Broderick has carved out a career by playing intelligent good people caught in bad situations, who, despite their intelligence, canít figure out just how they got into this mess in the first place.
Broderick was raised in a very literate household; his father James was an actor, and his mom Patricia was a playwright. Matthew was welcomed into the family on March 21st, 1962. He grew up in New York, and the New Yorkís thriving theater industry was always in the background of his life. Matthew started appearing in theater workshops with his dad when he was 17. He immediately took to acting and was soon enough working with some of the most famous playwrights of the day.
He appeared in Harvey Fiersteinís Torch Song Trilogy as the gay lover of the Arnold character. Even more impressive, he appeared in the principle role in Neil Simonís Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues, the first two segments in the playwrightís autobiographical trilogy. The former gave Broderick his first Tony Award.
In the early 80s, Matthew turned down the role of Alex P. Keaton on the television series Family Ties, which made a star of Michael J. Fox. His father had developed cancer and he was losing his battle. The role would have meant moving to Los Angeles, something which Broderick did not want to do at that time.
Matthew made his cinematic debut in 1983 in Neil Simonís Max Dugan Returns, but it was WarGames - which came out later that year - that got him some attention. The film, about a whiz kid who gets caught up in global nuclear war, was a success. However, 1986's Ferris Buellerís Day Off remains Broderickís most memorable film to this day. As the cocky, school-skipping oddball, he captured the attention of a generation of teens (and every generation since then). There is something inherently appealing about Ferris which cannot be denied.
Rather than continue in the same vein of teen films, Broderick tried to distance himself from the genre. He took a big risk by appearing in Harvey Fiersteinís film adaptation of Torch Song Trilogy as Fiersteinís lover. The gamble didnít quite pay off for Broderick, who continued to work in several unsuccessful films.
In 1988, Matthew was in a serious car accident in Ireland. He was driving with actress Jennifer Grey when he lost control of his car and crossed into oncoming traffic. They hit an oncoming car, killing two people, Anna Gallagher, 28, and her mother Margaret Dougherty, 60. Broderick was hospitalized for two months. When the matter went to court, the judge reduced the charge to careless driving and fined the actor a mere $175 fine. The family of the deceased were outraged.
Broderick was greatly affected by the accident and the deaths of the two women. However, he continued to work, taking on darker, edgier parts. He won acclaim for his layered and complicated portrayal of Colonel Robert Shaw in the Civil War drama, Glory. In 1994, he returned to Broadway in an adaptation of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and won another Tony for his work.
Broderick staged a mainstream comeback in 1998. The resurgence came in - of all movies - Godzilla. The film was lambasted by critics and audiences who seemed to take a perverse joy in heaping insults on the blockbuster debacle. However, the film reminded the world who Matthew Broderick was.
Now he is playing the titular role in Disneyís Inspector Gadget in yet another summer blockbuster. Broderick has also continued to perform in smaller films with more challenging roles, highlighted recently by the high school satire Election.