Family & Companions
Having made his first Hollywood splash playing a cocky retro-hipster in the indie film-turned-cult classic "Swingers" (1996), actor Vince Vaughn subsequently stumbled through a number of bland dramas and several puzzling misses before cashing in on his early promise in a number of mainstream comedies. After "Swingers," Vaughn appeared in "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" (1997) before starring in Gus Van Sant's widely panned shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" (1998). After flailing some more with "Return to Paradise" (1998), "The Cell" (2000) and "Domestic Disturbance" (2001), Vaughn again hit his stride as a man trying to recapture his frat house glory in "Old School" (2003). After starring in the surprise hit "Dodgeball" (2004), he had one of his biggest box office successes with "Wedding Crashers" (2005). Often referred to as a member of the so-called "Frat Pack" - which also included Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller and Luke and Owen Wilson - Vaughn enjoyed being a part of the top-grossing comedies of the decade. After another hit opposite off-screen girlfriend Jennifer Aniston in the mean-spirited romantic comedy, "The Break-Up" (2006), he had an unexpected turn in Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" (2007), suggesting that Vaughn was still capable of turning in a quality dramatic turn. Vaughn maintained his comedy bona fides in "Fred Claus" (2007), but stumbled with "Four Christmases" (2008) and "The Dilemma" (2011). Still, Vaughn remained one of the more prolific and endearing performers working in the business.
Vaughn was born on March 28, 1970 and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. His father was a sales rep and his mother a successful stockbroker, but prior generations of Vaughns had been farmers. The family ethic was very much about Midwestern hard work over upward mobility. Vaughn's background made him feel out of place in their tony neighborhood, and with average talent in schoolwork and sports, he discovered that his sense of humor was the best way to get positive attention. He began doing local children's theater from around the age of eight, performing in school plays throughout junior high and high school. He also cultivated his wisecracking, off-the-cuff humor as the host of school variety shows. At some point during his junior year, Vaughn shot up to his adult height of 6'5" and was destined to stand out in a crowd no matter what he did. As president of his senior class at Lake Forest High School, Vaughn's middling grades almost prevented him from graduating, but he was starting to show definite promise as an actor.
After following a friend to an audition for an industrial film, he ended up coming home with a role himself. Soon after, he enrolled in classes at the famed Improv Olympic and found an agent. He booked a number of commercial jobs, including a high profile Chevy ad, and thus, decided to move to Los Angeles. His highest hopes were that he would be able to make some money doing commercials or getting bit parts on TV shows, never imagining he would become a movie bankable star. In California, Vaughn began taking acting classes and initially did pretty well with his humble agenda. In 1989, he made his primetime acting debut on "China Beach" (ABC, 1988-1991), and over the next few years he had significant roles in "CBS Schoolbreak Specials" and guest spots on "21 Jump Street" (Fox, 1987-1991) and "Doogie Howser, M.D." (ABC, 1989-1993). When he was not acting, he put his engaging gift of gab to use as a telemarketer.
In 1993, Vaughn landed his first big screen role in the football flick "Rudy," where he struck up a friendship with co-star Jon Favreau. An up-and-comer himself, Favreau was working on a script about life as a struggling young actor looking for love in the sometimes bitter, ugly Hollywood scene. He wrote a part for Vaughn as his slang-tossing, falsely confident sidekick, so when the indie film was completed several years later, they had unwittingly created a portrait of a time and place that resonated strongly with legions of young, creative city-dwellers. The film was one of the most buzzed-about indies of the year and both actors were catapulted instantly into the spotlight, with Vaughn's darkly handsome bad boy persona turning him into an overnight "It" boy. Such was the closeness of their friendship that the Vaughn hype overshadowing the less showier creator of the film, Favreau, did nothing to impede their bond. In fact, Favreau knew he could never compete with Vaughn's quicksilver tongue and charm, so was more than happy to be his straight man in future projects and in life itself. In fact, he was such a fan of his wacky friend's linguistic skills, that he often let Vaughn ad-lib within scenes he had written or based situations in his scripts on something Vaughn had said or done at one time.
Following the trendy success of "Swingers," the mildly ambitious Vaughn was stunned to receive an offer from none other than über-director-producer Steven Spielberg to appear as a lead in the highly anticipated sequel, "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" (1997). The film was a box office smash, and like it or not, Vince Vaughn was on his way to becoming a movie star. Although the film was suitably high-profile, it lacked the luster and magic of its predecessor and was quickly forgotten, as was Vaughn's middling performance. It was clear even then that his forté was comedy or odd indie flicks - not big budget effects-laden films.
