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Mark Wahlberg got his start headlining the musical group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, later going on to a modeling career and acting success in Hollywood.
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The 22-year-old's survival instincts kicked in, however, and he soon made a move into another realm of the entertainment world—acting.
After appearing in a 1993 television movie, The Substitute, Wahlberg made his big screen debut in Penny Marshall's lightweight Renaissance Man (1994), in which he played one of a group of Army recruits taught by an ex-advertising salesman (Danny DeVito). His innate brand of screen presence led to his casting in his breakthrough role, that of the drug-addled best friend of Leonardo DiCaprio's character in The Basketball Diaries (1995), a small-scale but acclaimed film based on poet-musician Jim Carroll's dark autobiography of his own adolescent struggles with heroin addiction. After two more attention-getting performances in Fear (1996) and Traveller (1997), Wahlberg cemented his artistic and commercial reputation (and left "Marky Mark" far behind) with a starring role as dishwasher turned porn star Eddie Adams (aka Dirk Diggler) in writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson's buzzworthy Boogie Nights (1997), costarring Burt Reynolds. Though his next two films—The Big Hit (1998) and The Corruptor (1999), costarring Chinese action superstar Chow Yun-Fat—were less than successful, Wahlberg returned with a bang in the acclaimed Three Kings (1999). The film costarred Wahlberg, George Clooney, Ice Cube, and Spike Jonze as renegade U.S. servicemen in the Persian Gulf during the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War conflict.
In 2000, Wahlberg reteamed with Clooney (and Diane Lane) in The Perfect Storm, Wolfgang Petersen's highly-touted film version of Sebastian Junger's bestselling account of a boat full of swordfishermen caught in a killer storm in the North Atlantic. In late 2000, Wahlberg costarred with Joaquin Phoenix and James Caan in the little-seen crime drama The Yards. The following year, he starred as a heavy metal rock musician in Rock Star, costarring Jennifer Aniston, and in the title role in a remake of the classic Planet of the Apes, costarring Charlton Heston and Helena Bonham Carter.
In 2003, Wahlberg costarred with Charlize Theron in the heist thriller The Italian Job. Other projects include joining Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law and Dustin Hoffman for an existential comedy titled I Love Huckabee's. He also signed on for The Jacket in which he stars as a falsely imprisoned man with psychic visions and The Adventures of Wyatt McHenry as an adventuresome tour guide.
Wahlberg and model Rhea Durham celebrated the birth of their daughter, Ella Rae, in September 2003.
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Action movie stars are the heroes and heroines who get our adrenaline pumping. Early action stars include Douglas Fairbanks, the swashbuckling adventurer of the 1920s and '30s; John Wayne, the famous gunslinger of the 1940s and '50s; and Sean Connery, who played the debonair spy Bond—James Bond—in the 1960s. By the 1970s, however, a new maverick action star had hit the silver screen, with rogue cops played by Steve McQueen in Bullitt and Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry, as well as the military mercenary Rambo (Sylvester Stallone). By the 1980s, action movies were literally exploding on screen, with big budgets and big stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator) and Bruce Willis (Die Hard), leading to today's action-packed blockbusters. Here's a look at some of Hollywood's most famous action movie stars, who have kicked some major butt on the big screen.
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