Mark Wahlberg is currently my favourite actor who always seems to play the tough guy role in his movies and now I know why the characters he portrays are so authentic. I haven’t seen one of his films and been disappointed and it stems back to his tough upbringing and chequered past.
Wahlberg, born the youngest of nine children all living in a three-bedroom apartment, dropped out of school around the age of fourteen and joined a gang.
During this time, he was reportedly in trouble with the law around 20-25 times, for dealing drugs and various other offenses. He also claims he became addicted to cocaine during this period.
Things came to a head when he was 16 years old, and he attacked two Vietnamese men without provocation. He attacked the first with a stick and he punched the second.
For these attacks, Wahlberg was arrested and initially charged with attempted murder, but it was later reduced to criminal contempt, which carried a maximum sentence of ten years.
He went to prison
After pleading guilty, he was given a two-year sentence at the Deer Island House of Correction in Boston. In the end, he only had to serve 45 days in the correctional facility.
Unlike most that go through such facilities, the time he spent locked up inspired him to try and turn his life around.
“As soon as I began that life of crime, there was always a voice in my head telling me I was going to end up in jail.
Three of my brothers had done time. My sister went to prison so many times I lost count. Finally, I was there, locked up with the kind of guys I’d always wanted to be like.
Now I’d earned my stripes and I was just like them, and I realized it wasn’t what I wanted at all. I’d ended up in the worst place I could possibly imagine, and I never wanted to go back.”
He sought help from a priest
He started his turn-around by reaching out to his parish priest for guidance and support, as well as leaving the gang he was a member of.
Mark Wahlberg’s big break came thanks to his older brother, Donnie. Donnie Wahlberg was already famous at this point with his success as a member of The New Kids on the Block, a band Mark had initially been a member of at the age of 13 but quit before the group became famous.
Mark had been working as a bricklayer after serving time when Donnie helped him form Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, including helping him get a record contract and producing the first record the group made.
The debut album Music for the People, released in 1991 when Mark Wahlberg was 19 years old, ended up going Platinum thanks largely to the hit single Good Vibrations and the follow up single Wild side.
After his music career started to fail a couple years later, Wahlberg dropped his Marky Mark persona and decided to take up acting.
Despite early scepticism by critics, he made the switch successfully, with his first critical success coming from appearing in The Basketball Diaries, though he had a few roles before this, most notably opposite Danny DeVito in Renaissance Man.
Since then, he has become one of the bigger stars in Hollywood, reportedly commanding around $12-$15 million per movie today.
It’s never too late
It is never too late to get it right. Mark had a bad start to life, but he chose a different path when incarcerated in the state penitentiary serving time. Most prisoners don’t make the change, but Mark did.
He was helped by his brother and through hard work and determination he made it. He had to completely change his mindset and had to demonstrate amazing Mental Resilience to break into music then films.
This is an inspirational story of someone facing a very bleak future who chose a positive path to life rather than continue the path he was on. This background has given him a unique perspective on playing the tough guy roles which results in great authenticity and adds hugely to the performance.
This reminds me of my quote which rings true in so many of life’s challenges:
‘It’s not what happens to you in life which counts, it’s how you respond which makes all the difference.” John Dabrowski
Thoughts for the week:
- What challenges are you currently facing?
- Is there a challenge you can take on to change the outcome?
- See if you can change the path you are on with a particular challenge?
- This week work on this and see if you can start to change the way things are heading.
- Remember it’s never too late to get it right.
Well that’s it for this week have a wonderful weekend and make that change.