Actor Matt Dillon

Matthew Raymond Dillon (born February 18, 1964) is an American actor and film director. He made his feature film debut in Over the Edge (1979) and established himself as a teen idol by starring in the films My Bodyguard (1980), Little Darlings (1980), the three S. E. Hinton book adaptations Tex (1982), Rumble Fish (1983), The Outsiders (1983) and The Flamingo Kid (1984). From the late 1980s onward, Dillon achieved further success, starring in Drugstore Cowboy (1989), Singles (1992), The Saint of Fort Washington (1993), To Die For (1995), Beautiful Girls (1996), In & Out (1997), There’s Something About Mary (1998), and Wild Things (1998). In a 1991 article, famed movie critic Roger Ebert referred to him as the best actor within his age group, along with Sean Penn.

In the 2000s, he made his directing debut with City of Ghosts (2002) and went on to star in the films Factotum (2005), You, Me and Dupree (2006), Nothing but the Truth (2008), Sunlight Jr. (2013) and The House That Jack Built (2018). For Crash (2004), he won an Independent Spirit Award and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He had earlier been nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for narrating Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. In 2015, he starred in the first season of the FOX television series Wayward Pines, for which he was nominated for a Saturn Award.

Early life

Dillon was born in New Rochelle, New York, to Mary Ellen, a homemaker, and Paul Dillon, a portrait painter, sales manager for Union Camp, a toy bear manufacturer. Paul Dillon also was the long-time golf coach at Fordham University, having been enshrined in the school’s Hall of Fame in 2019 His paternal grandmother was the sister of comic strip artist Alex Raymond, the creator of Flash Gordon. Dillon is the second of six children with one sister and four brothers, one of whom is actor Kevin Dillon. He is of mostly Irish descent, with some Scottish and German ancestry. Dillon was raised in a close-knit Roman Catholic family. He grew up in Mamaroneck, New York.


In 1978, Jane Bernstein and a friend were helping director Jonathan Kaplan cast the violent teen drama Over the Edge when they found Dillon cutting class at Hommocks Middle School in Larchmont. Dillon auditioned for a role and made his debut in the film. 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 dramedy 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.

Another of Dillon’s early roles was in the Jean Shepherd PBS special The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters. The only available copies of this film are stored at UCLA, where a legal dispute makes it unavailable to the public.

One of his next roles was in Liar’s Moon, where he played Jack Duncan, a poor Texas boy madly in love with a rich banker’s daughter. In the early 1980s, Dillon also 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 those up with The Flamingo Kid in 1984. 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. In 1985, Dillon was namechecked in the lyrics of the Roger Daltrey song ‘After The Fire’ (written by Pete Townshend). 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 films like Singles (1992). He had a resurgence when he played Nicole Kidman’s husband in To Die For (1995), as well as starring 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. In 2005, he starred in Factotum, a film adaptation of an autobiographical work by Charles Bukowski. Two years later he received critical praise and earned Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe and Academy Award 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 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 Sebastián International Film Festival.

Dillon contributed his voice as the narrator, Sal Paradise, in an audiobook version of Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road. In 2006, he narrated Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos.

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 for “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”. In 2007, the band Dinosaur Jr. hired Dillon to direct the video for their single “Been There All The Time” from the album Beyond. That year, he guest-starred on The Simpsons episode “Midnight Towboy”. Early in 2015 he played the role of a Secret Service agent in the FOX 10-episode series Wayward Pines.

In 2018, Dillon played the lead role in the Lars von Trier thriller The House That Jack Built.

Personal life

Dillon is an aficionado and collector of Latin music, with a large collection of vinyl, including a notable library of Cuban 78s.


