December 29, 2023 | Mathew Burke

Fast Facts About Vin Diesel


Since the 1990’s, Vin Diesel has been starring in movies filmed in both New York and Los Angeles. His Fast and Furious movies have grossed billions of dollars at the box office, and continue to be one of the most successful franchises in movie history.

If you're the type of person who has to fulfill your dreams, you've gotta be resourceful to make sure you can do it.” - Vin Diesel

Vin Diesel Facts

1. The Very Beginning

Vin Diesel was born together with his twin brother Paul in 1967 in California. Their biological father left their mother before they were ever born. They were raised by his mom and stepfather instead.

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2. Mystery Ethnicity

Vin Diesel’s skintone looks white, but many people say that his nose and other features resemble traditional African-American facial structure. Since he never met his biological father, he doesn’t know exactly what ethnicity he is, aside from his mom’s background. His mother is not really sure what his dad was either, since she probably never asked him during their short-term relationship. However, she told him that he is definitely not totally white. His stepfather is also African American, so Diesel has been quoted saying, “I am definitely a person of color.”

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3. On Stage

Vin’s step-father was the local High School’s drama teacher. This meant that he encouraged the boys to get involved in acting. Vin was already in his first play by the time he was 7 years old, which gave him the inspiration to continue acting. He once told Entertainment Weekly that even as a young kid, he knew he would be a movie star some day.

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4. Runs in the Family

His twin brother Paul was also influenced by growing up in the acting scene. He ended up becoming a professional film editor. If you were wondering, they are actually fraternal twins, so they don’t look alike at all.

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5. Soak it All In

Since his stepfather was so involved in theater, and they grew up in New York City, Vin was sitting in on actors talking about methods and techniques since he was young.

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6. Glued to the Screen

When he was a kid, he never watched TV shows, but he would watch the same movie dozens of times. He said he watched the 1954 movie On the Waterfront at least 100 times.

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7. Health-Conscious

His mom raised her boys on healthy food. She never allowed them to drink soda, and made sure they ate multigrain bread instead of white.

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8. Just Be Yourself. Unless You Can Be Batman.

Vin Diesel says that if you went back in time and asked her past self what he wanted to be when he grew up, the logical answer would have been “an actor." But he knows that his kid-self would respond, “A Super Hero!!”

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9. Thanks, Mom

When he was a kid dreaming of becoming an actor, his mom gave him a book called Feature Films at Used Car Prices. It gave really practical advice about filmmaking that Vin Diesel credits for part of his success over the years.

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10. Big Bro

His mom and step dad ended up having their own kids. Since Vin was the oldest, he ended up helping with changing diapers and all of the other responsibilities that come with being a Big Brother.

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11. Break it Down

When he was a teenager, he was filmed in an instructional video to teach breakdancing to kids.

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12. I AM GROOT!

If you didn’t recognize the voice, Vin Diesel plays the large tree-like creature, Groot, in Guardians of the Galaxy. So that checks “Marvel super hero” off the list of life goals.

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13. Super Hero Reputation

Guardians of the Galaxy was not his first time talking to Marvel. He was considered for the role of Daredevil in 2003, but it ended up going to Ben Affleck.

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14. Teddy Bear

Vin Diesel is very tough on the outside, but a soft, nice guy on the inside.

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15. One With The Forest

Before accepting the part of Groot, Vin Diesel brought a comic book over to his son, showing him the characters from the Guardians of the Galaxy. He asked him, “Which one do you think they want daddy to play?” and he immediately pointed to the tree. He was shocked, and said that he felt like his son helped him say “yes” to the role. Now, when they drive past tees, his son says, “Look daddy, it’s your brothers and sisters!”

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16. Roll for Dexterity

Something that may surprise you is that Vin Diesel is a huge Dungeons and Dragons fan.

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17. The Big Apple

Diesel went to Hunter College in New York City. It was around this time that he began to be a thrill-seeker. “It wasn't until I went to college and I got my first motorcycle that I understood the thrill of speed.”

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18. Too Cool for School

Vin Diesel dropped out of college when he had the opportunity to be in a movie called Multi-Facial. This wasn’t just some student film, either. It was actually shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1995.

Vin Diesel FactsMulti-Facial (1995), One Race Productions

19. At the Club

Vin Diesel worked as a bouncer for a total of 10 years at bars and nightclubs, in-between his acting gigs. He says that he estimates that he got into roughly 500 fights with drunken patrons during the course of that career. Being a bouncer was actually the perfect job for him as an actor, because he had his mornings and afternoons free for auditions. Hopefully, he never had to show up to an audition with a black eye.

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20. In the Mix

His cousin is a rapper named Kwame. In some of the earlier music videos, you can see Vin Diesel as one of the extras.

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21. Looking on the Bright Side

He tried to live in Los Angeles for a while, and the only job he could find was telemarketing. While this is a notoriously miserable job, he said that it actually gave him great experience in learning how to sell, which helped him during pitches and auditions.

