Mark Robert Michael Wahlberg (born June 5, 1971) is an American actor, producer, model, and former 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. He later transitioned to acting, and is now known for his roles in films including Boogie Nights (1997), Three Kings (1999), The Perfect Storm (2000), Planet of the Apes (2001), Rock Star (2001), The Italian Job (2003), The Departed (2006), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, The Other Guys (2010), The Fighter (2010), Ted (2012) and Lone Survivor (2013). He has also served as executive producer of the HBO series' Entourage, Boardwalk Empire, and How to Make It in America.
Wahlberg was born in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, the youngest of nine children, with siblings Arthur, Jim, Paul, Robert, Tracey, Michelle, Debbie (died in 2003 at age 43), and Donnie. Wahlberg's mother, Alma Elaine (née Donnelly), was a bank clerk and nurse's aide, and Wahlberg's father, Donald Edward Wahlberg, was a Teamster who worked as a delivery driver. His parents divorced in 1982 and from that moment he divided his time between them. His father was of half Swedish and half Irish ancestry, and his mother is of Irish, English, and French Canadian descent. Maternally, Wahlberg is distantly related to author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Wahlberg had a Roman Catholic upbringing and attended Copley Square High School (but never graduated) on Newbury Street in Boston. He received his high school diploma in June 2013.
Assaults and conviction:
Wahlberg had been in trouble 20-25 times with the Boston Police Department in his youth. By age 13, Wahlberg had developed an addiction to cocaine and other substances. At fifteen, civil action was filed against Wahlberg for his involvement in two separate incidents of harassing African-American children (the first some siblings and the second a group of black school children on a field trip), by throwing rocks and shouting racial epithets. At 16, Wahlberg approached a middle-aged Vietnamese man on the street and, using a large wooden stick, knocked him unconscious while yelling a racial epithet. That same day, he also attacked another Vietnamese man, leaving the victim permanently blind in one eye.
For these crimes, Wahlberg was charged with attempted murder, pleaded guilty to assault, and was sentenced to two years in state prison at Boston's Deer Island House of Correction. He served 45 days of his sentence. In another incident, the 21-year-old Wahlberg fractured the jaw of a neighbor in an unprovoked attack. 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."
After going to prison for assault, he decided to improve his behavior. According to Wahlberg, "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." Wahlberg first relied on the guidance of his parish priest to turn his back on crime. He told his street gang that he was leaving them and had "some serious fights" with them over it. The actor commented in 2009: "I've made a lot of mistakes in my life and I've done bad things, but I never blamed my upbringing for that. I never behaved like a victim so that I would have a convenient reason for victimizing others. Everything I did wrong was my own fault. I was taught the difference between right and wrong at an early age. I take full responsibility."
Wahlberg first came to fame as the younger brother of Donnie Wahlberg of the successful boy band New Kids on the Block. Mark, at age thirteen, had been one of the group's original members, along with Donnie, Danny Wood, Jordan Knight, and Jonathan Knight. However, he soon quit. It was his departure that eventually allowed Joe McIntyre to take his place as the fifth member of the group.
Wahlberg began recording as Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, earning a hit with "Good Vibrations" from the album Music for the People. The record, produced by brother Donnie, hit No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100, later becoming certified as a platinum single. The second single, "Wildside", peaked at No. 5 on Billboards Hot Singles Sales chart and at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was certified as a gold single. Marky Mark opened for the New Kids on the Block during their last tour. The second Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch LP, You Gotta Believe, was not as successful as the prior, yielding only a minor hit single in the title track. Wahlberg later collaborated with the late reggae/ragga singer Prince Ital Joe on the album Life in the Streets. Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch also had their own video game, titled Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch: Make My Video, which despite the band's success was a huge flop. The project combined rap and ragga vocals with strong eurodance music (as in the singles Happy People, German No. 1 hit United, Life in the Streets, and Babylon) courtesy of Frank Peterson and Alex Christensen as producers.
