Date of Birth
18 December 1964, New Rochelle, New York, USA
Matthew Raymond Dillon
6' (1.83 m)
Matt Dillon's successful film career has spanned over three decades and has showcased his wide range of dramatic and comedic talents. Dillon displayed his versatility with an arresting performance co-starring as a racist cop in the critically acclaimed Paul Haggis film Crash. This role earned him nominations for an Academy award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, Critics Choice Award, BAFTA Award and won him an Independent Spirit Award. In addition, the film earned him a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Critics Choice Award for Best Ensemble. As the New York Times' Film Critic A.O. Scott put it, "He seems to be getting better with every film."
He starred opposite Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson in Universal Pictures' comedy, You, Me and Dupree and in Factotum for which he received glowing reviews for portraying Charles Bukowski's alter ego when the film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. From his breakthrough performance in The Outsiders to his hilarious turn as an obsessed private investigator in There's Something About Mary, he has proven himself to be one of the most diverse actors of his generation.
In 1990 Dillon won an IFP Spirit Award for his gritty performance as a drug addict in Gus Van Sant's Drugstore Cowboy. From there he went on to star in such films as Ted Demme's Beautiful Girls opposite Uma Thurman and Natalie Portman, Cameron Crowe's Singles, In & Out with Kevin Kline, Kevin Spacey's Albino Alligator, Francis Ford Coppola's Rumble Fish, Garry Marshall's Flamingo Kid, Van Sant's To Die For with Nicole Kidman, and John McNaughton's Wild Things. He starred in Nothing But The Truth, opposite Kate Beckinsale and Vera Farmiga, Disney's Old Dogs, opposite John Travolta, Robin Williams and Kelly Preston, and the Screen Gems films Armored and Takers.
Aside from being an accomplished actor, Dillon wrote, and made his feature film directorial debut with City of Ghosts, in which he also starred with GÃ©rard Depardieu, Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd, and James Caan. Prior to City of Ghosts, Dillon made his television directorial debut in 1997 with an episode of HBO's gritty prison drama Oz.
Dillon's achievements continued with television appearances in an HBO adaptation of Irwin Shaw's Return To Kansas City and a part co-narrating the documentary Dear America: Letters From Home.
Dillon's multi-talents have also landed him on stage starring on Broadway in The Boys In Winter as well as the PBS/American Playhouse production of The Great American Fourth Of July And Other Disasters.
His recent film credits include the comedy Girl Most Likely opposite Annette Bening and Kristen Wiig; the drama Sunlight, Jr. opposite Naomi Watts, and the heist comedy The Art Of The Steal opposite Kurt Russell. Dillon most recently starred in M. Night Shyamalan's hit television event series Wayward Pines for FOX.
His grandmother, Bea Dillon, is the sister of two famous artists: Alex Raymond and Jim Raymond. Alex Raymond was the creator of the cartoon strip, Flash Gordon; and also Jungle Jim and Rip Kirby. Jim Raymond drew Blondie for Chic Young for about 40 years.
Brother of Kevin Dillon and Paul Dillon.
Cites Gene Hackman as a major idol and influence on his work, especially after working with him in Target (1985).
Was in a relationship with Cameron Diaz (January 1996-December 1998).
Original choice for Frank Sangster role in Novocaine (2001).
Original choice for "Butch Coolidge" in Pulp Fiction (1994).
Was the original choice for the role of Richard in The Blue Lagoon (1980), but turned the role down because of the nudity.
He is the second child of six. His brothers and sisters are: Paul (born 1962), Kevin (born 1965), Katy (born 1966), Timothy (born 1969) and Brian (born 1972).
His parents are Mary Ellen and Paul Dillon
Enjoys frequenting flea markets.
Has a large vinyl record collection.
Is a big fan of Cuban music.
Has traveled extensively in Southeast Asia.
Is a New York Mets baseball fan and collects Mookie Wilson baseball cards.
"Matt Dillon" is also the fictional name of the hero of Gunsmoke (1955), television's longest-running ever western series (20 years from 1955 to 1975). The hero, a U.S. Marshal for Dodge City, was played by James Arness.
Is a runner, and regularly runs through Central Park in New York, where he lives. Usually he is not recognized.
Uncle of Kevin Dillon's daughters Amy Dillon and Ava Dillon.
He is of almost entirely Irish descent, with a small amount of German and Scottish, ancestry.
Spent New Year 2005 in Brazil.
Played a lead role in three of author S.E. Hinton's books made into movies consecutively: Tex (1982), The Outsiders (1983) and Rumble Fish (1983).
Has been good friends with Fisher Stevens since filming The Flamingo Kid (1984) together.
Quit smoking cigarettes in 1996.
He traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo to work with Amani Global Works, which aims to provide better health care to the most impoverished, forgotten areas of Africa. 
