The fascinating life of Mickey Rourke is a Hollywood blockbuster in its own right. A difficult childhood set him on the equally troublesome path in life. Rourke hit the rock bottom more times than anyone is willing to count but somehow managed to find his way back in life.
Even though deleting him from every cast list in Hollywood for a decade due to his numerous feuds with some of the most powerful people in the show business made him self-destructive and depressed, he eventually boxed his way back to the screen.
A strongly opinionated actor never apologized for his views and public statements making him one of the very few people that actually stood their ground in the business. To find out whatever happened, and how Mickey Rourke came to be one of the most controversial movie stars – keep on reading.
Philip Andre Rourke, Jr. was born on September 16th, 1952 in Schenectady, New York. His parents divorced when his father left the family, leaving his mother Annette, his brother Joey, sister Patricia and Mickey in dire straits. The actor was raised as Catholic, being that his father was Irish and mother of Scottish descent, a faith that he still practices today. Being left and forgotten by his father at the age of six had a snowball effect on Mickey Rourke’s life, both personal and professional.
Soon after, Annette married a Miami Beach policeman Eugene Addis who had five sons of his own. Once the two families merged the household became hectic and problematic. Mickey Rourke claimed later in life that his stepfather didn’t care about him and his siblings much and was abusive, physically and mentally, to them and their mother. Regardless, Annette stayed with Addis for 35 years, from 1958 till 1993. Today, Mickey and his mom are not very close communicating very rarely.
Mickey’s younger brother Joseph, or Joey, was also trying to become an actor back in the 80s. He did score a few minor roles in “Wild Orchid” and “The Last Outlaw”, but never managed to hit the stardom. Mickey and Joey stuck together through some hard times in Addis’s home in Florida which made their relationship unbreakable further in life. In 2004, Joseph passed away from lung cancer which triggered Mickey to partially write “The Wrestler” putting on display his deep feelings for his late brother.
Patricia, Patty, Rourke is still living in Florida and is married to Tim Fine. The relationship between Mickey and the youngest sibling Patty is unknown, although there have been some rumors of it being non-existent or at least very strained. Supposedly, Rourke had another sister from his mother’s marriage with Addis, but this was never confirmed or denied by the actor or anyone else in the family, so it remains a mystery to this day.
Being the victim of his stepfather’s constant relentless abuse, Mickey had the need to find a way to fend for himself at an early age. The actor took on some self-defense classes at the Boys Club of Miami which led him straight to the boxing ring. At the time, boxing was one of the most popular sports and it felt like a perfect match for a troubled teen.
He had his first match at the age of 12 in a flyweight category and won going by the name of Phil Rourke. His persistent training brought him a good reputation as a boxer. At the age of 17, he got into a ring with former World Welterweight Champion Luis Rodriguez, the number one middleweight boxer in the world. Rourke claimed that he suffered a concussion during the match. Later on, when he was 19, he sustained more blows to the head forcing him to withdraw from pursuing a boxing career. His development as a professional boxer came to a halt, but his love for the sport remains to this day.
In all Rourke collected an amateur boxing record of 27 wins and 3 defeats in just nine years. He was 21 when he finally hung up the gloves.
First steps on the stage
With his boxing career on indefinite hold, Rourke took a small part in the High school play “The Serpent”. He wasn’t in love with acting right away since his main focus still remained on getting back in the ring. The turning point came with acting in a small production of the University of Miami – “Deathwatch”. Rourke became infatuated with acting immediately moving to New York to study at the famous Actors Studio. The biggest names in Hollywood were part of the alumni including, Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro, and Al Pacino. A renowned director, Elia Kazan, said that it was the best audition in the past thirty years. Rourke was admitted right away in his first audition.
Sandra Seacat was a famous tutor and alumni at the Actors Studio that took Mickey under her wing. Her special approach to acting combined yoga and psychology to achieve a perfect focus. Later in life, Mickey credited Seacat for having a great impact on his acting career as well as his personal life. Sandra also insisted that Mickey gets in touch with his father after 20 years of holding a grudge for leaving their family.
