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Vin Diesel

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Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Vin Diesel in July 2013
Born Mark Sinclair
Mark Sinclair Vincent

(1967-07-18) July 18, 1967 (age 47)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor, filmmaker
Years active 1990–present
Partner(s) Paloma Jimenez (2008–present)
Children 3

Vin Diesel (born July 18, 1967)[1] 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.

Early life

Diesel was born Mark Sinclair[2] or Mark Sinclair Vincent[1] in New York City along with his twin brother, Paul.[3] His mother, Delora Sherleen (Sinclair) Vincent, is an astrologer.[4][5] Diesel has stated that he is "of ambiguous ethnicity".[6] His mother's background includes English, German, and Scottish.[7] 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".[8] Diesel has self-identified as "definitely a person of colour",[9] and has stated that his parents' relationship would have been illegal in some parts of the United States due to anti-miscegenation laws.[10] He was raised by his Caucasian mother and African-American stepfather, Irving H. Vincent, an acting instructor and theater manager.[9][3][11]

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.[12][13][14]

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[15] as a result of early difficulties finding roles due to his mixed heritage.[15][16] 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 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. The film was selected for screening at the 1995 Cannes Festival. He made his first feature-length film, Strays (1997), an urban drama in which he played 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 film The Iron Giant.[citation needed]


Diesel at a premiere for Fast & Furious in 2009

Diesel had a major role in the business drama Boiler Room (2000), and then got his breakthrough role[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

In 2006, he chose a dramatic role playing real-life mobster Jack DiNorscio in Find Me Guilty. Although he received critical acclaim for his performance, the film did poorly at the box office.[citation needed] Later that year, Diesel made a cameo appearance in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, reprising his role from The Fast and the Furious. He was originally offered the lead in 2 Fast 2 Furious, but turned it down.[citation needed] He was also offered the chance to reprise his role from xXx in xXx: State of the Union, but turned it down as well.

In 2007, Diesel was set to produce and star as Agent 47 in the film adaptation of the video game Hitman, but eventually pulled back and served as executive producer on the film instead. In 2008, he starred in the science-fiction action thriller Babylon A.D.. Diesel returned to the The Fast and the Furious series, alongside all the actors from the original film, in Fast & Furious, which was released in April 2009.


Diesel reprised his role as Dominic Toretto in the fifth and sixth films of the Fast and Furious franchise, Fast Five (2011) and Fast & Furious 6 (2013). He reprised his role as Riddick in the third film of the Riddick series simply titled Riddick (2013). In August 2013, Diesel received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[17] He voiced Groot in the 2014 Marvel Cinematic Universe film Guardians of the Galaxy,[18] and is set to star in the 2015 film Furious 7.[19] Diesel is also scheduled to star in The Last Witch Hunter[20] as well as an updated version of Kojak.[20] In addition, Diesel is stated to return to the starring role in a third xXx movie.[20]

Personal life

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.[21] Around 2001, he dated his Fast and the Furious co-star, Michelle Rodriguez.[22]

Diesel's main car Dodge Charger from Fast & Furious

Diesel and his girlfriend, Mexican model Paloma Jimenez, have three children: daughter Hania Riley[23] (born April 2008),[24] son Vincent Sinclair, (born 2010),[25] and daughter Pauline, whose undated arrival he announced in March 2015.[26] She is named in honor of his friend and "Fast & Furious" franchise co-star, Paul Walker, who died in November 2013.[27]

He said in 2006 he prefers to maintain his privacy regarding his personal life, stating, "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".[28]

Fast Five cast with Natalie Morales for NBC's Today.

Diesel has expressed his love for the Dominican Republic, and how he relates to its multicultural facets.[29] He is acquainted with its former president, Leonel Fernández, and appeared in one of Fernández's earlier campaign ads. Los Bandoleros, a short film directed by Diesel, was filmed in the Dominican Republic.[30]

Diesel has played Dungeons & Dragons for over 20 years,[31] 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.



Year Title Role Notes
1990 Awakenings Orderly Uncredited
1994 Multi-Facial Mike Short film
Writer, director, producer
1997 Strays Rick Writer, director, producer
1998 Saving Private Ryan Private Adrian Caparzo
1999 The Iron Giant The Iron Giant Voice
2000 Boiler Room Chris Varick
2000 Pitch Black Richard B. Riddick
2001 The Fast and the Furious Dominic Toretto
2001 Knockaround Guys Taylor Reese
2002 xXx Xander Cage Executive producer
2003 A Man Apart Sean Vetter Producer
2004 The Chronicles of Riddick Richard B. Riddick Producer
2004 The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury Richard B. Riddick Voice
2005 The Pacifier Lieutenant Shane Wolfe
2006 Find Me Guilty Jack DiNorscio
2006 The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift Dominic Toretto Uncredited
2007 Hitman N/A Executive producer
2008 Babylon A.D. Hugo Cornelius Toorop
2009 Los Bandoleros Dominic Toretto Short film
Writer, director, producer
2009 Fast & Furious Dominic Toretto Producer
2011 Fast Five Dominic Toretto Producer
2013 Fast & Furious 6 Dominic Toretto Producer
2013 Riddick: Blindsided Richard B. Riddick Short film
2013 Riddick Richard B. Riddick Producer
2014 Guardians of the Galaxy Groot Voice (including in non-English
language versions)
2014 Life is a Dream Executive producer
2015 Furious 7 Dominic Toretto Producer
2015 The Last Witch Hunter Kaulder Filming

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2004 The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay Richard B. Riddick Voice
2009 Wheelman Milo Burik Voice
2009 The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena Richard B. Riddick Voice

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
1997 Grand Jury Prize Best Dramatic Feature Strays Nominated
1999 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Cast
Shared with the rest of the cast
Saving Private Ryan Nominated
1999 Online Film Critics Society Award Best Cast
Shared with the rest of the cast
Saving Private Ryan Won
2001 Blockbuster Entertainment Award Favorite Actor Pitch Black Nominated
2002 MTV Movie Award Best Male Performance The Fast and the Furious Nominated
2002 MTV Movie Award Best On-Screen Team
Shared with Paul Walker
The Fast and the Furious Won
2002 Black Reel Award Best Actor The Fast and the Furious Nominated
2003 MTV Movie Award Best Male Performance xXx Nominated
2003 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Actor: Drama/Action Adventure xXx
A Man Apart
2004 Spike Video Game Award Best Performance by a Human Male The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay Won
2005 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Actor: Comedy The Pacifier Nominated
2005 Golden Raspberry Award Worst Actor The Chronicles of Riddick Nominated
2005 Video Software Dealers Association Award Male Star of the Year[32] The Chronicles of Riddick Won
2009 Spike Video Game Award Best Performance by a Human Male The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena Nominated
2009 MTV Movie Award Best Male Performance Fast & Furious Nominated
2010 People's Choice Award Favorite Action Star Fast & Furious Nominated
2011 CinemaCon Award Action Star of the Year[33] Fast Five Won
2011 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Actor Fast Five Nominated
2012 Image Award Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Fast Five Nominated
2012 Black Reel Award Best Cast Ensemble
Shared with the rest of the cast
Fast Five Nominated
2012 People's Choice Award Favorite Action Star Fast Five Nominated
2013 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie: Chemistry
Shared with Paul Walker & Dwayne Johnson
Fast & Furious 6 Nominated
2014 People's Choice Award Favorite Action Movie Actor Fast & Furious 6 Nominated
2014 MTV Movie Award Best On-Screen Duo
Shared with Paul Walker
Fast & Furious 6 Won
2015 Phoenix Film Critics Society Best Cast Guardians of the Galaxy Pending


