For a long time a teen idol known mostly for his Tiger Beat-ready looks, Matt Dillon was able to make a successful transition from pubescent star to adult actor. As he has grown older, his physical attributes--the dark, pretty-boy eyes and glacier-cut cheekbones--have matured with him, making him well-suited to portraying characters whose golden boy pasts have been eclipsed by adult experience.
A native of New Rochelle, New York, where he was born on February 18, 1964, Matt was a product of a pop culture milieu. The nephew of comic-strip artist Alex Raymond, creator of Flash Gordon, Jungle Jim, and Rip Kirby, he was named for the protagonist of the TV western Gunsmoke. Matt was raised as the second oldest of the five sons and one daughter of a stockbroker and a homemaker. He began acting in elementary school, and, at the age of fourteen, he was discovered by Warner Bros talent scouts while cutting class. After making a memorable impression on casting director Vic Ramos with an eerily accurate impersonation of the character he was asked to audition for, he won the part and made his film debut as a school bully in Jonathan Kaplan's 1979 teenage drama Over the Edge. His work in the film opened the floodgates for roles in similar teen movies, and over the next few years, Matt could be seen as the photogenic mouthpiece for adolescent discontent in such films as My Bodyguard (1980), Little Darlings(1980), Tex(1982), Rumble Fish (1983), and that seminal exploration of teenage alienation, The Outsiders (1983).
By the mid-1980s, Matt sought to move beyond the teen mold and began taking more adult roles. His breakthrough into the grown-up realm came with his somber, unheroic portrayal of a junkie trying to come clean in Gus Van Sant's acclaimed Drugstore Cowboy (1989). His status as an adult performer firmly established, he went on to star in films of varying quality, doing some of his most memorable work in Singles (1992), as the egocentric slacker head of a terrifically bad grunge band; To Die For (1995), as the well-meaning but tragically dim husband of a psychotic weather girl (Nicole Kidman); Kevin Spacey's Albino Alligator (1995), as a small-time New Orleans crook; and Beautiful Girls (1996), in which he was perfectly cast as a small-town snow plower unable to make good on the promise of his high school glory days.
In 1997, Matt had pivotal roles in two Hollywood hits. The first, In & Out, called for him to caricature himself as a peroxided movie star who unwittingly outs his ex-high school teacher on national television. The second, There's Something About Mary, proved to be the year's most outrageous hit, and it allowed Matt to show his capacity for lowbrow comedy in his role as a sleazy private investigator. The following year, he again proved his capacity for bottom-dwelling when he played a woefully unqualified high school guidance counselor in the delightfully trashy Wild Things.
Matt's film career died down for three years after his split with long-term girlfriend Cameron Diaz, but when he returned with One Night At McCool's (2001) and Deuces Wild (2001) his career continued to move on up than have most people forget him in his away time from the big screen.
In 2001 and 2002, Matt appeared in an ad campaign for Skechers footwear.
His most recent hit was Crash (2004), which got him nominated for an Oscar award.
Matt has been thought to be one of the most underrated actors of our time. … Expand
Matt Dillon's Scores
- By date
- By user score
|Bad Country||Apr 11, 2014||Jesse Weiland||9.0|
|The Art of the Steal||Mar 14, 2014||Nicky Calhoun / Nicky Calhoun||5.1|
|Sunlight Jr.||Nov 15, 2013||Richie||6.4|
|Girl Most Likely||Jul 19, 2013||George / George / George/The Bousche||7.1|
|Pawn Shop Chronicles||Jul 12, 2013||Cast / Richard||4.7|
|Takers||Aug 27, 2010||Det. Jack Welles / Jack Welles||5.7|
|Armored||Dec 4, 2009||Mike Cochrone||5.6|
|Old Dogs||Nov 25, 2009||Barry||4.5|
|Nothing But the Truth||Dec 17, 2008||Patton Dubois||6.6|
|Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten||Nov 2, 2007||Himself||7.5|
|Factotum||Aug 18, 2006||Hank Chinaski||6.2|
|You, Me and Dupree||Jul 14, 2006||Carl||5.4|
|Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos||Jul 7, 2006||Narrator||6.3|
|Loverboy||Jun 16, 2006||Mark||6.8|
|Herbie Fully Loaded||Jun 22, 2005||Trip Murphy||4.7|
|Crash||May 6, 2005||Officer John Ryan||7.9|
|Rockets Redglare!||Sep 3, 2004||Himself||9.3|
|City of Ghosts||Apr 25, 2003||Director / Written By / Jimmy||6.6|
|Deuces Wild||May 3, 2001||Fritzy||6.3|
|One Night at McCool's||Apr 27, 2001||Randy||6.7|
|There's Something About Mary||Jul 15, 1998||Healy||7.2|
|Wild Things||Mar 20, 1998||Sam Lombardo||6.9|
|In & Out||Sep 19, 1997||Cameron Drake||7.8|
|Albino Alligator||Jan 17, 1997||Dova||5.0|
|Beautiful Girls||Feb 9, 1996||Tommy 'Birdman' Rowland||8.0|
|To Die For||Sep 27, 1995||Larry Maretto||7.6|
|Drugstore Cowboy||Oct 6, 1989||Bob||8.4|
|Rumble Fish||Oct 8, 1983||Rusty James||8.6|
|The Outsiders||Mar 25, 1983||Dallas Winston||7.4|