for Ryan on both a personal and professional level. To celebrate the fact he had landed the part him and his faithful accomplices gatecrashed a party being held in a neighbouring hotel. After scoring drinks and food they were cornered by the host and birthday girl, Reese Witherspoon. Ryan was smitten by her and she by him. That night they struck up a friendship that quickly evolved into a romantic relationship.
Now in a more stable financial position Ryan went on to lead and co-star in more notable films, with colleagues such as Natasha Kinski and John Lithgow and Salma Hayek. More prominently, he was cast as the HIV-positive boy tormented by Angelina Jolie in the beautiful film Playing by Heart (1998).
His next film, Cruel Intentions (1999), yet another remake of 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses', paired him up with Buffy star, Sarah Michelle Geller again and now wife Reese.
His following films seem to confirm that he is indeed a rising star, note the magnificent picture 'The Way of the Gun' (2000) (co-staring Benicio Del Toro and Juliette Lewis) and the geek film 'AntiTrust'(2001) that pitched him against Tim Robbins.
His wife recently gave birth to his first child, Ava Elizabeth.
Sources: Imdb (www.imdb.com).
Thanks for the corrections to PeterPan and juu. Thanks for the support, pjd.