First acting roles
Rourke’s first gigs in the late 70s were insignificant roles in television movies. His first break was in Steven Spielberg’s “1941” and in “Fade in Black” form 1981. That same year the world paid attention to Mickey Rourke for the first time for his small, but significant, role in “Body Heat”. In 1982, Barry Levinson’s “Diner” was released and Rourke was finally recognized for his talent. The National Society of Film Critics named him Best Supporting Actor that year.
“Rumble Fish”, the sequel of “The Outsiders”, came out in 1983 from the workshop of the renowned director Francis Fors Coppola. Rourke found himself in the company of the elite cast including Matt Dillon, Dennis Hopper, Diane Lane, Larry Fishburn, and Nicolas Cage. Mickey played the part of the Motorcycle boy who is coming back to town bringing some different views that will impact other characters. The movie was slammed by critics as being one of the bleakest releases by Coppola. Regardless of the critics’ view of the film, many young actors at the time found their place under the Hollywood sun thanks to this picture.
“The Pope of Greenwich Village” (1984) is a dark comedy crime drama kind of movie. A bit of everything nicely put together in one compact story. Rourke’s appearance was noticeable but forgetful. He played along with Eric Roberts and Daryl Hanna who made a true impact and was nominated for the Academy Award for the Best Supporting Actress for the two scenes she played in the film.
Before “50 shades of Gray”, there was John Gray, aka Mickey Rourke, in the unforgettable erotic drama “9 1/2 Weeks” (1986). Acting alongside the absolute sex symbol of the 80s, Kim Basinger, the on-screen chemistry of the movie couple failed to pump the numbers in the US theatres. However, the European audience together with Canadian and Australian crowds were elated by the movie’s electrifying atmosphere. The soundtrack only, Joe Cocker’s “You can leave your hat on” song, grossed over $100 million overseas.
Still, in the US, the film had to be heavily edited to reach the cinemas at all. After three years of going back and forth with the producers, the movie was finally released and it was a big flop across the States. Rotten Tomatoes gave it 7% approval. On the other hand, among the international public, the passionate romance between a gallery employee, Basinger, and a mysterious Wall St. broker, Rourke, that lasted 9-and-a-half weeks left a deep artistical mark in the world cinema.
“Angel Heart” (1987) is a highly controversial psychological thriller directed by Alan Parker. Its top-notch cast consisted of Robert DeNiro, Lisa Bonet, and Mickey Rourke. The film tackles the issues of faith, good and evil, and leaves you wondering about the intentions of God and Lucifer. The movie itself dips into the religious questions that are extremely delicate. When you add some very explicit sex scenes into the mix you can be sure that the movie is going to make a splash without a doubt. A few weeks before the release the film was warned to delete some scenes if they want to avoid being X-rated. The producers applied enough pressure on Parker and the movie barely received an R rating at the end.
The American audience was split about the movie, but it was widely praised by European critics and crowds alike. Christopher Nolan was inspired by “Angel Heart” to make his cult film “Memento”. Strictly financially speaking, the movie didn’t do great, making less than they invested. Nevertheless, 35 years later, it’s still one of the must-see movies of all time.
The 1988 boxing drama “Homeboy” brought Mickey Rourke back to his roots. His love for boxing never died down, and he was shining in the movie. When it comes to critics, and the public as a whole, it was a box office bomb. Rourke played a fiery boxer indifferent to his injuries, along with Christopher Walken as his cunning manager who pushed him despite the life-threatening harm. The US audiences were not exactly smitten and the movie was quickly released on DVD, and later on BluRay in 2023.
“Wild Orchid” (1989) is another movie disputed by the MPAA and the American audience. The plot revolves around a newbie eager to prove herself in a huge corporation, played by Carre Otis, and a wealthy investor James Wheeler living in Rio De Janeiro, played by Mickey Rourke.
Zalman King, the director, tried to push the movie as being R-rated, but the Motion Picture Association was not having it. The main issue was that the two main protagonists, Otis and Rourke, became romantically involved during the shooting of the movie, and in one of the scenes, the couple actually had sexual intercourse, for real, that was captured on camera and made the cut in the film. King had no comment on the subject, and the couple later denied it. After deleting those scenes, for the public at least, the movie received an R rating.
