From Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch to Major Superstar, that’s Mark Wahlberg. Not many folks could say that they’ve never heard of him. He’s become kind of a household name. And, although he’s always been a very talented performer, his acting has just gotten better and better with time. Here are 20 things that you may not have known about him:
1. Born in 1971
He was born Mark Robert Michael Wahlberg (wow, that’s a mouthful) in Dorchester, MA on June 05, 1971. His father was of Swedish and Irish descent and worked as a delivery driver. He passed away on February 14, 2008. His mother is Irish, English, and French-Canadian and she worked as both a nurse's aide and a bank clerk. In 1982, his parents were divorced. On his mother's side, Mark Wahlberg is a distant relative of the famous author, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Wahlberg was raised Roman Catholic and went to the Copley Square High School. Unfortunately, by the time he was 13, he had developed a cocaine addiction and didn't graduate. However, he received his high school diploma in 2013.
2. Early Legal Problems
His first brush with the law was in August 1986, with the filing of a civil action was filed against him for the violation of the civil rights of several other races. That case, however, was settled in less than a month. His next was in April 1988 when he was arrested for attacking a middle-aged Vietnamese man for which authorities charged him with attempted murder. He subsequently entered a guilty plea to assault, resulting in a two-year sentence in the Suffolk County Deer Island House of Correction. Of that sentence, he only had to serve 45 days. Now, he has a permanent felony record. He said that it was his parish priest's guidance that helped him with ultimately turning his back on crime. He subsequently left the street gang that he was affiliated with, resulting in some fighting with them but he had turned a corner in changing his life for the better.
3. Musical Career
Mark Wahlberg's first foray into the world of music was as Donnie Wahlberg's little brother. Donnie had started the super-successful boy band called New Kids on the Block. At only 13, Mark became one of their original members. However, he quit after only months and then Joey McIntyre, Jordan Knight, and Jonathan Knight, and Danny Wood joined NKOTB. The next step in his musical career came in 1990 when he formed Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch with dancers/rappers Hector Barros (aka Hector the Booty Inspector) Scott Ross (aka Scottie Gee), Anthony Thomas (aka Ashley Ace), and Terry Yancey (aka DJ-T). Their first album was entitled "Music for the People" and was produced by Donnie Wahlberg. The single, "Good Vibrations", from that album became #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and later became a certified platinum single. Another single called "Wildside" was certified as gold and hit #5 on Billboard. Did you know that Mark Wahlberg opened for NKOTB during their final tour? The group's second LP, entitled "You Gotta Believe", wasn't anywhere near as successful as their first.
4. Wearing Many Hats
At 47, Mark Wahlberg is not only a former pop star and a current A-list actor but he’s also a producer, songwriter, and businessman. And, believe it or not, he prchased Bobby Layman Chevrolet in Columbus, Ohio on July 20, 2018 with a business partner, Jay Feldman. They renamed it Mark Wahlberg Chevrolet and so I guess now we can also call Mark a "used car salesman"! He's also quite philanthropic and in May 2001, he established the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation. The foundation raises and distributes funds to enrichment programs for young people. In addition, he's quite active in The Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children.
5. Fit & Fabulous
Mark Wahlberg has also been a famous underwear model for Calvin Klein. His famous 5' 8” physique was featured in a string of underwear ads in 1992 that were shot by Herb Ritts. Those ads were immediately followed-up with CK TV ads. Numerous TV and magazine promotions featured the now well-known Wahlberg body and, in many, he was accompanied by a beautiful young model named Kate Moss. In addition, famous photog Annie Leibovitz shot Wahlberg in his famous underwear for the annual Hall of Fame issue of Vanity Fair.
Wahlberg's first display of his legendary and amazing physique was actually in a "Good Vibrations" music video. He has also released a workout video entitled "The Marky Mark Workout: Form... Focus... Fitness". And, he also launched a sports nutrition supplement line named "Marked" in 2012. By 2017, he was an AT&T spokesman charged with creating original content for their mobile network division to the of $10 million plus.
