Vincent Philip D’Onofrio (/dəˈnɒfrioʊ/; born June 30, 1959) is an American actor, director, and producer. He is known for his supporting and leading roles in both film and television. He has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and two Saturn Awards, winning one for his antagonist role in Men in Black.
His roles include Private Leonard “Gomer Pyle” Lawrence in Full Metal Jacket (1987), Edgar the Bug in Men in Black (1997) and The Series (1997–2001), Carl Stargher in The Cell (2000), New York City Police Detective Robert Goren in Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001–10), Wilson Fisk / Kingpin in Daredevil (2015–18) and as Vic Hoskins in Jurassic World (2015).
D’Onofrio was born on June 30, 1959, in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York City, New York. He is of Italian descent, with ancestors from Naples. His parents Gennaro and Phyllis D’Onofrio met while Gennaro was stationed in Hawaii with the US Air Force. Gennaro was trained as an interior decorator but spent most of his spare time in amateur theater. Vincent is the youngest of three siblings. His older siblings are Antoinette (born 1956) and Elizabeth (born 1957), an actress and drama coach residing in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. He was raised in Hawaii and Colorado during his early years.
D’Onofrio’s parents divorced when he was young; his mother later married George Meyer. He became stepbrother to Guy and Connie, Meyer’s children from a previous marriage. The family relocated to the Hialeah, Florida area. D’Onofrio has described himself as a shy boy who spent “a lot of time in my room, staying in my head”, later became interested in magic and sleight of hand, tricks he learned from Cuban entertainers who owned a small magic shop.
In his teens, he worked backstage in set building and sound production at a number of community theaters run by his father. He graduated from Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School.
Acting and filmmaking
After graduating from high school, D’Onofrio started to appear on stage. During an 18-month stint at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado, he was involved with small, community-theater productions. He later studied method acting at the American Stanislavsky Theater and the Actors Studio, under coaches Sonia Moore and Sharon Chatten, which landed him his first paid role in off-Broadway’s This Property Is Condemned. He went on to appear in a number of their productions, including Of Mice and Men and Sexual Perversity in Chicago. D’Onofrio continued his career by performing in many New York University student productions while also working as a bouncer at the Hard Rock Cafe, a bodyguard for Robert Plant and Yul Brynner and a deliveryman.
In 1984, he made his Broadway debut as Nick Rizzoli in Open Admissions. In 1986, D’Onofrio took on the role often considered the defining moment in his acting career, as Pvt. Leonard Lawrence, an overweight, clumsy Marine recruit in the movie Full Metal Jacket. On a tip from friend Matthew Modine, D’Onofrio was urged to send audition tapes to director Stanley Kubrick, in England. Four tapes later, D’Onofrio landed the role. Originally, the character of Pvt. Lawrence had been written as a “skinny ignorant redneck”; however, Kubrick believed the role would have more impact if the character were big and clumsy. D’Onofrio gained 70 lb (32 kg) for the role, bringing his weight to 280 lb (130 kg). This remains the record for most weight gained by an actor for a film. While filming an obstacle course scene for the movie, D’Onofrio injured his left knee, compounded by the excessive weight, which required surgical reconstruction.
Over the course of nine months after filming of Full Metal Jacket was completed, D’Onofrio lost nearly all the weight he had gained for his role. He went on to play Dawson, the owner of Dawson’s Garage, in Adventures in Babysitting (1987). He appears in one scene near the end of the film. In 1988, he was cast in another supporting role in the film Mystic Pizza, playing the fiancé of Lili Taylor’s character. In the film, which was Julia Roberts’ breakout film, he was billed under his full name Vincent Phillip D’Onofrio.
D’Onofrio continued to play a wide variety of minor or supporting roles, including the father of a saint in Nancy Savoca’s Household Saints (1993), director Orson Welles in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood (1994), farmer Edgar and the evil “Bug” that possesses him from Men in Black (1997), a man who claims to be from the future in Happy Accidents (2000), and the serial killer Carl Stargher, opposite Jennifer Lopez’s character in The Cell (2000).
