From playing 'Psycho' Norman Bates, Vince Vaughan has grown into a huge star of the Hollywood comedy 'frat-pack'. A fling with Jennifer Aniston sealed his fame. What's next for the funnyman?
American film actor, Vincent Anthony Vaughn is the youngest of three children born to Vernon Lindsay Vaughn, a salesman, and Sharon Eileen DePalmo, a real-estate agent and broker. Sharon was formally ranked as one of the United States’ top money managers by Bloomberg Wealth Manager Magazine. Vernon and Sharon raised their family in Buffalo Grove, Illinois and then moved to the wealthy Chicago suburb Lake Forest, Illinois - they divorced in 1991.
Vaughn’s father was a Protestant and his mother was Catholic; the couple raised their son in a mixture of both denominations. Vince’s ancestry is: English, Irish, German, Italian and Lebanese.
Both his older sisters work in the film industry: Victoria is an executive producer and Valerie is a director.
As a child Vaughn was hyperactive and was not a high achieving student. His school sent him to a psychiatrist, but his parents refused the prescription of Ritalin and soon found children’s theatre a constructive and enjoyable outlet for their son instead.
Later Vaughn graduated from Lake Forest High School in the class of 1988. Here he resourcefully used the position of president in his Senior Class, knowing he would speak at the graduation ceremony and would therefore secure a graduation, as the school would not fail him in this leading role. Also studying alongside Vaughn were the likes of famous sports agent Rob Pelinka, writer Dave Eggers and renowned international photographer Michael Stahlschmidt.
Although Vaughn had an interest in theatre from early on in his life, his ambition was to be a Water Polo athlete. But in a car accident, when he was only 17, he injured his back and lost a piece of his thumb - Vaughn’s chances of sporting success were wrecked as his doctors advised against it. Now his career path was focused on acting, Vaughn got lucky by landing a role in a Chevy commercial. Confident his career was now on track he moved to the glamorous hills of Hollywood, only to find himself yet another struggling actor, facing many casting rejections.
Vaughn has since resisted typecasting by choosing varied roles where his characters range from psychotic to side-splittingly funny, playing each genre equally well. He prefers to play “people who are real,” claims Vaughn. Over the following few years he did manage to get some jobs on television – these included a Vietnam-era drama season of 'China Beach' (1989), three series of 'CBS Schoolbreak Specials' (1990), guest roles on various series including '21 Jump Street' and 'Doogie Howser, M.D'.
Vaughn’s burning ambition was to make it on the big screen and in 1993 he did so in the film 'Rudy'. He played Jamie O’Hara and earned his rightful place on the credit listings for the first time. Vaughn’s next role was about to bring him a well received broader appeal.
Another struggling actor at the time - Jon Favreau - created 'Swingers' (1996) and enlisted the help of Vaughn to star along side him. They had become best friends three years previously when they met on the set of 'Rudy'. Jon’s original script of 'Swingers' drew upon his experiences with Vaughn as out-of-work-actors which concentrated on their nocturnal adventures as single guys, out on the town in LA looking for beautiful ladies. The independent film was a surprise hit.
Vaughn remarked: "We were out of work actors who played a lot of video games, so we were sort of surprised that 'Swingers' was seen as cool. I think any cool in it was a geekiness, an awkwardness that most people can relate to." They had “captured a moment and Hollywood simply responded to it.” Taking the role of Trent as a favour to his buddy Jon, Vaughn did not realise famed movie director Stephen Spielberg would spot him in this film.
Vaughn’s fame and fortune had taken a turn for the better as he landed one of the leads in the highly anticipated sequel 'The Lost World: Jurassic Park' (1997) directed by Spielberg. Vaughn, now a legitimate movie star, had the chance to pick and choose his acting roles. He had just moved from an independent to a box office blockbuster – now Vince Vaughn was both a name and a face in Hollywood.
From this point Vaughn appeared in several films of mixed acclaim and popularity. In the film 'The Locusts' (1997) Vaughn took the role of drifter Clay Hewitt who bravely refused the come-on from tough and sexually ravenous ranch owner Delilah – nobody normally said no. Hooking up with another girl instead, Clay and his girlfriend wanted to help Delilah’s son Flyboy come out of his shell, only to uncover a dangerous background of abuse. Vaughn’s performance was good despite a poor script.
1998 saw Vaughn play a single father in 'A Cool, Dry Place'. In this run-of-the-mill drama, his character Russell Durrell worked as an attorney who had custody of his five year old son. His estranged wife, played by Monica Potter, showed up in time to make life awkward once he’d met Beth Ward, played by Joey Lauren Adams – Vaughn had fallen in love on and off screen with Adams.
'Return to Paradise' (1998), enjoyed far more favourable reviews. Vaughn played the male lead, John 'Sheriff' Volgecherev, alongside Anne Heche as Beth Estern. It’s an emotionally charged story of friendship, loyalty, drugs and the death penalty in Malaysia. Sheriff has the moral dilemma whether to do three years in an Asian jail or let his friend be executed.
The quirky independent comedy crime thriller 'Clay Pigeons' (1998), directed by David Dobkin, cast Vaughn as a charismatic sociopath, serial killer, Lester “The Molester” Long. Vaughn went on to work with Dobkin on two other films: 'Wedding Crashers' and 2007’s 'Fred Claus', which was filmed in London, England.