Year Film Role Notes
1979 Over the Edge Ritchie White
1980 My Bodyguard Melvin Moody
Little Darlings Randy Adams
1982 Tex Tex McCormick
Liar’s Moon Jack Duncan
The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters Ralph Television Film
1983 The Outsiders Dallas “Dally” Winston
Rumble Fish Rusty James
1984 The Flamingo Kid Jeffrey Willis
1985 Target Chris Lloyd / Derek Potter
Rebel Sergeant Harry Rebel
1986 Native Son Jan Erlone
1987 The Big Town J. C. Cullen
1988 Kansas Doyle Kennedy
1989 Drugstore Cowboy Bob Hughes
Bloodhounds of Broadway Regret
1991 A Kiss Before Dying Jonathan Corliss
Fishing with John Himself
Women & Men 2 Eddie Megeffin Television Film
1992 Singles Cliff Poncier
1993 The Saint of Fort Washington Matthew
Mr. Wonderful Gus DeMarco
1994 Golden Gate Kevin Walker
1995 To Die For Larry Maretto
Frankie Starlight Terry Klout
1996 Grace of My Heart Jay Phillips
Albino Alligator Dova
Beautiful Girls Tommy “Birdman” Rowland
1997 In & Out Cameron Drake
1998 There’s Something About Mary Patrick “Pat” Healy
Wild Things Sam Lombardo
2001 One Night at McCool’s Randy
2002 Deuces Wild Fritzy Zennetti
City of Ghosts Jimmy Cremming Also Writer/Director
2003 Abby Singer Himself
2004 Employee of the Month David Walsh
Crash Officer John Ryan
2005 Loverboy Mark
Factotum Henry Chinaski
Herbie: Fully Loaded Trip Murphy
2006 You, Me and Dupree Carl Peterson
2007 The Simpsons Louie TV Series (1 Episode: “Midnight Towboy”)
Voice Only
2008 Nothing But the Truth Patton Dubois
2009 Old Dogs Barry
Armored Mike Cochrane
2010 Takers Det. Jack Welles
2011 Modern Family Robbie Sullivan TV Series (1 Episode: “Princess Party”)
2012 Girl Most Likely George / The Bousche
2013 Pawn Shop Chronicles Richard
The Art of the Steal Nicky Calhoun
Sunlight Jr. Richie Barnes
2014 Bad Country Jesse Weiland
2015 Wayward Pines Ethan Burke TV Series (10 Episodes)
2017 Rock Dog Trey Voice Only
Going in Style Hamer
2018 The House That Jack Built Jack
Running for Grace Doc
Head Full of Honey Nick
2019 Nimic Father Short Film
Proxima Mike
2020 Capone Johnny
The Great Fellove N/A Documentary
Executive Producer/Director
TBA American Dreamer N/A Filming

Awards and nominations

Year Award Nominated work Result
1981 Young Artist Award Best Young Actor in a Major Motion Picture My Bodyguard Nominated
1983 Young Artist Award Best Young Motion Picture Actor Tex Nominated
1990 Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead Drugstore Cowboy Won
1999 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Supporting Actor – Comedy There’s Something About Mary Won
MTV Movie Award for Best Villain (tied with Stephen Dorff) Won
Teen Choice Award Funniest Scene Won
MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (shared with Denise Richards & Neve Campbell) Wild Things Nominated
2001 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album On the Road by Jack Kerouac, audiobook Nominated
2005 Gotham Tribute Award Won
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actor Crash Won
Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Cast Nominated
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards Best Supporting Actor Won
Hollywood Film Festival Ensemble of the Year Won
Satellite Award for Best Cast – Motion Picture Won
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best Cast Won
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Cast Won
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2006 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor Nominated
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Acting Ensemble Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Award Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Empire Award for Best Actor Nominated
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Nominated
Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male Won
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor Nominated
SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Won
San Sebastián International Film Festival Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award Won
2007 Cairo International Film Festival Special Award Won
2011 Special Tomislav Pinter Award Won
2016 Saturn Award for Best Actor on Television Wayward Pines Nominated
2019 Robert Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role The House That Jack Built Nominated
Bodil Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role Nominated

External Links

Actor Matt Dillon – Wikipedia

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