Mark Ruffalo

Mark Ruffalo

Ruffalo in June 2014
Born Mark Alan Ruffalo
(1967-11-22) November 22, 1967
Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S.
Residence New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor, producer, activist, director, humanitarian
Years active 1989–present
Spouse(s) Sunrise Coigney (m. 2000)
Children 3

Mark Alan Ruffalo (/ˈrʌfəl/, born November 22, 1967)[1] is an American actor, director, humanitarian, social activist and film producer.

He made his screen debut in an episode of CBS Summer Playhouse (1989), followed by minor film roles. He was part of the original cast of This Is Our Youth (1996), for which he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Following were his roles in 13 Going on 30 (2004), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Zodiac (2007), and What Doesn't Kill You (2008). In 2010, he starred in the psychological thriller Shutter Island and the comedy-drama The Kids Are All Right. For the latter, he received nominations for the SAG Award, BAFTA Award, and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also co-starred in the mystery films Now You See Me and Now You See Me 2 as FBI agent Rhodes.[2]

Ruffalo gained international prominence by portraying the Marvel Comics character the Hulk in The Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). He starred in and was the co-executive producer of the 2014 television drama film The Normal Heart, for which he was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie and he won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor in a TV Movie. The same year, he portrayed Dave Schultz in Foxcatcher, for which he was nominated for awards, including a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 2015, he was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Infinitely Polar Bear and also received BAFTA and Academy Award nominations for his role in the drama Spotlight.

Early life

Ruffalo was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin. His mother, Marie Rose (née Hebert), is a hairdresser and stylist, and his father, Frank Lawrence Ruffalo, Jr., worked as a construction painter.[3][4] He has two sisters, Tania and Nicole, and a brother, Scott (died 2008).[3] His father is of Italian descent, from Girifalco,[5] and his mother is of half French Canadian and half Italian ancestry.[6][7]

Ruffalo attended both Catholic school and progressive schools.[8] Ruffalo has described himself as having been a "happy kid",[9] although he struggled from undiagnosed dyslexia and ADD as a child and a young adult.[10]

Ruffalo spent his teen years in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where his father worked. He competed in wrestling in junior high and high school in Wisconsin and Virginia. Ruffalo graduated from Cox High School in Virginia Beach,[3] and then moved with his family to San Diego, California, and later to Los Angeles, where he took classes at the Stella Adler Conservatory and co-founded the Orpheus Theatre Company.[3] With the Orpheus Theatre Company, he wrote, directed, and starred in a number of plays, and spent close to a decade working as a bartender.[11]



Ruffalo had minor roles in films like The Dentist (1996), the low-key crime comedy Safe Men (1998) and Ang Lee's Civil War Western Ride with the Devil (1999). Through a chance meeting with writer Kenneth Lonergan, he began collaborating with Lonergan and appeared in several of his plays, including the original cast of This is Our Youth (1996), which led to Ruffalo's role as Laura Linney's character's brother in Lonergan's Academy Award-nominated 2000 film You Can Count on Me.[3] He received favorable reviews for his performance in this film, often earning comparisons to the young Marlon Brando, and won awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and Montreal World Film Festival.[3]

This led to other significant roles, including the films XX/XY (2002), Isabel Coixet's My Life Without Me (2003), Jane Campion's In the Cut (2003), Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), and We Don't Live Here Anymore (2004), which is based upon two short stories written by Andre Dubus.[3] He appeared opposite Tom Cruise as a narcotics detective in Michael Mann's crime-thriller Collateral (2004).[3]

In the mid 2000s, Ruffalo appeared as a romantic lead in View From the Top (2002), 13 Going on 30 (2004), Just Like Heaven (2005) and Rumor Has It (2005).[3] In 2006, Ruffalo starred in Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing! at the Belasco Theatre in New York, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play.[3] In March 2007, he appeared in Zodiac as SFPD homicide inspector Dave Toschi, who ran the investigation to find and apprehend the Zodiac killer from 1969 through most of the 1970s.[3] In 2007, Ruffalo played divorced lawyer Dwight Arno, who accidentally kills a child and speeds away, in Terry George's film Reservation Road, based on the novel by John Burnham Schwartz.

