Mickey Rourke Looks Completely Different... Again

Mickey Rourke has stepped out in LA sporting a rather bizarre new hairstyle and a strange new face to match. Something about his smooth skin, puffy face, and rictus grin seem strangely out of step with the former boxer’s 62 years.

It’s not the first time the ‘Sin City’ actor’s looks have turned heads, in fact, it’s almost become his trademark.

At one time, Mickey Rourke was arguably the most devastatingly handsome actor in Hollywood, with the bad boy good looks of a latter day James Dean or Marlon Brando.

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But years of - how might we put it politely - ‘alterations’ have gradually left him an increasingly strange-looking proposition.

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It’s perhaps more odd considering how seriously he’s always taken the craft of acting – legendary director Elia Kazan, he of ‘On The Waterfront’ fame, called his audition for Manhattan’s legendary Actor’s Studio ‘the best in 30 years’.

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One would have thought early on that his acting would always be infinitely more important to him than his looks.

And yet despite his undeniable skills in front of the camera in those early movies like ‘Rumblefish’, ‘Diner’ and ‘Angel Heart’, it would seem that somewhere along the line his vanity got the better of him, likely a desire to keep hold of those looks which made him a pin-up.

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Strangely, over a decade as a young amateur boxer, before he headed to New York to pursue his acting career, he clearly managed to avoid getting his nose flattened in the ring.

Even when he returned to boxing in 1991, which he pursued professionally up until around 1994, he still looked every bit as ruggedly handsome as he did in the 80s – but he’s since said that he suffered injuries including broken noses and a compressed cheekbone during that time, as well as some neurological damage.

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But it was around 1998, once he’d left the ring, and following his turbulent relationship with Carre Otis, that his appearance began to change more significantly.

This was also around the time his career had taken a significant dive, following a series of dud roles, some poor career decisions and a wild reputation – ‘Angel Heart’ director Alan Parker called him ‘a nightmare’ and he’d turned down career-making roles like that of Butch in ‘Pulp Fiction’.

During this low ebb, where he considered himself a ‘has-been’, he appeared out and about with swollen-looking lips, his skin looking taut. He’s always said it was the boxing damage that necessitated the surgery.

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"I had to have cartilage taken from my ear to rebuild my nose and a couple of operations to scrape out the cartilage because the scar tissue wasn’t healing properly. That was one of the most painful operations," he told the Daily Mail in 2009.

“Most of it was to mend the mess of my face because of the boxing, but I went to the wrong guy to put my face back together.”

When his career began its turnaround with films like ‘Buffalo 66’, ‘Animal Factory’ and Jonas Akerlund’s ‘Spun’, around 2002, his appearance had changed notably.

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Then by around 2005, and the movie ‘Domino’, he was starting to look like an older version of how he did in his heyday, the surgery seeming to have settled.

But recent years – though his battered appearance suited his Oscar-nominated turn in ‘The Wrestler’ to a tee – have seen his visage looking stranger, often thanks to his flowing hairstyle.

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Whether his return to the boxing ring – though his first fight has been dogged by claims that it was fixed – will do further damage to Rourke’s face remains to be seen.

But the journey from matinee idol of 1982 to the 62-year-old actor we see today has been a long and arduous one.

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Image credits: Rex Features

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