In 1992, he appeared in Robert Altman’s The Player, as an aspiring screenwriter. In 1997, he made a move to television and received an Emmy nomination for his appearance as John Lange in the Homicide: Life on the Street episode “Subway”. In 1999, he turned down a role in The Sopranos. D’Onofrio portrayed leftist radical Abbie Hoffman in Steal This Movie in 2000, starring Janeane Garofalo as his wife.
In 2001, he took on what became his longest and perhaps best-known role as Det. Robert Goren on the NBC/USA Network television show Law & Order: Criminal Intent. On March 1, 2008, D’Onofrio made a cameo appearance in a presidential election-related sketch in a Saturday Night Live episode as his character Det. Robert Goren. In the sketch, he interrogates Hillary Clinton (played by Amy Poehler). His entrance to and exit from the skit are punctuated by the Law & Order “dun-DUN” sound.
In 2009, it was announced that D’Onofrio would be leaving Law & Order: Criminal Intent in the spring of 2010, with his last appearance occurring in the two-part, season-9 premiere. He was replaced by Jeff Goldblum, but after a drop in ratings, D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe agreed to return for a 10th (and final) season of the show.
In 2003, it was reported that D’Onofrio and Joe Pantoliano had begun work on a small film titled Little Victories, about a 12-year-old boy whose perceptions of the world are forever changed when his gangster uncle comes to live with him. According to a television interview with Pantoliano, the film was not completed and went into turnaround due to a failure to raise the funds necessary for production.
In November 2005, D’Onofrio won Best Actor at the Stockholm International Film Festival for his role as Mike Cobb in the independent film Thumbsucker. In 2006, he appeared in The Break-Up, starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, playing Vaughn’s eccentric brother. Vaughn and he had appeared together in two previous films, The Cell (2000), wherein Vaughn played an FBI agent pursuing D’Onofrio’s character, and Thumbsucker (2005). He appears in the Oscar-winning short “The New Tenants” (2009).
Over the next few years, D’Onofrio co-starred in films such as: Staten Island (2009), Brooklyn’s Finest (2010), Kill the Irishman (2011), Crackers (2011), American Falls (2012), Fire with Fire (2012), and Ass Backwards (2013).
In 2011, he began work on the Jennifer Lynch 2012 film Chained (previously titled Rabbit) in which he portrays Bob, a serial killer who kidnaps a young boy, Rabbit, and makes him his protégé. When he becomes older, Rabbit must decide whether to follow in the footsteps of his captor or plan his escape. The film shot in areas in and around Regina and Moose Jaw, both in Saskatchewan.
On May 1, 2012, due to “explicit violence”, the movie was given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA, despite an appeal by Jennifer Lynch, and the distributor, with scenes cut to maximize theater exposure and distribution. No stranger to the NC-17 ratings, Lynch, who responded to the ruling a day later also saw cuts made to her film Boxing Helena. In July 2012, a press release from Anchor Bay announced that the film would be released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 2, 2012, and would include the deleted scene, involving a throat being cut, which caused the NC-17 rating.
On September 14, 2011, it was announced that D’Onofrio would star alongside Ethan Hawke in a new NBC show, Blue Tilt, named after the harmful psychological effects homicide detectives experience after constantly dealing with horrific crimes.
D’Onofrio and Hawke had worked together in the films The Newton Boys, Staten Island, Brooklyn’s Finest and Sinister. The hour-long cop drama, in which D’Onofrio would play Sonny, was to follow the main characters’ attempts to balance their careers with family life. Writer Chris Brancato, fresh from Season 10 of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, was brought on board to pen the episodes. Filming of the pilot episode was set to start in February 2012. On March 27, 2012, a tweet from Kevin Dunigan, the co-creator and developer of the pilot, revealed that NBC had shelved the project because it did not have enough “pop to attract viewers”.
On April 30, 2012, the short film Crackers, starring D’Onofrio as Gus, won a People’s Choice Award at the Fort Myers Beach Film Festival. The festival, which had been dormant for six years, was rekindled and partly organized by Vincent’s sister, actress Elizabeth D’Onofrio.
