Mark Wahlberg: Snapshot

Mark Wahlberg
Date of Birth
June 05, 1971
Birth Place
Boston, Mass.
From billboard boy toy to A-list star, rapper-turned-model-turned-actor-turned-producer Mark Wahlberg's success could easily be a study in how to build – and sustain – a career in Hollywood.

Following a tough adolescence in Boston, a young Wahlberg used his bad boy image to front the hip-hop troupe Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, topping the charts with "Good Vibrations" and soon dropping trou for Calvin Klein. He parlayed his fab abs into a film career, turning out early performances in Renaissance Man, The Basketball Diaries and Boogie Nights.

Now a married father of four, the Oscar-nominated actor (for 2006's The Departed) is a major Hollywood player – both behind the scenes and on camera – with HBO's Entourage, the Emmy-winning series Boardwalk Empire and 2010's Academy Awards darling The Fighter all to his credit. In 2013, Wahlberg added another accomplishment to his resume – his high school diploma.

Mark Wahlberg:From the PEOPLE TV Archive

Mark Wahlberg: Five Fun Facts

  1. In his 1992 autobiography, Marky Mark, Mark Wahlberg wrote a dedication to his penis. "I thought it would be funny," he told TIME in 2010, expressing his regret.
  2. There's only one person who could get Mark Wahlberg to rap again: "If Justin Bieber asked me, I'd do that for my daughter."
  3. As a teen, Mark Wahlberg got some jailhouse cred when his older brother, New Kids on the Block singer Donnie, came to visit. "I showed him off to everybody and I was the cool guy in the unit for a week," he told NPR.
  4. Mark Wahlberg has made some risqué career choices – from his Calvin Klein billboards to Boogie Nights – that he's dreading having to explain to his kids. "I'm trying to figure out how to destroy the evidence," he said in 2008.
  5. Mark Wahlberg did minimal research for his Oscar-nominated role as a cop in The Departed. "I was arrested by the Boston police 20-some-odd times and I basically used all that experience," he said. "[To] put it to good use was definitely a blessing."

Mark Wahlberg: Biography

Late 1980s

Mark Wahlberg

Boston Legal

The youngest of nine kids, Mark Wahlberg grows up in Boston's working-class Dorchester neighborhood. Though big brother Donnie, of New Kids on the Block, tries to look out for his little brother, Wahlberg steals cars, sells pot and is charged with assaulting a man with a wooden pole, which results in the 17-year-old serving a 45-day prison term. "I wanted to be the cool guy in the neighborhood, to be what I thought was a badass," he tells NPR years later.


Mark Wahlberg

Feeling Funky

After a brief stint with NKOTB ("Going to vocal lessons and doing the choreography just wasn't my thing," he says), Wahlberg forms his hip-hop group, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Brother Donnie produces some tracks, and their single, "Good Vibrations," tops the Billboard Hot 100. "We just wanted to do an album together, just us," Donnie tells PEOPLE at the time. "Any Top 10 success is just icing on the cake." Adds Mark, "This record has brought us back together."


Mark Wahlberg

Grin and Bare It

With his music career already on the decline, Wahlberg – still going by Marky Mark – gets another shot at fame by flexing his fab abs in a series of provocative Calvin Klein ads, some costarring a topless Kate Moss. "He was a pleasure," the designer said of his tough boy muse. Wahlberg's willingness to bare almost-all gains him an international following and lands him on PEOPLE's 50 Most Beautiful.

Read More on Mark Wahlberg's Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: Stephen Lovekin/Getty

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Getty; Bernhard Kuhmstedt/Retna; Globe

Edited by Julia Wang

Mark Wahlberg

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