There's Something about Mary
“I do a movie and I hope everybody gets to see it. I’m not somebody who only makes cult movies. Sometimes they become cult movies and that’s fine, but that’s not why I make movies. I would love to do a really good audience picture, but sometimes it just doesn’t get offered to you and that’s just the way the ball bounces. I want to do big movies. I like big escapist films, certain action films, like The Fugitive.” Matt Dillon
One of Hollywood’s teen idols in the early 1980s, Matt Dillon was famous for his scene stealing, grubby private investigator Pat Healy in the box-office hit There's Something About Mary (1998, starring Cameron Diaz), in which he picked up a Blockbuster Entertainment Award and a MTV Movie Award. Formerly, he gained recognition and critical appreciation after playing junkie Bob Hughes in Gus Van Sant’ Drugstore Cowboy (1989). Dillon’s bright acting handed him a 1990 Independent Spirit Award. Before the victories, the American actor had already established a reputation for himself as a juvenile movie star with such films as My Bodyguard (1980), Little Darlings (1980), Tex (1982), The Outsiders (1983), Rumble Fish (1983) and the hit comedy The Flamingo Kid (1984). His 1990s film credits include The Saint of Fort Washington (1993), Mr. Wonderful (1993), To Die For (1995, with Nicole Kidman), the blockbuster hit In & Out (1997) and the campy thriller hit Wild Things (1998).
Dillon’s admirer can catch him In the recent and forthcoming films Employee of the Month (2004, opposite Steve Zahn and Christina Applegate), writer/director Paul Haggis’ Crash (2004), Factotum (2005), Kevin Bacon’s Loverboy (2005), the big-budget Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005) and the comedy You, Me and Dupree (2006, with Owen Wilson and Kate Hudson).
Off screen, 6 foot tall Dillon modeled for a Skechers footwear advertisement campaign. The ad appeared in magazines in 2001 and early 2002. As for his private life, Dillon was once romantically linked with actress Cameron Diaz. The couple began dating in 1996 and became engaged before finally separating in 1998.
Cuban Music Fan
Childhood and Family:
Matthew Raymond Dillon was born on February 18, 1964, in New Rochelle, New York, but grew up in Mamaroneck, New York. The second child of six siblings to Paul Dillon, an investment manager-turned-portrait painter, and Mary Allen, a homemaker, Matt has four brothers, Paul (born 1962), Kevin (born 1965), Timothy (born 1969) and Brian (born 1972), and a sister named Katy (born 1966). He is also the grandson of Bea Dillon, whose sisters are two renowned artists, Alex Raymond and Jim Raymond. Alex was well-known for creating the cartoon strip Flash Gordon, while Jim drew the comic strip Blonde for about 40 years.
Of Irish-American descent, Matt became interested in acting during his elementary school years, before attending Hommocks Junior High School. He was then educated at Mamaroneck Senior High until his junior year. It was at his high school that Matt was spotted by a talent scout who soon helped the young boy launch a career in acting.
Off screen, Matt co-owns a restaurant called the Falls in New York and a bar named Whiskey in NYC's Paramount Hotel. He currently lives in the Upper West Side in New York. Matt is a New York Mets baseball devotee and collects Mookie Wilson baseball cards. Matt is also a fervent fan of Cuban music and has a large disc record collection. Commenting about the Cuban music, he said, “There is something about Cuba. There’s no doubt. There’s something romantic about the place, even now with everything going on. Just look at the music, among other things. Some of the greatest music ever came out of Cuba in the ‘50s, ‘40s and ‘30s.”
Beginning to act in elementary school, 14-year-old Matt Dillon was discovered by casting director Vic Ramos while cutting class in junior high school. A year later, he kicked off a professional career with his big screen debut in the teenage drama Over the Edge (1979), portraying tough youngster ruffian Richie White. After the Jonathan Kaplan-helmed film, Dillon played Melvin Moody in My Bodyguard (1980), was cast as Randy in the camp drama Little Darlings (1980), starred in the short Gunmen's Blues (1981) and made his television movie debut in The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters (1982).
