6/5/1971 (50 years old) Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Back in the early '90s, when this rebel-turned-rapper was showing off his talent by sporting a pair of boxers in racy Calvin Klein ads, no one could have predicted that he would become a dashing, Oscar-nominated movie star. But Wahlberg has a long tradition of defying expectations. The younger brother of New Kids on the Block's Donnie Wahlberg, this working-class hunk was an original member of the boy band but quit before they came to fame. A troubled teen, Wahlberg had a number of run-ins with the law, including a drug-induced attack on a Vietnamese man that earned him a stint in jail and a racist reputation. With his brother's help as producer, he turned his life around and launched a music career of his own. As rapper Marky Mark, the pretty-boy leader of the Funky Bunch, Wahlberg became a teen idol. But to the hard-core hip-hop community he was joke, a one-hit wonder ("Good Vibrations") destined for pop-culture oblivion. Reinventing himself once again, Wahlberg turned to acting. His big break came in the lauded 1997 indie Boogie Nights. As a well-endowed, blue-collar kid who becomes a '70s porn icon, Wahlberg was a revelation. Boasting charisma and surprising range, he was equally convincing as a sexy stud and a strung-out has-been. From then on, the budding star chose his projects carefully, signing on to a string of highly anticipated pictures. Unfortunately, many of them failed to live up to their buzz (The Yards, the Charade remake titled The Truth About Charlie, Rock Star) and even the ones that did make money (A Perfect Storm, the remake of The Planet of the Apes) took critical drubbings. As the romantic lead in yet another remake, the 2003 ensemble heist flick The Italian Job, he scored a commercial and critical hit. The next year, he branched out into producing with the autobiographically inspired HBO series Entourage, about a hot Hollywood heartthrob and his hangers-on. But it was his turn as a Boston cop in 2006's The Departed that finally earned him industry respect in the form of Golden Globe and Oscar nods. He earned a second Oscar nomination for producing The Fighter (2010); that same year, he began producing a new show for HBO, Boardwalk Empire. Wahlberg had a huge hit in 2012 with Seth MacFarlane's Ted, and joined the Transformer franchise in Transformers: Age of Extinction in 2014. Wahlberg continued his steady work, starring and producing both Deepwater Horizon (which was nominated for two Oscars) and Patriots Day (about the Boston Marathon bombing) in 2016.