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Vin Diesel

Vin Diesel

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Also Known As: Mark Sinclair Vincent Died:
Born: July 18, 1967 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Alameda County, California, USA Profession: actor, director, producer, screenwriter, telemarketer (sold lightbulbs), bouncer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An overnight action-film sensation who intrigued audiences when he seemingly emerged from nowhere in the summer of 2001, Vin Diesel actually made his first mark on the movie business as a filmmaker. His first two independent films screened at the Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals after which the hulking, clean-shaven actor had a breakthrough role as imposing antihero Riddick in the cult-favorite sci-fi film "Pitch Black" (2000). He was quickly snapped up by Hollywood and transformed into a movie star with high-octane hits "The Fast and the Furious" (2001) and "xXx" (2002). Diesel found further box-office success with the Disney comedy "The Pacifier" (2005) and went on to receive decent reviews for his dramatic performance in "Find Me Guilty" (2006), but audiences were generally reluctant to accept him in anything but sequels to his signature action films. The hype that surrounded the actor's rush to stardom eventually gave way to a period of career stagnation, but he bounced back in a big way with his prominent return for the 2009 sequel "Fast & Furious" and its reliably popular later installments, including the super-sized "Fast & Furious 6."Born Mark Sinclair Vincent in Alameda County, CA, on July...

An overnight action-film sensation who intrigued audiences when he seemingly emerged from nowhere in the summer of 2001, Vin Diesel actually made his first mark on the movie business as a filmmaker. His first two independent films screened at the Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals after which the hulking, clean-shaven actor had a breakthrough role as imposing antihero Riddick in the cult-favorite sci-fi film "Pitch Black" (2000). He was quickly snapped up by Hollywood and transformed into a movie star with high-octane hits "The Fast and the Furious" (2001) and "xXx" (2002). Diesel found further box-office success with the Disney comedy "The Pacifier" (2005) and went on to receive decent reviews for his dramatic performance in "Find Me Guilty" (2006), but audiences were generally reluctant to accept him in anything but sequels to his signature action films. The hype that surrounded the actor's rush to stardom eventually gave way to a period of career stagnation, but he bounced back in a big way with his prominent return for the 2009 sequel "Fast & Furious" and its reliably popular later installments, including the super-sized "Fast & Furious 6."

Born Mark Sinclair Vincent in Alameda County, CA, on July 18, 1967, Diesel moved to New York as a child and was raised in Manhattan. He began acting with the Theatre for the New City at the age of seven. After studying English at Hunter College, he began penning screenplays and making films. His short "Multi-Facial" debuted at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival and his first full-length feature, "Strays" (1997) premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Written, co-produced, directed, and starring Diesel, "Strays" was an ensemble drama about male friendships that many compared - sometimes unfavorably - with "Saturday Night Fever" (1977) and "Diner" (1982).

While his efforts did not immediately lead to opportunities to make more films, Diesel's powerful onscreen presence earned buzz and the deep-voiced, muscular actor landed a high-profile supporting role as tough New Yorker Private Carparzo in Steven Spielberg's acclaimed WWII drama, "Saving Private Ryan" (1998). After voicing the title character in the delightful if underperforming animated adventure "The Iron Giant" (1999), Diesel got his first taste of leading-man success in director David Twohy's cult sci-fi film "Pitch Black" (2000), in which the actor played a convict who, after his starship crash lands on a hostile planet, proves to be the salvation for the survivors.

Diesel gave another strong performance in the ensemble of the Wall Street-centered thriller "Boiler Room" (2000), but his true breakout came with his starring role as hard-driving car thief and street gang racer Dominic Toretto in the surprise summer blockbuster, "The Fast and the Furious" (2001), in which The New York Times critic Elvis Mitchell characterized Diesel as a "slacker Robert Mitchum, if that's not redundant." Diesel became an overnight sensation that year, with the relative unknown fueling curiosity about himself by evading questions about his sexuality and his ethnic background, revealing only that he was part Italian and considered himself "a person of color."

Fans lapped up the mystery of the bald newcomer and turned out in droves when Diesel re-teamed with "The Fast and the Furious" helmer Rob Cohen to lead the cast (and serve as executive producer) of the actioner "xXx" (2002). Another box-office bonanza, the film was routinely panned by the critics but nevertheless solidified the actor's status as an heir apparent to A-list action stars like Stallone and Schwarzenegger. Taking a cue from these same actors, he also branched out of his tough-guy mode into the comedy realm to show his versatility. To wit, Diesel co-starred alongside Barry Pepper, Seth Green, John Malkovich, and Dennis Hopper in "Knockaround Guys" (2002) playing a young mobster-in-training desperate to retrieve a bag of stolen cash.

Instead of opting for a big payday on the sequel "2 Fast 2 Furious" (2003), which he declined to appear in, Diesel instead produced and starred in the crime drama "A Man Apart" (2003), a film that offered the actor prime opportunity to emote instead of aim and shoot. Critics took minor swings at Diesel's sensitive side, but few could deny his strong screen presence and charisma, even in a middle-of-the-road movie. The actor returned to the explosive, big-budget world of sci-fi action when he reprised the role of "Pitch Black" hero Richard Riddick for Twohy's inflated sequel "The Chronicles of Riddick" (2004), which he also executive produced. The box-office results were less than stellar.