With three wide screen films under his belt, Dillon was on his way to becoming a teen idol. In the following years, he cemented his position as America’s No. 1 teen star for his involvement in three films based on the best selling novels by writer S.E. Hinton. He first had the title character of a fatherless country boy in director Tim Hunter’s Tex (1982), then starred as the bothered teen leader in The Outsiders (1983, alongside Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, C Thomas Howell, Patrick Swayze and Ralph Macchio). Dillon also portrayed estranged teenager Rusty James in the superb Rumble Fish (1983) for director Francis Ford Coppola. In 1984, Dillon provided evidence he was a versatile actor when director Garry Marshall cast him as non-hoodlum character, smooth-talking Brooklyn teenager Jeffrey Willis in the popular comedy The Flamingo Kid.
By the mid 1980s, Dillon has made a successful transformation from pubescent star to grown-up actor. Starting with the thriller Target (1985, opposite Gene Hackman), Dillon’s breakthrough into the adult realm arrived when he teamed up with Gus Van Sant for the critically acclaimed Drugstore Cowboy (1989). Delivering an impressive portrayal of drug addict Bob Hughes, the actor won rave reviews from film critics, as well as netted an Independent Spirit for Best Actor in 1990.
His next few film projects, however, were unsuccessful. Four years later, Dillon gave a good performance as young schizophrenic Matthew in The Saint of Fort Washington (1993, opposite Danny Glover). He further increased his victory starring in 1993’s romance Mr. Wonderful. His career received another boost when Dillon rejoined Van Sant to star as the well-meaning, but disastrously muted husband of a psychotic weather girl (Nicole Kidman), in the drama To Die For (1995). From 1995-1996, he also added Frankie Starlight (1995), Beautiful Girls (1996), Grace of My Heart (1996) and Kevin Spacey’s Albino Alligator (1996) to his resume.
The next two years saw the actor landing pivotal roles in some big Hollywood hits. First, Dillon worked with Kevin Kline, Joan Cusack and Tom Selleck in the blockbuster smash In & Out (1997). He next portrayed woeful, untrained high-school guidance counselor Sam Lombardo, who is falsely accused of raping two students (Denise Richards and Neve Campbell), in the campy thriller hit Wild Things (1998), where he received a nomination for Best Kiss at the MTV Movie Awards. The same year, Dillon had another triumph in his hand when he was perfectly cast as sleazy personal detective Pat Healy, loved struck by Cameron Diaz, in There's Something About Mary (1998). Due to his bright performance in the Bobby/Peter Farrelly-directed comedy, Dillon took home a Blockbuster Entertainment for Favorite Supporting Actor-Comedy and a MTV Movie for Best Villain in 1999.
Three years disappearing from screen, Dillon made his way back to film with the box-office bomb One Night at McCool's (2001, opposite John Goodman and Liv Tyler). Initially helmed in an episode of the HBO drama “OZ” (1997), Dillon tried his second behind-the-camera-effort in 2002 with City of Ghosts, in which he also co-wrote with Barry Gifford, and starred. Unfortunately, the thriller film gathered negative reviews from critics. The same year, he was also featured as a gangster in Scott Kalvert’s Deuces Wild, starring Stephen Dorff, Brad Renfro and Fairuza Balk, before taking a two-year hiatus.
Returning in 2004, Dillon starred alongside Steve Zahn and Christina Applegate in the comedy Employee of the Month (2004). He then worked with Million Dollar Baby writer, writer/director Paul Haggis, in the mystery film Crash (2004). Recently, Dillon has been busy appearing as Mark in Kevin Bacon’s Loverboy (2005), starring in the low-budget Charles Bukowski adaptation Factotum (2005) and landing the high-profile role of bad boy racer Trip Murphy in the big-budget, updated sequel of Disney's classic Lovebug series, Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005). He is also scheduled to play a role opposite Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson in the upcoming You, Me and Dupree (2006). Anthony and Joe Russo will be directing the comedy film.
- MTV Movie: Best Villain, There's Something About Mary (tied with Stephen Dorff, Blade), 1999
- Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Supporting Actor - Comedy, There's Something About Mary, 1999
- Independent Spirit: Best Actor, Drugstore Cowboy, 1990