The 1998 shot-for-shot colour remake of 'Psycho', directed by Gus Van Sant, was a box office flop and slammed by critics. Here Vaughn was cast as Norman Bates in this remake of Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece – once again he was acting alongside Anne Heche who took over Janet Leigh's role of Marion Crane. Following on from the film’s disappointing reception, Vaughn stayed away from filming and took the next two years off.
'South of Heaven, West of Hell' (2000) saw Vaughn return to work and star alongside American country musician/songwriter and actor Dwight Yoakam and also Billy Bob Thornton, Bridget and Peter Fonda in this western. Vaughn had previously appeared in Yoakam’s music video “These Arms”. In 'The Cell' (2000) Vaughn is FBI Agent Peter Novak, co-starring with Jennifer Lopez. Here Vaughn’s character is tracking down a serial killer. This was director Tarem Singh’s (MTV Best Video Award winner) film debut and is considered by fans as “style over substance” with a weak plot.
In 'The Prime Gig' (2000) Vaughn’s character was Pendelton 'Penny' Wise, and was sensitively acted in this moody thriller. The film is the debut for the Tony-award winner, theatre director Gregory Mosher. In 'Made' (2001), another film written by his friend Favreau, Vaughn played the character of Ricky Slade and is also credited as one of the film’s producers. Unlike 'Swingers', this film was generally not favoured or rated by the movie-going public.
Conversely Vaughn’s next movie, 'Zoolander' (2001), was a hugely popular hit. Vaughn was not credited in this film where he played Luke Zoolander. In 'Domestic Disturbance' (2001) starring John Travolta, Vaughn played Rick Barnes and his co-star Steve Buscemi (The Sopranos' Tony Blundetto) played Ray Coleman. Away from filming Vaughn was arrested after he was caught up in a bar brawl with a local man and Buscemi got stabbed in the face whilst attempting to break the fight up – he still has the facial scar. Vaughn was fined $250 plus court costs, ordered to undergo alcohol counselling and told to stay away from local bars.
Vaughn’s career skyrocketed in 'Old School' (2003); he played Bernard 'Beanie' Campbell. Now a big star, Vaughn was considered the leader of the “Frat Pack” a phrase from the Old School movie. Fellow “Frat Pack” members and comedy actors are Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Owen and Luke Wilson, Jack Black, and Steve Carell who frequently star in films together. Vaughn appeared alongside Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson in the hit films of 2004 'Starksy & Hutch' and 'Dodgeball'. In 2005 Vaughn had roles in 'Be Cool', 'Thumbsucker', 'Wedding Crashers' and was cast opposite Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in 'Mr & Mrs Smith'.
Whilst filming the comedy 'Mr & Mrs Smith', Brad Pitt split with his wife, star of 'Friends', Jennifer Aniston and went on to be Angelina Jolie’s partner with shared parental responsibility for their adopted children. In the following year whilst filming 'The Break-Up', produced and written by Vaughn, he and his co-star Aniston began a romantic relationship themselves. Ironically the film was an anti-romantic comedy. At first the couple denied the rumours they were an item that had started to circulate as soon as filming started. Later the pair were reported to appear touchy-feely at the film’s wrap party.
Whilst Vaughn told Katie Couric on the Today show at the time, "[Jen's] been great, and we've been having a great time shooting the movie. But that's really been the extent of it." Aniston told Vanity Fair, "I adore Vince Vaughn, but I'm not going out with Vince Vaughn." It was Aniston’s first relationship after her break-up with husband Pitt and it received an enormous amount of international media coverage. In the later part of 2006 Vaughn started litigation against three tabloids who falsely claimed he had been unfaithful to Aniston; this officially confirmed their romantic bond. Rumours surrounding the couple including them planning to emigrate to Australia and that they were engaged. Aniston and Vaughn were together for over a year before they split – he had been working in London and she had been filming in LA and New York, their heavy work schedule and distance apart were blamed.
Vaughn has many producing credits: together with 'The Break-Up', he has 'Made', 'Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights – Hollywood to the Heartland' (2006), 'Fred Claus' (2007) and 'The Internship' (2013) among others.
Following his acting success in films, Vaughn has also gone on to make guest appearances in many TV shows.
On a personal level, Vaughn has battled with his weight which seems to be directly related to his smoking habits. He managed to give up tobacco during the filming of 'Wedding Crashers' and as a result put on a few pounds. To gain weight Vaughn packed in the cigarettes for his part in 'The Break-Up'; however, when he took up smoking again after filming the extra weight came off. Like a yoyo, unfortunately for his waistline the fat soon went straight back on after a racquetball foot injury. Vince has been said to moan: “I don't like going to the gym, getting on a treadmill, and putting on my Discman. That’s not my idea of a good time. I like hiking or going outside for a half hour. I like being healthy. But I don't like the gym.”
Most recently of note Vaughn won the 2007’s People’s Choice Award for “Favourite Leading Man”. The ceremony was held at the Shrine Auditorium in LA, California on 7th January. His latest films include 'Delivery Man' (2013), 'True Detective' (2015, TV Series) and 'Unfinished Business' (2015).
It seems Vaughn’s “In-vince-ible!”