- Mark Sinclair Vincent III
July 18, 1967 (age 53)
- Actor, Film Producer, Film Director, Screenwriter
- Paloma Jiménez
- Delora Vincent, Irving Vincent
Vin Diesel (born July 18, 1967) is an American actor and filmmaker. He first became known for appearing in Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan (1998). He is best known for his portrayals of Riddick in The Chronicles of Riddick trilogy (2001–2013) and Dominic Toretto in The Fast and the Furious film series (2001–present), two franchises in which he also acted as producer.
Diesel starred in xXx (2002) and Sidney Lumet's Find Me Guilty (2006). His voice acting work includes The Iron Giant (1999), the video game spin-offs of The Chronicles of Riddick franchise, and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). As a filmmaker, he wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the drama film Strays. He is the founder of the production companies One Race Films, Racetrack Records, and Tigon Studios.
Diesel was born Mark Sinclair or Mark Sinclair Vincent in New York City along with his twin brother Paul. His mother, Delora Sherleen (Sinclair) Vincent, is an astrologer. Diesel has stated that he is "of ambiguous ethnicity". His mother's background includes English, German, and Scottish. He has never met his biological father, and has stated that "all I know from my mother is that I have connections to many different cultures". Diesel has self-identified as "definitely a person of colour". He has stated that his parents' relationship would have been illegal in some parts of the United States due to anti-miscegenation laws. He was raised by his Caucasian mother and African-American stepfather, Irving H. Vincent, an acting instructor and theater manager.
Diesel 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 the 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 offered them roles in the upcoming show instead of calling the police.
Diesel remained involved with the theater throughout adolescence, going on to attend the city's Hunter College, where his creative writing studies led him to begin screenwriting. He has identified himself as a "multi-faceted" actor as a result of early difficulties finding roles due to his mixed heritage. He changed his name to Vin Diesel while working as a bouncer at the New York nightclub Tunnel, because one's real name is not usually given out in that business. 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.
Diesel's first film role was a brief uncredited appearance in the film Awakenings (1990). He then wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the short film Multi-Facial (1994), 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, Strays (1997), an urban drama in which he was self-cast as a gang leader 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 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 filmThe Iron Giant.
Diesel had 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). Diesel attained action hero stardom with two box office hits: the street racing action film The Fast and the Furious (2001), and the action thriller xXx (2002). In 2004, Diesel reprised his role as Riddick in The Chronicles of Riddick, which was a box office failure considering the large budget. He also voiced the character in spin-off video games. In 2005, he played a lighthearted role in the comedy film The Pacifier, which became a box office success.
Diesel is noted for his recognizably deep voice; he has said that his voice broke at around age 15, giving him a mature sounding voice on the telephone. He has a twin brother, Paul, a younger brother, Tim, and a sister, Samantha. Around 2001, Diesel dated his The Fast and the Furious co-star, Michelle Rodriguez.
Diesel and his girlfriend, Mexican model Paloma Jimenez, have two children: daughter Hania Riley (born 2008), and son Vincent (born 2010). 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. He claims to prefer 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, stating that "I'm not gonna put it out there on a magazine cover like some other actors" and that "I come from the Harrison Ford, Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino code of silence".
Diesel has played Dungeons & Dragons for over 20 years, and wrote the foreword for the commemorative book 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons. In the 30th anniversary issue of Dragon magazine, it was revealed that Diesel had a fake tattoo of his character's name, Melkor, on his stomach while filming xXx.