Where Is Matthew McConaughey From? Everything to Know About the Oscar Winner’s Texas Roots

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Matthew McConaughey is so very proud of his Texas roots. He’s lived in three different cities in the Lone State State. And those experiences make him of the most unique actors working today.

So where does McConaughey get all that Texas swagger? Just listen to him say “alright, alright, alright” and note the accent he cultivated from his time spent in south, east and central Texas.

The 4-1-1 on Matthew McConaughey and His Texas Roots

  • McConaughey was born in Uvalde, a South Texas town on the fringes of the Hill Country. He lived there until he was 10.
  • The family then moved to Longview, a town in East Texas. It’s adjacent to the second-largest oil field in the country.
  • McConaughey graduated from the University of Texas in Austin. Several years ago, he left Hollywood to raise his kids in Austin.

Three different Texas cities claim McConaughey. He was born in Uvalde, Nov. 4, 1969. And it was a turbulent time for the United States. Hours before Kay gave birth to her youngest son, President Richard Nixon announced that he planned to end the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Days later, a group of Native Americans took over Alcatraz Island. But there were some really good things, too. Sesame Street premiered. Dave Thomas launched the first Wendy’s. And the University of Texas, McConaughey’s eventual alma mater, was rolling to a national championship.

The McConaughey’s moved three times during their stint in Uvalde.

When the city’s Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 100-year anniversary several years back, McConaughey, his mother and oldest brother attended the festivities. McConaughey talked about how he still loved going down to the Frio River. He brought his son, Levi, there when Levi was a baby.

Uvalde is small. It has only about 15,000 residents. But it did produce some famous folks. John Nance Garner, a Speaker of the U.S. House and the Vice President under Franklin Roosevelt, was from Uvalde. Dale Evans, the wife of famous cowboy Roy Rogers, also was from here. So was astronaut Pete Conrad. He was the commander of Apollo 12, which traveled to the moon in the weeks after McConaughey was born. And infamous gunslinger King Fisher is buried in Uvalde. We think McConaughey should do a movie about the flamboyant Fisher.

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The McConaughey Longview Years

McConaughey still was in elementary school when the family moved more than 400 miles away to Longview. McConaughey’s dad was in the oil field services business. And Longview was all about oil and gas.

The town can claim many famous citizens, including two Academy Award winners and a country superstar. After all, before McConaughey won in 2014 for Dallas Buyers Club, Forest Whitaker earned Best Actor for The Last King of Scotland. And country sensation Miranda Lambert also is from Longview.

McConaughey graduated from Longview High School in 1988. He returned to give the commencement address at his old school in 2019. Once a Lobo, always a Lobo. Longview won a state football title the fall before, so students honored McConaughey with a championship ring.

He told the graduates: “Thirty-one years ago, I was you, a graduating Longview Lobo. The most important reason for my success and I believe what will be the most important thing for your success, the one thing that we all have that should never be for sale, the thing that we give the most of and should protect with our life, that thing is our heart.”

(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Hook ‘Em Horns — Austin Now Is Home

McConaughey graduated from the University of Texas in 1993. He had almost immediate success as an actor. He appeared in a Trisha Yearwood music video and then earned a part in Dazed in Confused. By 1996, McConaughey appeared on the August cover of Vanity Fair as the star of A Time to Kill. Critics were calling him the new Paul Newman. The magazine said “Around Hollywood you hear a basic refrain: McConaughey’s the next big thing.”

His career in Hollywood hit full blast. But by 2012, McConaughey decided to move back to Texas, to his roots. He picked Austin.

“No one recognizes you and no one asks you, ‘Hey, what do you do?,’ McConaughey told a SXSW audience. “Because I don’t think anyone cares. Fridays show up sooner here. You want to get along in Austin, you want to get along in Texas, all you have to do is be yourself.”

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