In 2008, Ruffalo starred as a con man in The Brothers Bloom with Adrien Brody and Rachel Weisz and co-starred with Julianne Moore in Blindness. 2008 also saw Ruffalo in Brian Goodman's What Doesn't Kill You with Ethan Hawke and Amanda Peet, which was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival. In 2009, he played a brief role in the film Where The Wild Things Are as Max's mother's boyfriend. In 2010, he co-starred in the Martin Scorsese thriller Shutter Island as U.S. Marshal Chuck Aule, the partner of Leonardo DiCaprio's character Teddy Daniels.[12]

In 2010, he starred in Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right, with Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. Ruffalo stated in an interview that he approached Cholodenko after watching High Art and said he would love to work with her. Years later, she called Ruffalo and said she wrote a script, and had him in mind for the part. His performance earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.[13]

Ruffalo at the Toronto premiere of The Avengers

Ruffalo starred in The Avengers (2012), the sixth installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, replacing Edward Norton as Dr. Bruce Banner / the Hulk.[14] Ruffalo received critical acclaim for his performance and is under contract to reprise the role in any future film appearances of the character produced by Marvel Studios.[15] Ruffalo also made an uncredited cameo appearance as Banner in Iron Man 3, making him the first actor to reprise the character in a live-action film. He reprised the role again in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and will do so once more in the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok.[16]

In 2014, Ruffalo starred as Ned Weeks in a television adaptation of Larry Kramer's AIDS-era play, The Normal Heart; his performance earned him an Emmy nomination. He says he has had an outpouring of support for his performance:

I've never had so sincere and vulnerable a response from people for anything that I've ever done.... And of everything that I've done since I've been on social media, which hasn't been that long, by the way, I haven't had such an overwhelmingly positive response as I have from The Normal Heart directly to me. And it's a blessing, man. If this is it, if I have a piano dropped on me tomorrow, then I would go down thinking, "You know what, I did okay as far as my career goes, because that's a gift. That's rare."[17]

In 2015, Ruffalo received his second Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of wrestler Dave Schultz in the biographical drama Foxcatcher. Later in the year, he starred as a bipolar father-of-two in the independent comedy film Infinitely Polar Bear, for which he earned a Golden Globe Award nomination, and he also appeared as journalist Michael Rezendes in the drama film Spotlight, for which he earned his third Academy Award nomination and a BAFTA Award nomination.


He made his directorial debut with Sympathy for Delicious, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize. On releasing the film, Ruffalo said, "I'm still looking for distribution. I have a couple offers on the table, but I'm holding out for something a little bigger. I've been screening it for a lot of groups, and people are really responding to it. I think they're scared of that movie."[18]

Personal life

Since June 2000, Ruffalo has been married to Sunrise Coigney and they have three children: son Keen (b. 2001), and daughters Bella Noche (b. 2005) and Odette (b. 2007). They live in Manhattan.[19]

After completing work on the film The Last Castle, Ruffalo was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, a type of brain tumor, and had surgery; the tumor was benign, but resulted in a period of partial facial paralysis.[4] He recovered from the paralysis; however, he became deaf in his left ear as a result of the tumor.[10]

On December 1, 2008, Ruffalo's brother, Scott, was shot at his Beverly Hills condominium,[20] and died a week later.[21]

Political views

Ruffalo is pro-choice. He has explained his stance by saying: "I don't want to turn back the hands of time to when women shuttled across state lines in the thick of night to resolve an unwanted pregnancy, in a cheap hotel room."[22]

He is also a supporter of LGBTQ+ rights.[23]

Ruffalo has suggested that the Zika virus is the inadvertent creation of a British biotech company that has been releasing genetically modified mosquitoes to combat dengue fever in Brazil.[24]

In 2008, Ruffalo expressed concern that gas companies were eyeing his family's land in Callicoon, New York. After doing his own investigation, New York magazine wrote, he becomes "anti-fracking's first famous face."[25]

On October 4, 2010, Ruffalo appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show to discuss hydraulic fracturing and the FRAC Act of 2009.[26] He claimed in the December 2010 issue of GQ magazine that after he organized screenings in Pennsylvania of a documentary about natural-gas-drilling called Gasland, he was placed on a terror advisory list.[27] The Department of Homeland Security denied the claim.[28]

The Solutions Project is an organization formed by engineering professor Mark Z. Jacobson (Stanford University), documentary filmmaker/activist Josh Fox and Mark Ruffalo, with the aim of moving The United States towards 100% renewable energy, including the use of wind power and solar power.[29] The organization says this energy transition is mainly social and political in nature, not technical.[30]

In 2014, Ruffalo spoke out against Israel's Operation Protective Edge, Israel's 7-week war against Hamas, tweeting: "Israel destroys el-Wafa hospital as staff evacuates all patients". After receiving criticism for defending Palestinians, Ruffalo responded: "Sorry, I thought blowing up Hospitals was something that all human beings could agree was off limits." Finally, in response to accusations of anti-Semitism, Ruffalo responded: "Empathizing w/ Gaza does NOT make me anti-Semitic, nor pro-Hamas or anti-Israel. It makes me human."

