Vin Diesel

Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel

Diesel at a premiere for Fast & Furious in March 2009
Born Mark Sinclair Vincent
July 18, 1967 (1967-07-18) (age 44)
New York City, U.S.
Occupation Actor, director, producer, screenwriter
Years active 1990–present
Partner Paloma Jimenez

Vin Diesel (born Mark Sinclair Vincent; July 18, 1967) is an American actor, writer, director and producer. He became known in the early 2000s, appearing in several successful Hollywood films, including The Fast and the Furious and xXx. He founded the production companies One Race Films, Tigon Studios and Racetrack Records.


Early life

Vin Diesel was born in New York City, the son of Delora, a psychiatrist and astrologer.[1][2] Diesel has Italian and black ancestry.[3][4] He has described himself as "definitely a person of color"[5] and stated that he is "of ambiguous ethnicity – Italian and a lot of other stuff".[6] Diesel has never met his biological father, and was raised by his African-American father, Irving, an acting instructor and theatre manager.[1][5] He made his stage debut at age seven when he appeared in the children's play Dinosaur Door, written by Barbara Garson. The play was produced at Theater for the New City in New York's Greenwich Village. His involvement in the play came about when he, his brother and some friends had broken into Theater for the New City's space on Jane Street with the intent to vandalize it. They were confronted by the theater's artistic director, Crystal Field, who instead of calling the police, handed them scripts and offered them parts in the upcoming show. He remained involved with the theatre throughout adolescence, going on to attend the city's Hunter College, where his creative writing studies led him to begin screenwriting. Diesel became an active film-maker in the early 1990s, first earning notice for the short film Multi-Facial, which was selected for screening at the 1995 Cannes Festival. Diesel has identified himself as a "multi-faceted" actor[7] as a result of early difficulties finding roles due to his mixed heritage.[7][8]

In an interview on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, he said that he changed his name to "Vin Diesel" while working as a bouncer at the New York City nightclub Tunnel, because in that business one's real name is not usually given out. The name "Vin" is simply a shortened version of "Vincent". He received the nickname "Diesel" from his friends who said he ran off diesel fuel, referring to his non-stop energy.

He has a twin brother, Paul, a younger brother, Tim, and a sister, Samantha.[citation needed]


Diesel in Munich, April 2005

Diesel's first film role was a brief uncredited appearance in the 1990 film Awakenings. He then produced, directed, and starred in the 1994 short film Multi-Facial, a short semi-autobiographical film which follows a struggling actor stuck in the audition process, because he is regarded as either "too black" or "too white", or not black or white enough. He made his first feature-length film, 1997's Strays, an urban drama in which he was self-cast as a gang boss whose love for a woman inspires him to try to change his ways. Written, directed and produced by Diesel, the film was selected for competition at the 1997 Sundance Festival, leading to an MTV deal to turn it into a series.

He was then cast in Steven Spielberg's 1998 Oscar-winning film Saving Private Ryan on the poignancy of his performance in Multi-Facial. In 1999 he earned critical acclaim for his voice work as the title character in the animation film The Iron Giant. He followed it up with a major role in the business drama Boiler Room (2000) and then got his breakthrough role as the anti-hero Riddick in the science-fiction film Pitch Black (2000). He attained action hero super stardom with the box office hits, the street racing action film The Fast and the Furious (2001), starring opposite Paul Walker, and the action thriller xXx (2002).

In 2004, he reprised his role as Pitch Black's Riddick in The Chronicles of Riddick which was a box office failure considering the large budget. In 2005 he played a lighthearted role in the comedy film The Pacifier, which became a box office success. In 2006 he chose a dramatic role playing real-life mobster Jack DiNorscio in Find Me Guilty. Although he received critical acclaim for his performance, the film did poorly at the box office. Later that year he made a cameo appearance in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, reprising his role from The Fast and The Furious. Diesel was originally offered the lead in 2 Fast 2 Furious but turned it down. He was also offered the chance to reprise his role from xXx in xXx: State of the Union but turned it down as well. In March 2006, Diesel stated that he was working on a sequel to The Chronicles of Riddick which as of 2011 is still in pre-production stages.

In 2007, he was set to produce and star as Agent 47 in the film adaptation of the video game Hitman, but eventually pulled back and served as executive producer on the film instead. In 2008 he starred in the science-fiction action thriller Babylon A.D..

He returned to the The Fast and The Furious series, alongside all the actors from the original 2001 film, in Fast & Furious, which released in April 2009. In 2011, he once again returned, for the fifth film in the series, titled Fast Five.

