- Category : Actor
- Type : GE
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Eden 3
Philip Andre "Mickey" Rourke, Jr. (born September 16, 1952 is an American actor, who has appeared primarily in action, drama and thriller films.
Trained as a boxer in his early years, Rourke had a short stint as a pro fighter in the 1990s. Although his acting career has been uneven, he has carved out a niche over the last decades in gritty, marginalized anti-hero roles.
Rourke was born in Schenectady, New York, the son of Ann and Philip Andre Rourke, Sr., who was an amateur body builder. His family was Catholic and of Irish and French descent. After his parents divorced, he moved with his mother to Florida, where he attended Miami Beach Senior High School. (There are some reports that Rourke took drama classes with the legendary "Teacher to the Stars", Jay W. Jensen, even appearing in at least one stage-play. However, the "P. Rourke" listed in that play's credits could have been his sister, Patricia Rourke, who also attended Miami Beach Senior High School.)
Rourke's teenage years were more aimed toward sports than acting. Raised in the tough inner city neighbourhood of Liberty City, Rourke took up self-defense training at the Boys Club of Miami. It was there he learned boxing skills and decided on an amateur career. At the age of 12, Rourke won his first boxing match as a 118 pound bantamweight. Some of his early matches were fought as Andre Rourke.
He continued his boxing training at the 5th Street Gym in Miami Beach, Florida; joining the Police Athletic League boxing program. In 1969, Rourke, then weighing 140lbs., sparred with former World Welterweight Champion Luis Rodríguez. Rodriguez was the number one rated middleweight boxer in the world, and was training for his match with world champion Nino Benvenuti. Rourke claims to have received a concussion in this sparring match.
In 1971, at the Florida Golden Gloves, he received another concussion in a boxing match. After being told by doctors to take a year off and rest, Rourke temporarily retired from the ring. From 1968 to 1971, he compiled an amateur record of 20-6, with 17 knockouts. He was disqualified 4 times, and lost 2 decisions. At one point, he reportedly scored 12 consecutive first-round knockouts.
Early acting roles
Rourke's film debut was a small role in Steven Spielberg's film 1941. Though it was not his first role, his portrayal of an arsonist in Body Heat garnered significant attention despite his modest time onscreen. He mostly appeared in television movies in his early career. During the early 1980s, Rourke starred in the cult classic Diner, which also starred Paul Reiser, Daniel Stern, Steve Guttenberg, Tim Daly and Kevin Bacon. Mickey Rourke won two awards for his acting performance in Diner. Soon after, Rourke starred in Francis Ford Coppola's follow-up to The Outsiders in the coming-of-age tale, Rumble Fish. Playing the enigmatic older brother of Matt Dillon's character, he was praised as a standout in a film that also featured such talents as Dennis Hopper, Vincent Spano, Diane Lane, Nicolas Cage, Chris Penn, Larry Fishburne and Tom Waits.
Rourke's performance in the film The Pope of Greenwich Village alongside Daryl Hannah and Eric Roberts caught the attention of critics. While the film was a box office flop during its initial release, it has become somewhat of a minor cult hit. Actor Johnny Depp calls it "perfect cinema" and HBO's Entourage has praised it. Rourke has said the film is his favorite movie, and both Hannah and Roberts have cited it as a highlight of their careers.
In the mid-1980s, Rourke earned himself additional leading roles. His role alongside Kim Basinger in the controversial yet panned, sexually-themed box-office hit 9½ Weeks helped him gain "sex symbol" status. He received critical praise for his work in Barfly as the alcoholic writer Henry Chinaski, and in the Oliver Stone-penned Year of the Dragon. In 1987, Rourke appeared in the movie Angel Heart. The film, which also stars Robert De Niro was directed by Alan Parker and nominated for several awards. It was seen as controversial by some due to a sex scene involving Cosby Show cast member Lisa Bonet, who won an award for her part in the film . Although some of Rourke's work was viewed as controversial in the US, he was well-received by European, and especially French, audiences who loved the "rumpled, slightly dirty, sordid...rebel persona" that he projected in Year of the Dragon, 9½ Weeks, Angel Heart, and Desperate Hours.
