With his muscle-bound physique, signature bald pate and deep growl of a speaking voice, Vin Diesel rose from obscurity in the late ’90s to become one of Hollywood’s reigning action movie alpha males on the strength of such global hits as "XXX” and "Pitch Black" as well as the blockbuster "Fast & Furious" film franchise.
Over that time, he has parlayed his buffed-up screen presence into a significant role on the other side of the camera, producing sequels to "Fast & Furious" and "Pitch Black" ("The Chronicles of Riddick" and "Riddick") and heading a video-game production company, Tigon Studios.
The New York City native (real name: Mark Sinclair Vincent) began acting at age 7 but broke into moviedom thanks to a pair of films he wrote and directed: the semi-autobiographical short "Multi-Facial" (1994) and the indie feature "Strays" that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997.
After being cast in Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed 1998 war drama "Saving Private Ryan," the onetime nightclub bouncer landed a trifecta of star vehicles that established his action-hero bona fides: the sci-fi sleeper hit "Pitch Black" (2000), the thriller "The Fast & the Furious" (2001) and popcorn espionage epic "XXX" (2002). Respectively portraying an escaped convict in deep space, an outlaw street racer and an extreme sports aficionado reluctantly recruited by the CIA in those films, Diesel initially passed on massive paydays for early "Fast" and "XXX" sequels. Instead, he demonstrated his range by appearing in the modestly budgeted 2006 legal drama "Find Me Guilty" (directed by Sidney Lumet) and the hit kid flick "The Pacifier."
Diesel ultimately came to terms with his ambivalence at being "pigeonholed" as an action icon and returned to all three film franchises that cemented his reputation. In August 2013, he became the 2,504th person to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.