Donald Edmond “Donnie” Wahlberg, Jr. (born August 17, 1969) is an American singer, actor and film producer. He is a member of the popular 1980s and 1990s boy band New Kids on the Block. Donnie’s work background includes music, feature films, and television. Wahlberg has had featured roles in the Saw films, The Sixth Sense, Dreamcatcher, Boomtown and Righteous Kill, also appearing in the award-winning World War II miniseries Band of Brothers. Currently, he is starring in the critically acclaimed drama series Blue Bloods with Tom Selleck and and Bridget Moynihan. Wahlberg was nominated for Choice Scream at the 2008 Teen Choice Awards for his work on the Saw films.
Wahlberg was born in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, as the eighth of nine children, with older siblings Arthur, Jim, Paul, Robert, Tracey, Michelle, Debbie (died 2003) and younger brother Mark. He also has three half-siblings from his father’s first marriage- Donna, Scott and Buddy. His mother, Alma Elaine (née Donnelly), was a bank clerk and nurse’s aide, and his father, Donald Edmond Wahlberg, Sr. (died February 14, 2008) was a teamster who worked as a delivery driver; the couple divorced in 1982. He is of Swedish, Irish, English, and French Canadian ancestry.
New Kids on the Block
As a recording artist, Wahlberg is known as an original member of boy band New Kids on the Block.
Wahlberg’s first film acting role was in the 1996 film Bullet with Mickey Rourke and Tupac Shakur. Also in 1996, he appeared as a kidnapper in Ransom with Mel Gibson. Wahlberg received attention for his role in the 1999 film The Sixth Sense, playing the patient of Bruce Willis‘s character in the opening sequence. This role was originally intended for a 13-year-old boy until Wahlberg met with writer and director M. Night Shyamalan to inquire about obtaining the rights for a theatre production, and ended up getting the role.
In 2001, Wahlberg co-starred as Second Lieutenant C. Carwood Lipton in the television miniseries Band of Brothers. Wahlberg also starred in the 2002–2003 NBC drama series Boomtown as Joel Stevens, a Los Angeles police detective. Graham Yost, executive producer and writer of Boomtown, had worked with Wahlberg in Band of Brothers and was so impressed by his performance that he wrote the role of Joel Stevens specifically for him.
2003 was the year that Wahlberg starred alongside Timothy Olyphant, Jason Lee, and his Band of Brothers co-star Damian Lewis as the mentally challenged Duddits in William Goldman and Lawrence Kasdan‘s adaptation of the Stephen King alien-invasion thriller, Dreamcatcher. In 2005, Wahlberg starred as Detective Eric Matthews in the second installment of the Saw series. He reprised the role in Saw III in 2006 and Saw IV in 2007, also appearing in Saw V in 2008 via archive footage from the previous films.
In 2006, Wahlberg also played Lieutenant Commander Burton in the military/boxing drama, Annapolis. In September 2006, he played the lead role in the short-lived television drama Runaway on The CW. The show was cancelled in October 2006 due to poor ratings. In 2007, he starred alongside Jason Gedrick, Ricardo Chavira, and Nadine Velazquez in the television film Kings of South Beach on A&E. Also in 2007, he starred opposite John Leguizamo on the TV series The Kill Point.
Currently, Wahlberg is the host of an internet radio show on Friday nights at 8 pm PST called “DDUB’s R&B Back Rub” on Cherry Tree Radio. Wahlberg also appeared in the 2011 comedy, The Zookeeper.
Wahlberg married Kim Fey on August 20, 1999. He and Fey had two children, Xavier Alexander Wahlberg (born March 4, 1993) and Elijah Hendrix Wahlberg (born August 20, 2001). Wahlberg and Fey filed for divorce on August 13, 2008 citing “irreconcilable differences”. He is a regular player on the online poker website Hollywood Poker, which is run in conjunction with Ongame Network.
Wahlberg is a passionate fan of the Boston Celtics and has been seen attending many of their games. He will be narrating a documentary called “The Association: Boston Celtics” about the team’s 2010–11 season, which is set to air on ESPN between 2010 and 2011.