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Philip Andre "Mickey" Rourke, Jr. (born September 16, 1952) is an Americanmarker actor and screenwriter who has appeared primarily as a leading man in action, drama, and thriller films.

Trained as a boxer in his early years, Rourke had a short stint as a professional boxer in the 1990s. He won a 2009 Golden Globe award and a BAFTA award, and was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Academy Award for his work in the film The Wrestler.

Life and career

Early life

Rourke was born in Schenectadymarker, New Yorkmarker to a family of Irish and French descent. His father, Philip Andre Rourke, Sr., an amateur body builder, left the family when Mickey was six years old. After his parents divorced, his mother, Ann, married Eugene Addis, a Miami Beachmarker police officer with five sons and moved Rourke, his younger brother and their sister to southern Floridamarker, where he graduated from Miami Beach Senior High Schoolmarker in 1971.

During his teenage years, Rourke focused his attention mainly on sports. He took up self-defense training at the Boys Club of Miamimarker. It was there that he learned boxing skills and decided on an amateur career. At the age of 12, Rourke won his first boxing match as a 118-pound bantamweight (53.5 kg), fighting some of his early matches under the name Andre Rourke. He continued his boxing training at the famed 5th Street Gym in Miami Beach, Floridamarker, where Muhammad Ali began his career. In 1969, Rourke, then weighing 140 lbs. (63.5 kg), sparred with former World Welterweight Champion Luis Rodríguez. Rodriguez was the number one-rated middleweight boxer in the world, and was training for his match with world champion Nino Benvenuti. Rourke claims to have received a concussion in this sparring match.

At the 1971 Floridamarker Golden Gloves, he suffered another concussion in a boxing match. After being told by doctors to take a year off and rest, Rourke temporarily retired from the ring. From 1964 to 1972, he compiled an amateur record of 20 wins, 17 by knockout, and 6 defeats, which included wins over Ron Carter, Charles Gathers, and Joe Riles. Coach Freddie Roach trained him for seven fights.

Early acting roles

In 1971, as a senior at Miami Beach Senior High Schoolmarker, Rourke had a small acting role in the Jay W. Jensen directed school play, The Serpent. However, Rourke's interests were geared to boxing, and he never appeared in any other school productions. Soon after he temporarily gave up boxing, a friend at the University of Miamimarker told Rourke about a play he was directing, Deathwatch, and how the man playing the role of Green Eyes had quit. Rourke got the part and immediately became enamored with acting. Borrowing $400 from his sister, he went to New York in order to take private lessons with an acting teacher from the Actors Studiomarker, Sandra Seacat.

Rourke's film debut was a small role in Steven Spielberg's film 1941. However, it was his portrayal of an arsonist in Body Heat that garnered significant attention, despite his modest time onscreen. He mostly appeared in television movies in his early career. During the early 1980s, Rourke starred in Diner, alongside Paul Reiser, Daniel Stern, Steve Guttenberg, Tim Daly and Kevin Bacon. Soon thereafter, Rourke starred in Rumble Fish, Francis Ford Coppola's follow-up to The Outsiders.

Rourke's performance in the film The Pope of Greenwich Village alongside Daryl Hannah and Eric Roberts also caught the attention of critics, although the film was not financially successful.

In the mid-1980s, Rourke earned himself additional leading roles. His role alongside Kim Basinger in the erotic drama 9½ Weeks helped him gain "sex symbol" status. He received critical praise for his work in Barfly as the alcoholic writer Henry Chinaski (the literary alter ego of Charles Bukowski) and in Year of the Dragon. In 1987, Rourke appeared in Angel Heart. The film was nominated for several awards. It was seen as controversial by some owing to a sex scene involving Cosby Show cast member Lisa Bonet, who won an award for her part in the film. Although some of Rourke's work was viewed as controversial in the U.S., he was well-received by European, and especially French, audiences, who loved the "rumpled, slightly dirty, sordid ... rebel persona" that he projected in Year of the Dragon, 9½ Weeks, Angel Heart, and Desperate Hours.