In the late 1980s, Rourke performed with musician David Bowie on the Never Let Me Down album. Around this same time, he also wrote his first screenplay, Homeboy, a boxing tale in which he starred. In 1989, Rourke starred in docu-drama Francesco, where he plays St. Francis of Assisi. In 1991 Rourke starred in the box office bomb Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man as Harley Davidson, a biker whose best friend, Marlboro, is played by Miami Vice star Don Johnson. This was followed by Wild Orchid, another critically-panned film, which gain him nomination for Razzie award (also for Desperate Hours). Rourke's acting career eventually became overshadowed by his personal life and seemingly eccentric career decisions. Directors such as Alan Parker found it difficult to work with Rourke. Parker stated that "working with Mickey is a nightmare. He is very dangerous on the set because you never know what he is going to do". He is alleged to have turned down a number of high-profile acting roles, including the roles of Eliot Ness in The Untouchables and Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop. It is also alleged that Rourke turned down the roles of Jack Crawford in The Silence of the Lambs, Tom Cruise's role in Rain Man, Nick Nolte's part in 48 Hrs., Christopher Lambert's part in Highlander and a part in Platoon. In a documentary on the special edition DVD of Tombstone, actor Michael Biehn, who plays the part of Johnny Ringo, mentions that the role of Ringo was first offered to Rourke.
From actor to boxer
In 1991, Rourke decided that he "…had to go back to boxing", because he felt that he "…was self-destructing… had no respect for myself being an actor." When Rourke became a professional boxer, he won all of his fights against minor opponents (and had one fight come to a draw). However, he never achieved national prominence, and he received a number of injuries, including a broken nose, toe, ribs, a split tongue, and a compressed cheekbone. His trainer during his boxing career was Hells Angels member Chuck Zito.
Boxing promoters stated that Rourke was too old to do well against top-level fighters. Indeed, Rourke himself admits that entering the ring was a sort of personal test: "…just wanted to give it a shot, test myself that way physically, while I still had time (interview in The Gate with Christopher Heard)." In 1995, Rourke retired from boxing and returned to acting.
1990s: return to acting
In the early 1990s, Quentin Tarantino offered Rourke the part of Butch Coolidge in Pulp Fiction. Rourke declined, and the role eventually was offered to Matt Dillon and Sylvester Stallone, before Bruce Willis invested in the film and was given the part. After his retirement from boxing, Rourke did accept supporting roles in several 1990s films, including Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of John Grisham's The Rainmaker, Vincent Gallo's Buffalo '66, Steve Buscemi's Animal Factory and Sylvester Stallone's remake of Get Carter. Rourke also has written several films under the name "Sir" Eddie Cook, including Bullet, in which he co-starred with Tupac Shakur.
While Rourke was also selected for a significant role in Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line, Rourke's part ended up on the editing room floor. Rourke also played a small part in the film Thursday, in which he plays a crooked cop. He also had a lead role in 1997's Double Team, which co-starred martial arts actor Jean-Claude Van Damme. It was Rourke's first over-the-top action film role, in which he played the lead villain. During that same year, he filmed Another 9½ Weeks, a sequel to 9½ Weeks, which only received limited distribution. He ended the 90s with the direct-to-video films Out in Fifty, Shades and television movie Shergar, which is about kidnapping of Shergar the horse.
In 2001, he appeared as the villain in Enrique Iglesias's music video for Hero which also featured Jennifer Love Hewitt. In 2002, Rourke took the role of The Cook in Jonas Åkerlund's Spun, teaming up once again with Eric Roberts. His first collaborations with directors Robert Rodriguez and Tony Scott in Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Man on Fire, were for smaller roles. Nonetheless, these directors subsequently decided to cast Rourke in lead roles in their next films.