The chatty wit and unflappable confidence that had made Vaughn so appealing in "Swingers" was sadly underused in his next few roles as the actor tried to navigate his way through the web of Hollywood offers, playing the game and taking home the big paychecks. After working with Kate Capshaw in the romantic drama "The Locusts" (1997) he was somewhat subdued as a conflicted, conscience-stricken hedonist in "Return to Paradise" (1998). He thankfully turned on the witty charm to play a gregarious double-crossing trucker in "Clay Pigeons" (1998) before he was w fully miscast to step into Anthony Perkins' shoes in the Gus Van Sant redo of "Psycho" (1998). The shot-by-shot remake left most critics and audiences asking why it was greenlit in the first place. Whereas Perkins had projected an androgynous fragility, Vaughn went for sheer madness and the difference was jarring. The actor offered a slightly better turn as a suddenly single father coping with career and familial demands in the little-seen "A Cool, Dry Place" (1999) but again, the role failed to capture the essence of the actor's appeal. He went on to deliver a stilted performance as an FBI agent who enlists the aid of a psychiatrist (Jennifer Lopez) to track down the victim of a killer in the overproduced "The Cell" (2000).
Vaughn's other projects in 2000 proved a mixed bag, though one had to give the actor credit for making unexpected choices in an effort to discover his niche. His turn as the foster brother on the wrong side of the law in "South of Heaven, West of Hell" (2000) - singer Dwight Yoakam's directorial debut - was hardly memorable. But Vaughn gave a fine turn in the low-budget indie "The Prime Gig" (2000), essaying a slick telemarketer who has the misfortune of working for the wrong businesses. His loose, sexy charm dovetailed with the script and allowed the actor to offer one of his better performances. Similarly, his long-awaited re-teaming with Favreau in the gangster-themed "Made" (2001), proved to be inspired. The two old friends brilliantly riffed with one another and veered hilariously from the page in the largely improvised film. Vaughn's unwavering characterization of Ricky as a dense but captivating man-child who follows all the wrong instincts proved to be the centerpiece of the film, both when bouncing off the rightfully restrained Favreau or squaring off against veteran scene-stealers like Peter Falk. Fans were ecstatic that at least Favreau could bring back the Vaughn of old.
Unfortunately, the actor's script-picking instincts took another downward turn for his next film, the lackluster thriller "Domestic Disturbance" (2001) in which he played the secretly villainous stepfather to John Travolta's biological son. The film had few admirers, but amid a muddled script, Vaughn turned in a winningly sleazy performance, prompting critic Roger Ebert to note that the actor "plays a creep better than just about anybody else." Some residents of the North Carolina town where the film was shot were inclined to think that Vaughn was an off-screen creep as well, following his assault arrest for a bar fight involving a local resident. Co-star Steve Buscemi reportedly tried to make peace between the parties and ended up with stab wounds and a head full of stitches.
Finally, it appeared that Vaughn was beginning to focus on his underutilized comedic and improvisational skills, perhaps as a result of his memorable role in "Made." His performance in a short film aired during the 2003 MTV Movie Awards as Hollywood "ass wrangler" Frank Fanning - in which he tutored Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz on the proper ways to best display their posteriors on camera - was a comedic gold mine. Vaughn likewise surprised audiences with his deft turn guest-hosting "The Late Show" (CBS, 1993- ) in 2003 when David Letterman fell ill with shingles. And the actor's career was about to graduate to the next level with the broad comedy "Old School" (2003), where he played one of a trio of disillusioned middle age men who retreat from their boring lives to start a frat house. Following his comedic role as crime kingpin Reese Feldman in the 1970s cop parody "Starsky & Hutch" (2004) with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, Vaughn became an official member of Hollywood's "Frat Pack." The actor had at long last found a suitable match for his fast-talking, improv-style delivery, and it stood out alongside the era's blockbuster comedy stars Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell, among others.
In 2004, the newest Frat Packer took the lead in "Dodgeball" (2004), as the charismatic owner of the Average Joe gym who pits a team of misfits against Stiller's brutal pros in a high-tech match. He followed up with a pivotal role as Will Ferrell's competition in "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" (2004). Then Vaughn turned in one of his most hilarious turns, playing the craven hip-hop talking, pimp-dressing music manager Raji in "Be Cool" (2005), the entertaining sequel to "Get Shorty" in which he improvised much of his non-stop barrage of urban-speak.
After a small, highly amusing role in the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie spy-themed action blockbuster "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" (2005), in which he played Pitt's mama's boy partner, Vaughn teamed with Owen Wilson for his biggest hit yet. In the runaway blockbuster "Wedding Crashers" (2005), Vaughn and Wilson co-starred as a pair of lovable cads who pick up lonely, vulnerable women by invading strangers' weddings, only to find themselves entangled with a pair of sisters in a family that threatens to be their undoing. In the fall of 2005, Vaughn revisited his high school variety show roots with the launch of "Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show," a tour featuring improv, sketch comedy, and stand-up from comics Ahmed Ahmed, John Caparulo, Bret Ernst and Sebastian Maniscalco. The tour, which also featured performances from Vaughn himself, was followed by a camera crew and slated to be released as a documentary in early 2008.