Attended the San Sebastian Film Festival 2006 in Spain. [September 2006]
Attended the She Hate Me special screening and dinner party in Rome, Italy on Oct. 10th. [October 2004]
Attended The Orange British Academy Film Awards 2006 in London, England. [February 2006]
Attended the Deauville Film Festival 2002 in France to promote City of Ghosts. [September 2002]
Attended the The Irish Film & Television Awards in Dublin, Ireland. [February 2010]
Attended the 10th Annual Marrakech Film Festival in Marrakech, Morocco. [January 2010]
Attended the The 3rd Annual amfAR Cinema Against AIDS in Dubai, UAE. [December 2009]
Attended the 2005 Cannes Film Festival in France. [May 2005]
Attended the Cannes Film Festival in France. [May 1998]
Attended The Orange British Academy Film Awards 2010 in London, England. [February 2010]
Attended the Ischia Global Film & Music Fest 2008 in Italy. [July 2008]
Not a relation with Melinda Dillon.
Deep baritone voice
Dark brown hair
Low, thick eyebrows
There were certain perceptions that people had of me, you know...'He's dumb,' or 'he's just got a pretty face,' or 'he's a thug,' or 'he can only do one thing.' I'm not so concerned with that now. Longevity's what it's about.
New York is a vibrant city. There is so much to do here. It's so diverse. But in L.A., the whole town seems to revolve around the industry. That's a good thing when you need to go for work and stuff like that, and I have a lot of friends out there -- a lot of longtime friends -- but I don't want to live there. I just don't like it. In L.A. you can spend days without seeing another person. You see other people in your car, but without really making contact with them. I mean you really exist that way!
A lot of people say I've missed out on a lot because I started acting at such a young age. What's so obvious to me is that I actually was really lucky. I gained a lot and I got a head start in what I wanted to do in life. A lot of people in their late 20s, early 30s are just beginning to figure out where they want to go.
If there's something to work with that's good and if there's a conflict of the characters, that makes it more juicy, something colorful. A good script and director, of course, are the most important things. Sometimes I feel like I've done really good work, but it doesn't matter if the film doesn't work. The kind of films where I think the film worked, like The Flamingo Kid (1984) or Drugstore Cowboy (1989) or even Rumble Fish (1983) or The Saint of Fort Washington (1993) -- they didn't do that well at the box office.
To be honest with you, there's nothing that bores me more than sitting around with a bunch of actors talking shop. I love actors and I've got friends that are actors. They're interesting people. But for some reason, usually when it comes round to talking shop, there's a part of me that doesn't like it.
"You can't get a place more conflicted than Cambodia. You come up with ideas as you go. Film ideas come into your head. Sometimes you write them down. Sometimes they just pass you by. This one goes back to '93 when I went to Phnom Penh. It was an extended vacation and I knew very little of Cambodia. What I knew of it was "The Killing Fields". What really opened my eyes and surprised me was how beautiful the country was. Phnom Penh was this partially destroyed city but a lot of it had been preserved. The royal palace is there and all the pagodas along the Mekong River. It was a real contrast from say, Bangkok. There was also this palpable sense of danger. There were a number of ex-pats I met, too, and these people were as interesting as the places. Guys that had opened bars and felt like they couldn't go back. About a year later, I read an article in the Tribune that Cambodia was being used as a fugitive haven. It sort of presented itself to me as an opportunity to do something really interesting" - On what inspired Dillon to base City of Ghosts (2002) in Cambodia.
I think more in terms of the work. I don't think about being a celebrity. I don't preoccupy myself too much with being famous. I don't try to hold on to some kind of image. I remember sometimes thinking people thought of me this way or that. But I did not want to be considered a star. I always just wanted to be considered an actor. That is what I do and that is what I pride myself on--my work. That is what counts.
Some jobs, while you are making them, you find yourself living the part. You dream about them. You wake up thinking about it. That is a good sign. That was Drugstore Cowboy (1989). It was cool. It was fun to make. It was a small crew. The actors were great. It worked. It was one of those things where, if it worked, it would be one of those things that was different and unique. And it turned out that way. Gus Van Sant was great. He thought more like an artist than just a straight-headed filmmaker. It is great to work with someone like that.
I do a movie and I hope everybody gets to see it. I'm not somebody who only makes cult movies. Sometimes they become cult movies and that's fine, but that's not why I make movies. I would love to do a really good audience picture, but sometimes it just doesn't get offered to you and that's just the way the ball bounces. I want to do big movies. I like big escapist films, certain action films, like The Fugitive (1993).
There's a lot more that I am capable of doing than I have done. There's a lot more that I have to offer people. Some people would be surprised. If you really look at my body of work, it's not nearly as typecast as one might think. I have done a lot of roles and not just played brooding, angry young men.