With his star on the wane after only four years, Diesel took a stab at family entertainment with Disney's "The Pacifier" (2005), playing a disgraced Navy SEAL charged with protecting the bratty brood of a deceased government scientist whose enemies are searching for his top-secret experiment. Diesel's star power was enough to draw in over $100 million in ticket sales, though his critically acclaimed follow-up in the character-based drama "Find Me Guilty" (2006) about real-life mobster Jack DiNorscio, proved a box-office failure.

Appearing in only a brief cameo in the 2005 sequel "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift," Diesel tried to explore new territory with the sci-fi thriller "Babylon A.D." (2008), adapted from the novel Babylon Babies by Maurice Georges Dantec. Diesel received a critical drubbing for the second-rate offering and retreated to a surefire hit territory by finally reprising his role in the fourth sequel "Fast & Furious" (2009), which reunited the cast of the original film. Unsurprisingly, the movie broke box-office records and reinvigorated Diesel's reputation as an action star. Meanwhile his distinctive deep voice continued to be one of his most valuable assets, and he lent it to video games "Wheelman" and installments of the "Chronicles of Riddick" series. In 2013, Diesel had a notably busy year, with both "Fast & Furious 6" and "Riddick" hitting the screens. The following year, Diesel provided the voice for the anthropomorphic tree Groot in the Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster "Guardians of the Galaxy" (2014). Though the only thing the character is able to say is "I am Groot," Diesel's varied readings of the phrase provided some of the film's funniest and most poignant moments.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Strays (1997) Director
2.
  Multi-Facial (1995) Director

CAST: (feature film)

5.
 Furious 7 (2015)
9.
 Riddick (2013)
10.
 Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Made stage debut at age seven appearing in the children's play "Dinosaur Door" at Theater for the New City
:
First earned notice directing the short film "Multi-Facial"; screened at the 1995 Cannes Festival
1997:
Feature directorial debut, the Sundance screened "Strays"; also scripted, produced and starred
1997:
Signed by Paramount to a two-picture option acting deal
1998:
Featured in "Saving Private Ryan" as the ill-fated Lieutenant Caparzo
1999:
Voiced the title character in the animated feature "The Iron Giant"
2000:
Featured in the ensemble drama, "Boiler Room"
2000:
Breakthrough role as Riddick, a futuristic ex-con, in the sci-fi thriller "Pitch Black"
2001:
Starred as gang leader Dominic Toretto in "The Fast and the Furious"
2002:
Played the lead in the action thriller "xXx"
2002:
Reprised role of Riddick in "Pitch Black 2"
2003:
Starred as a DEA agent out to avenge his wife's murder in the action feature "A Man Apart"
2004:
Reprised role in "The Chronicles of Riddick," the sequel to the surprise sci-fi hit "Pitch Black"
2005:
Played a more lighthearted role in the comedy film, "The Pacifier"
2006:
Starred in Sidney Lumet's "Find Me Guilty," as a mobster who successfully defends himself in a two-year trial
2008:
Played a mercenary in Mathieu Kassovitz's "Babylon A.D."
2009:
Reprised role of Dominic Toretto in the fourth film "Fast and Furious"
2011:
Once again reprised role of Dominic Toretto for the fifth film, "Fast Five"
2013:
Starred in "Fast & Furious 6"
2013:
Featured in the sci-fi sequel "Riddick"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Hunter College: New York , New York -

Notes

Diesel is of African American and Italian descent.

"If you're in a film, it's your responsiblity to made it dope. If it's not, you have to take the heat." --Diesel to Premiere magazine, August 2002

"I may not be that smart. I may not be that good-looking. But cool? Yes. Very cool." --Diesel to Premiere magazine, August 2002

"I've always been certain that I was going to be a movie star,. Even as a kid I knew it. People keep asking if I've changed since becoming a celebrity. But I haven't because I've always thought that I was a celebrity, it was the rest of the world that hadn't figured it out."-- Diesel to Entertainment Weekly, August 2002

"I want to make a romantic comedy. I'm a huge fan of It Happened One Night, with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. I've watched it hundreds of times. [He launches into a three-minute scene from the movie, complete with perfect imitations of Gable and Colbert.] I don't see a lot of romantic-comedy scripts. It might have to do with the way I look. But I'll do one. Maybe I'll remake It Happened One Night. I've never waited for anyone to give me anything anyway. So, I'll just have to do it myself."-- Diesel Eonline.com

"...The world has become this big melting pot, and I think people are ready for a hero who is more ambiguous. Yeah, being multicultural has gone from the Achilles' heel of my career to a strength." Eonline.com

"It's funny that people think its anything big now, because growing up in New York, its something everybody did...A lot of guys that shave their heads are either losing their hair or [warning]people they know they that they're going to eventually lose thier hair...Aside from it being a stylish thing, its one of those things you just get caught up in. Once you shave your head, you never go back, really." -- Diesel Entertainment Weekly September 6, 2002

"Honestly, I don't know if I think about it in terms of pressure. I think about it now in terms of opportunity. I think I now have the opportunity, thank god, to manifest some of the dreams I've had as a kid,"-Diesel

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Pavla Hrbkova. Model. Born c. 1984; dating since February 2002; she had a small role in "xXx"; no longer together as of December 2002.
companion:
Mariah Carey. Singer. Rumored to be dating as of December 2002.
companion:
Liza Hernandez. Model. Rumored to be dating as of March 2003.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Delora. Astrologist. Born c. 1944.
step-father:
Irving. Theater teacher. Diesel and stepfather are very close; born c. 1935.
brother:
Paul Vincent. Film editor. Twin; worked on "Paris Is Burning".

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