"Vin Diesel"

Primary Authors: Ali EL Hariri and Jimmy Crandall

The primary authors are the individuals who drafted the first version of the material which could have been different than the currently published version.

Vin Diesel was born Mark Sinclair Vincent on 18 July 1967 in New York City. Although he never met his biological father, he was raised by his mother Delora Sinclair and his adoptive father, Irving Vincent. Irving was a theater manager and acting instructor. This could explain how Mark got his roots in the film industry.

At the relatively early age of seven, Mark began acting in plays. His first gig was by chance. Along with a group of friends, he broke into a theater with intention to vandalize it, but, instead, a woman caught the group of boys and cut them a break. She said she would not report them under the condition that they would come to practice for the production of Dinosaur Door every day after school. After that show was completed, Mark's career pushed onward thanks to his adoptive father's repertory business.

At the age of 17, Mark felt he needed better income. To solve this problem, he became a bouncer at a nightclub. This worked well for him because of his beastly physique. "When you're a bouncer at a New York City nightclub, it apparently behooves you to use a fake name. So that's what buff actor Vin Diesel did" (Romero). Vin is just a shortened version of his last name, and Diesel is a representative nickname for his high-energy attitude. He continued to be a bouncer at various clubs around the city for nine years.

After finishing high school, Diesel went to Hunter College to be an English major. It was at this time when he began screenwriting. Eventually, Diesel decided to drop out of college with the intention to free up his time to peruse his desire for acting. He made the move to Hollywood thinking that an experienced actor like himself would be of great use. A year passed, and he was unable to have any impression on the acting industry.

Diesel was forced to head back home to his mother in New York. At this time, he got inspired to begin writing his own movies. His first film was a short titled Multi-Facial (1995); it was based on his own experiences as an actor. He wrote, starred in, directed, and produced the film. It only cost him $3,000 to produce. The film was accepted to premiere at the 1995 Cannes film festival.

This success motivated Diesel to move back to California and produce his first feature film Strays (1997). This movie was screened at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. The film generated a positive response, but, unfortunately, it did not sell as well as he had hoped it to. Greatly disappointed, he made the move back to New York yet again. Little did he know, his career was going to make a turn for the better. Once back home, he received a phone call from Steven Spielberg. Multi-Facial caught the interest of Spielberg, and he wanted to meet Diesel. The relationship they built lead to casting Diesel in Saving Private Ryan (1998).

Vin Diesel is most know for his high octane roles in xXx (2002) and The Fast and the Furious (2001), but he shows that he indeed does have a caring side. While shooting for the movie Hannibal the Conqueror (in production), he needed to find a location to film live elephants. This brought Diesel to the Dominican Republic. The nation's President, Leonel Fernández, reached out to him and asked if there was any way for Diesel to bring the film industry to the island. Diesel responded by creating the One Race Global Film Foundation. This is a four-week program that was modeled off the Media Workshop that his adoptive father teaches at New York University. The program has given students of all ages a taste of what it's like to direct and produce movies. According to his sister, Diesel continues to run the film school because he "sees One Race as more than an altruistic piggy bank" (Tepper).

Vin Diesel's career in the film and acting industry has been all across the board dabbling in many different areas. From acting in small plays to staring in Hollywood films, Diesel has the experience necessary to be considered a seasoned actor. What will be next?

Works Consulted

Vin Diesel (left) and Paul Walker (right) in Fast Five (2011)