In honor of Vin Diesel's 53rd birthday on July 18, 2020, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at the actor's biggest moments caught on camera. Keep reading to relive the highlights from his time in the spotlight so far…
Back in the '80s, before he was one of Hollywood's most in-demand actors, Vin Diesel — who was born Mark Sinclair — really, really loved breakdancing. He even appeared in an instructional breakdancing video as a teenager! "I used to breakdance in Columbus Circle. I used to breakdance at Washington Square Park. That was my first gig," he said during an appearance on "Live! With Kelly and Michael" in 2014. "People know that I was a bouncer, but the real reason I started bouncing was because I loved to dance, and I would dance for free in nightclubs."
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In 1995, Vin Diesel wrote, directed and starred in "Multi-Facial," a semi-autobiographical short film about a racially ambiguous actor auditioning for roles of various ethnicities in New York City. The short screened at the Cannes Film Festival that year.
Vin Diesel made his first major breakthrough in 1998 when he appeared as Private Caparzo in "Saving Private Ryan."
Vin Diesel starred as antihero Richard B. Riddick in "Pitch Black" in 2000. The cult hit spawned two sequels — 2004's "The Chronicles of Riddick" and 2013's "Riddick" — a short animated film, plus several games and books. Vin's plans for the franchise include a TV spinoff and a fourth live-action feature film.
Vin Diesel's life changed forever after he starred as Dominic Toretto in "The Fast and the Furious." Here, he's pictured in a promotional photo for the 2001 film with co-stars Matt Shulze, Michelle Rodriguez, Chad Lindberg, Paul Walker, Johnny Strong, Jordana Brewster and Rick Yune.
Vin Diesel launched the "XXX" franchise in 2002. Although he declined to appear as extreme sports enthusiast and undercover NSA agent Xander Cage in 2005's "XXX: State of the Union," he returned to the series in 2017 with "XXX: Return of Xander Cage." A fourth installment in the action franchise is reportedly in the works.
Vin Diesel proved his comedy chops in 2005 as Lieutenant Shane Wolfe in "The Pacifier." The family comedy — in which the action star portrayed a Navy SEAL tasked with protecting the children of an assassinated government employee — performed relatively well at the box office in spite of dismal reviews. It raked in nearly $200 million worldwide with just a 20% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Vin Diesel and his girlfriend, model Paloma Jiménez, made their red carpet debut as a couple at the American Cinematheque Gala honoring Samuel L. Jackson in Beverly Hills on Dec. 1, 2008. The duo, who've reportedly been an item since 2007, had just welcomed their first child, daughter Similce, eight months earlier.
Vin Diesel and co-star Michelle Rodriguez shared a laugh during a photocall for "Fast & Furious" (the fourth film in the series) in Rome on March 25, 2009 — about three years after they were first romantically linked. The longtime pals have never confirmed (or denied!) they were once secretly an item.
Vin Diesel flashed a thumbs up while posing with Dwayne Johnson at the Brazilian premiere of "Fast Five" — The Rock's debut in the "Fast & Furious" franchise — in Rio de Janeiro on April 15, 2011. Sadly, their professional relationship soon hit a major hurdle: In August 2016, the wrestler took to Instagram to sound off on an unnamed "Fast 8" co-star. "Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don't," he wrote. "The ones that don't are too chicken s— to do anything about it anyway. Candy a–es. When you watch this movie next April and it seems like I'm not acting in some of these scenes and my blood is legit boiling — you're right." Reports then revealed that Dwayne and Vin had not gotten along while shooting "The Fate of the Furious." Fortunately for fans of the Fast Fam, tensions between the two men have since cooled.
Vin Diesel had a daddy-daughter date with his oldest child, Similce — who was about 3 at the time — in New York City on May 4, 2011.
Vin Diesel posed with longtime co-star Paul Walker at the world premiere of "Fast & Furious 6" in London on May 7, 2013. Just six months later, Paul died in a car crash at a California charity event, leaving Vin devastated. The two men were so close, Vin named his third child Pauline in Paul's honor.
