Mickey Rourke

Though he emerged onto the film scene loaded with talent and promise, actor and former amateur boxer Mickey Rourke squandered what could have been a long, prominent career, thanks to pride and his combative nature. Rourke first made his presence known with a scene-stealing role as an arsonist in the erotic film noir, Body Heat (1981), followed with ensemble films Diner (1982) and Rumble Fish (1983) – roles that would be looked back upon as the beginnings of his greatness. Rourke was singled out by several critics as being the one to watch. With his career on a fast upward trajectory, he landed leading roles in Pope of Greenwich Village, The Year of the Dragon, and 9 Weeks. It was in Barfly (1987) that Rourke gave his most engaging performance since Diner. But he was already becoming known as difficult to work with and a liability on set. With his acting career on the skids, he returned to boxing but after suffering numerous facial injuries he was forced to retire – and gone were his leading man looks. Thus began a series of indescript roles and films until in 2003, Roberto Rodriguez cast him in a career-reviving role in Once Upon a Time in Mexico leading to roles in Sin City and Domino. Hollywood took notice, and Rourke seemed determined not to blow his second chance. In 2008, Rourke won the Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Oscar for his performance of Randy “The Ram” Robinson in The Wrestler.