Born in 1971, Mark Wahlberg has done it all. The Dorchester native first came to prominence as Marky Mark in the early 1990’s. Joining forces with The Funky Bunch, his debut album Music for the People went platinum in America and Canada, spawning a hit single Good Vibrations.
Wahlberg’s musical career had almost been kick-started nearly a decade previously, when he was chosen along with his older brother Donnie for a little group called New Kids on the Block. However he left the band after deciding it wasn’t the direction he wished to go in and was replaced by Joe McIntyre.
Although his debut album was a success, the follow-up failed to build on the foundations that had been set. Luckily for Mark, his willingness to show his physique had not gone unnoticed. He was soon signed up to model the range of briefs by Calvin Klein; with shots of him wearing the underwear appearing in the Vanity Fair Hall of Fame edition. He courted controversy along the way; being arrested for assault didn’t help the sales of his sophomore offering. So in true Hollywood style, he decided to turn to acting.
Dropping the ‘Marky’ his first big screen feature saw him star opposite Danny De Vito in Renaissance Man. The Basketball Diaries followed and his performance alongside Leonardo DiCaprio made sceptics of the rapper turned actor take notice. In 1996 he starred alongside Reece Witherspoon in the thriller Fear, but it was his role as Dirk Diggler in Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Boogie Nights that made people stand up and take notice.
The drama was well received and Wahlberg was the shining star amongst a stellar cast. The roles soon came thick and fast and he was cast opposite George Clooney in The Perfect Storm and Three Kings, as well as being cast as the lead in the 2003 remake of The Italian Job. Although there have always been rumours of a sequel, nothing has emerged as of yet.
Martin Scorsese was next to harness the talent of Wahlberg and signed him up to play a police officer in The Departed. It marked a reunion with DiCaprio and also enabled Wahlberg to speak in his native Boston accent. The role earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination for both The Academy Awards and The Golden Globes. Although he didn’t win, the nominations finally shook off the ghost of Marky Mark.
Action film Shooter paved the way for him to star in the live action version of computer game, Max Payne. Unfortunately, although the film had the look, it didn’t quite have the feel of a great conversion and suffered mixed reviews. Wahlberg himself received another nomination, only this time it was for a Razzie. Thankfully Mike Myers gave an award-winning performance in The Love Guru and walked away with the prize.
Wahlberg’s ability to switch between genres has always served him in good stead. From the gritty realism of The Fighter, to the whimsical tendencies of I Heart Huckabees, he manages to switch with ease.
With the release of Ted, Wahlberg struck gold once again. Teaming up with Seth Macfarlane of Family Guy fame, the comedy revolves around a grown man whose teddy comes to life. Whatever comes next for Mark Wahlberg, we look forward to seeing it.