In 2005, Rourke made his comeback in mainstream Hollywood circles with a lead role (Marv) in Robert Rodriguez's adaptation of Frank Miller's Sin City. Rourke received awards from the Chicago Film Critics Association, the IFTA and the Online Film Critics Society, as well as "Man of the Year" from Total Film magazine that year. Rourke followed Sin City with a supporting role in Tony Scott's Domino alongside Keira Knightley, in which he played a bounty hunter.
Rourke played the role of The Blackbird in an adaptation of Elmore Leonard's Killshot, the role of "Darrius Sayle" in an adaptation of the Alex Rider novel Stormbreaker. He will also appear alongside Ray Liotta in John McNaughton's The Night Job, as well as reprising the role of "Marv" in the Dame to Kill For segment of Sin City 2.
In addition, in 2003, Rourke provided the voice for "Jericho" in the third installment of the Driver video game series. Rourke also recently appeared in a 40-page story by photographer Bryan Adams for Berlin's Zoo Magazine. In an article about Rourke's return to steady acting roles, entitled Mickey Rourke Rising (from The Gate), Christopher Heard stated that actors/musicians Tupac Shakur, Johnny Depp, Sean Penn and Brad Pitt have "…animated praise for Rourke and his work."
Despite having withdrawn from acting at various points, and having made movies that he now sees as a creative "sell-out" (the action film Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man), Rourke has stated that "…all that I have been through… made me a better, more interesting actor." Rourke's renewed interest in pursuing acting can be seen in his statement that "…my best work is still ahead of me" (article in The Gate).
In November 2006, during an interview, he called Tom Cruise "a cunt" for his attacks on Brooke Shields and psychiatry. In February 2007 he was in South Beach, Florida, protesting against a puppy store he claims sells dogs with parvo. He wanted the store to shut down, claiming a puppy he bought for his friend at the store died. He was supported with other activists.
Mickey signed up to act in the movie version of the The Informers in the role of Peter, an amoral former studio security guard who plots to kidnap a small child.
Mickey also appeared in The Wrestler, winner of the Golden Lion Award for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival, about a washed up wrestler. The part was originally Nicholas Cage's but he dropped the role for unknown reasons. Mickey has begun undergoing actual pro-wrestling training under WWE Hall of Famer Afa The Wild Samoan.
Political and religious views
Rourke's political views came under fire when he claimed to have donated part of his salary from the 1989 film, Francesco, to the Provisional Irish Republican Army. He later backed away from that statement, although he has an IRA symbol tattooed on his left forearm. Rourke is a devout Roman Catholic.
Rourke has dated several celebrities including Terry Farrell and Sasha Volkova. He has been married twice. In 1981 he married Debra Feuer whom he met on the set of Hardcase (1981) and who co-starred with him in Homeboy (1988) as his love interest. The marriage ended in 1989.
Wild Orchid co-star Carré Otis was briefly a cause célèbre following the release of Wild Orchid due to rumors she and then-lover Rourke filmed an unsimulated sex scene. She married Rourke on 26 June, 1992.
In 1994 Rourke was arrested for spousal abuse. The charges were dropped after the couple reconciled. They gave their relationship another chance and also starred together in Exit in Red but their marriage ended in December, 1998.
In November 2007, Rourke was arrested again, this time on DUI charges in Miami Beach .
Mickey Rourke is a motorcycle enthusiast and uses motorcycles in some of his films. He used to own a gym in West Hollywood called Shapiro and he was trained by Sandra Seacat. He was close friend of Bullet co-star Tupac Shakur. Mickey Rourke has used the name 'Sir' Eddie Cook in his writing credits. He has written or co-written 6 scripts: Homeboy, The Last Ride, Bullet, Killer Moon, Penance and the latest, Pain. Of these only the first three have made it to the silver screen.