Vincent D'Onofrio Biography

Vincent D'Onofrio Biography on Monsters and Critics


"Vincent Phillip D'Onofrio" (born June 30, 1959) is an American actor and film producer. He first gained attention for his role as 'Private Leonard 'Gomer Pyle' Lawrence' in "Full Metal Jacket", and more currently for his role as Det. Robert Goren in "Law & Order: Criminal Intent".


Early life

D'Onofrio was born in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, of Italian descent. Vincent is the son of Gennaro (Gene) D'Onofrio, an interior designer and part-time theater production assistant, and Phyllis D'Onofrio (now Meyer) a waitress and restaurant manager. Vincent's parents met while Gennaro was stationed in Hawaii with the U.S. Air Force. The couple relocated to the mainland where they had four children. Vincent is the youngest and the only boy. His middle sister Elizabeth D'Onofrio is an actress and drama coach now residing on Ft Myers Beach, Florida. His eldest sister, Toni, owns the "Rib City" restaurant chain in Utah. Vincent's third sister, Connie, passed away in 2004. Vincent's parents divorced several years after his birth. His mother married George Meyer in 1978.

His family moved frequently during his youth, and he grew up in Hawaii, Florida, and Colorado. He graduated from Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School in Florida in 1977 and attended The University of Colorado at Boulder for about 18 months. He then dropped out of college to pursue acting. He was accepted for study with the American Stanislavsky Theatre in New York City.


In 1984, D'Onofrio became a full member of the American Stanislavsky Theatre, appearing in a number of its productions, including "Of Mice and Men" and "Sexual Perversity in Chicago". He also made his Broadway debut as Nick Rizzoli in "Open Admissions". Before this breakthrough, he had been acting in New York University student films and was working as a bouncer at the Hard Rock Cafe.

In 1987, D'Onofrio entered the mainstream consciousness with two film roles that demonstrated his range as an actor. His first major film role was as the obese Private Leonard 'Gomer Pyle' Lawrence in Stanley Kubrick's 1987 film, "Full Metal Jacket", a part for which he gained nearly 70 lbs, bringing his weight to 280 lbs. The other role was that of Dawson, the owner of Dawson's Garage in "Adventures in Babysitting", directed by Chris Columbus. D'Onofrio appears in only one pivotal scene near the end of the film, but his role attracted attention because of his muscular physique and long blond hair, which cause the film's youngest character to mistakenly believe that he is actually Thor, the comic-book superhero she idolizes.

Since then, D'Onofrio has continued to play a wide variety of roles, including iconic director Orson Welles in Tim Burton's "Ed Wood", farmer Edgar and the evil 'Bug' that possesses him from "Men in Black", the father of a saint in Nancy Savoca's "Household Saints", Yippie founder Abbie Hoffman in "Steal This Movie", a time traveler from the distant future in "Happy Accidents", and opposite Jennifer Lopez as fictional serial killer Carl Stargher in "The Cell".

He has dabbled in film production and direction, having produced two films, "The Whole Wide World" and "Guy", in 1996 and 1997, respectively, executive produced two others, "The Velocity of Gary" in 1998 and "Steal This Movie" in 2000 and directed the short "Five Minutes, Mr. Welles" in 2005. This last represents a culmination of D'Onofrio's desire to improve on his performance as Welles in "Ed Wood", which, in spite of D'Onofrio's striking physical resemblance to the late actor/director, reportedly left director Tim Burton underwhelmed. Burton had to procure the services of voice-over artist Maurice LaMarche to produce a more dramatically effective rendering of the character's dialogue.

D'Onofrio has since moved to the small screen. He received an Emmy nomination in 1997 for his appearance as John Lange, the doomed victim in the 'Subway' episode of "Homicide: Life on the Street". He currently stars as Det. Robert Goren, a principal character, on the NBC television show "Law & Order: Criminal Intent".

In 2003, it was reported that D'Onofrio and Joe Pantoliano began work on a small film entitled "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, "Little Victories" was not completed and went into turnaround because of 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, D'Onofrio appeared on the big screen in "The Break Up", starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. In it, he played Vaughn's somewhat eccentric brother. They had appeared together on two previous films, in "The Cell", when Vaughn played an FBI agent attempting to catch D'Onofrio, and "Thumbsucker".

