VIN DIESEL [Mark Vincent]
July 18, 1967
New York, New York
"Overnight success" is certainly a term that can be used to describe Vin Diesel's career. With just five smaller parts under his belt, Vin hopped onto the fasttrack with his role as the mysterious Riddick in the sci-fi thriller Pitch Black, quickly followed by the high-octane action flick, The Fast And The Furious.
Vin was raised, with his twin brother and two sisters in Greenwich Village in New York, by his mother [an astrologer] and step-father [theatre director/teacher]. At 13, his squeaky boy's voice cracked into the deep bass that is now one of his signature features along with his sculptured physique. In 1985 Vin graduated from the private Anglo-American International School in New York. From there he studied English at Hunter College but dropped out after three years to pursue acting. In order to leave his days open for auditions, he became a bouncer at the Tunnel club in New York, at that time changing his name from Mark Vincent to the ultra-cool Vin Diesel.
When auditions failed to be as fruitful or plentiful as hoped for, Vin took matters into his own hands when his mother gave him the book Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices. Determined to crack into the business, Vin took the advice in the book and sunk $3,000 of his savings into writing and producing the short film Multi-Facial, which was shot in less than three days. The film was screened at the Anthology Film Archives in New York, then later at the Cannes Film Festival. The film may have not been a critical success, but the six-foot, mega-muscled, smooth-headed actor caught the attention of Steven Spielberg. The E.T. director was so impressed with Vin's performance that he specifically created the role of Private Adrian Caparzo for him in his upcoming World War II drama, Saving Private Ryan. Although Vin's character was one of the first in the squad to be killed, his career was now gaining momentum.
Vin next found himself in the sci-fi thriller, Pitch Black, in which he virtually stole the show from his co-stars with his eerily magnetic take on bad boy prisoner, Riddick. The stock-scam drama Boiler Room followed, leading into the mega-hit The Fast And The Furious. Coming off that box office success, Hollywood now saw the potential in Vin's talent and charasmatic presence, and offered him the chance to be Tinsletown's the next action hero with the starring role in the adrenaline pumped, XXX.
With two franchises [Pitch Black and XXX] riding on his broad shoulders, and a salary in the tens of millions per film, Vin is flying high with no end in sight. Not bad for a kid who used to wash dishes for a plate of fries.
Photo © Entertainment Weekly - Bio by ThespianNet.com © 2002
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