Matt Dillon Biography
Matthew Raymond "Matt" Dillon is an American actor. He began acting in the late 1970s, gained fame as a teenage idol during the 1980s, and developed a successful career as a mature actor in the decades following, culminating in an Academy Award nomination for his performance in the movie Crash.
Matthew Raymond Dillon was born in New Rochelle, New York, to second-generation Irish American Catholic parents Mary Ellen, a homemaker, and Paul Dillon, a portrait painter and sales manager for Union Camp, a packing material manufacturer. Through his father, Dillon is related to comic strip artist Alex Raymond. Dillon has one sister and four brothers, one of whom, Kevin Dillon, is also an actor, from the hit TV series Entourage. Dillon grew up in Mamaroneck, New York and before dropping out in junior year he attended Mamaroneck High School.
In 1979, casting director Vic Ramos went to Mamaroneck High School and spotted Dillon cutting class. He asked Dillon to audition for a role, and Dillon made his film debut in the violent teen drama Over the Edge. The film received a regional, limited theatrical release in May 1979, and grossed only slightly over $200,000.
Dillon's performance was well-received, which led to his casting in two films released the following year; the teenage sex comedy, Little Darlings, in which Kristy McNichol's character loses her virginity to a boy from the camp across the lake, played by Dillon, and the more serious teen drama, My Bodyguard, where he played a high-school bully opposite Chris Makepeace. The films, released in March and July 1980, respectively, were box office successes and raised Dillon's profile among teenage audiences.
nother of Dillon's early roles was in the Jean Shepherd PBS special The Great American Fourth of July. The only available copies of this film are stored at UCLA, where a legal dispute makes it unavailable to the public.
His next role was in the 1982 film, Tex, followed two months later by Liar's Moon, where he played Jack Duncan, a poor Texas boy madly in love with a rich banker's daughter. In the mid-1980s, Dillon had prominent roles in three adaptations of S. E. Hinton novels: Tex (1982) The Outsiders (1983) and Rumble Fish (1983). All three films were shot in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Hinton's hometown. The Outsiders and Rumble Fish had Dillon working with Francis Ford Coppola and Diane Lane. He followed it up with The Flamingo Kid. He made his Broadway debut with the play The Boys of Winter in 1985.
Dillon did voiceover work in the 1987 documentary film Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam. The same year, Dillon appeared briefly as a policeman in the music video for the song Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, a major hit in Ireland and the United Kingdom. In 1989, Dillon won critical acclaim for his performance as a drug addict in Gus Van Sant's Drugstore Cowboy.
Dillon continued to work in the early 1990s with roles in movies like Singles (1992). He had somewhat of a career resurgence when he played Nicole Kidman's husband in To Die For (1995), as well as large roles in Wild Things (1998) and There's Something About Mary (1998), for which he received an MTV Movie Award for Best Villain.
In 2002, he wrote and directed the film City of Ghosts, starring himself, James Caan and Gérard Depardieu. That same year he starred in Factotum, a film adaptation of an autobiographical work by Charles Bukowski. Two years later he received critical praise and earned a Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe along with Oscar nominations for his role in Crash, a film co-written and directed by Paul Haggis. In 2005 Dillon co-starred in Disney's Herbie: Fully Loaded and on March 11, 2006 the actor hosted Saturday Night Live, in which he impersonated Greg Anderson and Rod Serling in sketches.
Dillon starred in the comedy You, Me and Dupree, opposite Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson. The film opened on July 14, 2006. On September 29, 2006, Dillon was honored with the Premio Donostia prize in the San Sebastian International Film Festival.
Dillon contributed his voice as Sal Paradise in Jack Kerouac's famous novel On the Road. In 2006, he narrated Once in a Lifetime.
Dillon appeared in several music videos during his career. He made a cameo appearance as a detective in Madonna's Bad Girl music video which also stars Christopher Walken. Dillon appeared in 1987 in the music video of "Fairytale Of New York" by the Irish folk-punk band The Pogues playing a cop who escorts lead singer Shane MacGowan into the drunk tank.
As of 2007, the band Dinosaur Jr. hired Dillon to direct their new video and single "Been There All The Time", off of their album Beyond. He guest stars in The Simpsons episode "Midnight Towboy" and also appears on an episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
On December 30, 2008, Dillon was arrested by the Vermont State Police after he was clocked traveling at 106 miles per hour northbound on Interstate 91 near Newbury, Vermont. He was charged with negligent operation of a vehicle. His attorney, Mark Kaplan, entered a plea of not guilty on Dillon's behalf in a January appearance in Orange County Court in Chelsea, and also appeared in court on February 25, 2009. He faced a maximum of one year in jail, and a fine of $1,000. He pleaded guilty to speeding and paid a $828 fine on March 30, 2009; in return, the negligence charge was dismissed by prosecutors.
Dillon is mentioned on Jeff Buckley's Live at Sin-é: Legacy Edition CD. On the fifth track Buckley mentions that he cut his hair because people thought he looked like Matt Dillon. Dillon's name is dropped in the lyrics of "After the Fire", a song that Pete Townshend wrote for Roger Daltrey's solo album "Under A Raging Moon":
I saw Matt Dillon in black and white/There ain't no colour in memories/He rode his brother's Harley across the TV/ While I was laughing at Dom deLuise
Dillon is also mentioned in Pencey Prep's Don Quixote from the album Heartbreak in Stereo.
I dance the same dance every night;/ It's only you you're killing./ Super glue the queen of hearts and the information she's spilling,/ Matt Dillon.
He also refered to in the popular urban phrase "Chillin' like Matt Dillon on penicillin".