While older brother and early 1980s heartthrob Matt Dillon received the lion's share of fan mail and meaty leading roles throughout both their careers, younger sibling Kevin Dillon gravitated toward character parts, with ingratiating performances in a wide variety of films and television projects. His New York accent and flinty demeanor assured him of tough guy parts in movies like "Platoon" (1985) and "A Midnight Clear" (1992), but he could play funny too, in films like "Heaven Help Us" (1985), as well as play sensitive in "Immediate Family (1989). Television offered more rewarding parts for Dillon in the late 1990s and 2000s - with the year 2004 providing him the chance to shine apart from the famous last name when was cast as Johnny Drama, the hapless older brother of a movie superstar, in "Entourage" (HBO, 2004-11) - a part he could, no doubt, play in his sleep. He earned numerous awards and nominations for his alternately hilarious and touching performance, finally receiving the recognition that had long escaped him while in the shadow of his famous brother.
Dillon was born on Aug. 18, 1965; one of five children (four brothers and a sister) born to Paul Dillon, a painter and sales manager, and his wife Mary Ellen of Mamaroneck, NY. Though his initial interest was commercial art - he had studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York - Dillon dabbled in acting while in high school, and found himself following in his brother's footsteps after a meeting with an agent tied to Matt's first big flick, "Tex" (1982). He made his debut with the 1983 TV movie "No Big Deal," in which he played a troubled juvenile offender who resists attempts to socialize him at a new school. The role set the pace for many of his subsequent projects; he was the resident loudmouth at a tough Catholic school in the 1950s comedy-drama "Heaven Help Us" (1985), and took over the Steve McQueen role in Chuck Russell's likable remake of "The Blob" (1988). Oliver Stone's "Platoon" (1985) gave Dillon a chance to dig deeper as Bunny, a gun-happy soldier in Vietnam whose amoral side emerges in a tragic village invasion. Dillon also proved a capable dramatic actor in features like Franc Roddam's "War Party" (1988), starring as a young Native American involved in a bloody re-enactment of a cavalry attack, and "Immediate Family" (1989), as a teenaged father-to-be, which earned him a Young Artists Award nomination.
Already in his late twenties by the early 1990s, Dillon had not repeated his brother's rapid ascent to stardom as a young actor, but that did not halt his output, nor impede his will to succeed on his own merit. He was featured in a series of worthy showcases in the early years of the decade, including that of drummer John Densmore in Oliver Stone's overblown biopic "The Doors" (1992), a tough World War II soldier in "A Midnight Clear" (1992), and Sean Flynn, the doomed, devil-may-care photographer son of Errol Flynn in the TV-movie "Frankie's House" (1992). The quality projects began drying up by the middle of the 1990s, with Dillon's performances largely relegated to video store customers - such as with 1996's "True Crime." TV did not treat him much better at this time, as when he was miscast as James Fenimore Cooper's hero Hawkeye in a miniseries version of "The Pathfinder," (1996), but Dillon did do fine work as a thoughtful Gulf War vet in the gruesome "Stag" (1997) and a husband accused of murdering his own daughter in the miniseries, "Gone in the Night" (1997).
It was becoming apparent that television seemed to be where the work was for Dillon, and episodic series were the next logical step for the actor. After auditioning for the role of Danny Sorenson on "NYPD Blue (ABC, 1993-2005) - a part landed by former child star Rick Schroeder - he had a recurring part on the series as a police officer. More guest shots followed, with roles on the short-lived series "Karen Sisco" (ABC, 2003) and the colossal hit, "24" (Fox, 2001-10), as did a short stint as a series regular on "That's Life" (CBS, 2000-02). But things were about to change overnight for the actor best known as Matt's younger brother.
In 2004, Dillon was cast as Johnny "Drama" Chase, the older brother to box office champ Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) on the HBO comedy-drama "Entourage," executive-produced by rapper-turned-A-list Actor, Mark Wahlberg. A C-list actor with a long string of bit parts to his name - most notably an absurd action series called "Viking Quest" - Drama serves mainly as cook, fitness instructor, and comic foil to Chase and his pals - in short, a bit of a buffoon, but Dillon wisely found the character's heart and played him as slightly wounded and hopeful, even in the most ridiculous of story arcs. By the third season, Drama's career took an upswing with a part on an Edward Burns-produced television series and a role in Vincent's epic, "Medellin." He even found a fan base in France, of all places, which apparently never lost its devotion to the "Viking Quest" series. Dillon was frequently singled out as one of the show's high points, and received nominations from most of the major TV awards, including an Emmy nod in 2007, a Screen Actors Guild nomination in 2007 and 2008, and a Golden Globe nom in 2008, which he lost to fellow co-star, Jeremy Piven.
The success of "Entourage" also gave Dillon's film career a boost, as he was given a supporting turn as a hapless gambler in "Poseidon" (2006) and was top-billed in the broad comedy, "The Foursome" (2006). Things in his personal life took off like gangbusters as well. In April 2006, Dillon married actress Jane Stuart in Las Vegas, with his "Entourage co-stars Kevin Connolly and Jerry Ferrara in attendance. Meanwhile, he continued to receive acclaim for "Entourage," earning another Emmy nod for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2009.
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Feature acting debut in the independent "No Big Deal" (HBO)
Cast as the wisecracking Rooney in the comedy "Heaven Help Us"
Received critical acclaim for the role of the psychotic soldier Bunny in Oliver Stone's "Platoon"
Portrayed Brian Flagg (Steve McQueen's role) in the remake of the 1958 film "The Blob"
TV-movie debut in "When He's Not a Stranger" (CBS)
Cast as a teenaged father-to-be, opposite Mary Stuart Masterson in the drama "Immediate Family"
Re-teamed with director Oliver Stone to play drummer John Densmore in the biopic "The Doors"
Featured in the WWII ensemble "A Midnight Clear"; directed by Keith Gordon
Played a convict, opposite Ray Liotta in the futuristic "No Escape"
Played the lead role opposite Alicia Silverstone in "True Crime"
Had the title role in the Showtime miniseries "The Pathfinder"
Played a thoughtful Gulf War vet in the gruesome "Stag" (HBO)
Cast in a recurring role of a police officer on "NYPD Blue" (ABC)
Portrayed a stalker convinced that a pregnant woman is carrying his child "Misbegotten" (aired on HBO)
Cast as the cop brother of a thirtysomething woman who decides to return to college in "That's Life" (CBS)
Appeared on three episodes of the Fox drama "24"
Cast as Johnny 'Drama' Chase, an out of work actor and brother of Hollywood superstar Vince Chase (Adrian Grenier), on HBO's acclaimed series "Entourage"; earned Emmy (2007, 2008, 2009) and Golden Globe (2008) nominations for Supporting Actor
Featured in director Wolfgang Petersen's remake of "The Poseidon Adventure"
Nominated for the 2009 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
Co-starred in "Hotel for Dogs," a film adaptation of the Lois Duncan novel of the same name
Co-starred with David Hornsby on the CBS sitcom "How To Be A Gentleman"