Fresh from his role in Jennifer Lynch’s Chained, it was announced on August 11, 2012, that D’Onofrio would star in her upcoming film A Fall From Grace. The film tells the story of Detective Michael Tabb, to be played by Tim Roth, as he investigates the murders of young girls burned and washing ashore along the Mississippi River. A further upcoming Lynch project, The Monster Next Door, was set to also star D’Onofrio.
Also in November, filming began on the Vidhu Vinod Chopra movie, Broken Horses, which focused on gang warfare around the border between the United States and Mexico. D’Onofrio starred alongside Chris Marquette and Anton Yelchin.
In 2013, D’Onofrio co-starred in the film Escape Plan, filmed in New Orleans, also starring Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and 50 Cent. D’Onofrio portrayed Lester Clark, deputy director of the Prisons Bureau.
D’Onofrio co-starred in the film drama The Judge (2014).
His other projects included a role in Supreme Ruler with Marcia Gay Harden and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Eric Bogosian’s Mall which he co-wrote with his former Law & Order: Criminal Intent co-star, and Pawn Shop Chronicles.
In 2015, D’Onofrio made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut as Wilson Fisk in the first season of Daredevil. He reprised the role in an extended cameo appearance in season 2, and in season 3 as a series regular. He also portrayed Vic Hoskins in the action adventure film Jurassic World (2015), and Jack Horne in Antoine Fuqua’s 2016 remake of The Magnificent Seven.
In 2016, he played the role of the evil Duke Luca Abele in the video game Dishonored 2 for the PS4/Xbox1 platforms. He was able to draw upon his extensive acting experience to fully flesh out the voice of the corrupt Duke Abele in various public speeches that were broadcast in-game over large speakers suspended in the game area.
D’Onofrio has also had success behind the camera, producing The Whole Wide World (1996), in which he also starred, and Guy (1997) as well as executive producing The Velocity of Gary (1998) and Steal This Movie! (2000). In 2005, he directed and starred in the short film Five Minutes, Mr. Welles (2005), which represented a culmination of D’Onofrio’s desire to improve on his performance as Welles in Ed Wood, which reportedly left director Tim Burton underwhelmed. Burton decided to procure the services of voiceover artist Maurice LaMarche due to being known for his imitation of Welles’ voice to produce a more dramatically effective rendering of the character’s dialogue. Disappointed with his performance, having been given two weeks notice to prepare for the role, D’Onofrio wrote, produced, directed, and starred in the short in answer to the critics and himself. The film depicts D’Onofrio as Welles preparing for his role in The Third Man.
In 2008, he returned to directing with the feature-length musical slasher Don’t Go in the Woods (2010), written by his friend Joe Vinciguerra, featuring a score by Sam Bisbee, and starring various unknown actors hand-picked by D’Onofrio. It follows an indie rock band who venture into the woods to write new music, only to meet a crazed murderer (Tim Lajcik). The film, shot in 13 days near Kingston, New York, had a budget of $100,000 and played at numerous festivals throughout 2009 and 2010. Initially slated for national release in December 2011, the film opened to limited theaters on January 13, 2012, and was released on DVD on June 12, 2012. His next project is directing and starring in the 2019 western The Kid.
On October 27, 2009, D’Onofrio made his musical debut, appearing in character as comedic country singer George Geronimo Gerkie at Joe’s Pub in New York City. He appeared as Gerkie again at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom on December 6, 2009, during Matt Pinfield’s Holiday Extravaganza Show and at the premiere of his movie Don’t Go in the Woods at Joe’s Pub on May 28, 2010. A fourth concert was held at the pub on July 22, 2010, with proceeds from the event going to the Utah Meth Cops project.
On November 11, 2011, while teaching students at the Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, D’Onofrio discussed plans for further concerts, and a George Gerkie documentary which is to be filmed by Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston director Whitney Smith.
In September 2011, Australian hip hop band The Funkoars, released an album titled The Quickening, featuring the song “Being Vincent D’Onofrio”, an homage to D’Onofrio’s career and his work on Law and Order: Criminal Intent. In February 2012, the band announced their upcoming “Being Vincent D’Onofrio Tour 2012” with artwork featuring D’Onofrio’s face in place of the band members’.