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22. No Theme Parks, Please

Vin Diesel does a lot of really scary stunts for a living, but he is totally scared of roller coasters.

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23. Hug it Out

He explains that as he got older, he began to sympathize with other people’s pain a whole lot more, and wasn’t so much into fighting. “With age, you get to a place where you don't want to knock people out. You just want to give people a hug.”

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24. Getting Noticed

His second film, Strays, also made it to Cannes. This was enough for the famous Hollywood director Steven Spielberg to recognize him, and cast him in Saving Private Ryan.

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25. Sci-Fi Trilogy

He played the character Richard B. Riddick in three different movies: Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick, and Riddick. He was quoted saying that he has faith in trilogies, so long as the writers plan it out ahead of time.

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26. Celebrity Status

The movie Vin Diesel became best known for was The Fast and the Furious in 2001. When they rushed to make the sequel, he was actually taken aback, and was unsure if the second movie was going to do well or not.

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27. Sequels

Vin Diesel was pitched two different scripts for The Fast and the Furious sequel. He turned them both down, saying they were not good enough. In a huff, the company said, “Fine, then. You produce it.” ...So he did. He is credited as a producer for Fast and Furious 6.

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28. Taking Matters into His Own Hands

In 2002, he started his own video game company called Tigon Studios, because he wanted to work on the Chronicles of Riddick games.

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29. Gains

In 2006, he gained 35 pounds for his role of “Fat Jackie” in Find Me Guilty.

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30. Tough Choices

Some people may say that Vin Diesel’s movie choices are in poor taste, but in reality, he can get pretty picky with what he says “yes” to. He was quoted saying that he has turned down $20 Million for a movie he did not want to be in.

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31. Do it For The Fans

When talking about The Fast and the Furious franchise, he responded that a lot of it was in honor of video game culture. He explained that since Grand Theft Auto was such a cultural phenomenon, it only makes sense that these movies should be made, too.

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32. Hitting Max Capacity

Diesel admits that doing so many films back-to-back became very stressful. He began to rely heavily on inhaling nicotine as a way to manage his situation.

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33. Soccer Mom SUV

Vin Diesel is know for driving fancy cars in the movies. In real life, he drives a Yukon Flex Fuel with car seats in the back.

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34. Daddy Day Care

When he was raising his kids, he wanted to be around them as much as possible. His babies would sometime be on set with him. In-between takes, he would hold and rock the babies and walk back and forth. From a distance,  it just looked like he paced back and forth a lot. This was so frequent, that when director Sidney Lumet hired him, he had to ask what was up with his strange habit of pacing.

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35. Under Pressure

Vin Diesel says that Saving Private Ryan was one of the most difficult movies he ever acted in, since it was based on real people. So, there was more pressure to do well, rather than playing fictional characters.

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36. Hit the Gym

Part of his workout routine is mixed martial arts. He also lifts weights, and hangs out with a lot of body builders. He even has his own private gym in his house.

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37. A Real Actor

Since he has such an extensive background in traditional theater in his life, he resents the comparison he gets to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, who were known for their physical fitness rather than their acting.

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38. A Huge Honor

In 2013, he was awarded his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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39. Family Man

Vin Diesel has three kids with his long-time girlfriend, Paloma Jiménez. Their third daughter was named Pauline, in tribute to his friend Paul Walker, who is no longer alive.

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40. Rated PG.

After having kids, Vin Diesel realized that they can’t see anything he is in, except for Iron Giant and Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2. This is probably going to inspire him to be in some more family-friendly movies in the future.

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41. One of Us

He often stays really close friends with his fellow actors. In fact, he is training his kids to call Michelle Rodriguez from the Fast and Furious movies “Aunt Michelle”.

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42. Tragedy

Following Paul Walker's departure, numerous individuals sought to interview Vin Diesel about the latest movie, and inevitably, the conversation would steer towards his friend. Vin breaks down in numerous interviews when attempting to discuss his passing with the public.

Vin Diesel's final words to his co-star Paul Walker before Paul met with the unfortunate car accident were actually about life's end.

"These action films can be very dangerous, regardless of what anybody tries to convince you," Vin expressed to Variety Magazine. "I began to ponder, 'What would become of Paul Walker if I were no longer around?'"

47-year-old Vin Diesel said he went over to Walker’s trailer after filming an action sequence for Furious 7 and had a heart to heart.

"If anything should happen to me, let them know what kind of brother I've been to you," he told Walker days before the tragic accident. “I’ve played that over in my head countless of times. That’s the last time I ever saw him.”

 

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43.Bringing in the Benjamins

According to Forbes, Vin Diesel’s net worth is $54.5 Million Dollars. His movies have made over a billion dollars in the box office. His house in Hollywood was estimated at roughly $3 million.

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