He was also featured in the Black Label Society music video for "Counterfeit God", as a stand-in for the band's bassist.
Wahlberg first displayed his physique in the Good Vibrations music video and most prominently in a series of underwear ads for Calvin Klein shot by Herb Ritts, following it with Calvin Klein television advertisements. 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 (ISBN 1-55510-910-1).
In 2012, he launched a line of sports nutrition supplements called "Marked".
Wahlberg dropped the "Marky Mark" name and began an acting career, making his debut in the 1993 TV movie The Substitute. His big screen debut came the next year, with the Danny DeVito feature Renaissance Man. A basketball fanatic, he caught the attention of critics after appearing in The Basketball Diaries in 1995, playing the role of Mickey alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, in a film adaptation of the Jim Carroll book of the same name. He also starred in the 1996 James Foley thriller Fear.
He has earned many positive reviews after successful movies like Boogie Nights (as Dirk Diggler), Three Kings, The Perfect Storm, The Italian Job, and Four Brothers. His performance in I ♥ Huckabees was voted best supporting performance of the year in the 2004 Village Voice Critics Poll. Wahlberg was originally cast as Linus Caldwell in Ocean's Eleven; Matt Damon played the role instead. The two later worked together in The Departed. Wahlberg was also considered for a role in the film Brokeback Mountain. It was originally intended to star Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix (with whom he appeared in the 2000 film The Yards) as Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, respectively, but both actors were uncomfortable with the film's sex scenes. The roles ultimately went to Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Wahlberg starred in the American football drama, Invincible, based on the true story of bartender Vince Papale. He is also the executive producer of the HBO series Entourage which is loosely based on his experiences in Hollywood. He also appeared as a foul-mouthed Massachusetts State Police detective in Martin Scorsese's critically acclaimed thriller, The Departed in 2006, which netted him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, and an NSFC Best Supporting Actor award. Wahlberg has confirmed that he was approached to star in a sequel to The Departed, but it is still early in development. The sequel would reportedly revolve around the Staff Sergeant played by Wahlberg.
To prepare for his role in Shooter, Wahlberg attended long-range shooting training at Front Sight Firearms Training Institute near Pahrump, Nevada, and was able to hit a target at 1100 yards on his second day, a feat which usually takes weeks to achieve. He has said in a number of interviews that he will retire at the age of 40 to concentrate on parenthood and professional golf. However, in early 2007 he indicated that the latter was no longer the plan as "his golf game is horrible". He played Jack Salmon, a leading role in Peter Jackson's film of The Lovely Bones. In 2007, he starred opposite Joaquin Phoenix in We Own the Night, a movie about a family of police officers in New York City.
He starred in M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening as Eliot Moore, which premiered in movie theatres on June 13, 2008. The same year, he played the title role in Max Payne, based on a video game of the same name. While promoting Max Payne, Mark became involved in a playful feud with Saturday Night Live's Andy Samberg and threatened to "crack that big fucking nose of his". Samberg had done an impression of Wahlberg in a Saturday Night Live skit titled "Mark Wahlberg Talks To Animals". However, Wahlberg later appeared in a follow-up skit parodying both the original skit, Samberg's impression of Wahlberg, and his own threats to Samberg.
In a February 2007 interview with Empire, updated in 2010, Mark Wahlberg stated that there might be a sequel to The Departed focusing on his character, Dignam, with Robert De Niro potentially playing a corrupt senator. He also stated that William Monahan was writing the script. The film is said to be on hold, because producer Brad Grey is now the head of Paramount Pictures and the film is a Warner Bros. project. In June 2010, Wahlberg and Monahan continued to express interest in a sequel, then said to be projected for 2012. Nothing further has been announced.
