Matt Dillon

For other people named Matt Dillon, see Matt Dillon (disambiguation).
Matt Dillon

Matt Dillon in 2010
Born Matthew Raymond Dillon
(1964-02-18) February 18, 1964
New Rochelle, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor, director
Years active 1979–present
Family Kevin Dillon (brother)

Matthew Raymond "Matt" Dillon (born February 18, 1964) is an American actor and film director.

Matt Dillon made his feature film debut in Over the Edge (1979) and established himself as a teen idol by starring in films such as My Bodyguard (1980), Tex (1982), Rumble Fish (1983) and The Outsiders (1983). From the late 1980s onward, Dillon achieved further success, starring in such films as 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.[1]

In the 2000s, he made his directing debut with City of Ghosts (2002) and went on to star in the films Crash (2004), Factotum (2005), You, Me and Dupree (2006), Nothing but the Truth (2008) and Sunlight Jr. (2013). During his career, he earned many awards and nominations including Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for his performance in Crash and a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album nomination for narrating Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Since 2015, he has starred in the FOX television show Wayward Pines, for which he was nominated for a Saturn Award.

Early life

Dillon was born in New Rochelle, New York, the son of Mary Ellen, a homemaker, and Paul Dillon, a portrait painter and sales manager for Union Camp, a packing material manufacturer.[2][3] His paternal grandmother was the sister of comic strip artist Alex Raymond, the creator of Flash Gordon.[4] Dillon is the second of six children; he has one sister and four brothers, one of whom, Kevin Dillon, is also an actor. He is of mostly Irish descent, with some Scottish and German ancestry.[5] Dillon was raised in a close-knit Roman Catholic family.[6][7][8] He grew up in Mamaroneck, New York.[9]


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.[10] The film received a regional, limited theatrical release in May 1979, and grossed only slightly over $200,000.[11] 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[12] 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.[13][14] 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 1989, Dillon won critical acclaim for his performance as a drug addict in Gus Van Sant's Drugstore Cowboy. Also in 1987, Dillon appeared as a policeman in the video to The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl video Fairytale of New York.

Dillon continued to work in the early 1990s with roles in films like Singles (1992). He had somewhat of a career 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.

Personal life

Dillon had a three-year relationship with actress Cameron Diaz; they broke up in 1998.[15]


Year Film Role Notes
1979 Over the Edge Richie White
1980 My Bodyguard Melvin Moody
1980 Little Darlings Randy Adams
1982 Tex Tex McCormick
1982 Liar's Moon Jack Duncan
1982 The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters Ralph TV movie
1983 The Outsiders Dallas "Dally" Winston
1983 Rumble Fish Rusty James
1984 The Flamingo Kid Jeffrey Willis
1985 Target Chris Lloyd / Derek Potter
1985 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
1989 Bloodhounds of Broadway Regret
1991 A Kiss Before Dying Jonathan Corliss
1991 Fishing with John Himself
1991 Women & Men 2 Eddie Megeffin TV movie
1992 Singles Cliff Poncier
1993 The Saint of Fort Washington Matthew
1993 Mr. Wonderful Gus DeMarco
1994 Golden Gate Kevin Walker
1995 To Die For Larry Maretto
1995 Frankie Starlight Terry Klout
1996 Grace of My Heart Jay Phillips
1996 Albino Alligator Dova
1996 Beautiful Girls Tommy "Birdman" Rowland
1997 In & Out Cameron Drake
1998 There's Something About Mary Patrick "Pat" Healy
1998 Wild Things Sam Lombardo
2001 One Night at McCool's Randy
2002 Deuces Wild Fritzy Zennetti
2002 City of Ghosts Jimmy Cremming Also director and writer
2003 Abby Singer Himself
2004 Employee of the Month David Walsh
2004 Crash Officer John Ryan
2005 Loverboy Mark
2005 Factotum Henry Chinaski
2005 Herbie: Fully Loaded Trip Murphy
2006 You, Me and Dupree Carl Peterson
2007 The Simpsons Louie (voice) TV series (1 episode: "Midnight Towboy")
2008 Nothing But the Truth Patton Dubois
2009 Old Dogs Barry
2009 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
2013 The Art of the Steal Nicky Calhoun
2013 Sunlight Jr. Richie
2014 Bad Country Jesse Weiland
2015 Wayward Pines Ethan Burke TV series (10 episodes)
2016 Rock Dog Trey (voice)
2017 Going in Style Hamer Post-production

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 MTV Movie Award for Best Villain (tied with Stephen Dorff) There's Something About Mary Won
1999 MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (shared with Denise Richards & Neve Campbell) Wild Things Nominated
1999 Teen Choice Award Funniest Scene There's Something About Mary Won
1999 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Supporting Actor – Comedy There's Something About Mary Won
2005 Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actor Crash Won
2005 Gotham Tribute Award Won
2005 Gotham Award Best Ensemble Cast Crash Nominated
2005 Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards Best Supporting Actor Crash Won
2005 Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Crash Nominated
2005 Hollywood Film Festival Ensemble of the Year Crash Won
2005 Satellite Award for Best Cast – Motion Picture Crash Won
2005 Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Cast Crash Won
2005 Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best Cast Crash Won
2006 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor Crash Nominated
2006 BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role Crash Nominated
2006 Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble Crash Nominated
2006 Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor Crash Nominated
2006 Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Acting Ensemble Crash Won
2006 Chicago Film Critics Association Award Best Supporting Actor Crash Nominated
2006 Empire Award for Best Actor Crash Nominated
2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Crash Nominated
2006 Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male Crash Won
2006 Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor Crash Nominated
2006 SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Crash Nominated
2006 SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Crash Won
2006 San Sebastián International Film Festival Donostia Lifetime Archievement 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


  1. Ebert, Roger, Chicago Sun-times, film review, 26 April 1991.
  2. Cigar Aficionado | People Profile | Matt Dillon
  3. Matt Dillon Biography (1964-)
  4. "Fordham golf coach has way with the brush". USA Today. October 9, 2001. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
  6. Dillon, Matt (August 6, 2005). "Behind the mask". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
  7. Flynn, Paul (August 11, 2005). "Matt's Crash landing". Evening Standard. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
  8. Rader, Dotson (July 23, 2006). "You Don't Shut the Door on Hope". Parade. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  9. Grant, Lee (May 6, 2005). "The outsider". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  10. Over the Edge: An Oral History of the Greatest Teen Rebellion Movie of All Time September 2009, Vice Magazine. Retrieved March 10, 2010.
  11. "50 Top-Grossing Films". (Week ending May 23, 1979). Variety, pp. 9.
  12. "Matt Dillon box office tallies". Retrieved March 10, 2006.
  13. - A Salute to Jean Shepherd
  14. NTW Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters, The
  15. "Matt Dillon Attempts to Explain Cameron Diaz Split". July 24, 2006. Archived from the original on May 30, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
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