In the late 1980s, Rourke performed with David Bowie on the Never Let Me Down album. Around the same time he also wrote his first screenplay, Homeboy, a boxing tale in which he starred. In 1989, Rourke starred in the docu-drama Francesco, portraying St. Francis of Assisi. This was followed by Wild Orchid, another critically panned film, which gained him a nomination for a Razzie award (also for Desperate Hours). In 1991, he starred in the box office bomb Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man as Harley Davidson, a biker whose best friend, Marlboro, was played by Don Johnson. In his last role before departing for the boxing ring Rourke played an arms dealer chased by Willem Dafoe and Samuel Jackson in White Sands, a film noir which reviewers found to be stylish but incoherent.

Rourke's acting career eventually became overshadowed by his personal life and career decisions. Directors such as Alan Parker found it difficult to work with him. Parker stated that "working with Mickey is a nightmare. He is very dangerous on the set because you never know what he is going to do." He is alleged to have turned down a number of high-profile acting roles, including Eliot Ness in The Untouchables, Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop, Jack Crawford in The Silence of the Lambs, Tom Cruise's role in Rain Man, Nick Nolte's part in 48 Hrs., Christopher Lambert's part in Highlander and a part in Platoon. In a documentary on the special edition DVD of Tombstone, actor Michael Biehn, who plays the part of Johnny Ringo, mentions that his role was first offered to Rourke.

Boxing career

In 1991, Rourke decided that he "…had to go back to boxing" because he felt that he "… was self-destructing … (and) had no respect for myself being an actor." Rourke was undefeated in eight fights, with six wins (four by knockout) and two draws. He fought as far afield as Spain, Japan and Germany.

During his boxing career, Rourke suffered a number of injuries, including a broken nose, toe, ribs, a split tongue, and a compressed cheekbone. Mickey Rourke: I've hacked off so many people in Hollywood, who the hell would give me an Oscar?, The Daily Mail, 2009-02-20. He also suffered from short term memory loss.

His trainer during his boxing career was Hells Angels member Chuck Zito, and his entrance song was Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child o' Mine."

Boxing promoters said that Rourke was too old to succeed against top-level fighters. Indeed, Rourke himself admits that entering the ring was a sort of personal test: "(I) just wanted to give it a shot, test myself that way physically, while I still had time." In 1995, Rourke retired from boxing and returned to acting.

Rourke's boxing career resulted in a notable physical change in the 1990s, as his face needed reconstructive surgery in order to mend his injuries. His face was later called "almost unrecognizable". In 2009, the actor told The Daily Mail that he had gone to "the wrong guy" for his surgery and that his plastic surgeon had left his features "a mess".

Boxing record
6 Wins (4 knockouts, 2 decisions), 0 Losses, 2 Draws
Res.
Record
Opponent
Type
Rd., Time
Date
Location
Notes
Draw 6-0-2 Sean Gibbons
Majority draw 4 September 8, 1994 Davie, Floridamarker, USAmarker
Win 6-0-1 Thomas McCoy
TKO 3 November 20, 1993 Hamburgmarker, Germanymarker
Win 5-0-1 Bubba Stotts
TKO 3 July 24, 1993 Joplin, Missourimarker, USA
Win 4-0-1 Tom Bentley
KO 1 March 30, 1993 Kansas City, Missourimarker, USA
Win 3-0-1 Terry Jesmer
Decision 4 December 12, 1992 Oviedomarker, Spainmarker
Draw 2-0-1 Francisco Harris
Majority draw 4 April 25, 1992 Miami Beach, Floridamarker, USA
Win 2-0 Darrell Miller
KO 1 , 2:14 June 23, 1991 Tokyomarker, Japanmarker
Win 1-0 Steve Powell
Unanimous decision 4 May 23, 1991 Fort Lauderdale, Floridamarker, USA


1990s: return to acting

In the early 1990s, Rourke was offered and declined the role of Butch Coolidge, which later became Bruce Willis' role in Pulp Fiction. After his retirement from boxing, Rourke did accept supporting roles in several 1990s films, including Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of John Grisham's The Rainmaker, Vincent Gallo's Buffalo '66, Steve Buscemi's Animal Factory, Sean Penn's The Pledge and Sylvester Stallone's remake of Get Carter. Rourke also has written several films under the name Sir Eddie Cook, including Bullet, in which he co-starred with Tupac Shakur.

