Matthew McConaughey and Uvalde: proud Texan hails from city of school shooting horror

Actor says we 'must do better' after killings at Robb Elementary School

epa08010475 US actor Matthew McConaughey attends a promotional event at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, Australia, 20 November 2019.  EPA-EFE/DAN HIMBRECHTS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
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After Tuesday's deadly mass shooting at a school in the US, a number of Hollywood stars voiced their dismay and distress. For Matthew McConaughey, however, the horror is extremely close to home, as the actor is from Uvalde, Texas, where the attack took place.

McConaughey, 52, spoke about the killings at Robb Elementary School, calling for change in a post shared on social media.

"As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas. Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us,” the Oscar winner wrote.

"As Americans, Texans, mothers and fathers, it's time we re-evaluate, and renegotiate our wants from our needs. We have to rearrange our values and find a common ground above this devastating American reality that has tragically become our children's issue.

"This is an epidemic we can control, and whichever side of the aisle we may stand on, we all know we can do better. We must do better. Action must be taken so that no parent has to experience what the parents in Uvalde and the others before them have endured.”

Matthew McConaughey: 'A certain honour of being a Texan'

McConaughey has spoken about his hometown in the past. He was born in the city, west of San Antonio, in 1969, and moved when his family relocated to Longview, Texas, in 1980.

In the years since he has "slipped in and out of town on numerous occasions", said the Uvalde Leader-News.

Matthew McConaughey was born in Uvalde, Texas, in 1969. AP Photo

The actor considered moving from acting to public office, contemplating a 2022 run for Texas governor, saying he would only run if he was “best-equipped” or could make himself “useful".

However, it is something he ultimately ruled out in November.

"As a simple kid born in the little town of Uvalde, Texas, it never occurred to me that I would one day be considered for political leadership," McConaughey said as he announced he would not be running.

"It's a humbling and inspiring path to ponder. It is also a path that I'm choosing not to take at this moment."

At an Uvalde Area Chamber of Commerce event in February 2020, the actor made a public appearance with his mother, Kay McConaughey, and brother Mike McConaughey, also known as Rooster.

Kay, who was a teacher in the town, described it as "the most perfect place to raise children", and the Uvalde Leader-News reported that Matthew said "he didn’t learn to dream in Uvalde, he learnt to deal".

At the same event, his brother said of the town: "So many successful people came and learnt and left this town and went out and [succeeded]. This town is giving to people that live here."

The actor remains a proud Texan and lives in Austin, with his wife, Brazilian-American model Camila Alves, and their children, Levi, 13, Vida, 12, and Livingston, 9.

"In Texas, there is a certain honour of being a Texan that is a measure of doing something the best that you can. You have your name ... You have your nation — because you're American. You have, if you're a believer, because of God. And in Texas, you have a fourth measure. It's because you're a Texan," he told ABC in 2016.

"The Texas I grew up in was not insular at all, there is a certain thing that goes about Texans that says, ‘Go, out, use your passport, go travel all around the world, go see other places, go as a Texan, go venture out there.' You know, the rugged individual. It wasn't insular in that way, like a lot of places in the South might be and are.

"I like to say I live in Austin, Texas, because I can live where I want to."

The city of Uvalde, Texas

By Texan standards, Uvalde is a relatively small city with a population of about 15,860, statistics compiled by worldpopulationreview.com show, with mainly Hispanic and Latino communities. It is part of Uvalde County, about 130 kilometres west of San Antonio and 87km east of the Mexican border.

An aerial view of Robb Elementary School where the shooting took place. Getty Images / AFP

"Uvalde is the iconic Texas of Western movies. Indigenous peoples used the hill south of town on the Leona river as a lookout for centuries and in 1849 the United States Army chose this strategic location to build Fort Inge," the City of Uvalde website reads.

"Uvalde is on the edge of the infamous Nueces Strip where lawmen hunted down outlaws headed towards the border. One of the outlaws later became Uvalde’s Sheriff, John King Fisher."

Attractions in the area include Cook's Slough Nature Park, the Aviation Museum of Texas at Garner Field, the Sahawe Indian Outdoor Theatre and the Janey Slaughter Briscoe Grand Opera House.

Latest photos from Uvalde, Texas after the school shooting:

Updated: May 26, 2022, 10:05 AM