A little digression needs to be made here about their relationship, and later marriage. The bad boy met the Playboy model and it was love at first sight. The stars aligned perfectly for these two. The love lasted from 1989 to 1998 and it was a real-life movie on its own. Passionate, thrilling, and uplifting passion proved to be a bit too much for a troublesome, short-fuse, Rourke and a heroin-infused Otis. By this time Mickey already had two attempted suicides behind him. Overwhelmed by love, desire, and jealousy, and armed with a .38 caliber revolver along with a six-page letter to his estranged wife Carre, Mickey Rourke knocked on the door of Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Hell’s Kitchen in 1994.
“I was in the worst shape I’d ever been in, and then this big dude appears and says ‘Hi,'”Rourke told The NY Post. The “big dude” was a Father Pete, or officially Reverend Peter Colapietro. Seeing the out-of-control Rourke, Father Pete took him to the basement of the church for some chain-smoking session and red wine. Father Pete also grabbed a bible, and told the actor, “Show me in the bible where it says vengeance is mine, Mickey Rourke, and I will help you load bullets in your gun”. Eventually, Mickey gave up on taking his life and Father Pete put his farewell letter to his wife under the statue of St. Jude, the patron of lost causes. Very appropriate.
The story behind the incident is worthy of a whole ‘nother movie flick. Carre Otis was a heavy drug user, hooked on heroin nodding out most of the time. For an unknown reason a man, possibly a dealer, beat her up. Mickey was accused of spousal abuse but firmly denied the allegations. Rourke was convinced it was an Italian model scout who harmed his estranged wife and was saving a bullet for him, too. Luckily, Father Pete talked him out of it.
The turbulent marriage ended in 1998, and Carre Otis published a book “Beauty Disrupted” in 2011 with details about her relationship with Rourke. Among other atrocities, she revealed that the Italian guy did not beat her up, but another man that Mickey Rourke did not even know. So, now you see the significance of Rourke walking into that church and abandoning the idea of killing himself and the mysterious man, all in the name of the forsaken marriage with Carre Otis. They made a mutual decision not to reproduce offsprings.
In 1990 “Desperate Hours” came out and was massacred by the critics calling it “one of those films that shouldn’t be released – even on parole”. As for Rourke, he nearly got a Razzie Award for the worst actor losing it to Andrew Dice Clay. Mickey Rourke was dismissed by every other movie selection committee for “Wild Orchid” also and was nominated for the Razzie. Lost that one, too.
Be that as it may, Rourke was still offered some roles in the iconic movies like 48 Hrs., Platoon, Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop, Rain Man, The Silence of the Lambs, and Pulp Fiction, but he turned them down. Butch Coolidge’s role was meant for Rourke. “Where’s my Honda?” scene would be very different with Mickey on that chopper.
Mickey Rourke’s nightmarish temper, passionate aggressiveness, undeniable supreme intelligence, and inability to nod his head at every proposition from producers and directors got him blacklisted in Hollywood. Soon he fell to the bottom of the casting choices.
Haunted by the childhood abuse Mickey Rourke always had the need to stay on guard. With declining self-esteem as an actor and increasing autodestruction both on a professional and personal level Mickey Rourke lost his way in life once again. After being butchered by movie critics, he turned to the one thing he knew how to do right – boxing.
In 1991, he went back to his first love winning six fights and having two draws. Rourke fought around the world – Japan, Germany, Spain, and many other countries. As a consequence, he suffered many broken bones including nose, ribs, and toes. And a lot of concussions and short-term memory loss. This required many reconstructive plastic surgeries, from cheekbones, chin, and a forehead. Mickey Rourke also assigned all his plastic surgeries to his boxing injuries.
Fun fact – Rourke always entered the ring with Guns ‘n’ Roses “Sweet Child Of Mine” blasting in his headphones. However, being almost 40 years of age, Mickey was too old to fight young boxers in top shape. Being trained by Chuck Zito, a Hell’s Angeles member and a celebrity bodyguard did not help. His time has passed as far as making a name in boxing. “I just wanted to give it a shot, test myself that way physically, while I still had time”, Rourke said about his semi-successful boxing comeback.