While Rourke was also selected for a significant role in Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line, Rourke's part ended up on the editing room floor. Rourke also played a small part in the film Thursday, in which he plays a crooked cop. He also had a lead role in 1997's Double Team, which co-starred martial arts actor Jean-Claude Van Damme. It was Rourke's first over-the-top action film role, in which he played the lead villain. During that same year, he filmed Another 9½ Weeks, a sequel to 9½ Weeks, which only received limited distribution. He ended the 1990s with the direct-to-video films Out in Fifty, Shades and television movie Shergar, which is about kidnapping of Epsom Derby winning thoroughbred racehorse Shergar.

2000s

In 2001, he appeared as the villain in Enrique Iglesias's music video for "Hero," which also featured Jennifer Love Hewitt. In 2002, Rourke took the role of The Cook in Jonas Åkerlund's Spun, teaming up once again with Eric Roberts. His first collaborations with directors Robert Rodriguez and Tony Scott in Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Man on Fire, were for smaller roles. Nonetheless, these directors subsequently decided to cast Rourke in lead roles in their next films.

In 2005, Rourke made his comeback in mainstream Hollywood circles with a lead role (Marv) in Robert Rodriguez's adaptation of Frank Miller's Sin City. Rourke received awards from the Chicago Film Critics Association, the IFTA and the Online Film Critics Society, as well as "Man of the Year" from Total Film magazine that year. Rourke followed Sin City with a supporting role in Tony Scott's Domino alongside Keira Knightley, in which he played a bounty hunter.

Rourke played the role of "The Blackbird" in an adaptation of Elmore Leonard's Killshot, the role of "Darrius Sayle" in an adaptation of the Alex Rider novel Stormbreaker. He will also appear alongside Ray Liotta in John McNaughton's The Night Job, as well as reprising the role of "Marv" in the Dame to Kill For segment of Sin City 2.
In addition, in 2004, Rourke provided the voice for "Jericho" in the third installment of the Driver video game series. Rourke also recently appeared in a 40-page story by photographer Bryan Adams for Berlin's Zoo Magazine. In an article about Rourke's return to steady acting roles, entitled "Mickey Rourke Rising", Christopher Heard stated that actors/musicians Tupac Shakur, Johnny Depp, Sean Penn and Brad Pitt have "…animated praise for Rourke and his work." During a roundtable session of Oscar nominated actors held by Newsweek, Brad Pitt cited Rourke as one of his early acting heroes along with Sean Penn and Gary Oldman.

Despite having withdrawn from acting at various points, and having made movies that he now sees as a creative "sell-out" (the action film Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man), Rourke has stated that "…all that I have been through…[has] made me a better, more interesting actor." Rourke's renewed interest in pursuing acting can be seen in his statement that "… my best work is still ahead of me."

Mickey signed up to act in the movie version of the The Informers in the role of Peter, an amoral former studio security guard who plots to kidnap a small child.

In 2008, Mickey played the lead in The Wrestler, winner of the Golden Lion Award for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival, about washed-up professional wrestler Randy "The Ram" Robinson. In regards to first reading the screenplay, he stated that he originally "didn't care for it."

He also spoke on personal concern and hesitance of being in a movie about wrestling, for he perceived it as being "prearranged and prechoreographed." However, as he trained for the film, he developed an appreciation and respect for what real-life pro wrestlers do to prepare for the ring:

He trained under former WWE wrestler Afa the Wild Samoan for the part, and has received a British Academy (BAFTA) award, a Golden Globe award, an Independent Spirit Award, and an Oscar nomination as Best Actor. Rourke was pessimistic about his chances to win the Oscar as he had been, in the past, very vocal against Hollywood's establishment. Rourke lost the Oscar to Sean Penn, while Penn did acknowledge Rourke in his acceptance speech.

Rourke has written or co-written six scripts: Homeboy, The Last Ride, Bullet, Killer Moon, Penance and the latest, Pain. Of these, the first three were produced as movies between 1988 and 1996.