In 2006, Vaughn took on his first producing project, while also starring in the revenge comedy "The Break-up" (2006), co-starring Jennifer Aniston as a divorcing couple struggling to continue to cohabitate. Critics generally skewered the movie, calling it a watered-down take on "The War of the Roses," but it was huge at the box office, thanks in part to rumors of a budding relationship between the two stars. It was during the film's Chicago filming during the summer of 2005, that Aniston was being invaded daily by the paparazzi, in light of her recent split with Brad Pitt and his obvious hook-up with his "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" co-star, Angelina Jolie. In effect, the heartbroken Aniston needed a kind of attention only Vaughn was able to provide and he quickly became quite enamored with and protective of his fragile co-star. Eventually they came clean about their romance, which lasted 18 months. It was also the first time Vaughn's romantic exploits had been followed nightly by the intrusive press, so an adjustment he was forced to deal with to be with the high profile Aniston. Following their own real-life breakup in 2006, with rumors circulating that Aniston may have turned down Vaughn's marriage proposal, the new bachelor reportedly left the spotlight of Hollywood and bought a home in Chicago. Three years later, the longtime ladies' man settled down by marrying real estate agent Kyla Weber on Dec. 2, 2009.
In 2007, Vaughn appeared in two notably different films, the gripping adaptation of Jon Krakauer's "Into the Wild" and the wacky holiday offering "Fred Claus." In the former, Vaughn had a small role as a South Dakota farmer who befriends a drifter after picking him up on the highway. In the latter, he played the troublesome younger brother of Santa Claus (Paul Giamatti), roped into making toys to pay off a bail bond. But regardless of whether his films hit or missed, a limitless supply of goodwill from fans seemed to follow him from project to project, thanks to his razor-sharp wit and fast-talking persona. Still, Vaughn hit a rough patch with the ill-received romantic comedy "Four Christmases" (2008), co-starring Reese Witherspoon, and the equally maligned "Couples Retreat" (2009), which he also wrote. With "The Dilemma" (2011) - a comedy in which he played a bachelor who discovers the wife of his best friend is cheating on him - it appeared that Vaughn's slide into comedic doldrums would continue unabated. The movie was again panned by critics and suffered at the box office.
Though still regularly employed, Vaughn did further his career downturn, with the sci-fi comedy "The Watch" (2012), also featuring Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill, taking a serious trouncing both critically and commercially. In 2013, the Google-endorsed comedy "The Internship" reunited Vaughn with "Wedding Crashers" co-star Wilson, but its muted reception wasn't the rebound that the actor needed. His next outing, "Delivery Man," about a very prolific sperm donor, also failed to draw a big audience, but things began to look up for Vaughn with his appearance as Wesley Mantooth in the highly anticipated sequel "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues." In September 2014, it was announced that Vaughn would star with Colin Farrell in the highly anticipated second season of "True Detective" (HBO 2014- ).
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Appeared in TV commercial for Chevrolet's "Heartbeat of America" campaign
Made TV acting debut on third-season premiere of "China Beach" (ABC)
Acted in three "CBS Schoolbreak Specials" playing high school students
Appeared as a patient on ABC comedy "Doogie Howser, M.D."
Film debut, "Rudy"; marked first collaboration with Jon Favreau
Starred in the unsold UPN pilot for remake of "77 Sunset Strip"
Appeared opposite Kate Capshaw as a drifter who falls into romance with a widow in "The Locusts"
Starred opposite Anne Heche and Joaquin Phoenix in the drama "Return to Paradise"
Reteamed with Phoenix in "Clay Pigeons"; played a seductive serial killer/con artist
Portrayed Norman Bates in Gus Van Sant's shot-for-shot remake of "Psycho"; re-teamed with Anne Heche
Made guest appearance on an L.A.-set episode of HBO's comedy series "Sex and the City"
Reteamed with Favreau to play a pair of low-level mobsters in "Made"; written and directed by Favreau
Played a mysterious stepfather who may or may not be involved in a murder in "Domestic Disturbance"
Played a shady villain in the big screen adaption of the 1970s cop series "Starsky & Hutch"
Starred opposite Ben Stiller in the comedy "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story"
Cast opposite Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"
Traveled across the country performing his "Wild West Comedy Show"; show was subject of documentary "Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights ¿ Hollywood to the Heartland"
Appeared with Emile Hirsch in Sean Penn's adaptation of non-fiction book "Into the Wild"
Played the sarcastic, wild-at-heart younger brother of Santa Claus (Paul Giamatti) in the comedy "Fred Claus"
Co-starred with Reese Witherspoon in the holiday comedy "Four Christmases"
Produced and co-starred with Jon Favreau in ensemble comedy film "Couples Retreat"
Co-starred with Kevin James in "The Dilemma," about a man who discovers his best friend's wife is having an affair
Re-teamed with Ben Stiller in "The Watch"
Cast opposite Bruce Willis and Catherine Zeta-Jones in comedy feature "Lay the Favorite"; film based on memoir by Beth Raymer
Co-starred with Owen Wilson in "The Internship," which he co-wrote and produced
Appeared in "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues"