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Vin Diesel

Mark Vincent (he apparently got the name Vin Diesel while he was working as a bouncer) was born July 18, 1967, in New York, NY and was raised by his astrologer and psychologist mother, and stepfather, a teacher and theater director.

Growing up in an artist's housing project in Greenwich Village with his non-identical twin brother Paul and younger sisters, a young Diesel led a life of uncertainty, not knowing his biological father. However, despite his low-class upbringing, it was obvious that he wanted to be a performer from the age of three, after his mother had to stop him from trying to step into the ring at the circus -- he wanted his performance to start.

A chance encounter that led to Diesel's acting career occurred when he was seven years of age. Vin and his friends had broken into a local theater, and rather than getting caught and reprimanded for trespassing, Diesel and his buds were handed scripts and were offered $20 dollars per week, on the condition that they show up after school every day. This served as Vin's first "real" paying job.

But his road to success wasn't paved with good luck and fortune. The closest he came to acting professionally was in a Theatre of the New City production, in addition to several very off Broadway plays. Diesel had to take on jobs such as bouncer at several exclusive New York City nightclubs in order to finance his film dreams. He had taken matters into his own hands when he left Hunter College in New York in the midst of studying for an English degree, in order to get an earlier start in filmmaking.

When his mother brought home the book Feature Films at Used Car Prices in order to encourage Diesel, it pushed him to take control of his destiny and create his own movies in which to star. He did, and his filmmaking, writing, producing, and starring role in the film short Multi-Facial (based on his experiences of trying to make it as an actor) screened at Cannes Film Festival in 1995. It received positive reviews, and the extremely low-budget film -- at a cost of $3,000 in a total of three days of shooting -- led to bigger things.

Despite the lackluster success of his next independent feature, Strays, which was a Sundance entry in 1997, his performance in Multi-Facial was noticed by a certain important person in Hollywood. Steven Spielberg caught his performance in Mutli-Facial and created the role of Private 1st Class Adrian Caparzo in Saving Private Ryan for Diesel. He also impressed the director of the animated film, The Iron Giant, and thanks to his guttural voice, he was cast as the voice of the title character in the 1999 film.

While it took a while for Diesel to convince filmmakers to take him seriously, 2000 was a year of star-making roles for the actor. Two of his films opened on the same weekend -- the sci-fi Pitch Black and drama Boiler Room -- two roles that couldn't be more different in the acting range. Diesel added yoga and pilates to his regular workout for his Pitch Black role as Riddick, while he saw his scummy role as Chris the telemarketer in Boiler Room as a way of redeeming himself for the job he once held as a telemarketer, selling overpriced tools.

But it was in the summer of 2001 that Diesel proved he could draw in audiences as a leading man, in the testosterone pumped The Fast and the Furious, as Jordana Brewster's older brother, Dominic. The film was tops at the box-office and took in millions, and served to prove Diesel's star appeal even further.

After a low-key role in 2001's Knockaround Guys, audiences will see more of Diesel in XXX, slated for a 2002 release and co-starring fellow intimidator Samuel L. Jackson, and The Chronicles of Riddick, slated for 2003, which Diesel had a hand in writing.

While Vin Diesel has always wanted to differentiate himself from other thespians, he certainly stands in a league of his own: In addition to his directing credits for Multi-Facial and Strays, Diesel also flexed his producing muscles for XXX (his production team is called One Race) and used his writing skills for The Chronicles of Riddick and his indie pictures.

Known for his trademark voice, (almost as recognizable as James Earl Jones'), his ability to play a multitude of races (he apparently has traces of Irish, Italian, German, Dominican, Mexican, and a lot of other ethnicities), and his intimidating, overbearing frame, film critic Roger Ebert has dubbed Vin Diesel the action star to watch out for in the next few years.

Vin Diesel has been allegedly linked to model/actress Summer Altice, and his Fast and the Furious co-star, Michelle Rodriguez







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