- NAME: Donnie Wahlberg
- OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Television Actor, Singer
- BIRTH DATE: August 17, 1969 (Age: 44)
- EDUCATION: William Monroe Trotter School, Copley High School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Boston, Massachusetts
- Full Name: Donald Edmond Wahlberg Jr.
- AKA: Donald Edmond Wahlberg
- AKA: Donnie Wahlberg
- AKA: Donald Wahlberg
- ZODIAC SIGN: Leo
Best Known For
Donnie Wahlberg was a member of the 1980s pop group New Kids on the Block (reunited in 2008), and is the brother of actor and rapper Mark Wahlberg.
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Donnie Wahlberg was born on August 17, 1969, in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1984, he auditioned for music producer Maurice Starr, who immediately enlisted Wahlberg to form the centerpiece of New Kids on the Block. In 1994, the group parted ways. Wahlberg then decided to try acting. He first gained notice as an actor with his role in the 1999 movie The Sixth Sense. In 2008, New Kids on the Block, now known as NKOTB,
"I'm a dude that could easily have turned to drugs and crime. I could have ended up in jail. I was a real mischievous, defiant kid. I learned it was best not to do that stuff when I saw what happened to my family members. One day, my mind said, 'Stop.' And I did."
"We'd fight over clothes, or who had the prettier girlfriend, which of us was the best athlete, stuff like that."
[On growing up in the Wahlberg family, including brother Mark.]
Famed singer and actor Donnie Wahlberg was born Donald Edmond Wahlberg Jr. on August 17, 1969, in Boston, Massachusetts, a predominantly Irish-American suburb of Boston. He was the eighth of nine children; his younger sibling, Mark Wahlberg, is also a famous entertainer. Wahlberg's mother, Alma Wahlberg, worked as a nurse's assistant at nearby St. Margaret Hospital, and his father, Donald Wahlberg, was a truck driver and active member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters labor union. With so many children to provide for, the Wahlbergs were often strapped for cash. Wahlberg's mother recalled, "When I think about it now, I realize how hard it was, but back then we never even realized it! We thought everyone had all these kids, everyone lived like this."
Though the family was extraordinarily close, attending church together every Sunday, arguments among siblings were frequent. Donnie was looked to as the family peacemaker. "We'd fight over clothes, or who had the prettier girlfriend, which of us was the best athlete, stuff like that," he later recalled.
In the 1970s, when Donnie Wahlberg began elementary school, Boston was embroiled in fierce controversy over the mandatory busing of schoolchildren to enforce the desegregation of public schools. But busing put Wahlberg's life on a course toward fame and success. Wahlberg was bused more than half an hour each way to William Monroe Trotter School, a mostly black elementary school in Roxbury. On those long bus rides, and at Trotter School, Wahlberg developed a deep affection for the soul and rap music popular among his black friends.
Wahlberg's musical idol was Michael Jackson, and he taught himself the moonwalk and saved his allowance to buy a red leather jacket like the one Jackson wore in the iconic "Thriller" music video. Soon Wahlberg and Danny Wood, a friend also being bused to Roxbury, began spending their afternoons composing rap lyrics instead of their homework. "Being bused to school in Roxbury was the greatest thing that ever happened to us," Wahlberg later remembered.
Wahlberg's parents divorced when he was 12 years old, and he and Mark went to live with their mother while the rest of their siblings either moved in with their father or were already out on their own as young adults. Donnie and his friend Danny Wood advanced together to Copley High School, where they formed a rap group named the Kool Aid Bunch. They kept up rapping, Wahlberg says, "not because we thought we'd be rap or dance stars someday, but just because it was really fun and we loved the girls screaming for us at parties."
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Learn more about the mega-popular boy band New Kids on the Block, including Donnie Wahlberg, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre and Danny Wood. The group's 1988 album, Hangin' Tough, scored five Top 10 songs, including "You Got It (The Right Stuff)," "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" and "Step by Step." Explore full biographies, photos and more, only at Biography.com.
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