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Mickey Rourke - Biography

The Wrestler star and The Rainmaker actor was born in 1952

Mickey Rourke at red carpet event wearing a cream hat and brown leather jacket© Getty Images
Hannah Watkin
Content Writer
Updated: July 11, 2023
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Early life

Philip Andre "Mickey" Rourke Jr was born on September 16, 1952 in Schenectady, New York, into a family of Irish and French descent. His father Philip Andre Rourke Sr - a professional body builder - left when Mickey was young, leaving his mother Annette to bring up the youngster, plus his brother Joey alone. 

Annette remarried and the family moved to Miami, but Mickey's childhood was not a happy one. He found solace from his troubled home life, however, in the boxing ring, eventually training at the same Miami gym where Muhammad Ali had sprung from. He was good, but when an injury put him out of action, the future Academy award nominee fell into acting by chance when he agreed to step int as the lead in a friend's play after the original actor pulled out. 

Acting career

The acting bug bit big time, persuading Mickey to leave the world of sport behind and head for New York to chase his dream of becoming a screen star. After years of taking classes and holding down part-time jobs to make ends meet, he got his first stand-out part in 1981 film Body Heat. He was only on screen for a few minutes, but it proved to be the springboard he needed. 

Mickey went on to appear in cult classics like Diner, Francis Ford Coppola's Rumble Fish, and Angel Heart, opposite Robert De Niro. But it was 1986's 9½ Weeks, in which he starred with Kim Basinger, which made him one of the most desired men on the planet. Unfortunately, a reputation for being unpredictable and difficult to work with as well as reports of alcohol and substance abuse, teamed with some bad career decisions such as turning told the role of Butch in Pulp Fiction, left him struggling as the 90s began. 

After a brief return to the ring, Mickey began to edge his way back into the acting world with small parts in projects including 2002's Spun and, the following year, Once Upon A Time In Mexico. Things finally seemed to be getting back on track in 2005 when he scored a larger role in Sin City, as bounty hunter Marv, which brought him a handful of awards and renewed respect from his peers. 

But it wasn't until 2008 that he cemented his storming comeback, however, when he took on the role of washed-up wrestler Randy 'The Ram' Robinson in The Wrestler. Critics hailed his portrayal - which brought a slew of accolades, including a best actor Golden Globe and an Oscar nod - as the performance of his career. 

Since then, Mickey has gone on to star as the villain in Marvel's Iron Man 2, and reprised his Sin City role in the sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. In 2020 he appeared on The Masked Singer as Gremlin, famously unmasking himself before the audience could vote due to him finding the suit too hot.

Personal life

Mickey married Debra Feuer in 1981, after the pair met on the set of the 1981 TV movie Hardcase. They split in 1989 but have reportedly remained friends. The award-winning actor married Carre Otis in 1992. They split in 1998. Since 2009, Mickey has been in a relationship with the model Anastassija Makarenko, however it's unclear if the pair are still together or if they have split.

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