What an awesome actor, not to mention a real cutie with a warm personality! Mark Ruffalo was born Mark Alan Ruffalo on November 22, 1967 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. His mother, Marie Rose (née Hebert), is a hairdresser and stylist, and his father, Frank Lawrence Ruffalo, Jr., worked as a construction painter. Mark has two sisters, Tania and Nicole, and a brother, Scott, who died in December 2008.
Ruffalo has described himself as having been a “happy kid” and his upbringing as taking place in a “very big” family with “lots of love”. He was raised Roman Catholic; he attended both a Catholic and a progressive school. Ruffalo spent his teen years in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where his father worked. He graduated from First Colonial High School, and then moved with his family to San Diego, and later to Los Angeles, California. He went to the Stella Adler Conservatory and co-founded the Orpheus Theatre Company. With the OTC, he wrote, directed, and starred in a number of plays, and spent the next nine years earning his money as a bartender.
Mark may be most famous to some, for his portrayal as Bruce Banner in Marvel’s The Avengers but Mark has done so much more! He started out with some minor movie roles in The Dentist (1996), Safe Men (1998) and Ang Lee’s Civil War Western Ride with the Devil (1999). He was in the film You Can Count on Me in 2000 along side Laura Linney, he played her brother Terry a troubled, aimless drifter. Mark received favorable reviews for his performance in this film, often earning comparisons to the young Marlon Brando, and won awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and Montreal World Film Festival.
More significant roles include, XX/XY (2002), My Life Without Me with Sarah Polley (2003), In the Cut with Meg Ryan (2003), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), and We Don’t Live Here Anymore (2004), Collateral (2004), View From the Top (2002), 13 Going on 30 (2004), Just Like Heaven (2005) and Rumor Has It (2005). In 2007 he was in the film Reservation Road, he played divorced lawyer Dwight Arno, who accidentally kills a child and speeds away. This was a good movie (a real tear jerker!) that had a wonderful cast which included Joaquin Phoenix & Jennifer Connelly, the parents of the little boy that was killed. Elle Fanning played Joaquin & Jennifer’s daughter Emma Learner, what a little sweetie she is! Here’s a little synopsis of the movie – Grace (Jennifer Connelly) gradually tries to get on with life after the death of her son, but her husband Ethan (Joaquin Phoenix), is obsessed with finding out who killed their son and frustrated with the lack of progress the police are making in their investigation. Ethan eventually decides to hire a lawyer, who oddly enough turns out to be Dwight (Mark Ruffalo). I don’t want to give the rest of the movie away in case you have not watched it but I would put it on your list of movies to watch.
In 2008, Mark starred along with Julianne Moore in the film Blindness. Kind of a dark movie, no pun intended but I did enjoy watching Julianne (one of my favorite actresses, since her days on the soap opera As The World Turns where she played Frannie/Sabrina Hughes) and Mark together, yummy yummy, lol. In 2010 he once again teamed up with Julianne in the movie The Kids Are All Right, which also starred Annette Bening, Mia Wasikowska (she starred in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland) and the oh so adorable Josh Hutcherson (he portrayed Peeta Mellark in the 2012 film The Hunger Games).
On releasing his directorial debut Sympathy for Delicious, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize, he had this to say, “I’m still looking for distribution. I have a couple offers on the table, but I’m holding out for something a little bigger. I’ve been screening it for a lot of groups, and people are really responding to it. I think they’re scared of that movie.” Of directing, he says, “I liken it to an actor gets to eat one slice, and a director gets to eat the whole pie. [laughs] You get to collaborate with gifted people who are good at their craft, so you’re orchestrating all these different mediums. You’re helping people through the script to realize their own talents. I find that really satisfying, and I felt like being in front of the camera is so intense and self-involved and personal, and directing isn’t like that for me. It’s a much more communal experience. Last year at this time, I was like, ‘I’m not going back to acting, man. No way, it’s done.’ I haven’t worked in a year. It’s really taken me that long to get back to my love for what I do for acting. I would like to do 50-50, if I could. Really, I’d just be directing right now, but I can’t support my family doing that at this moment, and I love acting. It’s not a bad position to be in.”
