Birthdate: June 5, 1971
Birthplace: Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Mark Wahlberg (birthname: Mark Robert Michael Wahlberg) is firm proof against F. Scott Fitzgerald’s statement that there are no second acts in American lives. A drug dealer and addict at the young age of 13 and convicted of attempted murder at 17, Wahlberg turned his life around first as rapper “Marky Mark” in the group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, and then as a star with one of the more successful careers in recent American movies.
Not surprisingly, Mark Wahlberg has portrayed several characters who go through similar life transformations or defy extreme odds, most recently in the Columbia Pictures drama based on the true story of a boxer-turned-priest, Father Stu (2022).
Although he had small movie roles following his stint as “Marky Mark” and his decision to shift from music to acting, it was only in 1997 with Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights, as rising porn star Dirk Diggler, that Mark Wahlberg achieved artistic fame and erased the somewhat demeaning “Marky Mark” brand.
This was followed by his impressive work opposite George Clooney in David O. Russell’s caustic war film, Three Kings (1999) and in James Gray’s powerful urban drama, The Yards (2000), with Joaquin Phoenix, Charlize Theron, and James Caan. Mark Wahlberg became a bona fide star who could carry or share a load of big-scale productions with Wolfgang Petersen’s The Perfect Storm (2000, reuniting with Clooney) and Fox’s reboot of Planet of the Apes (2001).
Reuniting with Russell, Wahlberg displayed a more cockeyed comic appeal in Russell’s I Heart Huckabees (2004), before scoring an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Martin Scorsese’s crime epic, The Departed (2006).
If Mark Wahlberg has had a specialty, it’s in his rooted ability to capture the lives of men (often though not exclusively from the Boston area) who’ve either drifted into lives of crime or find themselves dangerously close to it. He showed this off in John Singleton’s Four Brothers (2005), Antoine Fuqua’s Shooter (2007), James Gray’s We Own the Night (2007, reuniting with Gray and Phoenix), Max Payne (2008), plus his first of several collaborations with Michael Bay, the amusing crime comedy Pain & Gain (2013).
Wahlberg’s biggest artistic success as an actor and producer was very likely his third project with Russell, The Fighter (2010), with Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Melissa Leo. It was nominated for seven Oscars (including a Best Picture nod for producer Wahlberg) and swept the best supporting actor category for both Bale and Leo. The Wahlberg-Bay connection continued with two hugely successful blockbusters in the Transformers series: Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) and Transformers: The Last Knight (2017).
These parallel two other successful series in a comic vein Seth MacFarlane’s Ted (2012) and Ted 2 (2015), and Daddy’s Home (2015) and Daddy’s Home 2 (2017). Wahlberg balanced these with brawny, ripped-from-the-headlines, character-driven dramas in 2016, Deepwater Horizon and the underrated Patriots Day, followed by Ridley Scott’s harrowing drama about the Getty kidnapping, All the Money in the World (2017).
Mark Wahlberg has blended his activities as an actor and producer to an unusual degree, devoting time to developing projects (such as Patriots Day and Father Stu) in which he serves as a hands-on producer and star. His appearance as Robert Parker’s beloved detective character, Spencer in Spenser Confidential (2020), suggests possibilities for a long-running franchise. Wahlberg’s future projects include Our Man from Jersey with Halle Berry, Me Time with Adam Sandler, and The Six Billion Dollar Man, a feature remake of the hit TV series, The Six Million Dollar Man.
In addition to his long track record as a star, Wahlberg has amassed over 40 credits as a producer, including We Own the Night, The Fighter (2010), the long-running, semi-autobiographical HBO series, Entourage (2004-2011), Lone Survivor (2013), The Gambler (2014), Patriots Day, Mile 22 (2018), Spenser Confidential, Joe Bell (2020) and Father Stu. Projects slated for 2022 and beyond for producer Wahlberg include the thriller The Raven and The Roman, reported to be the origin story of Julius Caesar.
Mark Wahlberg’s considerable business projects outside of filmmaking would by themselves constitute an impressive entrepreneurial resume: Co-owner of the Wahlburgers fast food chain (with brothers Donnie and Paul); co-owner of five Chevrolet and Oldsmobile dealerships in the Columbus and Cleveland areas of Ohio; creator of the bottled water, Aquahydrate; co-founder of sports nutrition brand, Performance Inspired; co-owner of the Barbados Trident cricket team, among other enterprises.
The youngest son of Donald and Alma Wahlberg in a family of eleven, Mark Wahlberg grew up in the tough Boston neighbourhood of Dorchester. He was addicted to cocaine and other drugs by age 13. He failed high school and only received his diploma at age 42.
He was arrested for attempted murder when he was 17, and sentenced to a prison term of two years, of which he served less than two months. Wahlberg is married to model Rhea Durham. They have four children. His estimated net worth is $300 million. Height is 5’ 8”.
Relation: On his mother Alma’s side, Mark Wahlberg is related to American author Nathaniel Hawthorne.
New Kid: For a brief time when he was 13, Wahlberg was a member of his brother Donnie’s breakout boy band, New Kids on the Block.
Near-miss: Mark Wahlberg was booked on American Airlines Flight 11 on Sept. 11, 2001, which was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center. He canceled his reservation due to scheduling changes.
Nicknames: In his former pop music career, Wahlberg was known as “Marky Mark.”
Model: Mark Wahlberg was a model, posing in underwear, for a set of Calvin Klein ads shot by famed photographer Herb Ritts.
Home Equity: In April 2022, sources reported that Wahlberg was putting his Beverly Hills home on the market for $87 million. He bought it in 2009 for $8 million.
Felon: Because of his felony conviction for attempted murder, Wahlberg is legally prohibited from handling firearms—and yet has handled firearms during pre-production prep for some of his movies.