In 2014, D’Onofrio released two songs as part of an avant garde spoken-word project with multi-instrumentalist and composer Dana Lyn. The first single, “I’m a Hamster”, gathered attention on social media. The full album was made available for purchase in March 2015, on the band’s website.
In 1998, D’Onofrio, with his father Gene and sister Elizabeth, founded the RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 2003, former film producer and dean of the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Dale Pollock, took over the festival and moved it from Brevard, North Carolina, to Winston-Salem. Annually, the festival showcases the best films offered from the independent and international industry, as well as those from student filmmakers.
In 2008, alongside his sister, Toni, D’Onofrio began hosting events to raise money for the Utah Meth Cops Project. He served as the project’s spokesperson from 2009 to 2012.
In the fall of 2011, D’Onofrio became a member of the advisory board for the Woodstock Film Festival, which holds an annual event for independent films. Other members of the board include Griffin Dunne, Ethan Hawke, and Aidan Quinn.
In February 2011, D’Onofrio became a public face of the gun control debate, appearing in an ad by the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City urging a ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines.
In 2012, D’Onofrio returned to teach at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute where his daughter was a student.
On August 9, 2012, it was announced that D’Onofrio had been chosen to narrate the documentary, Heroes Behind The Badge (2012). The film follows four fallen officers and the impact their deaths have had on their families, colleagues, and communities. The proceeds are benefitting a memorial museum being built in Washington, DC. A longtime supporter of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, D’Onofrio has been the spokesperson for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Museum since 2010. A follow up to the documentary, subtitled Sacrifice and Survival, was released in the fall of 2013.
On November 13, 2012, D’Onofrio joined the cast of the off-Broadway production Clive, alongside Brooks Ashmanskas and Zoe Kazan. Produced by Jonathan Marc Sherman and directed by Ethan Hawke, the play, based on Baal by Bertolt Brecht, opened at The New Group at Theatre Row on February 7, 2013.
In the early 1990s, D’Onofrio was in a relationship with actress Greta Scacchi, with whom he starred in several films during that period (including The Player and Fires Within). Their daughter is actress Leila George (born c. 1991/1992), who is married to actor Sean Penn.
On March 22, 1997, D’Onofrio married Dutch model Carin van der Donk, and the couple had a son (born 1999). The couple split in the early 2000s, but reconciled and had a second son (born 2008).
On November 10, 2004, D’Onofrio collapsed on the set of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He collapsed again at home a few days later, and was later diagnosed with exhaustion. His exhaustion was attributed to his 14-hour days filming Criminal Intent, and the making of his short film Five Minutes, Mr. Welles during the show’s hiatus.
During an interview in January 2012, D’Onofrio discussed his frustration with conflicting reports on his current marital status, including inaccuracies on IMDb. He has stated that, despite some reports, he is currently married. He resides with his family in a townhouse in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan.
|1983||The First Turn-On!||Lobotomy|
|1984||It Don’t Pay to Be an Honest Citizen||Bennie|
|1987||Full Metal Jacket||Private Leonard ‘Gomer Pyle’ Lawrence||Nominated – New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|Adventures in Babysitting||Dawson|
|1988||Mystic Pizza||Bill Montijo|
|1989||Signs of Life||Daryl Monahan|
|The Blood of Heroes||Young Gar|
|1992||The Player||David Kahane|
|Salt on Our Skin||Gavin|
|Household Saints||Joseph Santangelo||Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead|
|1994||Ed Wood||Orson Welles||Voice dubbed by Maurice LaMarche|
|The Investigator||Ephraim McDougall||Short film|
|Imaginary Crimes||Mr. Webster|
