18 february, 1964
Originally a teen star (generally in "troubled youth" roles), who has since matured into one of Hollywood's most enjoyable actors to watch on screen with a wonderful versatility in his acting range, tall, lean and handsome Matt Dillon was born in February 1964 in New Rochelle, New York, and was discovered by pure chance. Talent scouts were roaming the halls of Hommocks School, spied the good-looking Dillon, and asked him to attend a casting call. He showed up, put on a swagger and petulant attitude for the casting director and landed his first film role, appearing in Over the Edge (1979), a "troubled-youth" film about bored Colorado teenagers fighting developers, their parents and the police. His next role was as a teen bully who gets his comeuppance in the "feel-good" movie My Bodyguard (1980). He was the object of teenage female desire in Little Darlings (1980), and followed that as a poor boy eloping with a rich girl in Liar's Moon (1982).
Dillon was now a hot property, and his next three film roles were in quality productions of best-selling novels, by author S.E. Hinton, that cemented him as the US' #1 teen star. First, he starred as a fatherless country boy in Tex (1982), then he headlined a cast of superb young actors, including Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze, in the moving The Outsiders (1983), and, finally, he was back in trouble once more in the superb Rumble Fish (1983). As his looks matured, Dillon moved into broader roles such as a Brooklyn teenager from a hard-working middle class family, who gets involved in the lives of the wealthy members of the "El Flamingo Beach Club" on Long Island, in 1963, in The Flamingo Kid (1984). He made his first foray into adult action with Gene Hackman in the thriller Target (1985), followed by several B-grade romantic efforts, before striking gold with the critics with his performance in the uncompromising 'Gus van Sant' film about drug addicts, Drugstore Cowboy (1989). Unfortunately, his next few films fell back into a degree of mediocrity until another intriguing performance as a young schizophrenic in The Saint of Fort Washington (1993), then another romantic comedy role in Mr. Wonderful (1993). He worked again with van Sant as naive husband "Larry Maretto" opposite murderous Nicole Kidman in the icy thriller To Die For (1995).
Dillon remained busy and turned in excellent performances in the sexy thriller of murder and double-crosses, Wild Things (1998). He was hilarious as a sleazy private eye lovestruck by Cameron Diaz in the box-office smash There's Something About Mary (1998). He starred in the black comedy One Night at McCool's (2001), made his feature film directorial debut with City of Ghosts (2002), had a day that goes from bad to worse in Employee of the Month (2004). And, for his work in the Best Picture Academy Award winner Crash (2004), Dillon received a long-overdue Oscar nomination, as Best Supporting Actor.