A look at bottomed-out A-listers who successfully re-ignited their careers
- Next gallery - 10 Labor Day weekend stories you might have missed
- Previous gallery - 10 Stories You Might Have Missed: Matt Damon denies 'Bourne' rumors
Early success: Poised to be his generation's answer to method stars like Marlon Brando and James Dean, boxer-turned-actor Rourke received positive notices for early supporting roles in "Body Heat," "Diner" and "The Pope of Greenwich Village," before embarking on a string of willfully eccentric leading parts in "9 1/2 Weeks," "Angel Heart" and "Barfly."
The Brink: The early '90s found Rourke forsaking acting for a belated return to the boxing ring, which ended up ruining his once-handsome face. No longer leading man material, small roles in B-grade action movies became his bread and butter.
The Comeback: The new millennium offered small but memorable supporting turns in rough-hewn indie titles like "Buffalo '66," "Animal Factory" and "The Pledge." These led to a showy role in "Sin City" which he seemed born to play, but it was director Darren Aronofsky who molded Rourke's bruised, yet sensitive hulk persona into the protagonist of 2008's "The Wrestler." He was nominated for a best actor Oscar.
Did it take? While his Oscar acclaim certainly resulted in more A-list offers -- including his villain role in "Iron Man 2" -- it's hard to imagine he'll get many more such offers. "Expendables 3" and "Sin City 2" will keep him in the public eye. Quentin Tarantino -- who originally wanted to cast Rourke as Bruce Willis' "Pulp Fiction" character -- should give him a call.