Vin Diesel

An overnight action-film sensation who intrigued audiences when he seemingly emerged from nowhere in the summer of 2001, Vin Diesel actually made his first mark on the movie business as a filmmaker. His first two independent films screened at the Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals after which the hulking, clean-shaven actor had a breakthrough role as imposing antihero Riddick in the cult-favorite sci-fi film "Pitch Black" (2000). He was quickly snapped up by Hollywood and transformed into a movie star with high-octane hits "The Fast and the Furious" (2001) and "xXx" (2002). Diesel found further box-office success with the Disney comedy "The Pacifier" (2005) and went on to receive decent reviews for his dramatic performance in "Find Me Guilty" (2006), but audiences were generally reluctant to accept him in anything but sequels to his signature action films. The hype that surrounded the actor's rush to stardom eventually gave way to a period of career stagnation, but he bounced back in a big way with his prominent return for the 2009 sequel "Fast & Furious" and its reliably popular later installments, including the super-sized "Fast & Furious 6."