  1. ^ a b "Vin Diesel Biography: Film Actor (1967–)". (FYI / A&E Networks). Retrieved March 17, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Diesel breaks silence over Walker". Press Association via The Press (Christchurch, New Zealand). December 3, 2013. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Vin Diesel Biography (1967–)". Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  4. ^ " – Vin Diesel: From nightclub bouncer to action hero – August 12, 2002". CNN. August 12, 2002. Archived from the original on 15 August 2009. 
  5. ^ "Vincent, Irving H". Retrieved June 29, 2013. 
  6. ^ Vincent, Mal (June 22, 2001). "'The Fast and the Furious' Vin Diesel Opens the Throttle in New Speed Movie and Joins an Elite 'Action-Star' Fraternity". The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Virginia). Retrieved March 2, 2008. 
  7. ^ "VinDiesel explains why Glasgow was perfect to shoot Fast 6". May 15, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Diesel mixes it up". February 22, 2000. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Diesel is running hot". February 17, 2000. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  10. ^ Chu, Hanna (2013-08-26). "Vin Diesel receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame". KABC-TV. Retrieved 2013-12-06. 
  11. ^ Pearlman, Cindy (August 9, 2002). "Fame game stumps Diesel". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved June 29, 2013. 
  12. ^ Krulik, Nancy E. Vin Diesel: Fueled for Success. New York: Simon Pulse, 2002. Page 14.
  13. ^ Vincent, Mal (August 9, 2002). "xXx". The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Virginia). Retrieved March 2, 2008. 
  14. ^ Wloszcyna, Susan (June 4, 2004). "Vin Diesel, driving on a tankful of cool". USA Today. Retrieved March 2, 2008. 
  15. ^ a b Noy Thrupkaew (August 16, 2002). "The Multicultural Mysteries of Vin Diesel". Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Vin Diesel Shifts Acting Career into High Gear In 'The Fast and the Furious'". July 9, 2001. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  17. ^ Moult, Julie (August 27, 2013). "Vin Diesel's girlfriend and two children cheer on the actor as he receives his Hollywood Walk of Fame accolade". Daily Mail. Daily Mail and General Trust. Retrieved November 30, 2013. 
  18. ^ Truitt, Brian (21 December 2013). "He is Groot: Diesel to star in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'". USA Today. 
  19. ^ "'Fast And Furious 7′ Gets July 11, 2014 Release Date". (PMC). April 16, 2013. Archived from the original on July 5, 2011. Retrieved April 16, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b c Han, Angie. "‘xXx 3′ Is Definitely Happening, Will Shoot in Asia, Says Vin Diesel". /film. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  21. ^ Vin Diesel on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on YouTube
  22. ^ Wloszczyna, Susan (August 6, 2002). "Vin Diesel, in high gear". USA Today (Gannett). Retrieved February 4, 2007. 
  23. ^ Marquina, Sierra (March 16, 2015). "Vin Diesel, Girlfriend Paloma Jimenez Welcome Third Child -- See the Sweet Photo". Us Weekly. Retrieved March 17, 2015. 
  24. ^ Jordan, Julie (June 5, 2008). "Vin Diesel Becomes a Father". People. Retrieved June 6, 2008. 
  25. ^ "Vin Diesel Welcomes Third Child". People. March 16, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2015. Diesel and the 31-year-old model are also parents to son Vincent Sinclair, 4½.... 
  26. ^ Vulpo, Mike (March 16, 2015). "Vin Diesel Welcomes His Third Child With Girlfriend Paloma Jiménez—See the First Baby Photo!". E! News. Retrieved March 17, 2015. 
  27. ^ Hines, Ree (March 23, 2015). "Vin Diesel reveals his new baby's very special name, a tribute to Paul Walker". Today. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  28. ^ "Diesel says rumors about him being homosexual are untrue". WENN via March 29, 2006. 
  29. ^ "Vin Diesel to film in DR". August 9, 2005. Archived from the original on January 1, 2015. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Vin Diesel "adores" Dominicans, presents 'Los Bandoleros'". July 30, 2009. Archived from the original on December 7, 2014. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  31. ^ Diesel in Adler, Shawn (n.d.). "Vin Diesel of 'The Chronicles of Riddick Interview". Archived from the original on June 16, 2004. Retrieved September 13, 2007. 
  32. ^ "Awards – VinXperience – The Vin Diesel fansite". Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Vin Diesel to Receive CinemaCon Action Star of the Year Award". The Hollywood Reporter. March 28, 2011. Archived from the original on December 18, 2011. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 

External links