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|Also Known As:||Philip Andre Rourke Jr.,Sir Eddie Cook||Died:|
|Born:||September 16, 1952||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Schenectady, New York, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor boxer good humor man parking lot attendant nightclub bouncer pretzel vendor|
Francis of Assisi ¿ to the Irish Republican Army. Despite the headlines, "Francesco" proved to be another bomb in what was fast becoming a disintegrating career. Meanwhile, Rourke did himself no favors when he began to acquire a reputation for being a loudmouth punk after bragging to reporters about his friendships with alleged mobsters within New York's Gotti organization. In 1994, he was arrested on domestic violence charges against his wife and "Wild Orchid" (1989) co-star Carrie Otis; the culmination of a rocky marriage which would run hot and cold for six years. But most of the damage to his reputation was caused by him listlessly walking through a series of roles, as was the case with the dreadful "Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man" (1991). With his acting career on the ropes, Rourke made a high-profile return to the boxing ring, saying later that "I had to go back to boxing because I was self-destructing. I had no respect for myself being an actor. So I went back to a profession which really humbled me." Despite winning all of his fights ¿ albeit against lesser opponents ¿ Rourke's numerous facial injuries alarmed a neurologist enough to force him into retirement. It was around this time that Rourke's heretofore classically handsome facial features began to undeniably change; rumors ran the gamut from collapsed cheek implants to one too many rounds to the face. Whatever it was, there was no denying his shifting visage and the impact it would have on the actor's ability to land leading man roles in the future.
Realizing his career would be over unless he could make the industry take him seriously again, Rourke shot for a comeback, but continued to pop up in a terrain of moribund crime dramas like "Bullet" (1995) and "Fall Time" (1995) as well as action drivel like "Double Team" (1997) alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dennis Rodman. He did, however, see a rise in his bankability that same year with his most effective screen appearance in ages, again oozing slime as the ethically-challenged lawyer Bruiser Stone of "John Grisham's 'The Rainmaker'" (1997), directed by Francis Ford Coppola. His cameo as a bookie in Vincent Gallo's directorial debut, "Buffalo 66" (1998), helped him along, though he could have done without his reprisal of the sexually obsessed stockbroker in "Another 9 ½ Weeks" (1997). Still struggling to find meatier leading roles, Rourke suddenly found his plate full with marginal projects like the direct-to-video releases "Thursday" (1998) and "Point Blank" (1998), though an appearance in Terrence Malick's lyrical war drama, "The Thin Red Line" (1998), was unfortunately left on the cutting room floor.
Rourke made had an unforgettable cameo in the edgy character-driven feature, "Animal House" (2000), playing a transvestite drag performer. The following year, he delivered a short, but emotionally poignant scene as a father mourning the loss of his daughter in Sean Penn's psychological drama, "The Pledge" (2001). In 2003, Rourke played a drug dealer in the dark comedy "Spun," a feature directed by Jonas Akerlund, then cameoed in director Bob Dylan's awful "Masked and Anonymous" (2003). Director Robert Rodriguez next cast him in a career-reviving role as Billy, an otherwise sinister enforcer whose menace is somewhat undermined because he carries around a small dog, in "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" (2003). But the true career resuscitation occurred two years later. Rourke reunited with Rodriguez when the director tapped him to play the iconic Marv, one of the antiheroes from writer-artist Frank Miller's crime noir comic book series "Sin City" (2005), which Rodriguez and Miller turned into a visually arresting and financially successful film. With his face covered in prosthetics to more perfectly provide an approximation of Marv's distinctively exaggerated rough-hewn features for "The Hard Goodbye" storyline, Rourke delivered a tour de force performance, alternately chilling and amusing that reminded any doubters that he was still a force to be reckoned with.
Now enjoying a decidedly happy upturn in his career, Rourke initially refused the role of bounty hunter Ed Moesby in "Domino" (2005), director Tony Scott's hyperkinetic pseudo-biopic of model-turned-tracker Domino Harvey (Keira Knightley), finding the role too conventional and uninteresting. But when Scott allowed Rourke to help shape the character into something more quirky and original, he attacked the role with his characteristic gusto. It had been a long, slow climb back from the bottom, but Rourke had returned with a spate of fresh, exciting performances that caused Hollywood to take notice. Most importantly, Rourke appeared determined not to blow his second chance at a career in front of the cameras. After appearing in the low-budget "Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker" (2006), Rourke received the most substantial critical kudos of his career for his leading performance in Darren Aronofsky's "The Wrestler" (2008), in which he played Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a washed-up pro wrestler forced years ago into retirement after suffering a heart attack in the ring. Now a deli worker living with an aging stripper (Marisa Tomei), Randy suddenly finds himself facing a life crisis when a rematch with his old nemesis, The Ayatollah (Ernest "The Cat" Miller), proves irresistible. Prior to the film's December 2008 release, the media hailed Rourke's performance, with some calling for an early Academy Award nod ¿ which he received soon after winning a Golden Globe for Best Leading Actor ¿ and true to form, the gossip began, with tabloids whispering of an alleged romance with his much younger "Wrestler" co-star Evan Rachel Wood. Either way, Rourke was back for a second shot at fame and fortune, signing on to several high profile projects, including "Iron Man 2" (2010), playing main villain Ivan Vanko/Whiplash to Robert Downey, Jr.'s Tony Stark/Iron Man.s intense portrayal of a sexually obsessed and domineering man who enjoyed food as aphrodisiac managed to put the actor on the female radar for, perhaps, the first time, making him a sex symbol for a short while. In "Barfly" (1987), Rourke delivered his most engaging performance since "Diner," playing a drunken, brawling, sometime writer whose long unwashed hair and unglamorous stubble made the actor almost unrecognizable at the outset ¿ the exact opposite of the handsome playboy of his previous project. Relaxing into the Charles Bukowski-inspired character, Rourke kept the film buoyantly alive throughout, elevating what could have been a depressing tale of losers into a low-life fairy tale leavened by considerable, unforced comedy.
Rourke delivered another intriguing and compelling performance in "Angel Heart" (1987), a murky, erotic and controversial thriller best described as occult film noir. Rourke played a washed-up, unkempt private detective who gets hired by a mysterious client (Robert De Niro) to find a missing singer owing a debt, only to find himself embroiled in a strange and evil case that leads to a direct conflict with the devil himself. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Rourke ¿ always a difficult person to work with ¿ became increasingly demanding and confrontational. His career, in fact, went into rapid decline, as his self-destructive tendencies came to the fore. Though some directors and actors sang his praises, others like "Angel Heart" director Alan Parker said that working with Rourke was "a nightmare," and that he was "very dangerous on the set." Not to be held down, Rourke took a stab at writing with "Homeboy" (1988), which portrayed him as the aptly-named Johnny Walker, an aging, alcoholic boxer who gets a second chance inside the ring with help from the mob. The dull, clichéd script and lack of overall appeal doomed the internationally financed production from the start.
With his next film, Rourke courted controversy by saying he donated part of his salary from "Francesco" (1989) ¿ in which he played St.
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