Mark Alan Ruffalo (born November 22, 1967) is an American actor, director, producer and screenwriter. He is perhaps best known for his roles as Stan in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Inspector David Toschi in the 2007 film Zodiac and US Marshal Chuck Aule in Shutter Island. Ruffalo has also appeared as a romantic leading-man in successful "chick flicks" such as View From the Top (2002), 13 Going on 30 (2004), Just Like Heaven (2005) and Rumor Has It (2005).
Ruffalo, of Italian and French-Canadian descent, was born in the industrial town of Kenosha, Wisconsin, the son of Marie Rose, a hairdresser and stylist, and Frank Lawrence Ruffalo, Jr., a construction painter. He has two sisters, Tania and Nicole, and a brother, Scott, who died in December 2008. Ruffalo has described himself as 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. Ruffalo 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.
Ruffalo 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.