"After you become famous, everything you do is suspect." Vin Diesel
Actor, producer, writer and director Vin Diesel first came to public attention while portraying Mike in Multi-Facial (1994) and while working in 1997's Sundance Film Festival hit, Strays. He later gained popularity acting in such action and thriller movies as Saving Private Ryan (1998, as Private Carparzo), Pitch Black (2000, as Richard B. Riddick), and in The Boiler Room (2000). Diesel was also widely known for lending his voice in the animated movies The Iron Giant (1999) and The Chronicles of Riddick sequels. Moreover, he gained more recognition starring in the films The Fast and the Furious (2001, with Paul Walker) and xXx (2002).
Despite his action star status, Diesel is currently gaining mixed reviews for making a straight jump into comedy, starring as a Navy Seal turned baby-sitter in the family comedy The Pacifier. Commenting on the role, Diesel said, "It's a comedy that plays off all the people's perceptions of the films that I've done before... It all just seemed to come together... This is the soft side of Vin Diesel... My niece and nephew kept saying, 'When are we going to be able to see one of your movies, Uncle Vin? Mom and Dad won't let us' It was high time for me to do something that not only children could see, but something that a family could go to together. That was really the main draw."
As for his private life, Diesel was reported to have been love-struck by several figures. He was linked with ex-teen beauty, Entertainment Tonight reporter Maria Menounos and involved with model/actress Summer Altice. Diesel was also rumored to date his Fast and the Furious co-star, Michelle Rodriguez.
Person of Color
Childhood and Family:
"I am definitely a person of color." Vin Diesel
Half African-American, half Italian-American, Mark Vincent, who would later be famous as Vin Diesel, was born in New York, New York to an acting coach father and astrologer/psychologist mother. Never knowing his biological father, Vin was raised by his mother and adoptive father in a housing project in Greenwich Village, New York. He has two sisters and a fraternal twin brother named Paul (film Editor).
Vin attended the Anglo-American International School in New York, New York, and performed break dancing in an instructional video during his teens. Vin continued his college by studying English in the Hunter College in New York, New York, but dropped out after three years to pursue his career in film.
The Chronicles of Riddick
"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 changed because I've always thought I was a celebrity. It was the rest of the world that hadn't figured it out." Vin Diesel
Performing on stage since age 7, Vin Diesel later realized that he could make his own movies after his mother gave him a book titled Feature Films at Used Car Prices by Rick Schmidt. His first film project was the extremely low-budget film Multi Facial (1994), a 20-minute film that he starred, produced, directed and wrote. The film was well received in the high-profile Cannes Film Festival in 1995 and he followed it up with the feature drama Strays, which became a hit at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997.
In the following year renowned director Steven Spielberg cast him as Private Caparzo in his World War II drama Saving Private Ryan (1998, starring Tom Hanks). Next came Brad Bird's adaptation of Ted Hughes' book, the animated movie The Iron Giant (1999), in which he provided his voice for the title role.
Diesel's first starring role was criminal Richard B. Riddick in M. David Melvin's disappointing TV movie, Into Pitch Black (2000), which he later reprised the role in its well-received big screen version, Pitch Black (also in 2000, helmed by David Twohy). More distinguished roles came in. Diesel played corrupt stockbroker Chris Varick in Ben Younger's crime-drama Boiler Room (alongside Ben Affleck and Giovanni Ribisi) and Dominic Toretto in Rob Cohen's adaptation of Ken Li's magazine article, The Fast and The Furious (2001), for which he earned a MTV movie award for Best On-Screen Team, shared with Paul Walker. Diesel also played a role in Brian Koppelman and David Levien's thriller action Knockaround Guys in 2001 (starring Barry Pepper and Andrew Davoli).
Portraying the government's extreme powerful agent Xander Cage in the thriller-adventure xXx (2001, reunited with director Rob Cohen), was Diesel's breakout role. Diesel was classified as an action star and played such roles as DEA detective Sean Vetter in F. Gary Gray's crime-action A Man Apart (2003). In 2004, Diesel played Richard B. Riddick again in The Chronicles of Riddick as well as lent his voice to the animated films The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay and The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury.
After starring in a string of action and thriller movies, Diesel surprised his fans by making a jump into comedy. He starred as Navy SEAL agent Shane Wolfe, who becomes a baby-sitter for a group of children, in Adam Shankman's family comedy, The Pacifier. Despite the film's top box-office status, Diesel received mixed reviews for his unexpected role.
Diesel's upcoming film work include his portrayal of mobster Jack DiNorscio in Sidney Lumet's crime-drama Find Me Guilty, the title role in self-directed adventure-drama titled Hannibal (based on Ross Leckie's novel), and lending his voice to the animated Rockfish. As a producer, Diesel has established his own production company named One Race Productions.
Additionally, Diesel was recently reported to be working on continuations to The Chronicles of Riddick. He said, "Riddick? Well, you know that I've always had 'C2' planned. I'm silently, and I shouldn't even say this, I'm silently working on 'C2' with some of the outlines that were created when I first thought of doing the three films. The way that it's designed, and I hope that I'm not giving too much away, is that in Chronicles of Riddick 2, we go into the Underverse, and then C3, if you will, is that final return home to Furia."
- MTV Movie: Best On-Screen Team, shared with Paul Walker, The Fast And The Furious, 2002