Matt Dillon Biography

Matt Dillon is an American actor and director who began his career in films at a young age, quickly becoming a teen idol. He gained recognition for his roles in movies such as Over the Edge, Tex, The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, and The Flamingo Kid. As he matured, Dillon successfully transitioned into more adult characters, notably in Drugstore Cowboy, showcasing his versatility as an actor. He has appeared in a range of films, including the comedies There’s Something About Mary and You, Me and Dupree, the crime drama Crash, and the horror film The House That Jack Built, all of which received critical acclaim and award nominations. Notably, his performance in Crash earned him nominations at prestigious award ceremonies such as the Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and BAFTA. Dillon has also made notable contributions to television, particularly in the series Wayward Pines. Additionally, he has directed episodes of the television series OZ, the film City of Ghosts, and a documentary titled The Great Fellove. Beyond his acting and directing career, Dillon has lent his voice to various projects and has even appeared in and directed music videos.

Quick Facts

  • Girlfriend: Cameron Diaz (ex)
  • Also Known As: Matthew Raymond Dillon
  • Age: 59 Years, 59 Year Old Males
  • Family: father: Paul Dillon, mother: Mary Ellen, siblings: Brian Dillon, Katy Dillon, Kevin Dillon, Paul Dillon, Timothy Dillon
  • Born Country: United States
  • Quotes By Matt Dillon
  • Actors
  • Height: 5’11” (180 cm), 5’11” Males
  • Ancestry: German American, Irish American
  • Notable Alumni: El Camino College Compton Center, Lee Strasberg Theatre And Film Institute
  • City: New Rochelle, New York
  • U.S. State: New Yorkers
  • More Facts
  • Education: Lee Strasberg Theatre And Film Institute, El Camino College Compton Center

Childhood & Early Life

Matt Dillon was born on 18 February 1964 in New Rochelle, New York, U.S., as the second child of his parents, Mary Ellen and Paul Dillon. His mother was a homemaker while his father was employed at the Union Camp Corporation for three decades. Later, Paul became the head coach of Fordham University’s men’s golf team. Along with his siblings Paul, Kevin, Katy, Timothy, and Brian, he grew up in Mamaroneck, New York.

For his education, he attended Hommocks Middle School and Mamaroneck High School. Thereafter, he joined the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute to study acting.


Matt Dillon made his screen debut, in 1979, at the age of 15, with Jonathan Kaplan’s coming-of-age crime drama film Over the Edge. He was found by the casting agent Jane Bernstein while bunking off school and was selected after auditioning for the role.

His performance in the film drew attention and bagged him a couple of other films – Little Darlings and My Bodyguard. Both films, released in 1980, met with success and further made him popular among teenagers.

The first half of the 1980s saw him in romance drama films Liar’s Moon (1981) and The Flamingo Kid (1984), a mystery thriller film Target and a musical drama film Rebel (1985). In between, he also acted in three films – Tex (1982), The Outsiders (1983), and Rumble Fish (1983) – based on the novels of S. E. Hinton.

The period also saw him working in the television film The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters (1982) and making his Broadway debut with The Boys of Winter (1985).

His films in the second half of the 1980s include Native Son (1986), The Big Town (1987), Kansas (1988), Drugstore Cowboy, and Bloodhounds of Broadway (both 1989). His performance as a drug addict junkie thief in Gus Van Sant’s crime drama film Drugstore Cowboy not only earned him critical appreciation but also the Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead the following year. For him, It was a transition from reckless teen roles to more adult characters.

In 1987, he lent his voice to a television movie documentary Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam and appeared in the music video of the Irish folk-punk band The Pogues’ song Fairytale of New York.

His prominent films in the 1990s include Singles (1992), The Saint of Fort Washington, Mr. Wonderful (both 1993), To Die For (1995), Beautiful Girls (1996), In & Out (1997), Wild Things and There’s Something About Mary (both 1998).

