Vin Diesel Turns 45: Three Things You Might Not Know About Him

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Action star Vin Diesel is celebrating his 45th birthday on July 18. As the "Fast Five" actor enjoys his big day, he has plenty of things to keep him busy. Vin, whose real name is Mark Sinclair Vincent, is currently working on a couple of his biggest movie franchises. First, he has two more films lined up in the "Fast and Furious" franchise, and began shooting one of them in May. In addition, he will reprise his lead role in the next "Chronicles of Riddick" film. He has already wrapped up production on the next chapter in the series due out in 2013, and is ready to do more. With the future of those two franchises secure, Vin should remain one of the biggest action stars for years to come. However, there is a lot more to the actor than movies with lots of explosions. In honor of his birthday, here are some things that you might not know about Vin Diesel.

He's active behind the camera

While his acting career is definitely his claim to fame, the birthday boy has carved out a nice body of work behind the scenes. Before hitting it big, he wrote and directed a feature film called "Strays" in 1997. The film, which he also starred in, debuted at Sundance and ended up launching his career as an actor. Though he has not directed a full-length movie since then, Vin has served as producer on a number of his own films as well as other movies such as "Hitman."

He's in touch with his soft side

In 2008, the star became a father for the first time when girlfriend Paloma Jimenez gave birth to daughter Hania Riley. Though we all know Vin for his massive physique and deep voice, he isn't afraid to admit that he is a big softie when it comes to being a dad. "Anything that I say could just fall into the proud father category, but if the angel were here right now, I wouldn't have to say a word," he said shortly after his little girl's first birthday. The tough guy also opened up about everything from his delivery room experience to the nightly lullaby he sang to his daughter when she was a baby.

He's a fan of Dungeons & Dragons

He might not seem like the type, but Vin is an avid fan of the classic role playing game. Not only did he admit to playing it for decades, but he even wrote the foreword for a book commemorating the 30th anniversary of the game. "We were all drawn to the game because it allowed us to become these characters, vastly different in appearance and in actions," he passionately wrote about his experience with the game. "What kept us hooked was the search for the character that represented our higher self."

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