In early 2009, Rourke developed a small feud with WWE Superstar Chris Jericho, as part of a storyline. The storyline climaxed at WrestleMania XXV, when Rourke knocked out Jericho with a left hook after Jericho won his match against Jimmy Snuka, Ricky Steamboat, and Roddy Piper, with Ric Flair in their corner.

In 2009 Rourke starred in John Rich's music video for Shuttin' Detroit Down along aside of Kris Kristofferson.

Political views

Rourke's political views came under fire when he claimed to have donated part of his salary from the 1989 film Francesco to the Provisional Irish Republican Army. He later retracted the statement, although he has an IRA symbol tattoo.

Regarding his views on President George W. Bush and the September 11 attacks, Rourke stated in an interview, "President Bush was in the wrong place at the wrong time, I don't know how anyone could have handled this situation." He went on to say, "I don't give a fuck who's in office, Bush or whoever; there is no simple solution to this problem . . . I'm not one of those who blames Bush for everything. This shit between Christians and Muslims goes back to the Crusades, doesn't it?"

Personal life

Rourke has dated several celebrities, including Terry Farrell and Sasha Volkova. He has been married twice. In 1981, he married Debra Feuer, who he met on the set of Hardcase (1981) and who co-starred with him in Homeboy (1990) as his love interest. The marriage ended in 1989, with Rourke subsequently commenting that making the film 9½ Weeks "was not particularly considerate to my wife's needs." The two have remained good friends, according to an interview Feuer gave in 2009.
Wild Orchid co-star Carré Otis was briefly a cause célèbre following the release of the film owing to rumours that she and then-lover Rourke filmed an unsimulated sex scene. Otis married Rourke on June 26, 1992. In 1994, Rourke was arrested for spousal abuse. The charges were later dropped. The couple reconciled and also starred together in Exit in Red, but their marriage ended in December 1998. In November 2007, Rourke was arrested again, this time on DUI charges in Miami Beach.

He is a practicing Roman Catholic.In numerous TV and print interviews, he attributes his comeback after fourteen years to weekly meetings with a psychiatrist, "Steve," and to a Catholic priest he identified as "Father Pete."

In addition to his faith and his psychiatric treatment, Rourke has publicly attributed his comeback to his dogs. He is well-known as a pet fancier, particularly fond of small-breed dogs. A spay/neuter advocate, Rourke participated in a protest outside of a pet shop in 2007 and has done a public service announcement for PETA.

His first little dog was reportedly a gift from his second wife. Though Rourke's dogs are generally referred to as "chihuahuasmarker," some are not pure-bred. Loki, his most-publicized dog whom he described as "the love of my life," was a chihuahua-terrier mix. So reliant was Rourke on Loki's companionship, he spent US$5,400 to have her flown to England while he was on the set of the film Stormbreaker.

Rourke gave his dogs credit during his Golden Globe Best Actor acceptance speech January 11, 2009: "I'd like to thank all my dogs. The ones that are here, the ones that aren't here anymore because sometimes when a man's alone, that's all you got is your dog. And they've meant the world to me." The day of the 2009 Golden Globes show, he told Barbara Walters that "I sort of self-destructed and everything came out about fourteen years ago or so ... the wife had left, the career was over, the money was not an ounce. The dogs were there when no one else was there." Asked by Walters if he had considered suicide, he responded:

Despite being identified as "Lowjack" in the transcription above, the dog in the anecdote was apparently Beau Jack, who sired two of Rourke's later pets, Loki and her littermate Chocolate. Beau Jack died in 2002, though Rourke gave him 45 minutes of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Chocolate was the subject of a children's book, Chocolate at the Four Seasons, about his temporary stay with producer Bonnie Timmerman. Chocolate returned to Rourke and died in 2006. In addition to those dogs and several other past pets, Rourke currently owns a chihuahua named Jaws who appeared with him in his 2009 PETA ad. He has had as many as seven dogs at one time, back in 2005. At the time of his Golden Globes tribute to his pets, Rourke owned five chihuahuas: Loki, Jaws, Ruby Baby, La Negra and Bella Loca. About a month later, on February 18, 2009, Loki died in Rourke's arms at the age of 18.

Rourke is also a motorcycle enthusiast and uses motorcycles in some of his films.

Filmography

References

External links




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