Mark Ruffalo

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Mark Ruffalo
Ruffalo at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Mark Alan Ruffalo

(1967-11-22) November 22, 1967 (age 56)
  • Actor
  • producer
Years active1989–present
WorksFull list
Political partyDemocratic
Sunrise Coigney
(m. 2000)
AwardsFull list

Mark Alan Ruffalo (/ˈrʌfəl/; born November 22, 1967[1]) is an American actor. He began acting in the early 1990s and first gained recognition for his work in Kenneth Lonergan's play This Is Our Youth (1996) and drama film You Can Count on Me (2000). He went on to star in the romantic comedies 13 Going on 30 (2004), Just like Heaven (2005) and the thrillers In the Cut (2003), Zodiac (2007), and Shutter Island (2010). He received a Tony Award nomination for his supporting role in the Broadway revival of Awake and Sing! in 2006. Ruffalo gained international recognition for playing Bruce Banner / Hulk since 2012 in the superhero franchise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Ruffalo gained nominations for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for playing a sperm-donor in the comedy-drama The Kids Are All Right (2010), Dave Schultz in the biopic Foxcatcher (2014), Michael Rezendes in the drama Spotlight (2015), and a debauched lawyer in the science fantasy Poor Things (2023). He won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor for playing a gay activist in the television drama film The Normal Heart (2015), and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor for his dual role as identical twins in the miniseries I Know This Much Is True (2020).

Early life and education[edit]

Mark Alan Ruffalo was born on November 22, 1967, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. His mother, Marie Rose (née Hébert), is a hairdresser and stylist, while his father, Frank Lawrence Ruffalo Jr., worked as a construction painter.[2][3] He has two sisters, Tanya Marie (died 2023) and Nicole, and a brother, Scott (died 2008).[2] His father is of Italian descent, from Girifalco, Calabria,[4] and his mother is of French Canadian and Italian ancestry.[5][6] His father was a Bahai, while his mother was Christian. [7] “I grew up in a household that had three religions in it, (born-again) Christianity, Catholicism and Bahai’ism, so there were different viewpoints and a lot of debate about that, and I immediately began to understand that all these people that I loved very much had very strong feelings about faith, but all of them were valid to me. I felt that none of them, my grandmother, my father or my mother, was better or worse than the other.”[8]

Ruffalo attended both Catholic and progressive schools throughout his education. Ruffalo has described himself as having been a "happy kid",[9] although he struggled with undiagnosed dyslexia and ADHD 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 First Colonial High School in Virginia Beach in 1986, where he acted for the Patriot Playhouse. He 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.[2] With the theater company, he wrote, directed, and starred in a number of plays. He also spent close to a decade working as a bartender.[11]


1989–2002: Early roles and theatre debut[edit]

He made his screen debut in an episode of CBS Summer Playhouse (1989),[12] followed by minor film roles. Ruffalo played 'Vinnie Webber', a minor character in Series 1 Episode 9 of Due South, first broadcast in Canada in 1994.[13] During this time he made his film debut in the horror film Mirror, Mirror II: Raven Dance (1994) followed by Mirror, Mirror III: The Voyeur (1995). He starred as Warren Straub in the original cast of the Kenneth Lonergan play This Is Our Youth (1996) off-Broadway. Lonergan was a founding member of Naked Angels, a theater company that Ruffalo also belonged to.[14]Ruffalo acted opposite Josh Hamilton and Missy Yager.[15] Ruffalo had minor roles in films including The Dentist (1996), the low-key crime comedy Safe Men (1998), and Ang Lee's Civil War western Ride with the Devil (1999).

Ruffalo reunited with Kenneth Lonergan acting in his film You Can Count on Me (2000). Ruffalo portrayed Laura Linney's character's brother.[2] The film received critical acclaim and two Academy Award nominations. 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.[2] His next role was in 2001 in Rod Lurie's The Last Castle playing a bookie in a military prison alongside Robert Redford. It led to other supporting roles, including the films XX/XY (2002), Isabel Coixet's My Life Without Me, John Woo's Windtalkers (2003), Jane Campion's In the Cut (2003) and We Don't Live Here Anymore (2004).

