Date of birth: July 18, 1967
Place of birth: New York City, NY
Astrological sign: Cancer
Birth Name: Mark Vincent
Height: 6′ 1½” (1.87 m)
Vin Diesel was raised by his astrologer/psychiatrist mother and adoptive father in Westbeth, the artist’s housing project in New York’s Greenwich Village. His first break in acting happened by chance, when at the age of seven he and his friends broke into a theatre to vandalize it. A woman stopped them and offered them each a script and $20, on the condition that they would attend everyday after school. From there, Vin’s fledgling career progressed from the New York repertory company run by his father, to the Off-Off-Broadway circuit. At 17 and already sporting a well-honed physique, he became a bouncer at some of New York’s hippest clubs including the Tunnel (which has since closed) and Mars. It was at this time that he changed his name to ‘Vin Diesel’.
Following high school, Vin enrolled as an English major at Hunter College, but dropped out after three years to go to Hollywood to further his acting career. Being an experienced theatre actor did not make any impression in Hollywood and after a year of struggling to make his mark, he returned to New York. His mother then gave him a book called “Feature Films at Used Car Prices” by ‘Rick Schmidt’. The book showed him that he could take control of his career and make his own movies. He wrote a short film based on his own experiences as an actor, called Multi-Facial (1994), which was shot in less than three days at a cost of $3,000. Multi-Facial (1994) was eventually accepted for the 1995 Cannes Film Festival where it got a tumultuous reception. Afterwards, Vin returned to Los Angeles and raised almost $50,000 through telemarketing to fund the making of his first feature, Strays (1997).
Six months after shooting, the film was accepted for the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, and although it received a good reception, it didn’t sell as well as hoped. Yet again Vin returned disappointed to New York only to receive a dream phone call. Steven Spielberg was impressed by Multi-Facial (1994) and wanted to meet Vin, leading him to be cast in Saving Private Ryan (1998). Multi-Facial (1994) earned Vin more work, when the director of Iron Giant, The (1999) saw it and decided to cast Vin in the title role. Since then he has written an original screenplay titled “Doormen” (based on his experiences as a bouncer) as a follow-up to Strays. However, his acting career exploded and his plans to direct the film have had to be postponed for now.
From there, Vin’s career has steadily grown, with him securing his first lead role as ‘Richard B Riddick’ in the sci-fi film Pitch Black (2000). He has also starred in The Fast and the Furious (2001) xXx (2002), A Man Apart (2003), The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), and the Pacifier (2005). These roles have earned him a legion of devoted fans and the public recognition he deserves.
Chronicles of Riddick (2004) $11,500,000
A Man Apart (2003) $2,500,000
The Fast and the Furious (2001) $2,000,000
Saving Private Ryan (1998) $100,000
Trivia about Vin:
Has a fraternal twin brother, Paul Vincent, who is a film editor.
Has 2 sisters.
Ranked #46 in Premiere’s 2003 annual Power 100 List. Had ranked #95 in 2002.
He’s an admitted fan of Dungeons and Dragons, and, according to an interview on _Conan O’Brian_ , he played for 24 years.
Producing partner with George Zakk. Their company is called One Race Productions.
During his teens, he performed break dancing in an instructional video on the subject.
Quotes by Vin:
“Well, I’ve worked out for years. For a long time it was my only sense of gratification.”
“I would get into fights with other bouncers when a guy was already on the floor and the other guys thought it was alright to jump up in the air and land on the guy’s head.”
“I was being offered three franchises at the same time – Pitch Black, XXX, and The Fast and the Furious – and I had to choose. I couldn’t do all three.” – on why he didn’t do the Fast and the Furious sequel
“This isn’t a poster. This is a declaration of war!” -Re: the XXX poster and what it means for his career
“I am definitely a person of color.” – regarding his mysterious ethnicity
On the planned Chronicles of Riddick trilogy: “We gave the script to the studio, I bought three leather binders. One said C1, one said C2 and one said C3. They all had locks on them and we only gave the key to C1 to the studio”.
“In the next film, Riddick is going to go to the underverse. Riddick will act with new elementals. Not air elementals [as Judi Dench's character is] but fire and water. It’ll come full circle in C3 when he must return to Furia”.
On the Chronicles of Riddick: “The concept behind switching genres was to create a film that you could continue exploring. In the ending of this movie, it’s not just something that says we’re opening it up so we can tell another story, it’s very specific. A very daring ending because it’s left open-ended.”
“From the very very beginning, when everyone thought it was crazy, I was thinking of The Chronicles of Riddick as a trilogy. That would start with the movie you saw, and Pitch Black would act as a prequel that introduced you to the character. So in simple terms, in Chronicles 2 we venture to the Underverse. We knew we could get away with a PG-13 on the first one, but once you go to the Underverse it’s rated R, because it’s a place where war is the norm and there is constant, constant battling. Then on Chronicles 3 we will see Riddick return to Furia, to deal with the homeland.”
“I was a bouncer for nine years – it was all I knew how to do – and my training was not to talk loosely…That’s still my thought process: Shut your mouth, watch your back and keep working till your ass falls off.”
All information taken from:
Biography for Vin Diesel
mini-bio written by Lilith, Imdb.com