Vin Diesel was born Mark Sinclair in Alameda County, California, along with his fraternal twin brother, Paul Vincent. He was raised by his astrologer/psychologist mother, Delora Sherleen (Sinclair), and adoptive father, Irving H. Vincent, an acting instructor and theatre manager, in an artists' housing project in New York City's Greenwich Village. He never knew his biological father. His mother is white (with English, German, Scottish, and Irish ancestry), and his adoptive father is African-American; referring to his biological father's background, Diesel has said that he himself is "definitely a person of colour".
His first break in acting happened by chance, when at the age of seven he and his friends broke into a theatre to vandalize it. A woman stopped them and offered them each a script and $20, on the condition that they would attend everyday after school. From there, Vin's fledgling career progressed from the New York repertory company run by his father, to the Off-Off-Broadway