"People have seen me in my underwear before. I would imagine it would be pretty difficult to hide something like that." Mark Wahlberg
One of Hollywood’s hunky stars, Mark Wahlberg, sometimes credited as Marky Mark, began his career as a singer. He briefly joined the original New Kids On The Block and later formed Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch, with whom Wahlberg spawned the hits "Good Vibrations" and "Wild Side."
The pants-dropping rapper, who gained prominence as the Calvin Klein underwear model, later branched out into acting and received praise for playing well-endowed porn star Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights (1997). Since then, Wahlberg continued to play significant roles in such films as Three Kings (1999), The Perfect Storm (2000), Tim Burton’s remake of The Planet of the Apes (2001), The Truth About Charlie (2002), the re-make of The Italian Job (2003), I Heart Huckabees (2004) and Four Brothers (2005). He is currently completing his upcoming films: The Departed, Invincible, Joe Citizen and reportedly will reprise his Italian Job role in The Brazilian Job.
The 5' 8½” tall actor, model and singer was voted one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” (May 1992). His private life has been linked to actresses China Chow (also a model; born in April 1974; met during filming of The Big Hit (1998)) and Jordanna Brewster (born on April 26, 1980; 1998-2001). In 2003, Wahlberg raised public’s eyebrows when he left his pregnant, on-and-off again girlfriend, model Rhea Durham (born on July 1, 1978; began dating in 2001). Current rumors spread that Mark is presently dating Swedish model Frida Andersson.
Childhood and Family:
"When I first became well-known, I still had that mentality of when people were looking at me I thought they just wanted a fight. I was always on the defensive. I'm an approachable guy, but it can get a little weird sometimes." Mark Wahlberg
Of Swedish, Irish, German and French/Canadian descent, Mark Robert Michael Wahlberg was born on June 5, 1971, in Dorchester, Massachusetts, to working class Catholic parents Donald E. Wahlberg (deliveryman) and Alma Wahlberg. The youngest of nine children, Mark has eight older siblings: Arthur, James, Debbie (passed away at age 43, just a day before Mark’s daughter Ella was born), Michelle, Paul, Tracey, Robert, and Donnie (born on August 17, 1969; former member of pop group New Kids on the Block).
Following his parents divorced when he was 11, Mark delved into juvenile delinquency during his teenage years. He dropped out of school (later got GED) and began living on the streets, hustling, stealing and selling drugs. He was also imprisoned for 45 days for the savage beating of a Vietnamese man (many believed to be racially motivated).
"The birth of my baby changed everything for me. Being a father has changed me in every possible way. It just puts it all into perspective. The enormity of the responsibility is just overwhelming at times." Mark Wahlberg
In September 2003, daughter Ella Rae was born. The mother is Mark’s on-off, long time companion, model Rhea Durham.
"I've always looked at my career as an athlete would look at his. I won't play forever. Some don't know when to walk away, but the smart ones do." Mark Wahlberg
13-year-old Mark Wahlberg began break-dancing on Boston streets and joined brother Donnie as the first two original members of the teen band New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) in the next year. Unwilling to take singing lessons, he left NKOTB, began living on streets and committed several minor felonies.
After being jailed for 45 days for assault, Mark began to take control of his life. With the help of famous brother Donnie, Mark formed his own band Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch. The debut album, Music for the People (1991), scored platinum certification, thanks to the first single, the No. 1 US single chart’s "Good Vibrations," which later became the theme for the film The Mighty Ducks. It also spawned the No. 10 US single "Wildside." Mark and his band followed it up with the sophomore album "You Gotta Believe," which received less success than its predecessor, only polling at No. 67 on the US album charts.
Among his band members, Mark received more attention for his habit of dropping his pants onstage. In 1992, he signed a two-year contract as Calvin Klein’s underwear model, along with supermodel Kate Moss, in a widely distributed campaign photographed by Herb Ritts, which also featured the song "Good Vibrations."
The subsequent year saw Mark on television. He made a guest appearance on Fox’s "The Ben Stiller Show" and made a TV movie acting debut with a bit part on USA Network’s The Substitute (1993, co-starring Natasha Gregson Wagner), a straight to video project. Moviegoers first watched him in Renaissance Man (1994, starring Danny DeVito) and then in The Basketball Diaries (1995), playing the breakthrough screen role of the hot-tempered, best friend and fellow junkie of Leonardo DiCaprio's character.
Mark got his first starring role as David McCall, Reese Witherspoon's violently obsessive boyfriend, in the teen thriller Fear (1996). After playing the lead role of an Irish con man in the little-seen independent Traveller, Mark became a real star for his portrayal of busboy-turned-porn star Eddie Adams/Dirk Diggler in Paul Thomas Anderson's Academy Award-nominated Boogie Nights (both in 1997), alongside Burt Reynolds, Don Cheadle and Julianne Moore. After that, Mark’s film work began to flourish. He costarred with Antonio Sabato Jr., Lou Diamond Phillips and Bokeem Woodbine in the disappointing action comedy The Big Hit (1998) and with Chow Yun Fat in the action flick The Corruptor (1999, as naive NYPD recruit Danny Wallace on the Asian gang beat). He also teamed with George Clooney and Ice Cube in David O Russell's acclaimed Gulf War chronicle Three Kings (also in 1999) and won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Action Team.
In the new millennium, Mark acted with George Clooney again in Wolfgang Petersen's gripping, true-story-based sea thriller about the ill-fated Andrea Gail, The Perfect Storm and won the starring role of Leo Handler in the New York City-set crime drama feature The Yards. He then received positive reviews for his strong turn as Captain Leo Davidson in Tim Burton's much-anticipated remake of Planet of the Apes and became salesman-turned-rock star Chris 'Izzy' Cole in the George Clooney-produced comedy Rock Star; both were hyped blockbusters in 2001.
Mark was originally cast alongside George Clooney again in the remake of Ocean's Eleven, but he dropped out of the production and was replaced by Matt Damon. He then costarred with Thandie Newton in Jonathan Demme's remake of "Charade," The Truth About Charlie (2002, as Joshua Peters) and gained wide attention for starring as Charlie Croker in director F. Gary Gray's remake of the heist film The Italian Job (2003), alongside The Yards co-star Charlize Theron.
In 2004, Mark executive produced and narrated Juvies, Leslie Neale's documentary about kids behind bars. He also continued to act on screen, playing Tommy Corn in I Heart Huckabees (2004) and Bobby Mercer in Four Brothers (2005). He is currently on set busy filming his upcoming films: Invincible, The Departed (starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson), Joe Citizen and is set to reprise his Italian Job role in The Brazilian Job (costarring Charlize Theron).
“A lot of talented actors still have to pay their bills. All that running around in my underwear put money in my pockets. I can focus on working in interesting movies without having to worry about supporting myself.” Mark Wahlberg
- Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Action Team, Three Kings, 2000