Although Matthew Broderick has built a solid reputation as one of the stage and screen's more talented and steadily working individuals, he will forever be associated with the role that gave him permanent celluloid infamy, the blissfully irresponsible title hero of John Hughes's 1986 Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Thanks to his association with the character, as well as his own boyish looks, Broderick for a long time had trouble obtaining roles that allowed him to play characters of his own age. However, with the success of films like Election (1999) and a 1994 Tony Award for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, audiences finally seemed ready to accept the fact that Broderick had indeed graduated from high school.
The son of late actor James Broderick and playwright/screenwriter Patricia Broderick, Broderick was born in New York City on March 21, 1962. With the theatre a constant backdrop to his childhood, Broderick's entrance into the entertainment world seemed a natural outcome of his upbringing. He began appearing in theatre workshops with his father when he was seventeen, and was soon acting on Broadway in plays like Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues and Brighton Beach Memoirs and Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Trilogy. Broderick played Fierstein's adopted son in Torch Song; in the Simon plays, he portrayed the playwright's alter ego, winning a Tony Award for his 1983 performance in Brighton Beach Memoirs.