Before becoming Oscar-winning superstars, many of Hollywood's hottest actors and actresses have to take whatever role they can get, no matter what medium they might be featured in. In the case of Dallas Buyers Club star Matthew McConaughey, he once starred in an episode of Unsolved Mysteries, in which he plays a man trying to protect a group of children from a sexual predator.
Debuting in 1987, the Robert
In an episode that aired in 1992, McConaughey played a character named Larry, an ex-Marine, who was mowing his mom's lawn. When a known sexual predator that was wanted for murder exited a vehicle and headed for a group of schoolchildren, Larry intervened.
The former Marine confronted the predator, who was nude from the waist down, stealing the keys to his truck while waiting for authorities to arrive. Sadly, Larry was fatally shot in the altercation, which was tragically based on a real-life incident.
One element of Unsolved Mysteries that made it stand out against other true crime shows was that it dramatized ongoing cases, sometimes leading viewers to provide authorities with helpful information.
In the case of McConaughey's episode, the actual predator who had killed his real-life counterpart was apprehended less than two weeks after the episode aired.
McConaughey once recalled his episode in an interview with IMDb, saying, "I was the guy who got shot while mowing my mother’s grass." He added, “Somebody had seen the Unsolved Mysteries [episode] I was in and made a call, and they caught the guy 11 days later.”
The year following his Unsolved Mysteries appearance, McConaughey had his breakthrough performance in Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused, starring alongside other future stars like Renee Zellweger, Ben Affleck, and Milla Jovovich. In the film, the actor played a character who had graduated high school several years earlier, but still hung around with all the students younger than him, with the film giving him the catchphrase, "Alright, alright, alright."
Unsolved Mysteries ran until 2002, but after a six-year hiatus, it was revived on Spike TV with host Dennis Farina. The revival series only lasted two years, but the show's producers maintain a website and YouTube channel for people to send tips about mysterious cases.