- 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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In 1984, at the age of 15, Donnie Wahlberg's friends persuaded him to audition for well-known music producer Maurice Starr. Starr was holding open auditions to create a new boy band of white teenagers to mirror the success of his other band, the all African-American R&B group New Edition. After watching hundreds of auditions, Starr was amazed by Wahlberg's combination of singing, dancing and rapping talent,
and immediately enlisted him to form the centerpiece of the new group. Wahlberg quickly recruited brother Mark and Danny Wood, as well as another friend, Jordan Knight, and Knight's older brother, Jonathan.
However, unhappy with the band's pop-friendly artistic direction, Mark soon left the group and was replaced by another friend, Jaime Kelly. Starr didn't like Kelly's style, however, and soon replaced him with his own recruit, Joey McIntyre, to form the group's definitive lineup. They eventually decided to call themselves New Kids on the Block, a name taken from one of Donnie Wahlberg's rap lyrics. New Kids on the Block signed with Columbia Records and released their self-titled debut album in 1986. The group's first single, "Be My Girl," received almost no airplay outside of Boston, and album sales were abysmal.
With their first album a failure, the band returned to the studio with Starr, and two years later released a second album, Hangin' Tough. After a slow start, during which it appeared that the new album would go as unnoticed as its predecessor, the album's lead single, "Please Don't Go Girl," began receiving significant airplay—at first in Boston only, and then nationally. "Please Don't Go Girl" peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Singles chart.
New Kids on the Block followed up with two even more successful singles: "You Got It (The Right Stuff)," which peaked at No. 3, and "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)," which became the act's first No. 1 single. By late 1989, Hangin' Tough was the No. 1 album in the country. After a successful holiday album in 1990, New Kids on the Block released a third full studio album, Step by Step, which also reached No. 1 on the Billboard Charts, boosted by the hit singles "Step by Step" and "Tonight." For a time, New Kids on the Block was the most popular and lucrative musical act in America.
After spending several years out of the limelight, in 1994, the group shortened its name to NKOTB, parted ways with Starr, and released a new album, Face the Music, featuring a harder and more aggressive sound. Despite a fairly positive critical reception, the album performed poorly; since the band's heyday, musical tastes had shifted toward harder-edged grunge rock and gangster acts, and NKOTB's bubble-gum image proved a tough sell. Later in 1994, the group parted ways.
Instead of pursuing a solo music career, Donnie Wahlberg decided to follow in the footsteps of his younger brother, Mark, by trying his hand at acting. At first, he landed only bit parts as drug dealers or other tough-guy types in films such as Ransom (1996) and Black Circle Boys (1997), but Wahlberg really gained notice as an actor in 1999 with an astonishing performance as the deranged ex-patient who threatens Bruce Willis in the acclaimed film The Sixth Sense.
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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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