He is an Oscar nominated actor, filmmaker and political activist. He is one of the most respected performers in Hollywood, famous for roles in movies like ‘Foxcatcher’, ‘Zodiac’ and the ‘Now You See Me’ movies. His name is Mark Ruffalo and he has just earned a whole new generation of fans by starring as Bruce Banner AKA The Incredible Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He is currently reprising the role in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ and is set to continue in the next two ‘Avengers’ movies. Mark Ruffalo has made a name for himself defeating super villains and smashing inter galactic baddies. However, it is not widely known that the cinematic superhero is living with his own battles off screen, which has affected his hearing, and it is something he must live with day to day.
In 2002, Mark Ruffalo was lined up to play Mel Gibson’s brother in the science fiction thriller ‘Signs’. It was the latest film by ‘Sixth Sense’ director M. Night Shyamalan. However, the actor had to drop out, to be replaced by Jaoquin Pheonix due to a health issue. Ruffalo was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma. A type of brain tumour which effects between six and nine million people in America annually, amounting to around 2,000 and 3,000 cases. There are various symptoms of an acoustic neuroma. They range from sudden hearing loss, inner ear damage, tinnitus, headaches, balance problems and pressure in the ear, among other signs. Mark Ruffalo underwent surgery and fortunately the tumour turned out to be benign, but, following the operation, he was left with temporary partial facial paralysis. He eventually recovered from the paralysis, but the tumour left him deaf in his left ear. However, he has learned to live with his condition and is going on from strength to strength.
He has received Academy Award nominations and is starring in the biggest box office blockbusters around. His name has been linked with many exciting projects. These include a remake of the classic TV series ‘Columbo’, where he will take on the role played by the legendary Peter Falk. He was coincidently another actor who overcame a disability to succeed. Falk had his right eye removed at the age of three, due to a tumour. It didn’t stop him becoming the biggest TV star in the world in the 70s and the winner of four Emmys, the television Oscar.
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