Christopher Eugene "Chris" O'Donnell (born June 26, 1970) is an American actor. He played Robin in two Batman films, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, Charlie Simms in Scent of a Woman, Finn Dandridge in Grey's Anatomy, Peter Garrett in Vertical Limit, and more recently, Jack McAuliffe in The Company. O'Donnell currently stars as NCIS Special Agent G. Callen on the CBS crime drama television series NCIS: Los Angeles.
O'Donnell, the youngest of seven children (with four sisters and two brothers), was born in Winnetka, Illinois. He is the son of Julie Ann Rohs von Brecht (1936-) and William Charles O'Donnell, Sr. (1922-2010), a general manager of WBBM-AM, a CBS radio station.
O'Donnell is of paternal Irish and maternal German descent; he was raised in a devout Roman Catholic family and attended Roman Catholic schools, including Loyola Academy in Willmette, Illinois, for high school, graduating in 1988. O'Donnell attended Boston College and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in marketing. O'Donnell began modeling at the age of thirteen and was featured in several commercials.
O'Donnell was discovered when he was cast in a McDonald's commercial, in which he served Michael Jordan. His first television role was an appearance on the series Jack and Mike in 1986. At the age of 17, he was offered a chance to audition for a part in the movie Men Don't Leave, with Jessica Lange, and he won the role. In the early 1990s, O'Donnell was a featured player in many successful movies such as Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), School Ties (1992), and Scent of a Woman (1992) with Al Pacino (receiving a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor, which he lost to Gene Hackman for Unforgiven). He was named one of the 12 Promising New Actors of 1992 in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 44.
After the success of Blue Sky (1994) and Circle of Friends (1995), O'Donnell played Dick Grayson/Robin in Batman Forever. He reportedly was part of a field of candidates that included Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Ewan McGregor, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Toby Stephens, and Scott Speedman.
Producers narrowed their choices to DiCaprio and O'Donnell. At a comic book convention, they asked a group of 11-year-old boys, the target audience, which actor could win a fistfight. After the boys overwhelmingly declared O'Donnell the winner, he was ultimately given the role. By coincidence, O'Donnell was said to be 20th Century Fox's favorite choice to play Jack Dawson in Titanic, but DiCaprio ended up with the role. O'Donnell followed with a starring role in 1996's The Chamber, based on the John Grisham novel. He subsequently reprised his role in the Batman sequel, Batman & Robin, in 1997. Although a box office success, the movie was critically panned and O'Donnell himself has called it a low point in his career. He was considered for the lead role in Spider-Man, when the project was in development with James Cameron directing in 1996. Tobey Maguire was ultimately cast. O'Donnell did not appear in another movie for two years. He was the producers' original choice for the role of James Edwards in Men in Black (1997), but, after he turned it down, the role went to Will Smith. The Robert Altman film Cookie's Fortune, The Bachelor (1999) and Vertical Limit (2000) were only moderately successful. Following Vertical Limit, a four-year hiatus led some to believe Batman & Robin had damaged his career. However, he came back in 2004 with the widely praised Kinsey. O'Donnell also appeared in the 2004 episode of Two and a Half Men entitled "An Old Flame With A New Wick." O'Donnell took a lead role in the Fox Network television series Head Cases in 2005. The show was the first show of the fall 2005 season to be canceled, and only two episodes were aired. He was subsequently cast as veterinarian Finn Dandridge on the ABC drama Grey's Anatomy. He figured prominently in the TNT miniseries The Company (which incidentally, also featured former Bruce Wayne/Batman actor Michael Keaton, who didn't co-star with O'Donnell in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin) as fictional CIA case officer Jack McAuliffe, in a performance that subtly portrayed his character's progression from spoon-fed Yale elitist to jaded, post-Cold War cynic. Film projects for 2008 included Kit Kittredge: An American Girl and Max Payne. In 2010, O'Donnell appeared in the sequel to the 2001 movie Cats & Dogs, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. O'Donnell stars in NCIS: Los Angeles, a spin-off of NCIS, as G. Callen, an NCIS Special Agent in charge of the Office of Special Projects Team stationed in Los Angeles. CBS describes Callen as "a chameleon who transforms himself into whomever he needs to be to infiltrate the criminal underworld."
O'Donnell was once in a relationship with the actress Reese Witherspoon.
Chris is married to his college sweetheart, Caroline Morton Fentress O'Donnell (b. January 3rd, 1973) and together they have 5 children and 4 dogs: Lily Anne O'Donnell (b. September 3rd, 1999), Christopher "Chip" Eugene O'Donnell Jr. (b. October 24th, 2000), Charles "Charlie" McHugh O'Donnell (b. July 11th, 2003), Finley "Finn" O'Donnell (b. March 24th, 2006) and Maeve Frances O'Donnell (b. December 10th, 2007). The O'Donnell family also has 4 dogs: Kimmy, a black lab; Secret, a vanilla lab; and two English Cocker Spaniels named Bonnie and Clyde.
Chris and his wife Caroline also own two homes: their main home in the Huntington Palisades of Los Angeles, CA and a summer "cottage" in Islesboro, Maine.
Chris has six older siblings, 4 sisters and 2 brothers. His brother Bill O'Donnell (owner of Blue Ash Farm) is a cooking television personality who has appeared on various cooking shows where he has showcased his cooking skills. Bill is also married and has four children of his own. John is the founder of "Johnnie-O", which is a west coast prep clothing line which has been featured on many celebrities and television shows.
Chris also supports many different organizations across the country. He sits on the board of REDF and often makes cotributions to his home schools of Loyola Academy (Wilmette, IL) and Boston College. He has spoken many times at Boston College as an alumni.
Chris is also close friends with many celebrities, such as Gwyneth Paltrow. His former personal assitant, Jules Bianchi (www.julesbianchi.com) now works as a photographer and has done many shoots for his family.