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BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — Actor Vince Vaughn turned a car accident that crushed his dream of becoming a water polo athlete into a career that has seen him appear in several of the top grossing movies of the 21st century.

Born in Minneapolis, Minn., to Sharon Eileen  – a real estate agent and stockbroker who was once ranked as one of the United States’ top money managers by Bloomberg Wealth Manager magazine – and Vernon Lindsay Vaughn – a salesman for a toy company – in 1970, Vaughn grew up in Buffalo Grove, Ill., where he played football and baseball along with wrestling. 

During his high school years, it is reported he took an interest in water polo and considered pursuing it further.  However, a car accident in 1987 cost him the tip of a thumb and caused a back injury ending his pursuit.

A 1988 graduate of Lake Forest High School, he was introduced to musical theater at a young age and decided to become an actor in 1987.

In 1988, Vaughn was cast in a Chevrolet television commercial and subsequently moved to Hollywood. He appeared in the 1989 season of the television series China Beach and in three CBS Schoolbreak Specials in 1990. His first film role was 1993’s Rudy playing Jamie O’Hare, where he also struck up a friendship with featured Jon Favreau. Two years later, he was cast in a lead role in a proposed revival of 77 Sunset Strip that was to air on the fledgling WB Television Network, but the project ceased development after initial testing. Vaughn did not receive wider success until his role in 1996’s Swingers with Jon Favreau. Swingers was released in July 1996 and became a successful independent film.

In 1997, director Steven Spielberg cast Vaughn in the blockbuster The Lost World: Jurassic Park which gave him increased exposure. In 1998, he starred in the critically acclaimed drama Return to Paradise with Anne Heche, and starred in Clay Pigeons with Janeane Garofalo and Joaquin Phoenix. In 2000, he starred in The Cell with Jennifer Lopez and in 2001, appeared in Made, another film penned by Favreau. Vaughn’s role in the successful 2003 comedy Old School skyrocketed his popularity.

In 2004, Vaughn appeared alongside Ben Stiller in the hit films Starsky & Hutch and Dodgeball. After this series of roles, Vaughn was dubbed one of the Hollywood “Frat Pack”, a group of actors who frequently co-star in film comedies. He subsequently appeared in 2005’s Thumbsucker, Be Cool, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Also in 2005, Vaughn starred alongside Owen Wilson in Wedding Crashers, which grossed over $200 million at the United States box office. In 2006, Vaughn starred with Jennifer Aniston in the comedy-drama The Break-Up.

In 2007, Vaughn starred in the Christmas comedy Fred Claus, as a sarcastic, wild-at-heart older brother of Santa Claus. Next, he momentarily moved from comedy to drama in Sean Penn’s critically acclaimed film Into the Wild.

In 2009, Vaughn starred in Couples Retreat, and in 2010 was among the nearly 80 musicians and actors to sing on the charity-single remake of We Are the World.

In 2013, Vaughn co-wrote and starred alongside Wedding Crashers co-star Owen Wilson in The Internship. In 2015, he starred in the second season of True Detective alongside Colin Farrell.

Collegiate Water Polo Association