MRR's Movie of the Week: The Life and Career of Matthew Broderick

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Matthew Broderick stars as Ferris Bueller, a smart aleck who is determined to have a day off from school, despite his suspecting principal.
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures
January 23rd, 2013

MRR's Movie of the Week: The Life and Career of Matthew Broderick

Matthew Broderick was born to actor James Broderick and occasional screenwriter and producer Patricia Broderick in New York City on March 21, 1962. As lovers of film and television, his parents encouraged him to pursue acting after his sports ambitions fizzled due to a knee injury.

He attended the Walden School, which at the time was one of the premier high schools in the city for students who wanted to pursue a career in the arts. The school had a particularly good drama program, which helped Broderick to get a role in the play "On Valentine's Day" at the tender age of seventeen. He took a shine to the stage, subsequently starring in "Brighton Beach Memoirs" by famous playwright Neil Simon, and later Simon's "Biloxi Blues."

Broderick performed so excellently in "Biloxi Blues" that he returned to the role in the 1998 screen adaptation by the same name. By then, his success had risen substantially, thanks in no small part to his first big-screen roles in "WarGames" and "Max Dugan Returns" in 1983. He costarred with Helen Hunt, who later became his girlfriend and then his fiancée. Broderick's relationship with Hunt kicked off a series of relationships between himself and his costars.

While he was beginning to taste Hollywood success after transitioning from the theater, a few television producers saw his talent and tried to lure him to the small screen. When he turned down an offer for the role of Alex P. Keaton in the sitcom "Family Ties," the part went instead to Michael J. Fox, who turned it into a career stepping stone.

Just a few years later, with his boyish good looks still very much intact, Broderick scored what would become his signature role. He played the lead character in John Hughes's "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." The movie became a pop culture phenomenon that turned Broderick into a household name. He followed up that success with more adult roles in darker films like "Project X" and "Torch Song Trilogy," which was controversial when it came out in 1988 because of its homosexual content. No matter how serious or adult his roles became though, Broderick could never quite shed the boyish image that made him famous.

During this time, Broderick's personal life wasn't quite as successful as his professional life. He dated actresses Lili Taylor and Jennifer Grey, to whom he was also engaged for a time. He got into a serious car accident in Ireland while driving with Grey, and the accident may have been a factor in the eventual demise of the relationship. After the breakup, Broderick went on to a string of other relationships, none of which ever became serious, until he met Sarah Jessica Parker, whom he married in 1997.

Shortly after their marriage, which was officiated by Broderick's sister, Parker landed her career-defining role as Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex and the City." As Parker's career took off into the stratosphere on television, Broderick's transitioned back to the stage. Since "Sex and the City" was filmed in New York City, it was easy for him to return to Broadway. He starred in the megahit "The Producers" with fellow stage vet Nathan Lane. He got a nomination for the Best Actor in a Musical Tony Award for the part but lost the award to his costar. Although Broderick had already won two Tony Awards by this time, "The Producers" was arguably his most successful stage play. It was so successful that it was adapted for the screen in 2005, marking the third time that Broderick had starred in both the stage and movie versions of the same play.

On October 28, 2000, Parker gave birth to the couple's first child, a son named James Wilkie Broderick. Nine years later, on June 22, 2009, a surrogate gave birth to the couple's biological twin daughters, Marion Loretta Elwell and Tabitha Hodge Broderick. The happy family still lives in New York City, where Broderick continues to work on Broadway, with the occasional cameo on television shows like "30 Rock."