Actor Mark Ruffalo had a tough time getting his career started, having to bartend for nine years before getting his first break in the 2000 indie gem, "You Can Count of Me." Now the dedicated performer is firmly cemented in the Oscars echelons, nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his turn in "The Kids Are All Right."
Find out more about Ruffalo's career!
Oscar Nominee Trivia File: Mark Ruffalo
The Love of the Theater
Mark took classes at the Stella Adler Conservatory in L.A. and subsequently co-founded the Orpheus Theatre Company, where he did everything from acting and directing to running the lights and building sets.
The Lean Years
Despite great reviews on stage, Ruffalo had trouble getting hired for paid acting jobs and had to bartend for nearly nine years to make ends meet.
'You Can Count on Me'
Mark finally got his big break in friend Kenneth Lonergan's 2000 indie drama "You Can Count on Me," playing Laura Linney's wayward brother. The film earned two Oscar nominations.
In 2002, Ruffalo was set to star in "Signs" but had to drop out when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. His part went to Joaquin Phoenix. The brain tumor was found to be benign, and following brain surgery, Mark fully recovered.
'My Life Without Me'
After "You Can Count on Me," Ruffalo found his indie niche, starring in small dramas like this one from 2003, playing the lover of a young woman (Sarah Polley) who discovers she has terminal cancer.
'We Don't Live Here Anymore'
Starting off a banner 2004 for the actor, Ruffalo played a married man having an affair with his best friend's wife.
'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'
Mark displays a great sense of humor in this quirky 2004 love story from writer Charlie Kaufman.
'13 Going on 30'
Playing opposite the vivacious Jennifer Garner in this 2004 film, Ruffalo gets his first taste of romantic comedy.
His Romantic Comedy Phase
Mark then starred in a string of romantic comedies, including 2005's "Just Like Heaven" with Reese Witherspoon and "Rumor Has It..." with Jennifer Aniston.
In this 2007 film, Ruffalo portrays real-life San Francisco detective David Toschi, who was instrumental in capturing the infamous Zodiac serial killer in the 1970s.
Mark stars in this 2007 dark drama, playing a man involved in a hit and run, in which he kills a young boy.
'The Brothers Bloom'
Ruffalo and Adrien Brody star in this 2008 gem, as con men who swindle millionaires with complex scenarios of lust and intrigue.
Ruffalo started off 2010 with a bang, starring with Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese's creepy thriller about an institution for the criminally insane.
'The Kids Are All Right'
Ruffalo truly shines as the sperm-donor father of two teenagers born to lesbian mothers (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore), who seek him out. Ruffalo earned his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
What's Up Next?
Ruffalo will star with Anna Paquin and Matt Damon in Kenneth Lonergan's indie drama "Margaret" and is joining the comic-book generation, starring in the 2012 superhero bonanza "The Avengers," as Bruce Banner.