2003–2009: Established actor[edit]

Ruffalo at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008

In the mid-2000s, Ruffalo appeared as a romantic lead in numerous romantic comedies starting with View From the Top (2003) starring Gwyneth Paltrow. He then starred opposite Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30 (2004) which has since become a cult classic. That same year he also acted in Michel Gondry's romantic fantasy drama Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) starring Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey. In the film Ruffalo plays a supporting role as Stan who is a technician in charge of erasing people's memories of each other. That same year he acted opposite Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise as a narcotics detective in Michael Mann's crime thriller Collateral (2004).[2] Todd McCarthy of Variety praised Ruffalo writing, " [He] provides an extra dimension of intelligence to what initially looks like a stock cop role."[16] He starred in Just Like Heaven (2005) with Reese Witherspoon which was adapted from the French novel by Marc Levy entitled If Only It Were True. That same year he acted in the Rob Reiner romantic comedy Rumor Has It (2005) starring Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Costner and Shirley MacLaine.[2]

In 2006 he starred in the political drama remake All the King's Men acting opposite Sean Penn, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Anthony Hopkins. The film was adapted by Steven Zaillian based on the Robert Penn Warren 1946 novel of the same name. Also in 2006, Ruffalo made his Broadway debut starring as Moe Axelrod in Clifford Odets's Awake and Sing! at the Belasco Theatre in New York. Ruffalo acted alongside Lauren Ambrose, Pablo Schreiber and Zoe Wanamaker. Charles Isherwood of The New York Times wrote of his performance, "Nobody slings it with more panache than Mark Ruffalo, the soulful movie and stage actor making his Broadway debut here."[17] David Rooney of Variety wrote "The most arresting work onstage comes from Ruffalo, channeling prickly charm into a proud man who uses glib aggression to camouflage his frustration. Ruffalo’s scenes with Ambrose are the drama’s most electric moments".[18] The role earned him a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play nomination.[2]

In March 2007, he appeared in David Fincher's crime thriller 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.[2] Ruffalo acted opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr.. Critic Roger Ebert described Ruffalo's performance writing, "Ruffalo plays him not as a hotshot but as a dogged officer who does things by the book because he believes in the book". Toschi was role model for the Clint Eastwood film Dirty Harry.[19] That same year, 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.[20] 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.

2010–2019: Acclaim and Marvel films[edit]

Ruffalo at the premiere of The Kids Are All Right in Berlin (2010)

Ruffalo directed a number of plays during his time at the Orpheus Theatre Company, and made his feature film directorial debut with 2010 indie film Sympathy for Delicious starring Juliette Lewis, Laura Linney and Ruffalo,[21] which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize.[22][23] In March 2010, Ruffalo signed with the Creative Artists Agency (CAA);[24] in June 2010, he signed on with the United Talent Agency (UTA).[22]

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.[25] Also 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. Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter praised all three leads for their chemistry and performances writing, "Moore, Bening and Ruffalo all deliver endearingly quirky comic performances".[26] His role earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.[27]

Ruffalo at the Toronto premiere of The Avengers in 2012

Ruffalo starred in The Avengers (2012), the sixth installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, replacing Edward Norton as Dr. Bruce Banner / Hulk.[28] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian praised Ruffalo's work writing, "Ruffalo actually makes Bruce and Hulk interesting, even droll characters (he also plays the monster in mo-cap), superior to the Eric Bana and Edward Norton incarnations, and his version ingeniously locates the big green monster's secret not in the over-rehearsed subject of "anger management" but depression and self-hate."[29] He reprised the role again in Iron Man 3 (2013),[30] and in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015),[31]

