Ben Affleck

According to People Magazine he is one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world. He's also a very fine actor, director and Oscar winning filmmaker.

Benjamin Géza Affleck was born to actor-father Timothy Affleck and mother Chris Boldt, a school teacher.

Tim worked with big name stars such as Dustin Hoffman, and joined the Theatre Company Of Boston. It was Tim’s influence and connections that got Affleck started in TV in the early years of his life.

Affleck’s first strike for fame was appearing in adverts for Burger King and by the age of 12 he had appeared in the educational mini-series The Voyage of the Mimi. At this point in his life though, Affleck suffered an emotional setback when his parents divorced. The relationship break-up was blamed on Tim’s 'severe, chronic problem with alcoholism'. Tim left for the Recovery Centre in Palm Springs, got back on his feet and today works as a drugs counsellor for people in rehabilitation.

Significantly, it’s worth noting that at age 8, Affleck had met and befriended a boy called Matt Damon, and together they attended Little League and also acted. While at the Rindge and Latin High School, they were both members of a group who won a drama award from the Boston Globe and here their future ambitions were founded.

But it was Damon who possessed the work-ethic and once he’d gained a place to Harvard, Affleck's school career began to slide. Affleck’s high B average wasn’t enough for entry to Harvard as well so he instead enrolled at the University of Vermont.

Affleck soon decided to eschew his studies in favour of a more practical approach to job-winning by heading straight to Hollywood. Putting this plan to his mother, she agreed so long as he stayed with friends of hers and continued his studies at the Occidental College. Affleck submitted to his mother’s conditions and took up Middle Eastern Studies.

Throughout the early 90s, Affleck’s career aspirations failed to alight. After appearing in an uncredited role as Basketball Player number 13 in the film version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, there were a number of low-key TV series. So he took the decision to venture into the world of independent cinema instead.

Affleck’s first film in 1992 was School Ties. By this time, Matt Damon had left Harvard and joined him in LA and, despite debuting alongside Julia Roberts in Mystic Pizza, he too was finding the going tough.

With offers still slow off the ground, Affleck took a part in Richard Linklater's classic Dazed And Confused (1993), a brilliant comic study of Seventies teens, where Matthew McConaughey also made his debut. While Affleck’s move into independent film did manage to secure him a few roles, it also helped him establish vital contacts who would later contribute to his success.

In 1995, Affleck appeared in Kevin Smith's Mallrats. Smith was already renowned thanks to his underground hit film Clerks (1994), and this new movie took the audience into the dark heart of the American mall, with Affleck playing the slick manager of Fashionable Male, seducing Shannon Doherty to the despair of her would-be lover.

Kevin Smith was so impressed that he set about writing his next movie around Affleck, Chasing Amy (1997), about a cartoonist who falls for a lesbian played by Joey Lauren Adams.

In 1996, Affleck landed a larger part in Glory Daze but the film wasn’t a success.

While studying at Harvard, Matt Damon had begun writing a story during one of his English classes, but had put the idea on hold for a year or so. Picking it up again, Damon decided to turn the tale into a screenplay and enlisted Affleck's help.

They called the final edit Good Will Hunting, and at this time Affleck's connections proved their worth. He showed the script to Kevin Smith who loved it and took it straight to Harvey Weinstein at Miramax.

Before they knew it, Miramax had signed the film, Robin Williams came on board, as did director Gus Van Sant (To Die For), and Damon and Affleck found themselves $600,000 richer, and starring in their own screenplay.

Good Will Hunting grossed over $130 million after its release in 1997 and won Affleck and Damon an Academy Award for Best Screenplay.

By the time of its release, the hype surrounding the duo was already immense leading to Damon taking the title role in Saving Private Ryan, and Affleck starring in the hit Armageddon (1998), which grossed over $200 million.

Soon the parts came flooding in. He starred once more with Damon in the cult-hit (and another Kevin Smith film) Dogma (1999), played a ruthless trader in Boiler Room (2000), and starred alongside Gary Sinise as an ex-con in Reindeer Games (2000).

After starring in Bounce (2000) with Gwyneth Paltrow and Billy Bob Thornton's Daddy And Them (2001), Affleck took his first major action role since Armageddon - Pearl Harbour, playing the romantic lead opposite Kate Beckinsale in 2001.

