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McConaughey’s hilarious first role was a “fairly robust” death scene

Matthew McConaughey made his TV debut a year before Dazed and Confused, and got to have a amazingly dramatic death scene on Unsolved Mysteries.

Matthew McConaughey

Most Matthew McConaughey fans know that his first ever movie role, which was also his breakthrough to success, came in Richard Linklater’s cult classic Dazed and Confused (1993). But it turns out that he did have one role before that – in an episode of the true crime documentary series Unsolved Mysteries in 1992.

The series involves dramatic reenactments of unsolved crimes, and a 23-year-old Matthew McConaughey got to play the victim of a shooting, while sporting an open shirt that revealed a sweaty, glistening chest and stomach, of course. His ‘character’ begins by mowing his lawn in the heat of the Texas summer, then goes into his garage, where he’s shot by an older man.

It is now the 35th anniversary of Unsolved Mysteries, and a new documentary looks back on the series (via EW) – including some of the celebrities who featured on it before they were famous. “Matthew McConaughey had to do a fairly robust death scene,” a producer says. “He was working in his garage and he was shot by a man who pulled up with a shotgun. Let’s just say… his acting has come a long way since then.”

McConaughey’s career has been an absolute rollercoaster, with early highs such as A Time to Kill (1996) and Contact (1997), before making mostly bad rom-coms in the 2000s, then the McConnaissance of 2011-2014, which saw a slew of critically-acclaimed roles in the likes of True Detective and an Oscar nomination. You can watch his wonderful death scene from 1992 below:

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It looks as though Unsolved Mysteries is the American equivalent of most British actors getting their start on long-running police drama The Bill or hospital drama Casualty. Everyone has to start somewhere, even the best actors of all time.