Mark Robert Michael Wahlberg is an American actor, producer, businessman, and former model and rapper. He was known as Marky Mark in his earlier years, becoming famous for his 1991 debut as frontman with the band Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Wahlberg later transitioned to acting, appearing in films such as the drama Boogie Nights and the satirical war-comedy Three Kings during the 1990s.
His father was of half Swedish and half Irish ancestry, and his mother is of Irish, English, and French Canadian descent.
Born in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, he is one of nine children, with siblings Arthur, Jim, Paul, Robert, Tracey, Michelle, Debbie, and Donnie Wahlberg. His mother, Alma Elaine (née Donnelly), was a bank clerk and nurse's aid, and his father, Donald Edward Wahlberg, was a Teamster who worked as a delivery driver; the two divorced in 1982. Wahlberg is of Swedish, Irish and French Canadian descent. Wahlberg had a Catholic upbringing and attended Copley Square High School (but never graduated) on Newbury Street in Copley Square in Boston.
As a young teenager, Wahlberg described himself as a troubled child who often participated in acts of violence and vandalism. He later claimed to have been in trouble 20-25 times with the Boston Police Department as a youth. By the age of thirteen Wahlberg had developed a serious addiction to cocaine and other substances. At fifteen he harassed a group of African American school children on a field trip by throwing rocks (causing injuries) and shouting epithets. When he was sixteen (again using racist language) after robbing a pharmacy under the influence of PCP, Wahlberg knocked a middle aged Vietnamese man unconscious, left another Vietnamese man permanently blinded in one eye, and attacked a security guard. Wahlberg has said that he has no recollection of the incident because he passed out just before the police caught him. For these crimes, Wahlberg was charged for attempted murder, pled guilty to assault, and was sentenced to two years in jail at Boston's Deer Island House of Correction, of which he served 45 days.In yet another incident, a 21-year-old Wahlberg fractured the jaw of a neighbor in an unprovoked attack.
After prison, he decided to improve his behavior. Of this he has said,
"As soon as I began that life of crime, there was always a voice in my head telling me I was going to end up in jail. Three of my brothers had done time. My sister went to prison so many times I lost count. Finally I was there, locked up with the kind of guys I'd always wanted to be like. Now I'd earned my stripes and I was just like them, and I realized it wasn't what I wanted at all. I'd ended up in the worst place I could possibly imagine and I never wanted to go back. First of all, I had to learn to stay on the straight and narrow."
Commenting in 2006 on his past crimes, Wahlberg has stated: "I did a lot of things that I regret, and I have certainly paid for my mistakes." He said the right thing to do would be to try to find the blinded man and make amends, and admitted he has not done so, but added that he was no longer burdened by guilt: "You have to go and ask for forgiveness and it wasn't until I really started doing good and doing right by other people, as well as myself, that I really started to feel that guilt go away. So I don't have a problem going to sleep at night. I feel good when I wake up in the morning."
On 26 November 2014, Wahlberg filed an application in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts requesting a full and unconditional pardon from his prior convictions. His pardon application engendered some controversy.According to the BBC, the debate about his suitability for a pardon is still ongoing with the arguments on both sides being far-reaching and complex.One of Wahlberg's victims, Trinh, has pledged to make a written statement supporting a pardon.There is also an ongoing petition to the Massachusetts governor to deny Wahlberg's pardon.
Attended Copley Square High School (but never graduated) on Newbury Street in Boston.At 14, Wahlberg dropped out of school and began making his living on the streets—hustling, stealing, and selling drugs.
By the time Wahlberg had emerged from prison, his older brother Donnie had rocketed to stardom as one of five fresh-faced members of the pop band New Kids on the Block. Donnie decided to help his younger brother find his own niche in the music business. What Wahlberg lacked in singing ability, he made up for in charisma and good looks—with Donnie's hip-hop arrangements and producing help, Marky Mark (his rap name) and his back-up deejay and dancers (dubbed "the Funky Bunch") recorded a debut album, Music for the People (1991). Driven by the success of the hit dance singles "Good Vibrations" and "Wildside" (and by Marky Mark's readiness to discard his shirt and drop his pants onstage and in his videos), the album went platinum, selling over a million copies.
One of pop music's hottest new commodities, Wahlberg (and his rock-hard physique) became even more ubiquitous when he signed a two-year contract with the designer Calvin Klein to model underwear.Magazine and television promotions would sometimes feature Mark exclusively or accompanied by model Kate Moss. Annie Leibovitz also shot a famous session of Mark Wahlberg in underwear for Vanity Fair's annual Hall of Fame issue. He also made a workout video titled The Marky Mark Workout: Form... Focus... Fitness .In 2012, he launched a line of sports nutrition supplements called "Marked"
His raucous public persona, he once became involved in a much-talked-about brawl with Madonna and her entourage at a Los Angeles nightclub only served to increase his popular appeal, until news began surfacing about his criminal past and his possibly racist and homophobic tendencies.
