Mark Ruffalo shot straight to the top of the Hollywood food chain after starring in the MCU, but he was already working as an actor long before everyone knew him as an Avenger. He had minor roles in films like “The Dentist” and Ang Lee’s “Ride with the Devil,” and he was part of the Academy Award-nominated film “You Can Count On Me.”
His first big break came with nabbing the role in “The Last Castle,” but it was also the time where his world turned upside down. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the time. Jeffrey Katzenberg, an industry VIP, reached out to Ruffalo after the film was completed. “There I was on the phone with him and I can’t move the left side of my face because it’s paralyzed. And no one knows,” Ruffalo told New York Magazine in 2003 of the interaction.
Ruffalo suffered from an acoustic nervema, a tumor that was behind his ear. According to the magazine it could have affected his acting career by putting his facial and auditory nervous systems at risk. It was benign but it took 10 hours to remove.