There is something about Cuba. There's no doubt. There's something romantic about the place, even now with everything going on. Just look at the music, among other things. Some of the greatest music ever came out of Cuba in the '50s, '40s and '30s.
I won an Indie Spirit Award a few years ago for Drugstore Cowboy (1989), but you never think about awards when you're doing a movie.
Comedy is the hardest thing for me.
I don't worry about whether a character is likable, as long as the character is believable.
You learn tolerance and patience when you become famous or you get in a lot of trouble. I work on my self-destructive behaviors. I try to get past them. There've been times when I'm very prone toward anger. And if I look at my anger, there's usually fear behind it. Some sort of fear of something.
Yeah, I was a little wild and on a course for misspent youth, you know what I mean? But my parents made it very clear what was unacceptable, and that saved me. I have to be honest. I got out lucky.
I'm not particularly interested in my past. I'm interested in my life now. I'm into the future. I mean, I feel like every time I do one of these things [interview], everyone's always like, 'What was it like to be discovered?' When, sort of, like, really, at this point in time, I'm just here with you.
[on working with Gene Hackman on Target (1985)] Gene Hackman's good to work with. We really work together, y'know? He gives a lot and likes it when you give. It's hard to find actors you actually deal with, and he deals with you.
I like to travel and I love absorbing other cultures.
(On what inspired him to base City of Ghosts (2002) in Cambodia) Because, when I traveled there, I would see foreigners and westerners who interest me as much as the place itself. These were people that had some kind of history and some kind of past that whom I felt were running from something. They were Americans, Europeans, and Australians who tended to be very secretive about what they were doing, where they were and there was this air of mystery about them; these sorts of people interested me and I found the end of the line kind of thing was something that I wanted to explore. These people, the guy that's on the run, existed and was not something I came up with because I had seen an old movie.
(On making Armored (2009)) It's a pretty good job being an actor, but it's work sometimes. And when I say work, I mean it's a job. You're going to a job. But this one, I was excited to go to work every day. I really love the cast, and you can feel it. If the director's committed, the actors will commit as well. If the director's going to be really committed and excited and determined to make something good, then it's contagious, and the actors jump right on board. And that's the way it was on that film. We had fun on that set. And when I went to the screening, I had fun. '(Laurence) Fishburne' and I were talking about it. "Hey man, it's a blast". If you had fun making it, then the audience will have fun watching it.
(On making There's Something About Mary (1998)) Well, that was probably the funnest time I ever had on a set. It was like a big party, in a way. It was the first time I'd ever worked with two directors, brothers, and it was really great. They're both so creative. A lot of what you see is stuff that came up on the spot. And I love to improvise. I like to get on a roll and have some fun, and they're really into that too, but they're also ad-libbing as they're going. So the camera would be rolling, and Bobby [Farrelly] would come up to me and throw a line at me, and then I'd have to get it together and stop laughing, and then do my part again with this new line. So it kind of kept things very alive. They're constantly creating. It was a great experience, and I remember it was like the shortest hours I've ever worked. I never remember ever working where we'd get done so early in the day.
(On Singles (1992)) Cameron Crowe came to me for that maybe eight months before he first had the film set up, and he talked to me about doing the role that Campbell Scott played. But, in the end, I couldn't do it, for a number of reasons. So, then, he came back to me later for "Cliff", the rocker. And I said, "Okay, Cameron, I'd love to work with you, but I don't even remember that guy in your script". And he goes, "Oh, don't worry about it, we're working on it". And, sure enough, the character was a nice, interesting character that weaved through the story.
(On making Over the Edge (1979)) There were five of us they brought out from New York. Only two of the young actors in the movie were actually professionals: Vincent Spano and Pamela Ludwig. The other three guys, Michael Eric Kramer, Tom Fergus, and myself, we were just guys they found. We auditioned and we got the job. It was great. We shot in Colorado, and I might as well have been on Mars. It was a whole different world out there for me, coming from back East. I just remembered thinking, "Oh God!" Looking back on that film, I think it really reflected the times in terms of attitudes toward drugs and youth. A lot of the kids that were extras in that film were out of juvenile hall, and there were drugs, everywhere. It was crazy. It was the '70s. I can really remember the '70s through that movie.
I don't hide out. If you build a wall around yourself it draws people to invade it. Fear is the enemy.
I like vintage clothing, because it puts me in mind of another generation. You read things like "pleats are out." They're out? No way. They looked great in the forties-on Mitchum, Garfield, those guys. So why should it be different now? I've got a closet full of old suits, gabardine pants, hats.
When I was doing Over the Edge (1979) and was playing around, someone told me I was like Brando. I didn't take that as a compliment. I thought he was a fat old man - the only thing I'd seen him in was The Godfather (1972). Then I saw A Streetcar Named Desire (1951).