In 2008, D'Onofrio made a cameo appearance in a Presidential Election-related sketch of a "Saturday Night Live" episode as his character Det. Robert Goren. In this sketch, which originally aired on March 1, 2008, he interrogates Hillary Clinton (played by Amy Poehler). His entrance to and exit from the skit are punctuated by the classic "Law & Order" 'dun-DUN' sound. D'Onofrio turned down a role in "The Sopranos".

Personal life

D'Onofrio's father, Gene, and his sister Beth founded the River Run International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which began in 1998.

D'Onofrio has a daughter, Leila George D'Onofrio, born 20 March 1992 in Sydney, Australia. Her mother is actress Greta Scacchi, with whom D'Onofrio made several movies in the late '80s and early '90s (including "The Player" and "Fires Within"). The couple were married from 1991 until 1993. After that relationship ended, D'Onofrio married Carin van der Donk on March 22, 1997. The couple have a son, Elias Gene, born in January of 2000. D'Onofrio and van der Donk divorced in October 2003, but reconciled in 2007. Carin gave birth to their second son, Luca, on February 14, 2008. D'Onofrio and his family reside in New York, where "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" is filmed.

In late 2004, D'Onofrio experienced a health issue when he collapsed on the set of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" on November 10. He collapsed again at home a few days later and was taken back to the hospital for more thorough testing, where he was diagnosed with exhaustion.

Partial filmography

"The First Turn-On!" (1983)

"It Don't Pay to Be an Honest Citizen" (1984)

"Full Metal Jacket" (1987)

"Adventures in Babysitting" (1987)

"Mystic Pizza" (1988)

"Signs of Life" (1989)

"The Blood of Heroes" (1989) - also known as "Salute of the Jugger"

"Crooked Hearts" (1991)

"Dying Young" (1991)

"Fires Within" (1991)

"Naked Tango" (1991)

"JFK" (1991)

"The Player" (1992)

"Salt on Our Skin" (1992) - also known as "Desire"

"Being Human" (1993)

"Household Saints" (1993)

"Mr. Wonderful" (1993)

"Ed Wood" (1994)

"The Investigator" (1994)

"Imaginary Crimes" (1994)

"Nunzio's Second Cousin" (1994)

"Stuart Saves His Family" (1995)

"Strange Days" (1995)

"Hotel Paradise" (1995)

"The Whole Wide World" (1996)

"The Winner" (1996)

"Feeling Minnesota" (1996)

"Good Luck" (1996)

"Boys Life 2" (1997)

"Men in Black" (1997)

"Guy" (1997)

"The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" (1998) - TV remake of the 1974 film

"The Newton Boys" (1998)

"Claire Dolan" (1998)

"The Velocity of Gary" (1998)

"Spanish Judges" (1999)

"The Thirteenth Floor" (1999)

"That Championship Season" (1999)

"Happy Accidents" (2000)

"Steal This Movie" (2000)

"The Cell" (2000)

"Chelsea Walls" (2001)

"Imposter" (2002)

"Bark!" (2002)

"The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys" (2002)

"The Red Sneakers" (2002)

"The Salton Sea" (2002)

"Case of Evil" (2002)

"Thumbsucker" (2005)

"Five Minutes, Mr. Welles" (2005)

"The Break Up" (2006)

"The Narrows" (2008)

"Cadillac Records" (2008)

"Little New York" (2009)

"The Irishman" (2010)

Television (including notable guest appearances)

"Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (2001—) as Det. Robert Goren

"Men in Black: The Series" as Bugs (voice) in 'The Big Bad Bug Syndrome' (Episode 2.5)

"Homicide: Life on the Street" as John Lange in 'Subway' (Episode 6.7)

"The Equalizer" as Davy Baylor in 'Suspicion of Innocence' (Episode 3.3) and as Thomas Marley in 'Counterfire' (Episode 2.7)

"Miami Vice" as Leon Wolf in 'The Afternoon Plane' (Episode 3.17)

"Spanish Judges (1999)"

"Xavier: Renegade Angel (2009)"as Eric in the episode 'El Tornadador'(Episode 2.3)

"Xavier: Renegade Angel (2009)" as The Judge in the episode 'Damnesia Vu'(Episode 2.6)


"Anatomy of a Homicide", PBS (1998)

External links

(Official NBC Biography of Vincent D'Onofrio)


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