Mark is married to French-American actress Sunrise Coigney, they have three children: a son Keen, born in 2001, and daughters Bella Noche, born in 2005, and Odette, born in 2007, in Los Angeles. He makes his home with his family on a 50-acre plot of land in upstate New York’s Sullivan County. His place sounds so heavenly complete with a vegetable garden, carved wooden animal sculptures, a barn and an eco-friendly guest house along the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. “The whole guiding idea for living upstate was to simplify.” In an interview he says this about living upstate, “It’s the best thing I could have done for the family as a whole and for the kids in particular. We made a pact to let them be and let them work out their differences on their own. We’re letting them grow a little wild and we step in when it’s essential, but in a lot of ways they figure stuff out on their own and they do it in a way that’s organic and lasts. We live in a small space and we’re really influenced by the natural world around us. Eventually that is reflected in one’s behavior and how you get along with other people. There’s a lot of quiet in the country and there’s a lot of quietness in my children.”
Mark’s upcoming projects include Now You See Me as Dylan, Can a Song Save Your Life? as Dan, Red Light Winter as Matt (2013), Foxcatcher as David Schultz, The Normal Heart (2014) as Ned Weeks and The Avengers 2 (2015) as Bruce Banner / The Hulk.
Mark Ruffalo Tidbits:
-He is an Italian-American.
-Is a vegetarian.
-He was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor (more specifically, an acoustic neuroma) in 2002; he subsequently had it removed and is in good health.
-Sold his L.A. home in 2009 and moved his family to Callicoon, New York.
-He portrayed Michael Dunne on the CBS Summer Playhouse, American Nuclear in 1989.
-He played Zane Marinelli in the TV series The Beat in 2000.
-Like his predecessor and friend Edward Norton, he was a fan of the “Incredible Hulk” comics and TV series before playing the title character.
-For his environmental advocacy, Mark Ruffalo received a Global Green Millennium Award and a Meera Gandhi Giving Back Foundation Award. Also chosen as one of the “People Who Mattered” in 2011 by Time magazine.
Mark Ruffalo’s Personal Quotes:
-The whole experience of getting close to mortality changed my perspective on work. I wasn’t enjoying acting before: I felt like I wasn’t in charge of my career. I wasn’t doing things that made me feel good. I was really bitter, I thought I deserved more, and I wasn’t grateful for all the great shit that had happened to me. If you’re not grateful, then it’s very easy to be an asshole. After the brain tumor happened, I realized I love acting, I’ve always loved it, I may never get a chance to do it again.
-[on navigating his career] – I try to do the things that speak to me in one way or another, and sometimes I’m even drastic. I like extremes. I like to change things up and keep from getting complacent or stale. I moved away from L.A. [to upstate New York] because it was feeling empty and it didn’t feel like Los Angeles was a fertile place for me as an artist anymore. I didn’t like the distance between my family and myself that I was experiencing from having to work all the time. I let my heart sort of guide me on that, and I turned out okay. It was a bit of a gamble, but it’s turned out pretty good. But mostly it’s just trying to keep it fresh and new and exciting for me and hopefully for everyone else.
-[on favorite performances that he’s given or films that he’s done] – Every five years or so, there’s some great thing that I’m really proud of, an experience that I’m really proud of. I stopped long ago putting too much emphasis on the results of how a film was going to be reviewed or what kind of money it makes. Those are important things, but as far as to my satisfaction, I’ve really focused on the experiences. The Kids Are All Right is a special one; My Life Without Me; In the Cut. What Doesn’t Kill You is a really great movie that was little seen, but I think is one of my personal favorites. You Can Count On Me, of course, and probably Zodiac. Those are my top picks, as far as things that I’ve done. Another one, We Don’t Live Here Anymore. Not the most beloved of movies, or widely known, but they’re the ones I’ve had a good time making.