In 2013 he starred in the romantic comedy Begin Again acting alongside Keira Knightley. The film received positive reviews and was a financial success. The following year, Ruffalo starred as Ned Weeks in the HBO television adaptation of Larry Kramer's AIDS-era play, The Normal Heart (2014), his performance earned him an Emmy nomination.[32] 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."[33]

Also in 2014, Ruffalo received his second Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of wrestler Dave Schultz in the biographical drama Foxcatcher directed by Bennett Miller. Ruffalo co-starred alongside Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Vanessa Redgrave. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian wrote of their performances, "Tatum and Ruffalo, as Mark and Dave, have outdone themselves. These actors give what seems to me the most compelling portrayal of brothers since Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro in Scorsese’s Raging Bull."[34] The next year in 2015, he starred as a father of two with bipolar disorder in the independent comedy film Infinitely Polar Bear, for which he earned a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy nomination.

Also in 2015 he portrayed journalist Michael Rezendes in the drama film Spotlight, for which he earned his third Academy Award nomination and a BAFTA Award nomination. Ruffalo acted opposite Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, and Liev Schreiber. Ruffalo told The Hollywood Reporter that he met with Rezendes and studied him as research for the film saying, "I spent a lot of time with the real journalist, I had meals with him. I talked with him for hours. I sat next to him at work, I watched him work the phones. I watched him write his stories. I talked to him about his life and his family. I had him give me tours of Boston. As much as I could soak him up seemed to be the most important part.".[35]

The following year he portrayed Agent Dylan Rhoades in Now You See Me 2 (2016) and executive produced the romantic drama Anything (2017). He returned to Broadway in the revival of the Arthur Miller play The Price (2017) at the American Airlines Theatre. Ruffalo acted opposite Danny DeVito and Tony Shalhoub. Marilyn Stasio of Variety wrote, "Ruffalo and DeVito clearly get a kick out of the buying and selling rituals of Victor and Solomon. There is warmth in their tones and mutual respect in their exchange of confidences".[36]

In 2019 he starred as Robert Bilott in the Todd Haynes directed legal thriller Dark Waters which he also produced. The film co-starred Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Pullman, and Victor Garber. During this time he reprised his role of Bruce Banner in Thor: Ragnarok (2017),[37] Avengers: Infinity War (2018),[38][39] Captain Marvel (2019),[40] and Avengers: Endgame (2019).[41] He has been noted for spoiling the endings of Avengers: Infinity War a year ahead of theatrical release,[38][39] as well as Avengers: Endgame a few weeks ahead of release.[41]


In 2020 Ruffalo portrayed dual roles of Dominick Birdsey / Thomas Birdsey in the HBO limited series I Know This Much Is True where he also served as an executive producer. Daniel D'Addario of Variety wrote, "Ruffalo’s performances carry the series. This is his two-man show, with supporting characters glimmering in and out".[42] For his role he earned the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie. Ruffalo has continued to appear as Bruce Banner / The Hulk in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2020)[43] and in the Disney+ series She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022).[44] In 2022 he acted in the Netflix science fiction action comedy The Adam Project opposite Ryan Reynolds, Jennifer Garner, and Zoe Saldana.

In 2023 he starred in the Yorgos Lanthimos directed black comedy fantasy film Poor Things starring Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe. The film premiered at the Venice International Film Festival where it received the Golden Lion. Maureen Lee Lenker of Entertainment Weekly wrote, "Ruffalo appears to be having the time of his life, chewing the scenery with a manic glee. He's built a career playing solid, decent men, and what fun it is to watch him play a reprobate cad [and] a puffed-up vainglorious peacock, a man whose ego is the size of an entire continent".[45] He received Critics' Choice, Golden Globe, and Academy Award nominations for his performance. The same year, he played Daniel LeBlanc in the Netflix miniseries All the Light We Cannot See (2023). The series is based on Anthony Doerr's Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name[46] and was released November 2, 2023.[47]

