Award-winning actor, director, and climate change advocate Mark Ruffalo was born on November 22, 1967. Having taken his own time to achieve success, he began as a theater actor before moving on to the silver screen. In the early days of his movie career, he mainly starred in romcoms and then followed these up with appearances in critically acclaimed thrillers. He gained international recognition when he was cast as the Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He is a vocal advocate of climate change and renewable energy. Learn all about the interesting life of the actor as we celebrate his special day right here.
Mark Alan Ruffalo
November 22, 1967
Known for his exceptional performances, the award-winning actor, director, and climate change advocate Mark Ruffalo is among the most well-recognized Hollywood stars of today. Born on November 22, 1967, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, he is the son of Frank Lawrence Ruffalo Jr., a construction painter, and Marie Rose, a hairdresser, and stylist. He has three siblings, two sisters, Tania and Nicole, and a deceased brother, Scott. He traces Italian and French-Canadian ancestry through his parents. As a young child, he struggled with dyslexia and A.D.H.D. In his teen years, his family moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Ruffalo attended the First Colonial High School there. Right from his school days he was interested in acting and even acted for the Patriot Playhouse in high school. Later on, he moved with his family to Los Angeles, where he enrolled in the Stella Adler Conservatory, studying acting, and also co-founded Orpheus Theater Company, writing, directing, and starring in several plays for the latter. To support himself, Ruffalo also worked as a bartender for close to a decade.
Ruffalo’s first role on screen was in an episode of “CBS Summer Playhouse” in 1989 and he followed these up with small roles in movies. In 1996, he was part of the main cast of Kenneth Lonergan’s play “This Is Our Youth,” which premiered off-Broadway. He was part of several collaborations with Lorgan, which led to his breakout role in the Oscar-nominated movie “You Can Count on Me” in 2000. Ruffalo earned widespread critical praise for his role and even won awards at the Montreal Film Festival and from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. He also married his wife, Sunrise Coigney, later that year. In 2001, he appeared alongside Robert Redford in “The Last Castle.” After the completion of the movie, Ruffalo, who had signed on for M. Night Shyamalan’s “Signs,” was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The surgery for the removal of the tumor left Ruffalo paralyzed for a year, which also affected his career. Over the next couple of years, he appeared in acclaimed box office hits such as Jane Campion’s “In the Cut” in 2003, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” and “Collateral” in 2004.
It was also the time when he ventured into the rom-com genre, starring in “13 Going on 30” in 2004 alongside Jennifer Garner, which established him as a leading man. In 2006, he was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in the play “Awake and Sing!” The following year, he starred in mystery thrillers “Zodiac” and “Reservation Road.” In 2008, he appeared in the comedy “The Brothers Bloom” and the crime drama “What Doesn’t Kill You.” 2010 saw him earn his first nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the movie “The Kids Are All Right.” That same year, he appeared in “Shutter Island” alongside Leonardo Dicaprio and signed on with Creative Artists Agency and United Talent Agency. In 2010 he also made his feature film directorial debut with “Sympathy for Delicious,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and also won the ‘Special Jury Prize.’
In 2012, Ruffalo was catapulted to international fame after he made his first appearance as Hulk/Bruce Banner in “The Avengers,” going on to star in six movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the role. In 2013, he starred in the box-office hit “Now You See Me,” also reprising his role in its sequel. In 2014, his role in the television film “Normal Heart” as an openly gay writer from New York earned him his first Emmy nomination. That same year, he also earned his second Academy Award nomination for his role in the movie “Foxcatcher.” He followed this up with another Academy Award nomination and a BAFTA nomination in 2015 for his role in the acclaimed movie “Spotlight,” portraying the role of journalist Michael Rezendes. For his role in the movie “Infinitely Polar Bear,” he was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award. Over the next few years, he went on to reprise his role as Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He also made his return to Broadway in 2017 with the play “The Price.” Then, in 2019, he co-produced and starred in the legal thriller “Dark Water,” which was based on environmental and chemical pollution incidents from real life. In 2020, he returned to television with the mini-series “I Know This Much is True,” starring in two roles of twins. The portrayals earned him his first Primetime Emmy Award for ‘Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.’
Alongside a flourishing acting career, Ruffalo has also been an active supporter of social and political causes. An advocate for climate change initiatives, he has been an active participant in many events and groups connected with the cause. New York magazine also called him the first famous face of anti-fracking activism. He also endorsed Bernie Sanders in the latter’s Presidential campaigns. He is also associated with several charities in the sector of human rights, education, and climate change. He is also a doting family man and father to his three children with his wife, son Keen, and daughters Bella Noche and Odette. As he prepares to make an appearance in “She-Hulk” in 2022, fans are eagerly looking forward to his future projects.
In a minor role in “CBS Summer Playhouse,” Ruffalo makes his debut on screen.
As part of the original cast for the off-Broadway play “This Is Our Youth,” Ruffalo wins much critical acclaim.
Starring in his breakout role, Ruffalo wins awards at the Montreal Film Festival and from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
For his supporting role in the Broadway play “Awake and Sing!” Ruffalo earns his first Tony Award nomination.
Ruffalo directs the independent movie “Sympathy for Delicious,” which wins the ‘Special Jury Award’ at the Sundance Film Festival.
Making his first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ruffalo stars as the Hulk/Bruce Banner.
For his lead role in the movie “The Normal Heart,” he earns an Emmy nomination and wins a Screen Actors Guild Award.
For his role in the television miniseries, which he produces and stars in, Ruffalo wins his first Primetime Emmy Award for ‘Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.’
Why We Love Mark Ruffalo
He is socially and politically active
Ruffalo is known for taking vocal stands on issues that matter. He uses his fame to talk about issues such as climate change and fracking as well as political issues. He has even supported the first female Democrat elected as the Pennsylvania Attorney General — Kathleen Kane.
He is the guy next door
On-screen and off it too, Ruffalo comes across as someone genuinely affable. The roles he has played in romcoms portray him as a kind, authentic, and great person, which he also is in real life.
He owns every role
Be it acting, social activism, or theater, Ruffalo gives himself wholeheartedly to every role. At the same time, he is a doting father and family man, all of which endear him even more to fans.
5 Surprising Facts
He was a wrestler back in school
Following in the footsteps of his father, who was a wrestling champion, Ruffalo also competed in wrestling during junior and high school.
He auditioned over 800 times
Ruffalo has claimed that he auditioned for over 800 roles before finding success.
He is deaf in one ear
As a result of surgery to remove his brain tumor, Ruffalo was also left with hearing loss in his left ear.
He was in a Clearasil commercial
In 1992, before he was even famous, Ruffalo appeared in a television commercial for Clearasil.
He and Benicio Del Toro studied together
Ruffalo and Del Toro both attended the Stella Adler drama school in Los Angeles.
Mark Ruffalo FAQs
Is Mark Ruffalo Indian?
No, Ruffalo is not Indian and traces Italian and French-Canadian ancestry through his parents.
Is Mark Ruffalo married?
Yes, the Oscar-nominated actor has been married to Sunrise Coigney since 2000.
Does Mark Ruffalo have siblings?
Yes, the actor has three siblings, a brother Scott (deceased), and two sisters, Nicole and Tania.
Mark Ruffalo’s birthday dates