|1995||Stuart Saves His Family||Donnie|
|Strange Days||Officer Burton Steckler|
|Hotel Paradise||The Naked Stranger|
|1996||The Whole Wide World||Robert E. Howard||Also producer
Golden Space Needle Award for Best Actor
Lone Star Film & Television Award for Best Actor
2nd – National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
|Feeling Minnesota||Sam Clayton|
|Good Luck||Tony ‘Ole’ Olezniak|
|1997||Boys Life 2||Tony Randozza||Segment: “Nunzio’s Second Cousin”|
|Men in Black||Edgar / The Bug||Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor – Science Fiction
|1998||The Newton Boys||Wylie ‘Dock’ Newton|
|Claire Dolan||Elton Garrett|
|The Velocity of Gary||Valentino||Also executive producer|
|The Thirteenth Floor||Jason Whitney / Jerry Ashton|
|2000||Happy Accidents||Sam Deed|
|Steal This Movie!||Abbie Hoffman||Also executive producer|
|The Cell||Carl Rudolph Stargher||Nominated – Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor – Science Fiction
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
|The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys||Father Casey|
|The Salton Sea||Pooh-Bear|
|2005||Thumbsucker||Mike Cobb||Stockholm Film Festival Award for Best Actor|
|Five Minutes, Mr. Welles||Orson Welles||Short film; also writer, director and producer|
|2006||The Break-Up||Dennis Grobowski|
|2008||The Narrows||Vinny Manadoro||Nashville Film Festival Award for Best Actor|
|Cadillac Records||Mississippi DJ||Uncredited|
|2009||Ipso Facto||—||Executive producer|
|Staten Island||Parmie Tarzo|
|The New Tenants||Jan||Short film|
|2010||Zaritsas: Russian Women in New York||—||Executive producer|
|Don’t Go in the Woods||—||Writer and director|
|Brooklyn’s Finest||Bobby ‘Carlo’ Powers|
|2011||Kill the Irishman||John Nardi|
|2012||Chained||Bob||Sitges Film Festival Award for Best Actor|
|American Falls||Detective Foster||Short film|
|Fire with Fire||David Hagan||Direct-to-DVD|
|2013||Ass Backwards||Bruce West|
|Pawn Shop Chronicles||Alton|
|Escape Plan||Lester Clark|
|2014||The Unlicensed Therapist||The Unlicensed Therapist||Short film|
|The Judge||Glen Palmer|
|2015||Run All Night||Detective John Harding|
|Broken Horses||Julius Hench|
|Jurassic World||Vic Hoskins||Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Villain|
|Sinister 2||Professor Jonas||Credit only|
|2016||Pelé: Birth of a Legend||Vicente Feola|
|In Dubious Battle||London|
|The Magnificent Seven||Jack Horne|
|Phantom Boy||The Face||English dub|
|CHiPs||Ray ‘The Ringleader’ Kurtz|
|El Camino Christmas||Carl Hooker|
|2018||Death Wish||Frank Kersey|
|2019||The Kid||Sheriff Romero||Also director|
|2021||The Eyes of Tammy Faye||Jerry Falwell||Post-production|
|1986–1987||The Equalizer||Thomas Marley / Davy Baylor||2 episodes|
|1987||Miami Vice||Leon Wolf||Episode: “The Afternoon Plane”|
|1997||Homicide: Life on the Street||John Lange||Episode: “Subway”
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
|1998||The Taking of Pelham One Two Three||Mr. Blue||Television film|
|1998–2000||Men in Black: The Series||Edgar / The Bug||3 episodes|
|1999||That Championship Season||Phil Romano||Television film|
|2001–2011||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Detective Robert Goren||141 episodes
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (2005)
|2002||Sherlock: Case of Evil||Moriarty||Television film|
|The Red Sneakers||Mercado||Television film|
|2009||Xavier: Renegade Angel||Eric / The Judge (voices)||2 episodes|
|2015||Last Week Tonight with John Oliver||Inspector||Episode: “Infrastructure”|
|2015–2018||Daredevil||Wilson Fisk / Kingpin||27 episodes
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television
Nominated – EWwy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
|2017||Emerald City||Frank Morgan / The Wizard of Oz||10 episodes|
|BoJack Horseman||Himself (voice)||Episode: “See Mr. Peanutbutter Run”|
|2017–2018||Ghost Wars||Father Dan Carpenter||8 episodes|
|2019–present||Godfather of Harlem||Vincent ‘The Chin’ Gigante||20 episodes|
|2020||Interrogation||Sergeant Ian Lynch||2 episodes|
|Ratched||George Milburn||8 episodes|
|2005||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Detective Robert Goren|
|2015||Lego Jurassic World||Hoskins|
|2016||Dishonored 2||Duke Luca Abele