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Vincent D'Onofrio Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (19) | Personal Quotes (8)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 30 June 1959Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameVincent Phillip D'Onofrio
Nicknames The Human Chameleon
Noffy
Height 6' 3½" (1.92 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Vincent D'Onofrio is known as an "actor's actor". The wide variety of roles he has played and the quality of his work have earned him a reputation as a versatile talent. He studied at the Actors Studio and the American Stanislavski Theatre. His debut on stage was in 1984 in the Broadway play "Open Admissions", followed by work in numerous other stage plays. As a film actor, D'Onofrio's career break came when he played a mentally unbalanced recruit in Full Metal Jacket (1987), directed by the renowned Stanley Kubrick. For this role D'Onofrio gained nearly 70 pounds. He had a major role in Dying Young (1991), and appeared prominently in the box-office smash Men in Black (1997) as the bad guy (Edgar "The Bug").

Other films of note in which he has appeared are Mystic Pizza (1988), JFK (1991), The Player (1992), Ed Wood (1994), The Cell (2000) and The Break-Up (2006). In 1996 D'Onofrio garnered critical acclaim along with co-star Renée Zellweger for The Whole Wide World (1996), which he helped produce. He also made a guest appearance in the TV series Homicide: Life on the Street (1993) in a 1997 episode, where he played an accident victim who could not be rescued and was destined to die. For this performance he won an Emmy nomination. In 2000 he both produced and starred in Steal This Movie (2000), a biopic of radical leader Abbie Hoffman.

In 2001 D'Onofrio took the role which has likely given him his greatest public recognition: Det. Robert Goren, the lead character in the TV series Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001). Goren is based on Sherlock Holmes but, instead of relying upon physical evidence like Holmes, D'Onofrio's character focuses on psychology to identify the perpetrators, whom he often draws into confessing or yielding condemning evidence.

In his career D'Onofrio's various film characters have included a priest, a bisexual former porn star, a hijacker, a serial killer, Orson Welles, a space alien, a 1960s radical leader, a pulp fiction writer, an ingenious police investigator and Stuart Smalley's dope-head brother. His on-screen love interests have included Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Renée Zellweger, Marisa Tomei, Tracey Ullman, Rebecca De Mornay and Lili Taylor.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Roger Burns <rogerburns@att.net>

Spouse (1)

Carin van der Donk (22 March 1997 - present) (2 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Towering height and rotund frame

Trivia (19)

Played the character of "Bill Newman" in both JFK (1991) and Malcolm X (1992).
Last name is pronounced Don-off-ree-o.
He bleached his hair blonde for his part in Adventures in Babysitting (1987).
Gained a world record 70 pounds for his role in Full Metal Jacket (1987).
Vincent's sister, actress Elizabeth D'Onofrio, teaches acting in Asheville, North Carolina.
Gained 45 pounds for his role in The Salton Sea (2002).
One of the founders of the River Run Film Festival (Winston-Salem, North Carolina), along with his sister, Elizabeth D'Onofrio, and their father, Gene D'Onofrio.
Daughter: Leila George, born March 20, 1992. Her mother is actress Greta Scacchi.
Son: Elias Gene D'Onofrio, born in December 1999. His mother is Carin van der Donk.
Unhappy with his impression of Orson Welles, director Tim Burton had D'Onofrio's voice dubbed, in the film Ed Wood (1994). The near perfect Orson Welles impression was supplied by voice-over artist Maurice LaMarche.
Renée Zellweger thanked him in her Oscar acceptance speech when she won 'Best Actress in a Supporting Role' for Cold Mountain (2003).
Has played Orson Welles in two different, unrelated productions: Ed Wood (1994) and Five Minutes, Mr. Welles (2005).
"I want you to be big -- Lon Chaney big," Stanley Kubrick informed D'Onofrio during the filming of Full Metal Jacket (1987).
Uncle of Hawk D'Onofrio.
Ironically, he played Moriarty in the TV movie Sherlock (2002) while he starred as Robert Goren in Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001), whose character is based on Sherlock Holmes.
Was considered for the role of Knuckles in Suburban Commando (1991).
Son: Luka D'Onofrio, born on February 14, 2008.
He is of Italian descent.
Lives in New York to be with his family and for the filming of the show, Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001).

Personal Quotes (8)

[on acting] Some scenes you juggle two balls, some scenes you juggle three balls, some scenes you can juggle five balls. The key is always to speak in your own voice. Speak the truth. That's Acting 101. Then you start putting layers on top of that.
I took a route of acting, rather than starmaking, so it cost me a lot financially.
[on his career choices] It's something that I've been saying for years when people ask me how I pick the things that I do. I pick the things that scare me the most. You have to like the story first. I'm not gonna play a part that doesn't instill some kind of fear in me. If I read a part, and suddenly, I'm thinking halfway through, "I'm not sure I could get away with this", I think of everything I can think of to keep me from doing it, that's the one I should do.
I am a method actor, but I'm also a film actor as well as a method actor. Characters that don't have humility, whether they are heroes or villains, are hard to relate to. All characters in every aspect of what we do should have humility. If they don't, then they're a cartoon character. I know that during actual performance scenes, what I need to trigger myself off, and I know how to trigger it off so that it will trigger you off, which will also influence how you feel when I'm expressionless.
I'm not gonna make excuses for other actors. I'm just talking about myself. The good actors that I've met - I've met some of the best actors that we'll ever see - and I know for sure the one thing that we all have in common when we all look in each other's eyes, is that we're all struggling to achieve 100%. That's all I see when I see another artist. All of us are trying to achieve 100% in our work. That's all we struggle to do. We never do, but we never stop trying until the day we die. It's that struggle to achieve 100%, that's where our performance lies, that's what the audience gets. They get the struggle.
[on being a "Method" actor] The thing is, it's the research that you do that is exhausting. That's what always affects you. When I did The Cell (2000)--no matter what you think of that movie, because I have my opinions of it, too--it was, you know, I still have nightmares from the research that I did. Not from playing the part, just from the research. There was stuff that I should have never looked at, that I should have never gone anywhere near. As a father, I can't imagine going to that place again. I'm not saying I wouldn't, I'm just saying it was too much.
[on his role in Ed Wood (1994)] I never was happy with the job I did in "Ed Wood". Even though [Tim Burton] was, I wasn't. Because it's not what I wanted, it's not what I wanted. First of all, the company, for whatever reason, not Tim, but the company took a very long time to hire me and I was busy doing another project. I eventually only ended up with three weeks to prepare for it and that bothered me. But, you know, I had to be brave and I had to do it the best I could. It was too much of a caricature. I didn't like it. It was too surface of a performance.
[on playing real-life characters] There's a lot of shame that goes on when you're playing someone who has really lived and has passed. You're struggling with it all the time. I am, anyway. When I played Robert Howard in The Whole Wide World (1996), I was struggling with it. There's this dual thing where you feel real good about being able to play this juicy part, and then there's constant shame: "Who am I to pretend to know who this guy was? Who am I to represent this guy for people who never knew him?" The pressure is unbelievable, I can't tell you.

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