In 1993, this part of Wahlberg's personal life was seriously questioned when he was accused of condoning blatantly homophobic remarks made on a British talk show by his fellow guest, the reggae singer Shabba Ranks. Combined with the disappointing sales of the Funky Bunch's second album, You Gotta Believe (1992), the public criticism of Wahlberg's career seemed to be steering his career towards certain death. The 22-year-old's survival instincts kicked in, however, and he soon made a move into another realm of the entertainment world—acting.
After appearing in a 1993 television movie, The Substitute, Wahlberg made his big screen debut in Penny Marshall's lightweight Renaissance Man (1994), in which he played one of a group of Army recruits taught by an ex-advertising salesman, played by Danny DeVito. His innate brand of screen presence led to his casting in his breakthrough role, that of the drug-addled best friend of Leonardo DiCaprio's character in The Basketball Diaries (1995), a small-scale but acclaimed film based on poet-musician Jim Carroll's dark autobiography of his own adolescent struggles with heroin addiction.
After two more attention-getting performances in Fear (1996) and Traveller (1997), Wahlberg cemented his artistic and commercial reputation (and left "Marky Mark" far behind) with a starring role as dishwasher turned porn star Eddie Adams (aka Dirk Diggler) in writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson's buzzworthy Boogie Nights (1997), costarring Burt Reynolds. Though his next two films—The Big Hit (1998) and The Corruptor (1999), costarring Chinese action superstar Chow Yun-Fat—were less than successful, Wahlberg returned with a bang in the acclaimed Three Kings (1999). The film costarred Wahlberg, George Clooney, Ice Cube and Spike Jonze as renegade U.S. servicemen in the Persian Gulf during the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War conflict.
In 2000, Wahlberg reteamed with Clooney (and Diane Lane) in The Perfect Storm, Wolfgang Petersen's highly-touted film version of Sebastian Junger's bestselling account of a boat full of swordfishermen caught in a killer storm in the North Atlantic. In late 2000, Wahlberg costarred with Joaquin Phoenix and James Caan in the little-seen crime drama The Yards. The following year, he starred as a heavy metal rock musician in Rock Star, costarring Jennifer Aniston, and in the title role in a remake of the classic Planet of the Apes, costarring Charlton Heston and Helena Bonham Carter.
In 2003, Wahlberg co-starred with Charlize Theron in the heist thriller 'The Italian Job'. Other projects included joining Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law and Dustin Hoffman for an existential comedy titled 'I Heart Huckabees'. He also signed on for 'The Jacket' in which he stars as a falsely imprisoned man with psychic visions, but left the production (letting Adrien Brody take over the role).
His next great film was the 2006 Martin Scorsese 'The Departed', a remake of the Hong Kong crime classic 'Infernal Affairs' that was arguably as good as the original (a rare feat for American cinema). Wahlberg received his first Academy Award nomination for this film, and has since stated this is the role he is most proud of.
He starred in M Night Shyamalan's 'The Happening' and 'We Own the Night' in 2008. Next he appeared in Peter Jackson's much anticipated book adaptation 'The Lovely Bones' in 2009, and in 2010 appeared with Steve Carrell and Tina Fey in the romcom thriller 'Date Night'. He also played one of the main roles in 'The Other Guys' with Will Ferrell.
Wahlberg received the honour of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 25 July 2010. He also produced and appeared in the hit 'The Fighter' for which Christian Bale and Melissa Leo won supporting actor Oscars, while Wahlberg was nominated for best motion picture of the year.
Wahlberg has continued to thrive as an actor. In 2012, he starred in the hit Seth MacFarlane comedy Ted. Wahlberg then returned to challenging dramatic fare with the real-life military drama Lone Survivor (2013). Still a popular choice for action films, Wahlberg starred in the latest installment of Transformers series, Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014). He rejoined Seth MacFarlane for the sequel Ted 2 in 2015.
Working behind the scenes, Wahlberg has also enjoyed success as a producer. He has served as an executive producer on such television shows as Entourage, In Treatment and Boardwalk Empire. In 2014, Wahlberg launched another small screen project. He began appearing as himself, along with brothers Donnie and Paul, on Wahlburgers.
Wahlburgers, which airs on A+E, focuses on (and takes its name from) the Wahlberg family's hamburger restaurant in Hingham, Massachusetts—near Boston—as well as the brothers' quirks and interactions. Paul, head chef of the eatery, is the star of the show. The series received a warm reception from the start. Its third season debuts during the summer of 2015.
Life in the Streets
The Remix Album
The Basketball Diaries
The Big Hit
The Perfect Storm
Planet of the Apes
The Truth About Charlie
The Italian Job
I Heart Huckabees
We Own the Night
The Lovely Bones
The Other Guys
Pain & Gain
Transformers: Age of Extinction
Wahlberg is a committed Roman Catholic.
In a recent interview with Parade Magazine, Wahlberg opened up about the importance of his Irish Catholic background. "It’s the most important part of my life," he explained. "I don’t try to push it on anybody and I don’t try to hide it."