Vin Diesel's longtime love Paloma Jiménez and their two oldest kids, daughter Similce and son Vincent, tagged along as the actor received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Aug. 26, 2013.
In 2014, Vin Diesel starred as Groot in "Guardians of the Galaxy." The actor, who wore stilts while shooting motion capture for the role, showed off his balancing skills at the Marvel film's London premiere on July 24, 2014.
Vin Diesel got a helping hand from his oldest child, daughter Similce, while putting his handprints and footprints in cement outside the iconic Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on April 1, 2015.
Vin Diesel teamed up with "Fast & Furious" franchise co-stars Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez to accept the award for "choice action movie" for "Furious 7" during the Teen Choice Awards in Los Angeles on Aug. 16, 2015.
Vin Diesel picked up two People's Choice Awards for "Furious 7" — favorite movie and favorite action movie — during the annual award show in Los Angeles on Jan. 6, 2016.
Vin Diesel stopped for photos near the set of "The Fate of the Furious" in Havana, Cuba, on May 3, 2016. The eighth installment in the "Fast & Furious" franchise was the second film — and the first big-budget flick — to shoot in Cuba after the United States resumed diplomatic relations with the island nation in 2015.
Although Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson have mostly kept their distance from one another in the years since their highly publicized feud, they played nice during a group photo with "Fast & Furious" franchise co-stars Nathalie Emmanuel and Tyrese Gibson at an event launching the trailer for 2017's "The Fate of the Furious" in New York City's Times Square on Dec. 11, 2016.
Vin Diesel officially became an Avenger when the Guardians of the Galaxy teamed up with the Earth-based superhero squad in 2018's "Avengers: Infinity War." The actor channeled his on-screen alter ego, Groot, by wearing a jacket adorned with small twigs at the Los Angeles premiere of the action flick on April 23, 2018.
Vin Diesel channeled Groot again — this time in a bark-embellished jacket — at the Los Angeles premiere of "Avengers: Endgame" on April 22, 2019.
Vin Diesel's youngest child — daughter Pauline, who was named after her dad's late "Fast & Furious" franchise co-star Paul Walker — made her red-carpet debut at the U.K. premiere of "The Lion King" in London on July 14, 2019. She posed alongside her dad, brother Vincent, big sis Similce and mom Paloma Jiménez.
Vin Diesel's oldest child, daughter Similce, officially joined the "Fast & Furious" franchise in 2019. She made her acting debut voicing Sissy on the Netflix animated series "Fast & Furious: Spy Racers." Vin supported his little girl at the show's premiere in Los Angeles on Dec. 7, 2019.
Vin Diesel and his daughter, Similce, had a very special guest — Paul Walker's daughter, Meadow Walker — at the premiere of "Fast & Furious: Spy Racers" in Los Angeles on Dec. 7, 2019. Vin is Meadow's godfather, and she's incredibly close with his three kids.
Vin Diesel and several members of the "Fast & Furious" family — newcomer Ozuna, along with veterans Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Michelle Rodriguez and Ludacris — posed together at Universal Pictures' The Road to "F9" event (during which they dropped the trailer for the upcoming ninth installment in the franchise) in Miami on Jan. 31, 2020. The action flick was due in May 2020, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, fans will have to wait until 2021 to catch "F9" in theaters.
Vin Diesel brought "Bloodshot" to the big screen in March 2020. Sadly, the action film, which is based on a Valiant Comics series of the same name, underperformed at the box office due to the coronavirus pandemic, which forced theaters to close early in the flick's run. But it wasn't a total wash: Just two weeks after it first opened in theaters, Sony Pictures released "Bloodshot" digitally — and found huge audiences on Amazon Prime and iTunes. Thanks to the digital success, there are still talks of launching a Valiant Comics franchise centered around Bloodshot. Also on the docket for Vin in the coming years? Subsequent installments in the "Fast & Furious," "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Riddick" franchises. He's also set to appear alongside "Guardians" co-star Zoe Saldana in the upcoming "Avatar" sequels.