Mark Ruffalo was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to Marie Rose (Hebert), a stylist and hairdresser, and Frank Lawrence Ruffalo, a construction painter. His fathers ancestry is Italian, and his mother is of half French-Canadian and half Italian descent.
Mark Ruffalo was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to Marie Rose (Hebert), a stylist and hairdresser, and Frank Lawrence Ruffalo, a construction painter. His fathers ancestry is Italian, and his mother is of half French-Canadian and half Italian descent. Mark moved with his family to Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he lived out most of his teenage years. Following high school, Mark moved with his family to San Diego and soon migrated north, eventually settling in Los Angeles. He took classes at the Stella Adler Conservatory and subsequently co-founded the Orpheus Theatre Company, an Equity-Waiver establishment, where he worked in nearly every capacity. From acting, writing, directing and producing to running the lights and building sets while building his resume. Bartending for nearly nine years to make ends meet and ready to give it all up, a chance meeting and resulting collaboration with playwright/screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan changed everything. Ruffalo won NY success in Lonergans play This Is Our Youth, which led to the male lead in Lonergans film You Can Count on Me (2000), playing the neer-do-well brother of Laura Linney. The performance drew rave reviews and invited comparisons to an early Marlon Brando. Notable roles in The Last Castle (2001), XX/XY (2002), and Windtalkers (2002) followed, although in 2002 Ruffalo was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, a type of brain tumor. Though the tumor was benign, the resulting surgery led to a period of partial facial paralysis, from which he fully recovered. In 2003, Ruffalo scored leading roles alongside two popular female stars, playing a police detective opposite Meg Ryan in In the Cut (2003) and the love interest of Gwyneth Paltrow in the comedy View from the Top (2003).