Pearl Harbour was panned by the critics though and for a while it seemed his career had ground to a sudden halt. Changing Lanes (2002), thankfully was a surprise chart-topper once more. As was Affleck’s role in The Sum Of All Fears (2002), stepping into Harrison Ford’s shoes playing the character of Jack Ryan in the Tom Clancy series.

Daredevil (2003), Affleck's first foray into superhero movies, saw him star as Matt Murdock, a man blinded by radioactive waste but still able, due to his other now-enhanced senses, to foil villains with his acrobatic stunts and ninja-type abilities. Co-incidentally, Kevin Smith had earlier written some of the Daredevil comics, and would appear in the movie as a laboratory assistant.

Affleck’s role in the film Gigli (2003) was to spark interest of another kind though when he began a romance with his co-star, Jennifer Lopez. The media couldn’t get enough of the pair and Gigli was critically torn apart - creating a new record in the US with a takings drop of 81.9% in its second weekend.

Fans would lay the blame for Affleck’s sudden fall from favour at Lopez’s door. An engagement between the two was announced, then called off in September 2003 with Affleck later describing the period of his life with Lopez as a 'car wreck.'

Affleck next appeared in John Woo's thriller Paycheck (2003), before being reunited with Kevin Smith once more on Jersey Girl in 2004, based on Smith's own experience of fatherhood.

Jersey Girl unfortunately dragged old headlines out of the woodwork for Affleck as the film also starred Jennifer Lopez. He kept his head high though and simply let the ruckus burn itself out while he got on with life outside of film.

Throughout 2005, Affleck was still a major attraction in the press, but only due to his relationship with actress Jennifer Garner, who'd earlier played Elektra to his Daredevil. Garner’s profile had been raised after Elektra and the TV show Alias and Affleck once more found himself one half of a tabloid-friendly couple.

He had learnt his lesson though and both shied away from the publicity. The couple married in June 2005 in a low-key ceremony and the birth of their daughter, Violet Anne, in December, was also announced quietly without the usual 10-page magazine spread.

2006 would see his attempt at a comeback, first making a brief cameo in mate Kevin Smith’s Clerks II. But it was Hollywoodland, where Affleck plays George Reeves, a failed screen actor who found belated fame as Superman on TV, that Oscar rumours started to circulate again.

Affleck’s performance was rated highly, winning him the Volpi Cup as Best Actor at Venice, and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. At last, Affleck was back on the radar.

With Affleck’s wages having risen from $20,000 for Danielle Steele's Daddy in 1991 to tens of millions, it seems that Affleck’s success pact with Matt Damon many moons ago has finally paid off.

Affleck made his directorial debut in 2007 with the movie Gone Baby Gone, which he also co-wrote. The film also starred Affleck's younger brother, Casey. The film was widely praised by critics when it opened in October of that year. Commenting on his decision to direct a film, he said: "Directing a movie was really instructive for me. I think I learned a lot about writing, and a lot about acting, and I learned how all the pieces fit together from the inside. That was really valuable. It was a good thing."

In 2009, the actor returned in front of the cameras for the films He's Just Not That Into You, State Of Play and Extract.

In 2010, Affleck played one of the main roles in the film The Company Men, which features three men coping with the downsizing at a major company where they work and the impact this has on their families.

He then directed and starred in The Town, which also featured Blake Lively, Rebecca Hall and Jon Hamm.

It tells the story of a long-time thief planning his next bank job while balancing his feelings for the bank manager and an FBI agent determined to bring his gang down.

In 2012 Affleck reached his critical peak, directing and starring in Argo. The movie won him the Golden Globe, BAFTA and Directors Guild Award for Best Director, and the Golden Globe, BAFTA, Producers Guild Award and Academy Award for Best Picture. He will continue his directorial career when he adapts Dennis Lehane's 2012 novel Live By Night for a 2015 theatrical release.

Afleck appeared in the film adaptation of Gilian Flynn's bestseller Gone Girl, and as Batman in Batman Vs Superman, in summer 2016.

Affleck and Garner welcomed their second daughter Seraphina Elizabeth Rose into the world in January 2009, followed by son Samuel Garner in 2012. They announced their separation in 2015.