Matthew David McConaughey is an American actor. He first gained notice for his breakout role in the coming of age comedy Dazed and Confused (1993), and went on to appear in films such as the slasher Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994), the legal thriller A Time to Kill (1996), Steven Spielberg's historical drama Amistad (1997), the science fiction drama Contact (1997), the comedy EDtv (1999) and the war film U-571 (2000). McConaughey achieved success in 2013 for portraying a cowboy diagnosed with AIDS in the biographical film Dallas Buyers Club, which earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Drama, among other awards and nominations.

McConaughey, the youngest of three boys, was born on November 4, 1969 in Uvalde, Texas. His mother, Kathleen "Kay" or "KMac", is a former kindergarten teacher and a published author, who is originally from Trenton, New Jersey. His father, James Donald McConaughey, used to run an oil pipe supply business and play for the Kentucky Wildcats football team and the Houston Cougars football team. His ancestry includes Scottish, English, Irish, Swedish, and German. He is a relative of Confederate brigadier general Dandridge McRae. McConaughey moved to Longview, Texas in 1980, where he attended Longview High School. He lived for a year in Warnervale, New South Wales, Australia, as a Rotary exchange student in 1988. McConaughey attended the University of Texas at Austin College of Communication, where he joined Delta Tau Delta International Fraternity. He began in fall of 1989 and graduated in the spring of 1993 with a Bachelor's degree in Radio-Television-Film. McConaughey's original plan was to attend law school, but he realized he was not interested in becoming a lawyer.

Apart from these, McConaughey began his acting career in 1991, appearing in television commercials, including one for the Austin, Texas daily newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman, in which he is credited as his first speaking role. The line, "How else am I gonna keep up with my 'Horns?" – a reference to his beloved Texas Longhorns sports teams – gave the local community a look at the young actor, before he was cast in Richard Linklater's film Dazed and Confused. After some smaller roles in Angels in the Outfield, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, Boys on the Side, the television series Unsolved Mysteries, and as the male lead in the Trisha Yearwood music video for the song Walkaway Joe, McConaughey's big break came as the lawyer Jake Brigance in the 1996 film A Time to Kill, based on the John Grisham novel of the same name. In the late '90s McConaughey was cast in leading roles in more movies, including Contact, Amistad, The Newton Boys, EDtv, and U-571. By the early 2000s, he was frequently cast in romantic comedies, including The Wedding Planner and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, both of which were successful at the box office. In 2013, he played the role of Ron Woodroof in the movie Dallas Buyers Club, which required him to lose 38 pounds. The film gathered wide critical acclaim and earned McConaughey many acting awards, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Drama and an Academy Award for Best Actor. During this time, he recorded a public service announcement in Austin, Texas for the LBJ Presidential Library.

McConaughey met Brazilian model and television performer Camila Alves in 2006. The couple became engaged on December 25, 2011 and were married on June 9, 2012 in Austin, Texas (where they reside) in a private Catholic ceremony. Together they have three children: son Levi Alves McConaughey (born 2008), daughter Vida Alves McConaughey (born 2010), and son Livingston Alves McConaughey (born 2012).