Chris Klein is an actor who is best know for his role as "Oz" in American Pie and several of its sequels. Klein was on the verge of becoming a breakout star after the release of the popular American Pie in 1999, but he never lived up to his potential, eventually becoming a c-list actor desperate for roles, famously lost his fiancee to Tom Cruise, and wasted precious years as an alcoholic, hitting rock bottom when he was arrested for a DUI in 2005.
Chris Klein was born on March 14, 1979 in Hinsdale, IL, a suburb of Chicago, IL. Klein was interested in theater at a young age and as a child he sang "This Little Light of Mine” in a community theater at the Sheraton Convention Center in Chicago. Klein moved with his family to Omaha, Nebraska when he was 13 years old.
As a high school student, Klein was both an athlete and an actor, participating in football, swimming, and acting/theater. Klein was fortunate to be discovered by director Alexander Payne, who was in Omaha scouting for fresh young talent for his 1999 film Election. Klein's first movie role was as "Paul Metzler," a polite and dumb football player in Election. Although somewhat of a box office flop, Election was popular among critics and performed well in the rental market.
The success of Election led to Klein's breakthrough role as Chris "Oz" Ostreicher in American Pie and in the sequels American Pie 2 and American Reunion. In American Pie, Oz was a jock who was a member of his high school's lacrosse team. Oz and his friends formed a pact to each lose their virginity by the end of their senior year in high school.
Chris Klein was one of the most popular actors from the movie (perhaps the second-most popular actor after Seann William Scott) and instantly became a heartthrob. Klein was popular at the time among young women for his good looks.
As the 1990s came to a close, Klein must have thought he was destined to soon become a member of the upper echelon of Hollywood actors. His career seemed to be hitting the big time and he soon started dating popular actress Katie Holmes, to whom he later became engaged in 2003.
Klein followed up on the success on American Pie by appearing in several major films, such as the 2002 flicks, We Were Soldiers and American Pie 2. However, Klein also appeared in the widely-panned box office flop Rollerball. Rollerball reportedly had a budget of at least $70 million, yet only earned about $25 million at the box office. His appearance in Rollerball seems to have irreparably harmed his acting career, as it one of his last major roles.
Klein's star faded so rapidly that he was not even asked to appear in the second America Pie sequel, American Wedding. Although there were rumors floating around that Klein had turned down a role in the movie, Klein has since set the record straight and let everyone know that he was not offered a role but would have accepted one if it had been offered to him.
At one point Klein became so desperate for choice roles that he actually auditioned for a role in 2008 musical, Mamma Mia! despite not having experience in musicals or singing. Here is a clip of Klein's embarrassing tone-deaf audition for the movie:
As his career crashed and burned, Klein's personal life was in shambles. Katie Holmes famously dumped Klein while they were engaged to be with actor Tom Cruise in 2005. Klein also started drinking heavily around this time, becoming an admitted alcoholic and was arrested for DUIs in 2005 and 2010. Klein was sentenced to 96 hours in prison for the 2010 DUI.
The stress of being unceremoniously dumped by Katie Holmes and the rages of alcoholism have taken a notable toll on Klein's looks. Although he is still fit, his face has aged to the point at which the 33-year-old actor now looks closer to age 40, as shown in the photos below:
Although he has appeared in a number of roles over the last ten years, most of Klein's roles have been inferior roles ever since the Rollerball debacle. Klein has, however, made a minor comeback recently by appearing in the most recent American Pie sequel, American Reunion, and also scoring a recurring role in the cable TV drama, Wilfred. Klein is still a relatively young man, even if he does look much older and it is possible that he may be able to resurrect his career. However, at this point, it still seems obvious that Chris Klein is one washed-up celebrity!