6. Net worth
Mark Wahlberg's net worth as of 2018 was $255 million USD. He also topped the world's highest-paid actors' list in 2017. His 2018 salary of $1.5 million for "All the Money in the World" reshoots were the cause off a great deal of controversy since Michelle Williams (his female co-star) didn't even get paid $1,000. Sounds like it may have been just the result of bad representation by Ms. Williams' agent rather than sexual discrimination but, in any case, Wahlberg donated his salary to an organization that was co-founded by Williams and fights against sexual harassment. Smart move, one that he can of course afford but also one that shows how far Marky Mark has come over the years.
7. About Dorchester, MA
Everybody who knows anything about Mark knows that he’s from the Boston area but may not know that Dorchester is actually the biggest neighborhood in Boston as well as the most diverse. Immigrants have moved to this popular northeastern town from faraway lands like Cape Verde, Vietnam, Ireland, and a lot of other countries. So, besides being known as Mark Wahlberg's birthplace, Dorchester is also known as quite the melting pot.
8. A Lovely Wife & Four Kids
Mark Wahlberg married Rhea Durham in 2009. They have four children. Their names are Michael Wahlberg, Ella Rae Wahlberg, Grace Margaret Wahlberg, and Brendan Joseph Wahlberg.
9. Plenty of Siblings
Mark Wahlberg is the youngest of nine kids, which includes his famous "Blue Bloods" starring, member of NKOTB, and business partner, brother Donnie Wahlberg, brother and fellow actor Robert Wahlberg, brother, business partner, and chef Paul Wahlberg, brother Arthur Wahlberg, and sister Debbie Wahlberg
10. Early Films
Leaving his musical career behind in 1993, Mark Wahlberg's acting debut was in a television film called "The Substitute", which resulted in dropping his famous "Marky Mark" name. In 1994, he made his major motion picture début with Danny DeVito in "Renaissance Man". Being a basketball fanatic made him the perfect fit for the 1995 film "The Basketball Diaries". He played Mickey in the film that also featured Leonardo DiCaprio. He caught the critics' attention following that appearance and then landed his first starring role in 1996 in "Fear", which was a 1996 James Foley thriller that co-starred Reese Witherspoon, William Petersen. and Alyssa Milano. Critical acclaim finally started in early 2000 for Mark Wahlberg with "Boogie Nights" where he played a porn star named Dirk Diggler.
11. Bigger Star = Bigger Budgets
During the early 2000s, he started appearing in big-budget action-movies, like "Planet of the Apes" in 2001 as well as "The Italian Job" in 2003. In 2013, he played a Navy SEAL named Marcus Luttrell in a war film entitled "Lone Survivor". It was based on the 2007 book of the same name written by Luttrell himself. The movie actually received some commercial success and mainly positive reviews. Wahlberg's performance also received some pretty high praise. He also starred in a remake of a 1971 James Caan film called The Gambler (1974) in 2014. "The Gambler" was actually loosely based on a Dostoyevsky novella.
12. And Still Bigger Budgets
In 2006, Mark Wahlberg co-starred in a neo-crime drama with Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Martin Shean, called "The Departed. He was also one of the stars of the M. Night Shyamalan thriller "The Happening" in 2008 and starred in "Three Kings" as well as "The Perfect Storm" alongside George Clooney. He also starred and sang in "RockStar" with Jennifer Aniston.
Mark Wahlberg's career as a comedy-film-star took off in 2012 when he starred in the Seth MacFarlane hit comedy entitled "Ted", the story of a teddy bear that comes alive and is Wahlberg's character's BFF. He also played that same role in 2015 in the sequel, which was of course called "Ted 2". In 2015, he starred in the comedy Daddy's Home with Will Ferrell.
Following the departure of Shia LaBeouf from the lead roll in the "Transformers" franchise, Mark Wahlberg became the protagonist in the lead role starting with "Age of Extinction" in 2014. Others included "The Last Knight". Now he says he's definitely done with "Transformers".
