Philip Andre ‘Mickey’ Rourke Jr., popularly known as Mickey Rourke, is an American actor and former boxer who started his professional career in acting, then shifted to boxing, and returned to acting once again. He came into prominence with his film ‘Body Heat’, and became a sensational actor with the film ‘9 1/2 Weeks.’ After deciding to pursue an acting career in the 1970s, he moved to New York from Florida to study acting under actress Sandra Seacat. He was critically applauded for his work in the biopic ‘Barfly’ and the horror mystery film ‘Angel Heart.’ Trained as a boxer in his early years, Rourke left acting in 1991 to pursue a career in professional boxing. However, in 1994 he retired from boxing and returned to acting, with small supporting roles in films like ‘Rainmaker’, ‘Buffalo '66’, ‘Get Carter’, ‘The Pledge’, and several others.He got the lead role in ‘Sin City’ in 2005, for which he received several awards including the Chicago Film Critics Association award. His performance in the film ‘The Wrestler’ also earned him several awards including an Academy Award nomination. Since then, he has acted in several commercially successful films.
Childhood & Early Life
Philip Andre “Mickey” Rourke Jr. was born on September 16, 1952 in Schenectady, New York, to Annette and Philip Andre Rourke, Sr. He has a younger brother, Joey, and a younger sister, Patricia. When Mickey was six, his father, who was an amateur body builder, left the family. After her divorce, Rourke’s mother married Eugene Addis, a police officer who had five sons, and shifted to South Florida with her children.
Rourke attended Miami Beach Senior High School and graduated in 1971. During his school days, he was keen on sports and took training in self-defense at the Boys Club of Miami. He also learned boxing at the 5th Street Gym in Miami Beach, Florida, and wanted to pursue an amateur career.
In 1964, when he was 12, he won his first boxing match as a 51kg flyweight. In 1969, he fought a sparring match with former World Welterweight Champion Luis Rodríguez. He suffered a brain injury during the sparring match.
In 1971, he took up a small acting role in the school play ‘The Serpent’. Since he was more interested in boxing, he never took part in any other school play.
At the Florida Golden Gloves in 1971, he suffered another brain injury (concussion), and was advised by doctors to take a year off from boxing. So he temporarily retired from boxing. By then, he had achieved an amateur boxing record of 27 wins—17 by knock-outs—and three defeats.
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After Mickey Rourke temporarily retired from boxing, he appeared in a friend’s play ‘Deathwatch’, and developed an interest in acting. So he took $400 from his sister, and moved to New York to learn acting from Sandra Seacat, who was a teacher at the Actors Studio. He was selected in his first audition, which was the "best audition in 30 years" at the Studio.
While he started off his acting career with television films, his debut film was Steven Spielberg's ‘1941’, in which he was featured in a small role. Next, he was featured in the film ‘Fade to Black’ in 1980. With his 1981 film ‘Body Heat’, where he played an arsonist, he started getting noticed for his rugged looks and acting.
In 1982, he appeared in Barry Levinson's ‘Diner’ as the gambler ‘Boogie’ Sheftell, and received critical acclaim. He was named the best supporting actor of the year by the National Society of Film Critics. This was followed by his role in ‘Rumble Fish’ and ‘The Outsiders’ in 1983.
He wrote scripts for the films ‘Homeboy’ (1988) and ‘The Last Ride’ (1994), and co-wrote the screenplay for the film ‘Bullet’ (1996). He had also written scripts for ‘Killer Moon’, ‘Penance’, and‘Pain’.
In 1991, after being frustrated of doing only supporting and small roles in films, Rourke decided to leave acting and go back to his boxing career. He remained undefeated in eight fights, of which he won six (four by knockout). He also fought in Spain, Japan, and Germany. During his boxing career, he suffered several minor and major injuries. For a short period, he also suffered from memory loss. As a result, he retired from boxing in 1994, and returned to acting.
In 2002, he appeared in Jonas Åkerlund's ‘Spun’ as the Cook. In 2005 came his breakthrough role in Robert Rodriguez's film ‘Sin City’, where he played the lead role and earned several awards for his performance. This was followed by two supporting roles—in Tony Scott's ‘Domino’ and in ‘Killshot’.
He played another successful role in the 2008 film ‘The Wrestler’. In this Darren Aronofsky's film he played the lead role. The film was named the best film at the Venice Film Festival and won the Golden Lion Award; Rourke also won several awards for his performance.
In 2010, he was cast as the main villain in the film ‘Iron Man 2’. Rourke had stated that he had prepared for the role by visiting some Russian jail inmates. In 2011, he played the villain again in ‘Immortals’, and was critically applauded for his performance. In the same year, he was cast in the film ‘Java Heat’, which was released in 2013.
Mickey Rourke’s acting skills in his 2005 film ‘Sin City’ were much appreciated; he received several awards for this role. His 2008 film ‘The Wrestler’ is also one of his best works. He garnered critical acclaim for his villainous roles in the films ‘Iron Man 2’ and ‘Immortals’ as well.
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Awards & Achievements
Mickey Rourke won two awards for the film ‘Diner’ in 1983.
He won four awards including the Irish Film and Television Award and the Online Film Critics Society award for his brilliant performance in the ‘Sin City’ in 2006.
He won several awards and nominations for his role in the movie, ‘The Wrestler’. These included the 2009 Golden Globe, a BAFTA, and an Academy Award nomination.
For his role in the film ‘Iron Man 2,’ he won the MTV Movie Award for the Best Villain. He also won the Scream Award in the same category for the same role.
Mickey Rourke has dated celebrities like Terry Farrell and Sasha Volkova. In 1981, he married actress Debra Feuer. The couple divorced in 1989. He married actress Carré Otis on June 26, 1992. Rourke was arrested in 1994 for “spousal abuse”, but the case was later dropped when the couple reconciled. However, they divorced in December 1998.
In May 1989, he donated a large sum to support Joe Doherty, a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) member, in his campaign for political asylum in the US. He was wanted by the UK authorities for his involvement in a shoot-out and killing of a member of Britain's Special Air Service in 1980.
In June 2006, he gave his support to the US President George W. Bush and the Iraq War. In November 2007, he was arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants in Miami Beach.
Since 2009, he has been in a relationship with Russian model Anastassija Makarenko.
In 2015, he supported Ben Carson for his Republican presidential nomination, and openly criticized Donald Trump, calling him a "bully"
Rourke is a dog lover, particularly of small-breed dogs. He is a spay/neuter advocate, and took part in a protest in 2007. He described his dog Loki as "the love of my life", and spent US$ 5,400 to fly her to England where he was shooting for a film. Loki died in February 2009 at the age of 18.