In 2024 he is set to portray Hieronymous Marshall in the Bong Joon-ho directed science fiction film Mickey 17. Ruffalo will act opposite Robert Pattinson, Steven Yeun, and Toni Collette. The film is based on the novel Mickey7 by Edward Ashton.[48]

Personal life[edit]

Ruffalo with wife Sunrise Coigney at the red carpet of What Doesn't Kill You in 2008

Ruffalo married Sunrise Coigney in 2000. They have three children.[49][50]

After completing work on the film The Last Castle, Ruffalo was diagnosed with a vestibular schwannoma, a type of brain tumor also known as an acoustic neuroma. The tumor was found to be benign; however, the surgery to remove the mass resulted in partial facial paralysis and affected his hearing.[51] The paralysis subsided after a year, but Ruffalo remains deaf in his left ear.[52]

On December 1, 2008, Ruffalo's younger brother, Scott, was found outside his home on North Palm Drive in Beverly Hills with an execution-style bullet wound to the head.[53][54] Scott was taken to a hospital, but died the following week.[55] The case remains unsolved. [56]

Ruffalo and his family live in Sullivan County, New York, and he describes the Catskills as his "home". Ruffalo also owns two apartments in New York City, one for business and another as an investment.[57] Ruffalo's mother and stepfather live in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, where he and his family occasionally spend their summers.[58]

In May 2022, Ruffalo was sued by residents of Ellenville, New York for not cleaning up a fire that broke out on the set of a car dealership that was used as a location for I Know This Much Is True.[59] The lawsuit claims that the residents suffered physical and emotional injuries and added that the fire caused damage to their homes and exposed them to toxic fumes.[60]

Activism and political views[edit]

Ruffalo with Medal of Honor recipient Retired U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Kyle Carpenter in 2014


In the 2016 election, Ruffalo supported Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.[61] While on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Ruffalo endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for president in 2020 United States presidential election, stating "you know when he gets in the office, he is going to be fighting for us".[62] In June 2017, Ruffalo posted a petition on Twitter urging NBC to stop hiring white conservative commentators.[63]

Ruffalo endorsed Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 UK general election. He tweeted: "Because @jeremycorbyn offers people an alternative to the Corporate status quo, which never ends well for them, I humbly endorse Corbyn."[64][65] Ruffalo signed a letter supporting Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn describing him as "a beacon of hope in the struggle against emergent far-right nationalism, xenophobia and racism in much of the democratic world" and endorsed him for in the 2019 UK general election.[66]

In November 2021, Ruffalo criticized the not guilty ruling in the case of Kyle Rittenhouse in his hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin and said the people shot by Rittenhouse were murdered.[67][68][69] In April 2022, Ruffalo urged voters to check voter ID requirements in their states through posts to his social media. Ruffalo cited VoteRiders as a source of assistance for voter ID requirements across the United States.[70][71]


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 became "anti-fracking's first famous face".[72] On October 4, 2010, Ruffalo appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show to discuss hydraulic fracturing and the FRAC Act of 2009.[73] He claimed in the December 2010 issue of GQ that after he organized screenings in Pennsylvania of a documentary about natural-gas-drilling called Gasland, he was placed on a terror advisory list.[74] The Pennsylvania Governor's Office of Homeland Security denied the claim.[75]

In March 2016, Ruffalo narrated and produced Dear President Obama: The Clean Energy Revolution Is Now, a documentary by director Jon Bowermaster which looks at President Barack Obama's environmental tenure and legacy concerning the massive expansion of oil and natural gas drilling.[76] In October 2017, Ruffalo actively supported the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline project.[77]

In 2019, Ruffalo starred in and co-produced Dark Waters, which spotlighted another one of his environmental concerns with its true-life depiction of a corporate lawyer's relentless pursuit of justice to expose poisonous pollution by chemical behemoth DuPont. In June 2020, Ruffalo appeared in a webinar conference for the Irish Green Party to encourage members to accept the recently negotiated programme for government, agreed between the party, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.[78]

