Philip “Mickey” Rourke was born in Schenectady, New York. He grew up there and in Miami Beach, Florida.

Rourke was raised in a Catholic family, and his father especially was a devout Catholic. After his father left the family when Rourke was just six, the actor said he looked forward to Sundays as the day he would get to spend with his dad. He said,

I loved going to church with him, and we had our ritual where, after church, we’d get a bag of doughnuts, a quart of milk and sit on a stoop. You know, it’s like you see somebody you know and respect, my father on his knees praying, I wanted to be just like him.1

But that didn’t exactly translate into him becoming a model Catholic as an adult. At a particularly low point in his life, he stumbled into a Catholic church and, as he put it “met the right priest.”2 He said about his new mentor,

My priest is this cool Italian from New York. We go down to his basement and he opens the wine. We smoke a cigarette and I have my confession. He sends me upstairs to do my Hail Marys. I mean, I’m no Holy Joe, but I have a strong belief.3

Sounds like a uniquely Catholic interaction to me. Rourke says these sessions, along with some time with a therapist, helped save him from suicide. I’d say that would give anyone a “strong belief.”4

Bush, the IRA, and. . . PETA?

Mickey Rourke apparently thinks actors shouldn’t be talking about politics, but mostly because he doesn’t agree with them and not because he thinks he should keep his own mouth shut. In one interview he showed strong sympathies for former Republican President George W. Bush, saying he’s “not one of those who blames Bush for everything.” Then he said,

Actors should shut up about politics, because they tend to be ill-informed finger-pointers who just cozy up to some flavor-of-the-month liberal, you know?5

Well, fair enough. I know there’s a lot of you out there who agree with that sentiment. He hasn’t said anything about Obama either,6 which in Hollywood is practically an endorsement of the Republicans in itself–even if he is a PETA supporter.7

Outside American politics, Rourke holds some sympathy for the Irish Republican Army (IRA). When asked in 1989, well before the agreement that officially ended the Troubles in Northern Ireland, if he donated to any religious organizations, he said he donated to some causes in Northern Ireland and to Joe Doherty, a member of the IRA. He later said he never donated to the paramilitary organization, only humanitarian causes,8 but the IRA tattoo he’s got on his arm9 left some wondering if he was telling the truth.

  1. Mickey Rourke’s guardian angel. Beliefnet. []
  2. Mickey Rourke’s guardian angel. Beliefnet. []
  3. ‘Saved By Priest and his catholic faith’ says Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke. Catholic News Agency. []
  4. ‘Saved By Priest and his catholic faith’ says Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke. Catholic News Agency. []
  5. Mickey Rourke Should Be the Only Actor to Discuss Politics. Softpedia. []
  6. Mickey Rourke defends George W Bush over 9/11. Telegraph. []
  7. PETA’s Exclusive Interview With Mickey Rourke. PETA. []
  8. Mickey Rourke Denies Aiding The Ira. Philly. []
  9. Mickey Rourke Scandals: A Brief History. Zimbio. []