In Mr Wonderful, he essayed the role of Gus DeMarco who, in an attempt to avoid paying alimony, tries to marry off his former wife. On the other hand, in Beautiful Girls he played Tommy who cheats on his girlfriend with his now-married high school flame.

The two films that really shot him into the limelight were the black comedy drama To Die For wherein he played Nicole Kidman’s ill-fated husband Larry Maretto and the romantic drama There’s Something About Mary where his role was that of a private investigator Pat Healy. The latter film won him MTV Movie Award in the best villain category.

The 1990s also saw him in other films like A Kiss Before Dying (1991), Golden Gate (1994), Frankie Starlight (1995), Grace of My Heart, and Albino Alligator (both 1996). He also did an uncredited cameo appearance in Madonna’s Bad Girl music video and worked in HBO’s short television film Women & Men 2 (1991).

With the advent of a new millennium, Matt Dillon took to writing and direction and made his first film City of Ghosts. He also starred in the movie; the movie was released in 2002. Before this, he had only directed an episode of the television series, Oz, in 1999.

In 2004, he played the role of a racist cop in the critically acclaimed crime drama movie Crash. His work bagged him nominations – in the best supporting actor category – at the Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and BAFTA Awards. Amongst the awards that he won was Independent Spirit Award.

His other prominent roles during the decade were Factotum (2005), You, Me and Dupree (2006), and Nothing But the Truth (2008). The first movie, wherein he played the role of novelist Charles Bukowski’s alter ego, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and won tremendous appreciation.

During this time, Matt Dillon also acted in other films like One Night at McCool’s (2001), Deuces Wild (2002), Employee of the Month (2004), Loverboy, Herbie: Fully Loaded (both 2005), Old Dogs and Armored (both 2009).

The period also saw him narrating the audiobook version of Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road (2000) as well as the documentary Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos (2006). The former won him a Grammy nomination for Best Spoken Word Album.

He also directed the music video for Dinosaur Jr.’s single Been There All The Time; voiced television commercials for Pontiac and GM and appeared in an episode of the television show The Simpsons (2007).

In 2015, Matt Dillon played the role of a secret service agent Ethan Burke in ten episodes of Fox’s mystery science fiction television series Wayward Pines. The role won him a nomination for best actor at the Saturn Awards.

In 2018, he essayed the role of serial killer Jack in Lars von Trier’s horror film The House That Jack Built. The film once again won him nominations at various award functions.

In 2020, he turned a director and the executive producer for the documentary The Great Fellove.

His other recent films include Girl Most Likely (2012), Pawn Shop Chronicles, The Art of the Steal, Sunlight Jr. (all 2013), Bad Country (2014), Going in Style (2017), Running for Grace, Head Full of Honey (both 2018), Proxima (2019) and Capone (2020). He also worked on a short film Nimic (2019).

In 2021, he starred as ‘Alan’ in the American comedy film ‘Land of Dreams’ directed by Shoja Azari and Shirin Neshat. The film received a positive response from critics and holds a 71% approval score on Rotten Tomatoes. He was next seen in the 2022 Paul Dektor-directed black comedy film ‘American Dreamer’ where he played the role of ‘Dell.’ In 2023, he portrayed ‘Walter Geronimo’ in the sci-fi romantic comedy ‘Asteroid City’ written and directed by Wes Anderson. The film received mostly positive reviews from critics and earned a 70% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The same year, he also portrayed ‘Denny’ in the American comedy television series ‘High Desert.’ The show was canceled after one season.

Family & Personal Life

Matt Dillon is not married. He was in a relationship with actress Cameron Diaz, from 1995 to 1998. He started dating Roberta Mastromichele in 2014.

He is an avid fan of the baseball club, ‘New York Mets’ and even collects Mookie Wilson baseball cards.


Matt Dillon is a huge fan of Cuban music and has a big collection of Vinyl.

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