Eternally devoted to boxing, Rourke took upon himself some exhibition matches in 2014. A 62-year old was fighting a 29-year old Russian boxer, Elliot Seymour and it didn’t end well for Mickey. The young fighter publicly stated that he was paid to throw the gloves in the second round. Rourke’s boxing career ended with this infamous match.
Acting in the 90s and 2000s
The 90s were especially cruel to Mickey Rourke partly due to his bad decisions. He did score some roles here and there, like a minor part in “Thursday” and a lead role in 1997’s “Double Team”, which co-starred Jean-Claude Van Damme and former NBA player Dennis Rodman. He also shot a sequel “Another 9 1/2 Weeks” that got mixed reviews at best. All of this was a far cry from the 80s sex symbol and the talented actor that swooped legendary directors, like Kazan, off their feet. Rourke continued to fight his internal demons for most of his life trying to find his place in the world. A grown-up man hid that little Philip Rourke inside him that was starving for love and approval.
The next decade brought him somewhat better times. He starred in the music video of Enrique Inglesias’s “Hero”. In 2004 Rourke patched up his relationships with Robert Rodriguez and Tony Scott who gave him tiny roles in “Once Upon A Time In Mexico” and “Man On Fire”. This was only in the name of the good ol’ times and witty Mickey grabbed the opportunities with both hands. It turned out to be a smart move on his side. Reconnection with Rodriguez got him back into the Hollywood crowd by scoring a famous part in neo-noir crime anthology “Sin City”. This comic book adaptation got him back on the critics’ radar too who praised him for his performance and undeniable talent.
Despite being in and out of love with acting, Mickey Rourke got an offer in 2008 that he couldn’t refuse. He nailed the performance of Randy “The Ram” Robinson and was wildly and widely praised by critics and audiences alike. It was neither confirmed nor denied by the director Darren Aronofsky that the character was based on Jake “The Snake” Roberts. In any way, it put Mickey Rourke’s acting skills on full display almost in a vengeful manner to the naysayers. He perfectly depicted the soulful portrait of a man who cannot find peace outside of the ring. To the general public that has no knowledge of any sports, wrestling and boxing may seem similar.
Putting that aside, here’s what Rourke said to MTV about the part: “I knew 10 days into making this movie that this would be the best movie I ever made, and I knew after three days that it would be the hardest movie I ever made. I didn’t have a wrestling background. People like to go, “Oh, he was an ex-professional boxer — he can do the wrestling.” Wrestling and boxing are like Ping-Pong and rugby. There’s no connection. These guys get really hurt. You’ve got guys who are 265 [pounds] throwing you across the ring. They take several years to learn how to land. I landed like a lump of sh–. Every bone in my body vibrated. Darren would go, “Let’s do it again!” I was like, “Give me five f—ing minutes to relax!” Here’s a guy whose only exercise he ever did was lifting his fork to his mouth, and he’s going, “C’mon, Mickey, you’re only giving me 50 percent!” That’s part of his thing, to push my buttons”.
“The Wrestler” won Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for the Best Film.
And in case you were wondering about the ending – spoiler alert – yes, he died in the ring. Just the way he wanted.
From 2010 to 2012 he got some small roles in “Iron Man 2”, “Immortals” and Stallone’s “The Expendables”. Every second of his part was commended. Seemed like the bad boy pushing 60s was on the right track again. Everyone who ever appreciated him put their hands together in hopes that this was his final salvation from a difficult past and not just another nice episode of his life. To prove to himself and to his fans that he’s done with being the poster boy for the trouble he reprised his Marv role from Sin City in the sequel “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” in 2014.
In 2023, Rourke took part in the American TV Show “The Masked Singer” where the audience had to guess the celebrity singing underneath the head-to-toe costume. Mickey being Mickey, felt very hot in the costume and took it off before the crowds had the chance to guess. No surprise there.
Personal life battles
The “Sweet Child Of Mine” fan obviously had a tendency to mix work and pleasure. Mickey was married two times, both times for his co-stars. The first one was Debra Feuer, his “Homeboy” second lead. “I married as a young man to Debra Feuer. She was a dancer, and I married the first good-looking girl I thought I’d ever had a chance with. I made it clear that I didn’t want to marry an actress, so as soon as her manager started pushing her that way, I was out of the door”, the actor said about his relationship with the fellow actress.
