Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke created a stir after he played Robert ‘Boogie’ Sheftell, the soft-talking beautician, in Barry Levinson’s drama comedy Diner (1982). For his superb acting in the movie, the actor took home a Boston Society of Film Critics Award and a National Society of Film Critics Award. Rourke also gave a solid portrayal of poet and alcoholic Henry Chinaski in the romantic comedy Barfly (1987), where he received an Independent Spirit nomination. The distinctive performer has played roles in numerous titles, including the well-known, Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumble Fish (1983), the Sean Penn-directed The Pledge (2001), Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003, for director Robert Rodriguez) and the action biopic Domino (2005).
Aside from acting, Rourke once had an insubstantial career as a boxer, despite his undefeated record in matches. Due to an injury, he retired and returned to acting.
“You get desensitized to pain and for three and a half years, I developed these symptoms of Brain Damage. You forget what you did the night before. You have to get out when the doctors tell you to; otherwise you’re on queer street for the rest of your life. One doctor said to me before a big fight, ‘Your neurological report doesn’t look too good.’ I was like four fights away from a big, big fight and he said, ‘Mickey, how much are they paying you? Look at your tests; you won’t be able to count the money.’” Mickey Rourke
Outside the spotlight, the owner of seven tattoos (including symbol for IRA, Irish Republican Party) once provoked controversy by saying that he had donated part of his acting fee to the IRA. In July 1994, he was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department and charged with spousal abuse. As for his romantic life, the ex-husband of Debra Feuer was also once married to Carre Otis.
Childhood and Family:
Mickey Rourke was born Philip Andre Rourke Jr. on July 16, 1956, in Schenectady, New York. After his parents, Philip A Rourke and Ann Rourke divorced, his mother married former police officer Gene Addis. However, due to his stepfather’s violent habits, his mother divorced him. Mickey, who once was called “The Human Ashtray” by fellow actress Kim Basinger, is also credited as ‘Sir’ Eddie Cook in his screenwriting work.
As a teenager, Mickey moved to Miami Beach with his family and attended Miami Beach Senior High School. At the time, he also briefly took an acting class with Jay Jenson. However, his growing interest in boxing led him to fight in a number of amateur matches and brought about a 20-4 amateur boxing record with 17 knockouts. Then, choosing to learn more about acting, he studied at the Actors Studio in New York.
On a more private note, Mickey was married to actress Debra Feuer in 1981, but the couple divorced eight years later. He then tied the knot with actress Carre Otis (born on September 28, 1968) in 1992. Unfortunately, that union also ended in divorce.
Mickey Rourke made his first appearance on the silver screen with the small role of Private Reese in Stephen Spielberg’s comedy 1941 (1979). He went to the small screen and had the supporting role of Tony Pate in the drama City in Fear (1980) and followed it up with the part of arsonist Teddy Lewis in the Lawrence Kasdan-directed thriller Body Heat (1981).
Rourke’s distinctive performances soon were in the radar of director Barry Levinson, who cast the new actor as Robert ‘Boogie’ Sheftell, the soft-talking beautician, in the drama comedy Diner (1982). Rourke’s excellent performance earned a Boston Society of Film Critics and a National Society of Film Critics award for Best Supporting Actor. The victory was ensued with the leading turn in the Francis Ford Coppola-directed Rumble Fish (1983, opposite Matt Dillon), The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984, starred as Charlie Moran), the Oliver Stone-written Year of the Dragon (1985) and Nine 1/2 Weeks (1986, as John).
Rourke’s fine turn as poet and alcoholic Henry Chinaski in Barbet Schroeder’s romantic comedy Barfly (1987) brought him an Independent Spirit nomination for Best Male Lead. The actor then wrote the screenplay for the drama Homeboy (1988), in which he also starred as Johnny Walker, an aging alcoholic boxer. He also took the titular role of the St-Francis of Assisi in the docudrama Francesco (1989), before starring opposite his wife Carre Otis in Wild Orchid (1990).
“I had to go back to boxing because I was self-destructing. I had no respect for myself being an actor. So I went back to a profession which really humbled me.” Mickey Rourke
In 1991, Rourke unexpectedly returned to his teenage dream and entered pro boxing. Under the nickname “Marielito,” he ran up an undefeated record of 6-0-2. Still, he never reached his peak and finally retired after being told by his doctor that his neurological exam showed bad results. His last match was a draw with “Irish” Sean Gibbons in Davie, Florida, in 1994.
Meanwhile, Rourke had the movies Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991), and White Sands (1992) released while he was boxing. After his retirement from boxing, the actor took the leading role of ex-convict Frank T. Wells in his self-written F.T.W. (1994). In Bullet (1996), Rourke starred as Jewish junkie Butch, and served as the writer and music supervisor. The next year, he delivered a nice supporting turn as lawyer Bruiser Stone in the big screen adaptation of John Grisham’s The Rainmaker, before playing a priest named Father Frank Larkin in the TV film Thicker Than Blood (1998). Rourke also took parts in the drama Shergar (1999), the remake of Get Carter (2000, as Cyrus Paice), Sean Penn’s The Pledge (2001), the black comedy Spun (2002, starred as The Cook), the Robert Rodriguez-helmed Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003) and Man on Fire (2004, played Jordan).
In 2005, the eccentric actor appeared as Marv in an adaptation of Frank Miller’s Sin City, as well as had the leading turn as a bounty hunter named Domino Harvey in the action biopic Domino. Rourke is set to play roles in the adaptation of Anthony Horowitz’ Stormbreaker (2006, opposite Ewan McGregor) and the action movie Killshot (2006, stars as Armand “The Blackbird” Degas). He will also be seen in Grind House (2007), a movie by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Rourke’s fans will soon see him in the sequel Sin City 2 (2007, reprising his role of Marv) and the thriller The Night Job (2007).
- Boston Society of Film Critics: Best Supporting Actor, Diner, 1983
- National Society of Film Critics: Best Supporting Actor, Diner, 1983