Mark Wahlberg considers his upcoming movie 'The Fighter' based on Irish Micky Ward the proudest achievement of his career.
That is quite some statement given that Wahlberg has produced such monstrous hits as 'Entourage' on HBO, starred and been Oscar nominated for 'The Departed' and was a sensation in 'Boogie Nights' as well as 'The Perfect Storm.'
However, the up from the streets story of Irish Micky Ward mirrors closely his own Dorchester rough kid story he told '60 Minutes'
Lowell-born Ward is most famous for three epic fights against Arturo Gatti in 2002/2003 some consider the greatest boxing matches in living memory. Gatti has since tragically died.
Wahberg trained for four years to keep in shape for the film and Micky Ward was one of those who helped him get fit enough.
He revealed to '60 Minutes' that he did all his own fight scenes and got pretty bruised up on occasions.
Micky Ward was his idol growing up he said. "kind a like Larry Bird".
Wahlberg was a working class kid whose mother, Alma Donnelly raised him as a single mom after she divorced.
Often in trouble with the law, Wahlberg went to jail before straightening out his life.
On '60 Minutes' he praised Dorchester priest, Father Jim Flavin with helping turn his life around.
Wahlberg had his first breakthrough as Marky Mark, the rap singer (his brother was a member of 'New Kids on the Block') and was soon an international sensation.
It was Director Penny Marshall however, who turned his life around and got him into movies.
She wanted him for her 1994 movie 'Renaissance Man'
At first he told "60 Minutes" he turned her down. “I wanted to be the most serious rapper. Real guy from the street. That sort of thing. And she’s like, ‘You’re an idiot. You’ve been acting the whole time. You act like you’re a tough guy. You’re a sweet kid. Why don't you give this a shot.’”
When he did he became a star.
Now he is hoping for Oscar gold for 'The Fighter' which is due for a December release.
Meanwhile back in Dorchester, Father Flavin has a wonderful new school gym thanks to Wahlberg's generosity.
I can see an big party there on Oscar night.