Personal life

Diesel is noted for his recognizable deep voice; he has said that his voice broke at around age 15, giving him a mature sounding voice on the telephone.[9]

Around 2001, Diesel dated his The Fast and the Furious co-star, Michelle Rodriguez.[10]

Diesel has expressed his love for the Dominican Republic, and how he relates to its multicultural facets.[11] He is also acquainted with President Leonel Fernandez, and has since appeared in one of his earlier campaign ads. "Los Bandoleros", a short film directed by Diesel, was also filmed in the Dominican Republic.[12]

Diesel claims that he prefers dating in Europe, where he is less likely to be recognized and where celebrities are not romantically linked to each other. He prefers to maintain his privacy regarding his personal life:[13]

I'm not gonna put it out there on a magazine cover like some other actors. I come from the Harrison Ford, Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino code of silence.

Diesel has played Dungeons & Dragons for over twenty years[14] and wrote the foreword for the commemorative book 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons. In the 30th Anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons issue of Dragon Magazine, they examine the fact that Diesel played Dungeons & Dragons, and reveal that he had a fake tattoo of his character's name, "Melkor," on his stomach while filming xXx.

Diesel has a daughter, Hania Riley, born April 2, 2008, with his girlfriend, model Paloma Jimenez.[15][16] Speaking to An tEolas, an Irish newspaper, Diesel stated he has been seen as a hard man, but is in touch with his soft side as a father.[17]



Year Movie Role Other notes
1990 Awakenings Orderly Uncredited role
1994 Multi-Facial Mike
1997 Strays Rick
1998 Saving Private Ryan Private Adrian Caparzo
1999 The Iron Giant The Iron Giant (voice) Animated
2000 Boiler Room Chris Varick
Pitch Black Richard B. Riddick
2001 The Fast and the Furious Dominic Toretto
Knockaround Guys Taylor Reese
2002 xXx Xander Cage
2003 A Man Apart Sean Vetter
2004 The Chronicles of Riddick Richard B. Riddick
The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury Richard B. Riddick (voice) Straight-to-DVD; animated
2005 The Pacifier Lieutenant Shane Wolfe
2006 Find Me Guilty Jack DiNorscio
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift Dominic Toretto Cameo appearance
2008 Babylon A.D. Hugo Cornelius Toorop
2009 Fast & Furious Dominic "Dom" Toretto
2011 Fast Five Dominic "Dom" Toretto


Film Title Year Description
Multi-Facial 1994 Producer
Strays 1997 Executive Producer, Producer
xXx 2002 Executive Producer
A Man Apart 2003 Producer
Chronicles of Riddick 2004 Executive Producer
Life is a Dream 2004 Documentary, Executive Producer
Find Me Guilty 2006 Producer
Hitman 2007 Executive Producer
Fast & Furious 2009 Producer
Fast Five 2011 Producer

Director & Writer

Film Year
Multi-Facial 1994
Strays 1997


  1. The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay (2004)
  2. The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena (2009)
  3. Wheelman (2009)


  1. ^ a b "Vin Diesel Biography (1967–)". Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  2. ^ " – Vin Diesel: From nightclub bouncer to action hero – August 12, 2002". CNN. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  3. ^ Vincent, Mal (August 9, 2002). "xXx". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved March 2, 2008. 
  4. ^ Wloszcyna, Susan (June 4, 2004). "Vin Diesel, driving on a tankful of cool". USA Today. Retrieved March 2, 2008. 
  5. ^ a b "Diesel is running hot". February 17, 2000. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  6. ^ Vincent, Mal (June 22, 2001). ""THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS" VIN DIESEL OPENS THE THROTTLE IN NEW SPEED MOVIE AND JOINS AN ELITE "ACTION – STAR " FRATERNITY". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved March 2, 2008. 
  7. ^ a b Noy Thrupkaew (August 16, 2002). "The Multicultural Mysteries of Vin Diesel". Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Vin Diesel Shifts Acting Career Into High Gear In `The Fast And The Furious' - Brief Article | Jet | Find Articles at". July 9, 2001. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  9. ^ Vin Diesel on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on YouTube
  10. ^ Wloszczyna, Susan (August 6, 2002). "Vin Diesel, in high gear". USA Today (Gannett). Retrieved February 4, 2007. 
  11. ^ "Vin Diesel to film in DR". 
  12. ^ "Vin Diesel "adores" Dominicans, presents 'Los Bandoleros'". 
  13. ^ "Diesel says rumors about him being homosexual are untrue". 
  14. ^ "Vin Diesel of The Chronicles of Riddick Interview". Retrieved September 13, 2007. 
  15. ^ Jordan, Julie (June 5, 2008). "Vin Diesel Becomes a Father". People.,,20204899,00.html. Retrieved June 6, 2008. 
  16. ^ "New Zealand Herald". June 9, 2008. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  17. ^ Fear crua ar an scáileán mór ach athair cineálta sa bhaile, An tEolas (Irish), (English)

External links

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