Mark Wahlberg was born on June 5, 1971 in Dorchester, Massachusetts. His parents had eight other children and were quite poor. In 1985, he dropped out of high school at the age of fourteen to pursue crime. His brother, Donnie, was a founding member of the New Kids on the Block and Mark applied to become a member of the group, but was denied because they didn't think he was good enough.
Mark soon turned to crime in an effort to escape poverty. In 1988, he reportedly attacked a Vietnamese man for his beer and gouged one of his eyes with a meathook. Mark was caught by the police and found guilty. For his crimes, he was sentenced to 45 days in prison.
After Mark got out of prison, his brother Donnie decided to help him get out of his rut. On the condition that Mark would clean up his act and turn away from crime, Donnie said that he would help him get into the music industry. Mark took on the stage name "Marky Mark" and in 1990, he started a music group called "Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch".
Their first album, "Music for the People", was released in 1991 and spawned two hit singles, including "Good Vibrations". During his sudden fame, stories of his past criminal activities and apparent racism hit the news and generated a great deal of controversy. Their second release was called "You Gotta Believe", but failed to get critical acclaim or sales, largely due to the controversy surrounding his past.
On an episode of a British talk show, Mark appeared as a guest with rapper Shabba Ranks. Ranks made a comment that homosexuals should be crucified and Mark was silent, leading the media to accuse him of condoning the hateful comments. He also made headlines that year by assaulting a security guard.
By this time, the public did not really like Marky Mark and his career looked like it was over. Mark was hired by Calvin Klein in 1992 to do modeling for their provocative ad campaigns. He was featured on television, magazine, and billboard ads wearing nothing but Calvin Klein and the ads seemed to be successful.
In 1994, he was cast in the film "Renaissance Man", which was a hit comedy. Critics were very negative about his performance and aimed to see him fail, but he was given important roles in other movies soon after. In 1995's "The Basketball Diaries", Mark acted as a troubled teen who falls from grace by doing drugs and committing crimes. In 1996, he played a very chilling role as Reese Witherspoon's violent stalker boyfriend in the film "Fear".
In 1997, Mark received his true breakthrough role in the film "Boogie Nights". In the film, he portrays the lead character Dirk Diggler, who becomes a porn star and massive success in the porn industry. The film was a surprise hit and showed that Mark could do more than trendy music and small acting roles.
In 1999, he was cast in another big role as Troy Barlow in the film "Three Kings", which was about the end of the Gulf War. In 2000, he played another surprising role as a criminal in the film "The Yards". Later that year, he played in "The Perfect Storm", a weather thriller.
In 2001, he was given the lead role in Tim Burton's remake of "Planet of the Apes". Although the film did not have the success that many hoped it would have, it was not a failure. Many attribute its failure to its straying from the original premise of the first film, which suggested that the earth had been ravaged by nuclear war.
In 2003, he starred in "The Italian Job", a high budget heist thriller. In 2004, he played an interesting role in the independent film "I Heart Huckabees". In 2005, he earned critical acclaim for his role in the film "Four Brothers", where he plays an orphan who returns to seek revenge on the criminals who killed his foster mother.