On 17 October 2013 Lindsey Bahr, writing for Entertainment Weekly, announced that, "Brie Larson, who has had a breakout year with leading and supporting roles in Short Term 12, The Spectacular Now, and Don Jon, is in talks to join Mark Wahlberg in the remake of The Gambler, the 1974 James Caan starrer that was loosely inspired by the Dostoyevsky novella. Bahr added that, "Larson would take on the role of a student who Wahlberg's Jim Bennett, a literature professor, is in love with. Rupert Wyatt, who worked with Wahlberg on Rise of the Planet of the Apes, is set to direct. Oscar winner William Monahan (The Departed) is penning the script." Wahlberg later starred as Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell in the war film Lone Survivor, based on Luttrell's 2007 book of the same name. The film received strong commercial success and mostly positive reviews, and Wahlberg's performance was highly praised.
Recently, Wahlberg was cast as the lead in the in fourth installment of the Transformers film franchise.
On February 5, 2014 the actor was attached to the upcoming David O. Russell's film "Uncharted" from the video game series Uncharted.
In July 2013 Wahlberg became an equity interest of the Barbados Tridents cricket franchise. As a team within the Limacol Caribbean Premier League, Wahlberg become involved through colleague and personal connection Ajmal Khan, the founder of Limacol CPL. Following the announcement Wahlberg stated: "I am a huge cricket fan now," he said. "I'm excited to be a part of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League because I know cricket is huge in the Caribbean and a rich part of the region's heritage," Wahlberg said in a statement. "Sports and entertainment are a powerful combination, and the LCPL will appeal to a huge audience worldwide."
In the early 1990s, Wahlberg dated former child actress Soleil Moon Frye. Wahlberg has been in a relationship with model Rhea Durham since 2001 and they were married on August 1, 2009 at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Beverly Hills. The couple have four children, Ella Rae (born September 2, 2003), Michael Robert (born March 21, 2006), Brendan Joseph (born September 16, 2008) and Grace Margaret (born January 11, 2010). In a 2011 interview with USA Weekend, Wahlberg stated that he had taken his children to visit his old Dorchester neighborhood: "I want them to know that not everyone is as fortunate and how important it is to work hard and give back."
Wahlberg's father, a US Army veteran of the Korean War, died on February 14, 2008.
Wahlberg is a committed Roman Catholic and attends church daily. His wife converted from Baptist to Catholic. Wahlberg said, "Rhea grew up Baptist but she wanted to be baptised and confirmed as Catholic before we got married, which took some time. Also, we wanted to get married here in California but we wanted Fr Flavin from Boston to do it, so we had to work out that timing. Then there were my movie commitments. Then Rhea got pregnant and she didn't want to do it when she was bigger so we had to wait till the dress fitted again... it was a number of factors really." While he is impressed with Pope Francis, whom he calls "awesome", he has said he does not agree with the church's view on gay marriage, which he supports.
Actively involved in charity, Wahlberg established the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation in May 2001 for the purpose of raising and distributing funds to youth service and enrichment programs. Wahlberg is also active with The Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children. In an interview, Mark said that it's important to let the homeless know that people care about them and are working to help the impoverished get back on their feet. Wahlberg served on the Honorary Board of Jerry Sandusky's The Second Mile children's charity before Sandusky's 2011 arrest on child sex abuse charges.
Wahlberg has four tattoos done by various artists, including Paul Timman. The tattoos include Sylvester the cat with Tweety Bird in his mouth on his ankle, a design of his initials on his upper right arm, and a Bob Marley tattoo with "One Love" on his upper left arm. The final tattoo, which Wahlberg holds as his most meaningful, is the rosary tattooed around his neck, with a crucifix and the words "In God I Trust" resting over his heart. On January 9, 2012, Wahlberg was a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman. He spoke about his tattoos and stated he is in the process of having them removed. Initially he was told it would take 8-10 laser treatments, however he required over 30 treatments and is still in the process of getting them removed. He cited his career and children as the reason for the removal of the tattoos. His first tattoo was as a young teenager and it was of a shamrock. As it was not professionally done, he said the shamrock was not straight and had the Tweety Bird tattoo placed over it after arriving in Los Angeles.