The proud Bostonian tries to attend church twice every Sunday. For Wahlberg's wife, Rhea Durham, and their four kids, Sundays often revolve around the church schedule. "If the kids are good, I’ll have doughnuts for them at 6:30 in the morning, and I’ll say, 'You guys gotta let Mommy sleep in!' I’ll go to church at 7:30 and everybody will be eating breakfast when I come home. Then we’ll go to church again at 10:30, if things aren’t too hectic. Or if one of the kids has a game we’ll watch them play. It’s a nice family day," the actor told Parade.
However, for Wahlberg, faith is more personal than just a weekly family tradition. In a 2010 interview with the Catholic Herald, the "Lone Survivor" star credited losing faith for his darkest times and finding it for his brightest. "Once I focused on my faith wonderful things started happening for me," he recalled.
Wahlberg knows what it’s like to be the underdog–as a young hoodlum on the streets of Boston and as a human in a world governed by apes, where humans were second-class citizens at best. This experience has colored Wahlberg’s political views:
''My politics are about kids who grew up in places like me. I am concerned with the environment, but I’m a lot more concerned about the environment in the inner city that doesn’t have any trees or marshes to save.''
Wahlberg backs it up with his charity work, which includes charities for the homeless as well as a foundation for helping underprivileged youth.
But at the end of the day, Wahlberg is a Democrat, having donated all of his campaign contribution money so far to Democratic presidential candidates, including Obama in 2008. He seems to be a supporter for Obama’s 2012 campaign as well.
''I pray to be a good servant to God, a father, a husband, a son, a friend, a brother, an uncle, a good neighbor, a good leader to those who look up to me, a good follower to those who are serving God and doing the right thing.''
''I did a lot of things that I regretted and I certainly paid for my mistakes. You have to go and ask for forgiveness and it wasn't until I really started doing good and doing right, by other people as well as myself, that I really started to feel that guilt go away. So I don't have a problem going to sleep at night.''
''I've always wanted to do right in life. But the wanting and the doing aren't quite the same thing.''
''Having two daughters changed my perspective on a lot of things, and I definitely have a newfound respect for women. And I think I finally became a good and real man when I had a daughter.''
''For me, family always comes first; I would do anything to protect them.''
''I never lie. I believe everything I say, so it's not a lie.''
''I like to talk to people. I've got one assistant, one Blackberry. That's my overhead. I don't text that much or email. I like to sit down face-to-face and have a conversation with you. I'm old-fashioned.''
''Producing suits me because I have a business mind and a business sensibility. I was a street hustler. I did whatever it took. I sold whatever I could sell. I'm a good organiser.''
''I have more money now than I know what to do with.''
''I want people to come see my films and enjoy them but at the end of the day you can't control what people think.''
A Place Called Home,member/supporter
Elevate Hope Foundation,member/supporter
Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation,member/supporter
Saban Community Clinic,member/supporter
St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters,member/supporter
Tony Hawk Foundation,member/supporter
The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation,founder
The Gentlemen's Fund,member/supporter
The Gentle Barn,member/supporter
Quotes from others about the person
''Is Mark Wahlberg a good actor?Mark Wahlberg is an entertaining actor. He can play a limited set of roles believably. He can be the beautiful/brooding "fill in the job" (usually cop) and he can be the straight man in your comic film. That seems to be about it.There's nothing wrong with having a niche; I wish I had a niche! Being good doesn't pay nearly as well as entertaining either...''
''To me, he’s a real Spencer Tracy. He is a guy who has this amazing Everyman quality, which a lot of movie stars do, I guess. But he, in particular, has this very approachable demeanour. He is a man of few words and the words count. But he kind of wanted to come into this playing someone very different from him. This is a very verbose character. He uses words as his weapons.”
“I met Mark and thought he had a certain gravity to him, a kind of Steve McQueen simplicity where you don’t have to say much. I’ve always been fascinated by that type of acting where it’s minimal.”
''I’ve never seen Mark try to sell himself, try to convince anybody that he’s tough or that he’s smart. There’s just an eerie calm. You know about his past and about the potential for physical violence, and all that energy has been sublimated into the focus on being an actor. There’s a certain unbridled volcano that lurks behind those eyes.''
“Life for him right now is a big party, in terms of being happy with who you are.”
''Mark Wahlberg is your quintessential blue collar Boston tough guy actor, who has been VERY good in the right roles, but also very bad in a lot more movies. He tends to choose the same boring movies, and they often don't do particularly well. His best films include The Fighter, Ted, Boogie Nights, The Departed, I Heart Huckabees, and Three Kings. His worst movies are The Gambler, Transformers, 2 Guns, Pain and Gain, The Other Guys, The Happening, and many, many more. It seems that most of his shameless action movie roles turn out to be the worst movies.
One thing to point out is that almost every one of Wahlberg's 'good' roles was in a movie with a solid famous director. With a good director, Mark Wahlberg can be pretty good. For example, Paul Thomas Anderson, Martin Scorcese, and three films with David O. Russel. Wahlberg clearly needs direction, and needs to pick better scripts.
In the final estimation, I would say that Mark Wahlberg is a sufficient actor, sometimes even pretty good, but he is not a great actor. He has very little versatility, and is only ever good in the right roles.''”