In 2016, Ruffalo narrated and produced Dear President Obama: The Clean Energy Revolution Is Now, a documentary by director Jon Bowermaster which looks at President Obama's environmental tenure and legacy concerning the massive expansion of oil and natural gas drilling.[31]

He has actively been involved in the protest of the pipelines in the Dakotas taking place at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.[32]


Awards and nominations


  1. "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly (1182). Nov 25, 2011. p. 30.
  2. "Now You See Me". May 31, 2013 via IMDb.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 "Mark Ruffalo". Inside the Actors Studio. Season 13. Episode 6. 2007-03-19. Bravo!.
  4. 1 2 Radar, Dotson (May 9, 2004). "I Wouldn't Give Any Of It Back". Parade. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved September 20, 2007.
  5. Grassi, Giovanna (June 18, 2015). "Mark Ruffalo: intervista con l'attore di Avengers". Elle. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  6. Wloszczyna, Susan (September 15, 2005). "Ruffalo ascends to the next level in 'Heaven'". USA Today. Archived from the original on October 17, 2013. Retrieved December 20, 2013. Ruffalo, an Italian-French-Canadian mix,,,
  8. "Mark Ruffalo Speaks Out For Women's Reproductive Rights (Video)". Huffington Post. January 23, 2014. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  9. Pearlman, Cindy (February 25, 2007). "Working on a killer movie". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. Retrieved September 20, 2007.
  10. 1 2 Hiatt, Brian (May 4, 2015). "The Hulk: The Last Angry Man". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media, Ltd. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  11. Dumenco, Simon. "The Kid Stays In the Pictures". New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  12. "Shutter Island Opens Doors For Home Video". April 19, 2010. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  13. "The Kids Are All Right interview". Mark Ruffalo Central. July 11, 2010. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  14. "TOLDJA! Marvel & Ruffalo Reach Hulk Deal". Deadline Hollywood. July 23, 2010. Retrieved July 23, 2010.
  15. Finke, Nikki (2010-07-23). "TOLDJA! Marvel & Ruffalo Reach Hulk Deal". Retrieved 2010-07-23.
  16. "Marvel Studios Confirms Stellar New Cast Members of the Highly Anticipated 'Thor: Ragnarok' - News -".
  17. Gerard, Jeremy. "Mark Ruffalo After 'Normal Heart': 'If A Piano Dropped On Me Tomorrow, I Did OK". Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  18. "Mark Ruffalo is Doing "All Right"". 2010-07-06. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
  19. Ellis, Josh. "Mark Ruffalo's Good Life Formula: 3 Kids, 1 Rabbit, 47 acres, 2,764 Miles From Hollywood", Men's Journal. June 2013; accessed April 26, 2015.
  20. Jones, Oliver (December 3, 2008). "Mark Ruffalo's Brother Shot in the Head". People.
  21. "Scott Ruffalo Dies from Gunshot Wound". People. December 9, 2008.
  22. Kira Cochrane (August 19, 2013). "Mark Ruffalo's pro-choice stance on abortion rights sets a powerful example". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  23. "Mark Ruffalo Reveals The Message Of "The Normal Heart" And The Personal Reason LGBT Equality Is Important To Him".
  25. "Fracklash". New York magazine. Sep 10, 2012.
  26. Mark Ruffalo Speaks Out Against Fracking Practices on The Rachel Maddow Show,, October 5, 2010.
  27. Buchanan, Kyle (November 24, 2010). "Mark Ruffalo Is on a Homeland Security Watch". New York. Archived from the original on May 2, 2014.
  28. Sanburn, Josh (November 30, 2010). "Does Pennsylvania Consider Actor Mark Ruffalo a Terrorist?". Time. Archived from the original on December 20, 2014.
  29. Appelgren, Jessica (2014-04-11). "Talking Solutions: Q and A with The Solutions Project Chief Operating Officer, Jon Wank - Saatchi & Saatchi S". Retrieved 2014-11-20.
  30. American Shows (2013-10-22). "Mark Jacobson interview on David Letterman October 9, 2013 [YouTube video]". Retrieved 2014-11-20.
  31. Mark Ruffalo Oscar-nominated actor, climate change activist; Hero", Jon Bowermaster Writer/Filmmaker/National Geographic "Ocean (March 17, 2016). "Dear President Obama: The Clean Energy Revolution is Now".

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