There have been lots of mulch-talented people in the world of cinema. They are not merely actors and actresses but also amazing human beings who have served as inspiration for commoners. Among such names, Mickey Rourke shines bright with his ability to bounce back and keep going even when the times were extremely trying. His story is one of grit, grandeur and glamor. Born on 16 September, 1952, Mickey Rourke also dabbled in screen writing and boxing apart from acting.
Mickey’s childhood was not a happy one as his parents divorced quite early. His father left him and his mother when Mickey was only five years old. However, Mickey did not allow the negativity to seep into his childhood and started taking amateur boxing classes at the Boys Club of Miami. He won his first boxing match at the age of twelve and didn’t look back since then. It was not as if he won every match that he fought but he did give good challenges to many boxers and his amateur boxing record is quite impressive. From 1964 to 1973, with 27 wins and 3 losses, who can say that he was not a pro but merely a rookie?
During this very time, Rourke also suffered injuries and had to take a sabbatical from the ring for one year. He was told by his doctors to take rest for one year and it was during this unfavorable period that the acting bug bit him, in a way. He was asked to play a small role in a school play when he was a senior at Miami Beach Senior High School but it was not exciting enough to lure him towards acting. It was his friend’s play Deathwatch at the University of Miami that pushed him into a career as an actor. Rourke fell in love with his role as well as acting. Guided by zeal and appreciation, he headed to New York to take private lessons in acting from an acting teacher named Sandra Seacat.
He debuted with a small role in the film ’1941′ of ace director Steven Spielberg but it was his another small but well-portrayed role as an arsonist in ‘Body Heat’ that brought him attention of the film fraternity. He mostly starred in television films during the early years of his career but mainstream films also started coming his way after a few years.
Among the films of Mickey Rourke that need special mention include ‘Diner’, ‘The Pope of Greenwich Village’, ’9 1/2 Weeks’, ‘Barfly’, ‘Angel Heart’ and ‘Year of the Dragon’. In these movies he portrayed some very excellent roles. They had quality, diversity and depth. Who can forget the dashing gambler Boogie for which he was also nominated as the ‘Best Supporting Actor’ by the National Society of Film critics. The sex symbol status that he gained from ’9 1/2′ Weeks did wonders to his career. The alcoholic writer Henry Chinaski in ‘Barfly’ brought him critical acclaim.
However, just as every successful actor has his share of controversies, the young Mickey Rourke too went through them. Some of his films were dubbed as contentious by the media and did not go down well with the US audience but the Europeans, especially the French went gaga after him. They loved his “rumpled, slightly dirty, sordid…rebel persona”. Rourke went on to work with great names and wrote his first screenplay ‘Homeboy’ in which he also starred but after a while his ‘difficult-to-work-with’ image started getting the better of his acting career and he had to bid it goodbye. His last film was ‘White Sands’.
In 1991, Rourke returned back to his old love boxing. According to him, he felt that he was self-destructing and had no respect for himself as an actor. The return was good to say the least as he won six matches and two were draws but here too destiny’s ugly phase or let us say trying phase caught up with him and he suffered a number of injuries on his various body parts that include nose, ribs, tongue and cheekbone. He also went through a brief period of short term memory loss. The physical injuries changed his appearance to a great extent and it did make him unpopular. He is reported to have said that the work of his plastic surgeons had left his features a mess.
After some time, his energy and enthusiasm waned considerably in boxing and thus, Mickey retired from boxing. And guess what? He returned back to acting. He did several small and supporting roles during the 1990s in films such as ‘The Rainmaker’, ‘Buffalo ’66′, ‘Animal Factory’, ‘The Pledge’ and ‘Bullet’. This period was something that Mickey never liked. He has said that he considered himself a ‘has-been’ and lived for a time in ‘a state of shame’. However, things took turn for better in 2005 when his lead role in ‘Sin City’ won him some very notable awards. After that, Mickey went ahead in his career at an easy pace, indulging in several of his interests.
Rourke has still not retired and going by the grits he has shown all through his life and career it goes without saying that a lot is still left in him. He is an inspiration for many aspiring actors and even for those who want to make a comeback and never feel like calling it quits. It is said that pictures can inspire us a in a very strong way. So, here is a collection of 30 images of a young and dashing Mickey Rourke that tell his terrific tale in a breezy way. Have a look. It will give you fine glimpses of the multi-talented boxer, actor and screenwriter who once ruled the roost in films and boxing.