Christopher Eugene O'Donnell was born on June 26th, 1970 in Winnetka, Illinois, to Julie Ann (Rohs) and William Charles O'Donnell, Sr., who managed a CBS radio station, WBBM-AM. He is the youngest child in his family, with four sisters and two brothers. His father had Irish ancestry and his mother's lineage includes German, English, and Swiss.
O'Donnell first started modeling at the age of thirteen and continued until the age of sixteen, when he appeared in commercials. When he was seventeen, he was preparing to stop acting and modeling, but was asked to audition for what would be his first film, Men Don't Leave (1990). He didn't want to go to the audition, but his mother bribed him by saying she would buy him a new car if he went and he duly got the role.
Ever since that moment in his life, Chris has appeared in some major motion pictures including Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), Scent of a Woman (1992), Mad Love (1995) and Vertical Limit (2000). He played a part in Kinsey (2004), which appeared in theaters in the year 2004.
Chris took time off from acting to spend time with his wife, Caroline, son, Chris Jr., and his daughter Lilly. He also spent two months in New York performing in Arthur Miller's "The Man Who Had All the Luck".