Early lifeRuffalo was born November 22, 1967 in the industrial town of Kenosha, Wisconsin, of Italian and French Canadian descent.His mother, Marie Rose, was a hairdresser and stylist, and his father, Frank Lawrence Ruffalo, Jr., worked as a construction painter. Of his father, Ruffalo has said, "He was an amazing, charismatic guy who was city high school wrestling champion three times. He was away a lot when I was growing up. I was very lonely for him.” Ruffalo has two sisters, Tania and Nicole, and a brother, Scott (who died in December 2008). Ruffalo has described himself as having been a "happy kid" and his upbringing as taking place in a "very big Italian family with lots of love". He attended a progressive school and was raised around the local Bahá'í community, of which his father was a member. Ruffalo spent his teen years in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where his father worked. Ruffalo graduated from First Colonial High School. He then moved with his family to San Diego, California and later to Los Angeles, California, where he took classes at the Stella Adler Conservatory and co-founded the Orpheus Theatre Company. With the OTC, he wrote, directed, and starred in a number of plays and spent the next nine years earning his money as a bartender.
ActingRuffalo had minor roles in films like The Dentist (1996), the low-key crime comedy Safe Men (1998) and Ang Lee's acclaimed Civil War Western Ride with the Devil (1999). Through a chance meeting with writer Kenneth Lonergan, Ruffalo began collaborating with Lonergan and appeared in several of his plays, including the original cast of This is Our Youth (1998), which led to Ruffalo's role as Laura Linney's troubled, aimless drifter brother Terry in Longeran's acclaimed, Academy Award-nominated 2000 film You Can Count on Me. 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.
This led to other significant roles, including the films XX/XY (2002), Isabel Coixet's My Life Without Me alongside Sarah Polley (2003), Jane Campion's In the Cut alongside Meg Ryan (2003), Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), and We Don't Live Here Anymore (2004), which is based upon two short stories written by Andre Dubus. He appeared opposite Tom Cruise as a narcotics detective in Michael Mann's acclaimed crime-thriller Collateral (2004). More recently, Ruffalo has appeared as a romantic lead in "chick flicks" such as View From the Top (2002), 13 Going on 30 (2004), Just Like Heaven (2005) and Rumor Has It (2005). In 2006, Ruffalo starred in Clifford Odets's Awake and Sing! at the Belasco Theatre in New York, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play. In March 2007, he appeared in 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. In 2007 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.
In 2008, Ruffalo starred as a con man in The Brothers Bloom with Adrien Brody and Rachel Weisz. Also in 2008, he starred along with Julianne Moore in "Blindness". 2008 also saw Ruffalo in Brian Goodman's What Doesn't Kill You, with Ethan Hawke and Amanda Peet. It was shown at the Toronto Film Festival. In 2009, he played a brief role in the film Where The Wild Things Are as Max's mother's boyfriend. In 2010, he costarred in the Martin Scorsese thriller Shutter Island as U.S. Marshal Chuck Aule, the partner of Leonardo Dicaprio's character Teddy Daniels.
He is currently stars in Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right, with Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. Ruffalo said 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 she had him in mind for the part.
He is set to star in Second Coming, a low-budget indie film. According to Production Weekly, it is being produced by Richard N. Gladstein, Laura Bickford, and Ludovic Dardenay. The movie is set to star, along with Ruffalo, Marion Cotillard, Ethan Hawke, Anjelica Huston, and Thandie Newton. It is set to be the directorial debut of Nenad Cicin-Sain.
On July 23, 2010, it was announced that Ruffalo will join actors Chris Evans, Robert Downey, Jr and Chris Hemsworth among others for the upcoming movie The Avengers in 2012 as Bruce Banner.
DirectingSympathy for Delicious, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize. On releasing the film, Ruffalo said, "I'm still looking for distribution. I have a couple offers on the table, but I'm holding out for something a little bigger. I've been screening it for a lot of groups, and people are really responding to it. I think they're scared of that movie." Of directing, he says, "I liken it to an actor gets to eat one slice, and a director gets to eat the whole pie. [laughs] You get to collaborate with gifted people who are good at their craft, so you're orchestrating all these different mediums. You're helping people through the script to realize their own talents. I find that really satisfying, and I felt like being in front of the camera is so intense and self-involved and personal, and directing isn't like that for me. It's a much more communal experience. Last year at this time, I was like, 'I'm not going back to acting, man. No way, it's done.' I haven't worked in a year. It's really taken me that long to get back to my love for what I do for acting. I would like to do 50-50, if I could. Really, I'd just be directing right now, but I can't support my family doing that at this moment, and I love acting. It's not a bad position to be in."
Personal lifeacoustic neuroma, a type of brain tumor, and had surgery; the tumor was benign, but resulted in a period of partial facial paralysis. He fully recovered from the paralysis and returned to good health as well as an active life and movie career.
On December 1, 2008, Ruffalo's brother, Scott, was shot at his Beverly Hills condominium, with one report describing the shooting as "execution-style" in the back of the head. Scott died on December 8, 2008. Police took two people into custody: a woman who is considered a suspect and a man considered a "person of interest". One of the suspects reportedly told police that Scott Ruffalo shot himself while playing Russian roulette; the witnesses were later released as the police investigation continued.
Since June 2000, he has been married to French-American actress Sunrise Coigney (born Christina Sunrise Coigney on September 17, 1972 in San Francisco), and they have three children: a son Keen, born in 2001, and daughters Bella Noche, born in 2005, and Odette, born in 2007, in Los Angeles, California.
Political viewsOn October 4, 2006, he appeared on daily news program, Democracy Now!, and spoke against the war in Iraq, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, torture and the Bush administration in general. He also announced his speaking engagement at the The World Can't Wait protest in New York City on October 5, 2006. Ruffalo contributed to Mike Gravel in his 2008 presidential bid.
In October 2007, Ruffalo criticized the 9/11 Commission Report as "completely illegitimate" and called for re-opening the investigation. He said: "I saw the way they all came down and I am baffled. My first reaction is that buildings don't fall down like that." He also criticized the 9/11 truth movement, saying "There's so much information that's been put out there by truth for 9/11 and ... so much of it has been stretched that a lot of people are grabbing hold of the more sensational parts of what doesn't jibe..."
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