Before making a name for himself, actor Vincent D’Onofrio earned himself a living as a nightclub bouncer, delivering flowers, hanging drapes and driving a cab. He even worked as Yul Brynner’s and Robert Plant’s bodyguard in order to support his dream of finding his place under the Hollywood sky.
After managing to land some on and off Broadway roles, and after appearing in low-budget films, Vincent was urged by friend and actor Matthew Modine to audition for Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket.
He seemed like the perfect fit for the role of Leonard, a fat, dim-witted character. However, the role came with a few conditions, one of which was gaining weight, which Vincent did. In fact, he gained around 80 pounds, which is the most an actor gained for the sake of a role. At the same time, he needed to get rid of his locks.
“[Kubrick] asked me early on would I be all right with gaining this weight and I went over there and gained about 30 pounds, and I remember him seeing it and saying that I only look like I could kick everybody’s a**. He thought some more weight would be needed.” Speaking of the role he played when he was 24, Vincent continued, “I think it went up to 80 pounds…from 200 to 280.”
He was so convincing and excelled the role so beautifully, that the fans mistook him for the character he played.
“People treat you differently when you’re that size you gotta remember my head was shaved so it was like a completely different persona from me being this long lanky actor to a big burly guy with a bald head…it was a very strange life change.” The Broken Horses star continued, “It changed my life. Women didn’t look at me, most of the time I was looking at their backs as they were running away. People used to say things to me twice, because they thought I was stupid.”
Just a year after the film was released, Vincent managed to lose weight and got to his old self.
His career skyrocketed and he became a famous name in the world of film, but he says that it is all thanks to Kubrick.
“Stanley made my career, there’s no question to that I’ve done over 50 films, because of him. Because of that part.”
Among the rest, Vincent, who is now 64, played in Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001 to 2011), Marvel’s Daredevil (2015 to 2018), and the films Dying Young, The Break-Up and Jurassic World.
In 2023, the New York-born director, producer, screenwriter and actor, published the book Pigs Can’t Look Up.
Vincent’s life was greatly affected by his parents’ divorce and his mother’s marriage to George Meyer, a renowned American producer and writer.
During the 1990s, he was romantically involved with actress Greta Scacchi, with whom he shares a daughter, Leila George, who has since started an acting career herself.
In 1997, Vincent married Duch model Carin van der Donk. The two welcomed a son in 1999, but then their relationship fell apart. They separated, but reconciled and welcomed their second son in 2008.
This year, Vincent filed for a divorce and put an end to his marriage of 26 years.
In 2021, he appeared in the film The Unforgivable, alongside Sandra Bullock. We will next see him in the soon-to-be released comedy Dumb Money.