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Mark Ruffalo is an actor who has become known most recently for his portrayal of Bruce Banner/The Hulk in the movie The Avengers.
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Born on November 22, 1967, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Mark Ruffalo made his stage debut in 1990. In 2000 his career took a major turn, with a role in the film You Can Count on Me. Parts in such high-profile films as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Shutter Island followed. In 2012, Ruffalo portrayed the Hulk in the smash live-action film The Avengers.
Mark Ruffalo spent his teenage years in Virginia Beach, Virginia, before moving with his family to San Diego after high school. He eventually settled in Los Angeles, studying acting at the Stella Adler Conservatory and subsequently co-founding the Orpheus Theatre Company. The theater was a platform for Ruffalo’s own acting, and he landed small parts on TV and in films as well, but it was a meeting with playwright Kenneth Lonergan that changed his fate.
Ruffalo began appearing in Lonergan's plays, notably This Is Our Youth, which led to his landing the male lead in Lonergan's soon-to-follow film, You Can Count on Me (2000). Ruffalo’s performance drew critical and popular attention, and he took his first steps onto the Hollywood map. Notable roles came one after the next, and Ruffalo had prominent parts in such films as XX/XY (2002), Windtalkers (2002), and In the Cut (2003).
During his ramp-up to wider success, Ruffalo suffered a setback in 2002 when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The surgery to remove the tumor, which was determined to be benign, led to a period of partial facial paralysis, but Ruffalo recovered fully and his career picked up right where it had left off.
Although Ruffalo had not yet appeared in a blockbuster-type film, he continued to turn in solid performances, and in 2004 alone he appeared in four more movies: We Don't Live Here Anymore, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 13 Going on 30 and Collateral, films widely varied in genre and therefore collectively showcasing Ruffalo’s range.
After 2004, Ruffalo slowed down a bit, but he was nevertheless consistently appearing on screens across the world. Films such as Just Like Heaven (2005), All the King's Men (2006), Zodiac (2007) and Reservation Road (2007) all helped to build Ruffalo’s already blossoming reputation and edge him closer and closer to Hollywood’s A list. (He also managed to appear on Broadway in 2006, where he earned a Tony Award nomination for his starring role in Awake and Sing!)
Ruffalo changed gears a little in 2009 when he directed the indie film Sympathy for Delicious, which was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. That year he also starred in The Kids Are All Right, which led to his first Academy Award nomination. It also helped him garner Independent Spirit, SAG and BAFTA nominations, among a host of others.
A high-profile role in Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island (2010) preceded Ruffalo's biggest role to date: that of Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Hulk, in the 2012 blockbuster The Avengers.
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