Mickey’s relationship and the latter marriage with Carre Otis were well documented in the media. The couple churned the rumor mill with, unconfirmed, unsimulated sex scene in “Wild Orchid”. The couple was on and off for nine years but after all said and done remained on speaking terms. In 1998 they called it quits, and subsequently, Carre Otis married environmental scientist Matthew Sutton in 2005. They have two children. Mickey Rourke has no children that he knows of so far.
For the past eleven years, which is a lifetime in Hollywood years, Mickey has been dating a Russian model Anastassija Makarenko (34).
Not much is known about this beauty except that she moved to Germany as a child and pursued a modeling career. Her mother pushed her into the fashion industry at a young age in hopes that she will get signed and get some work. And she did. Modeling career took off, and Anastassija dipped her toes a bit in the entertainment industry as well. This is probably when she was spotted by Mickey Rourke and the romance took off.
A hard-headed Mickey Rourke learned in time to bend his views to accommodate the current establishment and public opinions. To know what he stands for, we would need to look into his past statements and actions. To see how well he wised up in the meantime we would have to compare it to recent claims. So, let’s mash the two together in hopes of getting the true Mickey Rourke’s opinion on various topics.
Back in 1989 Rourke publicly revealed that he donated $2 million to the IRA member Joe Doherty in his fight for US asylum. Doherty ambushed a British soldier killing him in 1980 in Belfast, Nothern Ireland. Consequently, he was put in prison. His escape involved a shoot-out with the police and holding a prison officer hostage. Eventually, Doherty has been released thanks to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 ending the violence in Northern Ireland.
In 2006, Rourke gave open, public, support to the former American president George W. Bush and his fight in Iraq. He fully extended his admiration in 2009 after the London bombings four years prior.
Mickey Rourke’s support for the Russian president Vladimir Putin is very complex it seems. At first, in 2014, he was seen wearing a shirt with Putin’s portrait. “If I didn’t like him, I wouldn’t buy the T-shirt, believe me. I met him a couple of times and he was a real gentleman. Looked me right in the eye”, Rourke said at the time. However, later he stated that the only reason he bought the shirt is for the proceeds that went to an ailing Ukrainian boy.
In 2015 he left the Republican point of view due to Donald Trump running for president. Rourke had some personal issues with Trump dating back in the 90s when Mickey and 2Pack were staying at the Plaza Hotel causing damage to the hotel room. Rourke claims it was only around $6,000 worth of destruction, while Trump sued for $28K. Since then, Rourke called Trump a “bully” and a “garbage can” president.
Since the fallout with the Republican party, Mickey Rourke changed camp and officially supported Joe Biden and later Kamala Harris as the vice president.
Small breed dogs have been a part of the actor’s life for decades. A proven pet lover and a spokesperson for PETA was given his first small dog by Carre Otis, his second wife. Disappointed in humans, Rourke swayed his love towards dogs. Mickey referred to Loki, a chihuahua mix, as “the love of his life”. In the acceptance speech of Golden Globes in 2009, he gave all the credit to his dogs for being alive. And for being there for him when no one else was.
“Yeah, I didn’t want to be here, but I didn’t want to kill myself. I just wanted to push a button and disappear… I think I hadn’t left the house for four or five months, and I was sitting in the closet, sleeping in the closet for some reason, and I was in a bad place, and I just remember I was thinking, “Oh, man, if I do this,” [and] then I looked at my dog, Beau Jack, and he made a sound, like a little almost human sound. I don’t have kids, the dogs became everything to me. The dog was looking at me going, ‘Who’s going to take care of me?'”, Rourke recalled his experience. Today, he spends most of his $10 million estimated net worth on his furry buddies.
Considering everything that he’s been through can you really judge him? Repeatedly betrayed by people the only natural course of action was to turn to animals. Maybe Mickey Rourke is looking for loyalty all this time. Or, perhaps he’s sick and tired of being sick and tired and just decided to give love to the living beings that give so much more in return. Possibly, he’s overwhelmed by the deceit and brutality of the movie industry. Only Mickey Rourke knows the answers. Hang in there, stunner.