After spending most of the '80s as a hard rock god, Jon Bon Jovi decided to put his proven charisma and movie-star looks to work in front of the Hollywood cameras. Making his major screen debut as an amiable house painter in Moonlight and Valentino (1995), Bon Jovi earned surprisingly good notices for his performance, winning both grudging respect from film critics and further offers from casting agents.
Born John Francis Bongiovi in working-class Perth Amboy, NJ, on March 2, 1962, Bon Jovi spent much of his adolescence skipping school to play in a series of local rock bands. After one of his first demos, "Runaway," became a hit on the Jersey airwaves, the young musician formed Bon Jovi in 1983. The group went on to become one of the most successful hard rock bands of the decade, earning a huge number of fans and numerous industry honors. In 1990, during the band's 18-month hiatus, Bon Jovi wrote the soundtrack for the blockbuster Young Guns, and also had a very small role in the film. His soundtrack produced two hit singles and won Grammy and Oscar nominations, and Bon Jovi re-formed his band shortly thereafter.
Following his first major foray into acting in 1995, the musician won his first starring role in John Duigan's The Leading Man (1996). The film, which cast Bon Jovi as its title character -- a seductive and conniving actor -- earned lukewarm reviews and did negligible business at the box office. The aspiring actor was soon back in front of the camera, however, appearing in a string of films that included the submarine thriller U-571 (2000), in which he shared the screen with Matthew McConaughey, Harvey Keitel, and Bill Paxton, as well as Pay It Forward (2000), which cast him as Helen Hunt's loutish, absentee husband. Bon Jovi also continued his work as a musician, releasing a solo album in 1997 and then regrouping with his band members in 2000.
He earned decent reviews for his work as a possible love interest for Ally McBeal, and parlayed that into roles in the films Cry Wolf and National Lampoon's Pucked. In 2011 he was one of the many members of the ensemble in Garry Marshall's romantic comedy New Year's Eve. ~ Rebecca Flint Marx, Rovi