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      Actor
      Mark Robert Michael Wahlberg was born June 5th, 1971 in the poor working class district of Boston known as Dorchester, the youngest of nine children. His parents were Alma & Donald Wahlberg. The large Wahlberg brood didn't have a lot growing up, especially after his parents divorced when he w... read more
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      Bio

      Mark Robert Michael Wahlberg was born June 5th, 1971 in the poor working class district of Boston known as Dorchester, the youngest of nine children. His parents were Alma & Donald Wahlberg. The large Wahlberg brood didn't have a lot growing up, especially after his parents divorced when he was eleven. The kids crammed into a three bedroom apartment, none of them having very much privacy. After the divorce, Mark's mother has said that she became very self-absorbed with her own problems. She blames herself for her son's subsequent problems and delinquency. Wahlberg dropped out of high school at age 14 (but later got his GED) to pursue a life of petty crime and drugs. He'd spend his days scamming and stealing, working on the odd drug deal before treating himself to the substances himself.

      After a brief stint in jail for assault, Mark rejoined his family, who were now in the national spotlight. His older brother Donnie Wahlberg was a member of the 1980's singing sensation New Kids on the Block. Mark himself had been an original member of the band but had backed out early on - uncomfortable with the squeaky clean image of the group. A precursor to the boy-band craze, New Kids on the Block were dominating the charts and were on top of their game.

      Donnie decided to help his little brother out and tried to get him on the straight and narrow. He pulled some strings and got Mark set up with a recording contract. Despite a lack of singing ability, promoters took to his dance moves and a physique they knew teenage girls would love. Donnie scripted some easy songs for Mark, who collected a troupe of dancers and a DJ to become his "Funky Bunch" and "Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch" was born. His debut album, "Music for the People", was a smash hit, which was propelled along by the rapper's willingness to disrobe down to boxer-briefs on stage, not to mention several catchy tunes. Teenage girls thrilled to the rapping "bad boy". Record producer David Geffen saw in Wahlberg a cash-cow of marketing ability.

      He was constantly in the headlines (often of the tabloids) after multiple scandals. When the story of his arrest for assault (and the allegations of racism) broke in the press, things took on a decidedly darker note. People were not amused. Soon after, while on a British talk show along with rapper Shabba Ranks, he got into even more trouble. After Ranks made the statement that gays should be crucified, Wahlberg was accused of condoning the comments by his silence. Marky Mark was suddenly surrounded by charges of brutality, homophobia and racial hatred. His second album, "You Gotta Believe", had not been faring well and, after the charges surfaced, it plummeted from the charts. Adding to the hoopla, Wahlberg was brought to court for allegedly assaulting a security guard. He was ordered to make amends by appearing in a series of anti-bias advertisements.

      Humbled and humiliated by his fall from grace in the music world, Wahlberg decided to pursue another angle, acting. He dropped the "Marky Mark" moniker and became known simply as Mark Wahlberg. His first big screen role came in Penny Marshall's Renaissance Man (1994). Despite the name change, many people snickered at the idea of the has-been rapper thinking he could make it as an actor. From the get-go, he was proving them wrong. In Renaissance Man (1994), he gave an utterly charming performance as a simple but sincere army recruit. What naysayers remained found it increasingly difficult to write Mark Wahlberg off as he delivered one fine performance after another. He blew them away in the controversial The Basketball Diaries (1995) and chilled them in Fear (1996) as every father's worst nightmare. Wahlberg hit a high point in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights (1997), in which he metamorphosed from shy young "Eddie Adams" into egomaniac porn star "Dirk Diggler". Critics and audiences were impressed with the young actor's range and abilities, not to mention certain other attributes.

      The risqué film catapulted Wahlberg's career, and over the next few years appeared in a number of popular films. He co-starred with George Clooney in Three Kings and The Perfect Storm. He parodied various elements of his own successful music career in Rock Star. Wahlberg finally achieved cinematic respect for his perfectly performed roles as the belligerent Sgt. Dignam in Martin Scorsese's The Departed, and as boxer Micky Ward in The Fighter.

      Not content to bask in the acclaim of a dramatic actor, Wahlberg has also shown off his comedic chops in buddy comedies. His films alongside Will Ferrell (The Other Guys and Daddy's Home) have been hugely successful; as have his films acting alongside a foul-mouthed teddy bear in the Ted franchise.

      Categories: Film

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