See Chris O'Dowd's rise to fame


Chris O’Dowd is born on 9 October 1979.

Raised in County Roscommon, Ireland, his mum Denise is a psychotherapist and his dad Sean a graphic designer.

The youngest of 5, Chris O’Dowd jokes: ‘I was beaten down and wore oversized clothes that were for females.’

There were times he went to school sporting eyeliner and blusher because his three sisters had painted his face while he slept.

But his childhood was full of fond memories.

‘Laughing was a big part of our family,’ he says.

At 12 there is little sign that Chris O’Dowd will become a heartthrob.

He says: ‘I was 6ft, had a massive nose, ears and acne. I looked like I had a perm. No one would dance with the hunchback in the corner.’

After school, Chris O’Dowd studies politics and sociology at University College Dublin and meets his first serious girlfriend. They last eight years, but he never finishes his degree.

‘I went to exams and, honest to God, there were times I didn’t even know what they were about,’ he admits.

Chris O’Dowd leaves to go to The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, but drops out after only 18 months.

When not at auditions, he works in a charity call centre, raising over £400,000 in just one year by telling funny stories.

In 2003, Chris makes his TV debut in BBC1’s Red Cap with Tamzin Outhwaite.

Then he lands a small part in the film Vera Drake.

The best-forgotten TV movie Showbands II with Kerry Katona follows, but Chris O’Dowd’s big break comes in 2006 when he stars in Channel 4’s The IT Crowd as geeky Roy.

His brother-in-law, who works in IT, helps him prepare – and it pays off: the show wins BAFTAs and Emmys.

‘It built slowly. I was pretty bad in the first series,’ he admits.

Move over, David Beckham!

Chris O’Dowd shows Becks how it’s done by stripping down to his undies to play a radio DJ in the 2009 Brit flick The Boat That Rocked.

In January 2009, after splitting from his girlfriend, Chris O’Dowd buys a one-way ticket to LA.

His gamble works. Within three months he is cast in Jack Black film Gulliver’s Travels.

And soon after that, he meets TV star Dawn Porter in LA.

Although Gulliver’s Travels doesn’t set the box office alight, the roles – including a part in BBC drama The Crimson Petal And The White – keep coming on both sides of the Atlantic.

Almost two years after first arriving in LA, Chris O’Dowd auditions for the comedy Bridesmaids. He gets the role of charming cop Nathan Rhodes.

The film is an instant hit and makes Chris one of Hollywood’s leading men.

Women around the world fall for him and there is a flood of proposals on Twitter.

‘I don’t think women knew who I was before Bridesmaids,’ he says. ‘And my character was such a nice guy, so now people ask me to do their washing. They try to set me up on a blind date with their sister.’

Following Bridesmaids, Chris O’Dowd films scenes in a pool with Megan Fox for This Is 40 and goes to Australia to shoot The Sapphires.

Chris O’Dowd reunites with Bridesmaids co-star Maya Rudolph in comedy Friends With Kids, which is about a couple starting a family.

Chris is now writing and producing new US comedy series Big Men and has written Moone Boy, a TV series about his childhood, for Sky1.

After proposing to girlfriend TV star Dawn Porter on Boxing Day 2011, Chris O’Dowd and his bride celebrate their August bank holiday weekend wedding with a 3-day party.

All in all, that isn’t too bad for a dropout ‘hunchback’ from County Roscommon.

‘I’ve not had too many bad times,’ says Chris.

‘But enough to let me know when the good have arrived.’