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Mickey Rourke is an American actor who had great success and became a sex symbol in the 1980s. He left acting to box but has recently returned to the screen.
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The sexually charged film caused controversy, but earned Rourke high critical praise. The role catapulted him to success, and helped him score his next film, Barfly (1987).
It wasn't long before Rourke succumbed to a hedonistic lifestyle, which led to difficult behaviour on the set. Director Alan Parker, who worked with the actor in 1987's Angel Heart was quoted as saying, "working with Mickey is a nightmare. He is very dangerous on set because you never know what he is going to do." Adding fuel to the fire, Rourke was branded as a loudmouth for bragging to reporters about his friendships with alleged mobsters. His increasing ego also lead him into a false sense of importance; he developed a reputation for breezing through film roles without much care or appreciation of the other crew and cast involved.
Unlucky in his private life also, Rourke's first marriage to Debra Feuer ended in divorce in 1989. In 1990, Rourke met actress Carrie Otis on the set of the steamy thriller, Wild Orchid. The married two years later, but his second union to actress Carrie Otis ended a few years later after an alleged assault landed Rourke in jail. With his reputation damaged, Rourke made the decision to stop acting and return to the boxing ring. "I had to go back to boxing because I was self-destructing. I had no respect for myself being an actor. So I went back to a profession which really humbled me," Rourke said.
The actor failed to achieve national prominence in his comeback to boxing, and suffered a number of injuries including a broken nose, toe and ribs. In 1995, realizing that his boxing shelf-life had expired, he returned to acting with a new-found determination to succeed.
The early 90s comeback trail saw Rourke star in minor hits such as John Grisham's The Rainmaker. His next film, The Man of Fire (2003), saw Rourke playing a supporting role across from legend Denzel Washington. Rourke's performance established him as a legitimate actor once again. In 2005, he landed the lead in the international blockbuster, Sin City, directed by Robert Rodriguez. His role as a gritty, urban detective catapulted Rourke to the A-list of acting talent, and earned him a new generation of fans.
In 2008, Rourke met more critical acclaim with his role as Randy "The Ram" Robinson in the film, The Wrestler. Rourke won a Golden Globe for his performance, and is nominated—along with his co-star, Marisa Tomei—for an Academy Award. With Sin City 2 lined up for release in 2009, Rourke may well keep his head above water. It has been a long, slow climb back from his 80s career dive, but with his more recent spate of fresh and surprising films, Hollywood is hoping he won't blow it a second time.
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