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Overview for Vincent D'Onofrio
Vincent D'Onofrio

Vincent D'Onofrio


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Also Known As: Vincent Phillip D'Onofrio Died:
Born: June 30, 1959 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: Cast ... actor producer director bouncer


Though he established his career in the 1980s and 1990s with numerous film roles, actor Vincent D'Onofrio became a household name thanks to his nine-season run as the intelligent, but imposing Detective Robert Goren on the long-running procedural drama, "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (NBC, 2001-2011). Prior to the acclaim and stardom he received from his television role, D'Onofrio made a quick jump from unknown actor to breakout star as a mentally unstable and put-upon Marine cadet in Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" (1987). It would be several years before the young actor was able to have another role of any significance, which came when he played a struggling Hollywood scribe who becomes a homicide victim by the hand of a studio executive in Robert Altman's excellent satire, "The Player" (1992). D'Onofrio settled into a string of leading and supporting turns in smaller movies before showing up as an alien insect in the Will Smith blockbuster "Men in Black" (1997). But it was his nine-year run on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" that truly propelled his career, a role that he played on one of the most-watched shows on the air at the time. Though in 2010 he left the series to once again focus on features, D'Onofrio had firmly established himself as one of the finest character actors working in Hollywood.

Born on June 30, 1959 in Brooklyn, NY, D'Onofrio was raised by his father, Gene, an interior designer and later one of the founders of the River Run International Film Festival, and his mother, Phyllis, a waitress and restaurant manager. Though an east coaster by birth, D'Onofrio moved with his family to Hawaii and Colorado before settling in Miami, FL where he graduated from Hialeah-Miami High School in 1977. Though he attended college at the University of Colorado, D'Onofrio left school after 18 months to pursue his acting career. He landed in New York City and began training at the American Stanislavsky Theatre, where he performed in productions of "Of Mice and Men" and David Mamet's "Sexual Perversity in Chicago." Meanwhile, he made his Broadway debut in "Open Admissions" (1984), which he followed with his first feature film role in the sex comedy "The First Turn-On!" (1984). Also at the time, the struggling actor appeared in several student films while paying the bills working as a bouncer at various clubs around the city.

Just a couple of years later, D'Onofrio began making a name for himself with a small, but memorable role as a mechanic in the romantic comedy, "Adventures in Babysitting" (1987). He had his breakout role after gaining 70 pounds for his haunting portrayal as the dangerously unstable Private Pyle in Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" (1987), which he followed with a more subdued performance as Lili Taylor's beau in the bittersweet "Mystic Pizza" (1988). Following a turn as a boatyard worker committed to his mentally disabled brother in "Signs of Life" (1989), he once again starred opposite Julia Roberts in "Dying Young" (1991). The 1990s brought D'Onofrio higher profile supporting roles, including playing assassination witness Bill Newman in Oliver Stone's take on the conspiracies surrounding the public execution of "JFK" (1991), a role he reprised for a JFK assassination sequence in Spike Lee's "Malcolm X" (1992). He was most memorable in Robert Altman's winsome Hollywood satire, "The Player" (1993), in which he played David Kahane, a spurned wannabe screenwriter who becomes the victim of an accidental homicide by the hand of a smarmy studio executive (Tim Robbins).

Following "The Player," D'Onofrio had supporting roles in "Household Saints" (1993) and "Mr. Wonderful" (1993) before showing up as Orson Welles in Tim Burton's affectionate biopic, "Ed Wood" (1994), starring Johnny Depp and Martin Landau. Meanwhile, D'Onofrio occasionally tackled starring roles, like pulp writer and "Conan" creator Robert E. Howard in the romantic drama "The Whole Wide World" (1996) and habitual loser Philip in the crime thriller "The Winner" (1997). But his staple remained character work, providing a genuinely touching moment as Al Franken's brother in the otherwise dismal comedy "Stuart Saves His Family" (1995) and a chilling turn in the sci-fi thriller "Strange Days" (1995). Landing in a summer blockbuster, his evil intergalactic insect in purloined human skin offered a formidable foe to agents Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Barry Sonnenfeld's "Men in Black" (1997). D'Onofrio next co-starred alongside Matthew McConaughey, Skeet Ulrich and Ethan Hawke as real-life bank and train robbers in "The Newton Boys" (1998) for director Richard Linklater, and with Salma Hayek and Thomas Jane in the triangular romance "The Velocity of Gary (Not His Real Name)" (1998).

Following his turn as a former basketball champion in the remake of "That Championship Season" (Showtime, 1999), D'Onofrio played a time-traveling hero from the future who visits 1990s New York City in an attempt to woo and save a woman (Marisa Tomei) with whom he has fallen in love in "Happy Accidents" (2001), which premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. He next tackled the challenging part of real-life "yippie" and government fugitive Abbie Hoffman in the biopic "Steal This Movie" (2000). While he did not exactly resemble Hoffman, D'Onofrio managed to capture the counterculture icon's spirit and delivered a finely wrought performance that went overlooked when the film stumbled at the box office. He enjoyed a more commercial fate as a serial killer whose mind is penetrated by a therapist in an experimental fashion in the visually imaginative but dramatically inert "The Cell" (2000), co-starring Jennifer Lopez.

While the actor remained busy with film projects, including "The Salton Sea" (2002) and "Impostor"(2002), he segued to television as the star of producer Dick Wolf's spin-off series, "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (NBC, 2001-2011 ). D'Onofrio was cast as the imposing, but highly intuitive detective Robert Goren, whose diverse background helps him solve difficult cases. The actor spent a sold nine seasons on the show, which was briefly interrupted in 2004 when he collapsed on set, then later at home, and was diagnosed with suffering from exhaustion. In 2010, D'Onofrio ended his long stint on the show in order to concentrate once more on feature films. Though he appeared in some movies during his "Law & Order" tenure, like "The Break Up" (2006) and "Cadillac Records" (2008), he managed to increase his output once he was finished, starring in the crime thrillers "Brooklyn's Finest" (2009) and "Staten Island" (2009) before showing up in the "The Irishman" (2010), a biopic about real-life Irish mob boss-turned-FBI informant, Danny Greene (Ray Stevenson).

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