First earning renown in Great Britain as a star footballer, Vinnie Jones smoothly parlayed his physically formidable "hard man" sports rep into a second career as a charismatic movie tough guy.
Raised on the estate where his father worked as a gamekeeper, Jones began his professional sports career with the Wimbledon FC soccer team in 1986. Becoming famous for his aggressive athleticism, Jones played for several other teams before returning to Wimbledon in 1994.
A multimedia celebrity in Britain as well as a sports star, Jones also hosted TV and radio talk shows, published a book, and wrote a weekly column for the Sun during his years as an athlete.
Jones found his next calling when tyro writer/director Guy Ritchie cast him as paternal enforcer Big Chris in the flashy London gangster romp Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1999). A major hit in England, and an art house success in the U.S., Lock, Stock earned Jones several British prizes. Jones officially retired from soccer in 1999, and turned his attention full time to acting. After a featured role as "The Sphinx" in the bombastic Hollywood car heist blockbuster Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), Jones rejoined Ritchie's lad-movie universe as Bullet Tooth Tony in the charmingly titled diamond caper Snatch (2001). Having proven that he could hold his own among such Hollywood stars as Nicolas Cage and Brad Pitt, Jones was subsequently cast a series of films like Swordfish, Mean Machine, Hell Ride, The Heavy, and Kill the Irishmen. He would also find success on the dark superhero series The Cape.