15. Television Series' Exec-Producer
Mark Wahlberg has also been the executive producer on four HBO series, including:
A. The comedy-drama "Entourage", which aired from 2004 to 2011 and then was turned into a major motion picture, which was released June 3, 2015. It wasn't too well accepted critically but "Entourage" fans all thought it was pretty entertaining and, in fact, it really was.
B. The critically-acclaimed period-crime-drama "Boardwalk Empire", which aired from 2010 to 2014,
C. The comedy-drama "How to Make It in America", which aired from 2010 to 2011,
D. The pretty amazing and intriguing series, "Ballers", which has been airing since 2015, and stars the always popular Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson as a hard-hitting sports agent.
16. Award Nominations
Mark Wahlberg was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. He received another for both Producer and Best Picture for a biographical-sports-drama entitled "The Fighter". He also starred in it and received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Drama. To date, he's been nominated for two Oscars, three Golden Globe Awardfs, and three SAG awards. He has yet to win any of them but we're all looking forward to the day that he does!
Wahlburgers is a chain of nationwide trendy bars and casual-dining burger restaurants. They mainly serve hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, sandwiches, desserts, and cocktails plus selling Wahlburgers merch. The chain currently has 31 restaurants in 20 states from Alabama to Texas, including:
~ Toronto, Ontario, Canada- Opened November 15, 2014,
~ Orlando, Florida- Opened February 18, 2016,
~ New York City area- Seven locations opening starting 2015,
~ Myrtle Beach, SC- 2016 with three Carolinas locations in the planning stage,
~ Historic Beale Street, Memphis, TN- 2017
~ Raleigh, NC- May 4, 2018,
~ Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota- May 22, 2018
~ St. Charles, Illinois- June 2018, (Donnie's wife Jenny McCarthy's hometown),
~ Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio- 2018
The original location opened and is still in Hingham, Massachusetts. The restaurant chain is owned by Mark, Donnie, and chef Paul Wahlberg. It's also the subject of a TV series called "Wahlburgers", which debuted on A&E on February 10, 2014, as the start of an 18-episode run. In addition to the 31 restaurants, Wahlburgers has food trucks in Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Palo Alto. In addition, Bass Pro Shops announced a newly-signed partnership in July 2018, between Wahlburgers and their Springfield-based company to have some restaurants in their Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops stores. Wahlburgers has also signed a franchising deal for in-store restaurants with grocery chain Hy-Vee. And, speaking of grocery chains, Wahlburgers is putting "Wahlburgers At-Home Beef" into grocery stores nationwide as well.
Mark Wahlberg is also well-known for his many collaborations with famous directors, including Sean Anders, Michael Bay, Peter Berg, and David O. Russell. Wonder when he's going to start directing himself? After all, every actor worth his salt has always had a script in his back pocket that he wants to direct. Right?
19. Walk of Fame Star
On July 29, 2010, Mark Wahlberg received his well-deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It's located at 6259 Hollywood Blvd. right in front of Dillon's Irish Pub. Fitting, right?
20. Newest Projects
Mark Wahlberg has often portrayed law enforcement officers, military personnel, and even criminals in his many films. Now, he's stepping into the shoes of "The Six Million Dollar Man" to play “The Six Billion Dollar Man" in the new Warner Bros. feature scheduled for release on May 31, 2019. He's currently starring in the recently released comedy "Instant Family", which was directed by Sean Andrews. And, his latest film for Netflix, “Wonderland”, takes Wahlberg back to his roots in Boston wearing a sleek gray business suit for filming in Southie on W. Broadway. He produces and also stars in the film, playing a man recently-released from prison who ends up falling right back into the criminal underworld of Boston. It's based on a novel by Ace Atkins and co-stars Alan Arkin. The film is being directed by Peter Berg, who worked with Mark on several films, including “Patriots Day”, "Entourage", and “Deepwater Horizon”.
Don't know about you, but we've loved every film that Mark Wahlberg has done throughout the years and can't wait to see the new ones!
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker