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Matt Dillon is an American actor known for his tough guy roles, particularly the adaptations of S.E. Hinton's books including Rumble Fish and The Outsiders.
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both directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Dillon has played comedy in There's Something About Mary and drama with an Academy Award nominated performance in Crash.
Actor. Born on February 18, 1964, in New Rochelle, New York. A veteran performer, Matt Dillon has tackled a variety of roles in both dramatic and comedic films. He got his first break when he was fourteen years old. A talent scout spotted him hanging out in a hallway at his junior high school. Dillon was cutting class at the time. Soon after this fateful encounter, he landed his first film role.
Making his debut in Over the Edge
(1979), Dillon played a teenager who lives with his family to a planned
community outside of Denver. His character—like the other teens in
community—had little to do and nowhere to go. In response, he acts out
in all sorts of ways with some dire consequences. Critics hailed the
mostly teenage cast’s realistic portrayal of youthful angst and
frustration. Unfortunately, the film received little promotion and
quickly disappeared from movie theaters.
With his next role, Dillon quickly became one of the most popular teenage heartthrobs of the 1980s, joining the ranks of Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett, and others. He appeared in Little Darlings (1980) with Tatum O’Neal and Kristy McNichol. As part of a bet, the two young women try to become the first to lose their virginity while at summer camp. McNichol ends up accomplishing this task with Dillon’s character.
That same year, Dillon co-starred in My Bodyguard (1980) with Chris Makepeace as a high school bully. The tough guy role wasn’t too far from his real life at the time, according to Dillon. He told People magazine that “I used to get in a lot of fights.” The same article went on to explain how the teenage Dillon was receiving as much as 200 fan letters a day and had a 5,000-strong fan club at the time.
Dillon played the title character in Tex (1982), an adaptation of a popular young adult novel by S. E. Hinton. In this family drama, Tex and his brother Mason are two teenagers who basically left to fend for themselves since their rodeo cowboy father is practically never home. Meg Tilly played Tex’s girlfriend and Emilio Estevez appeared as her brother. For his work in the film, Dillon earned many positive reviews, with critic Robert Ebert calling his performance “complicated and convincing.”
Working with director Francis Ford Coppola, Dillon starred in two other film adaptations of S. E. Hinton novels. He co-starred with many up-and-coming stars, such as Patrick Swayze, Ralph Macchio, Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, and C. Thomas Howell in The Outsiders (1983). In this film, set in 1950s Nebraska, he played Dallas Winston, the leading member of a gang of poor teens known as the Greasers.
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