Vin Diesel surged to Hollywood fame with the Fast and Furious film franchise. He also gained notoriety from starring in Riddick, xXx and Babylon AD. Despite his tough on-screen persona and sparse appearances outside of action films, Diesel possesses a geeky side plus he has an interesting background in the entertainment industry. Check out these tidbits about the famous movie celebrity.
1. “Vin Diesel” wasn’t his original name
“Vin Diesel” was born as Mark Sinclair Vincent in New York City. The actor changed his name while working as a bouncer for a New York nightclub. He shortened his last name to “Vin”, and the second portion “Diesel” was influenced by comments from his friends—due in part to his big muscles and high energy.
2. He’s an accidental actor
Vin Diesel didn’t originally opt for an acting career. He and some friends sneaked into the “Theater for the New City” building and planned to vandalize the space. The theater director caught them and offered the kids acting gigs in lieu of calling the police.
3. He’s acquainted with the president
…of the Dominican Republic. Well, former president of the island nation—Leonel Fernandez. Vin Diesel helped the political figure get elected by starring in some of the early campaign ads.
4. He loves Dungeons & Dragons
The actor has played the fantasy game for over 20 years. He penned the foreword for the book that celebrated the 30th anniversary of the game, titled “30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons”. During the filming of xXx, he wore a fake tattoo with his D&D character name, “Melkor”.
5. His voice is perfect for voice-overs
Vin Diesel claims to have developed his deep voice at the age of 15. He has voiced characters in: The Iron Giant (the giant robot), Guardians of the Galaxy (“Groot”), and provided the voice of his film character in The Chronicles of Riddick video game series.
6. He’s been a writer, producer and director
Akin to Sylvester Stallone producing Rocky to break into the industry, Vin Diesel created two movies to attract attention. In 1994 he wrote/directed/produced Multi-facial and then did the same in 1997 with Strays. Both films earned high accolades at independent film festivals (“Cannes Festival” and “Sundance Festival”, respectively).
7. He’s a savvy business man
He owns three entertainment-related companies: “One Race Films”, “Racetrack Records” and “Tigon Studios”.
8. He abhors celebrity gossip
Vin Diesel declared this as his motto: “I come from the Harrison Ford, Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino code of silence”.