In 2020, Ruffalo praised the closure of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, and called for the closure of additional nuclear power plants.[79]

Anti-war activism[edit]

In October 2019, Ruffalo tweeted that "until George W. Bush is brought to justice for the crimes of the Iraq War, (including American-led torture, Iraqi deaths & displacement, and the deep scars—emotional & otherwise—inflicted on our military that served his folly), we can't even begin to talk about kindness."[80]

In October 2020, speaking to Mehdi Hasan, Ruffalo condemned what he called Israel's "asymmetrical warfare" against the Palestinians, stating, "There is no reason that an ally of America should not be held to the same standards as any other nation in the world." Ruffalo also related that he had been called an antisemite for his views, saying, "[It's] really tough to hear. And the fact that so many people will take it to that extreme, when you're talking about that kind of inequality, that kind of oppression, that kind of apartheid."[81]

Ruffalo signed an October 2023 open letter of Artists4Ceasefire during the Israeli bombardment of Gaza.[82] In November 2023, Ruffalo criticized the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, for describing the civilian deaths during the Israeli attacks on Gaza as 'collateral damage.'[83] At the 96th Academy Awards, Ruffalo was one of several celebrities wearing an "Artists Call for Ceasefire Now" pin on his lapel, and he called out in support of protestors blocking the red carpet.[84]

Civil rights[edit]

Ruffalo is pro-choice. He has explained his opinion 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."[85] Ruffalo has called for an economic revolution, saying that "capitalism today is failing us, killing us, and robbing from our children's future."[86]

He has shown support for the LGBT community;[87] however, he has received backlash from the transgender community for supporting the casting of Matt Bomer, a cisgender man, to play a trans woman in the film Anything, on which Ruffalo was an executive producer.[88]

In 2015, Ruffalo supported "Education Is Not a Crime" campaign alongside other artists and intellectuals including Nazanin Boniadi, Abbas Milani, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Azar Nafisi, Omid Djalili, Eva LaRue, Mohammad Maleki (former president of the University of Tehran), and Nobel Peace laureates such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Shirin Ebadi, Tawakkol Karman, Jody Williams, and Mairead Maguire, to draw attention to the Iranian government's systematic denial of university education to young Baha'is.[89]

Historic preservation[edit]

In 2023, Ruffalo sought to block the sale of the West Park Presbyterian Church, which was built in the 1880s and has been designated a city landmark. The congregation said it could not afford the cost of maintaining the deteriorating church building and wanted to use the proceeds of the sale for charity work. Ruffalo said the church building should be saved. He lives in the church neighborhood and has started a campaign to raise money for the building.[90]

Conspiracy theories[edit]

Ruffalo expressed views in line with the 9/11 truth movement when he stated: "I'm baffled by the way all three buildings came down. My first reaction was that buildings don't fall down like that."[91]

February 2016, Ruffalo tweeted a Tech Times article in which a group of Argentinian doctors attributed the cause of a microcephaly outbreak in Brazil to the use of a larvicide chemical added to reservoirs of drinking water to combat dengue fever, rather than the Zika virus.[92] The New York Times described the claim as "dubious" and stated that those "sounding the alarm", did not mention that the larvicide did not work through the central nervous system and that it has been approved by the World Health Organization.[92]

Acting credits and awards[edit]

Ruffalo has had a range of credits on screen and stage, including several performances of varying genres—mostly as a supporting actor. With nominations for the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony, Ruffalo is one of a selected few performers to be nominated for the four major entertainment awards in the US (EGOT).


His EGOT recognitions are:


On 8 February 2024, accompanied by his wife Sunrise Coigney as well as his older two of three kids, Mark received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[93]


  • 2016: Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In (together with Bernie Sanders, the author), Macmillan Audio, ISBN 978-1-4272-8533-1

See also[edit]


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