Tabloid Heat has a great "Brief History of Mark Wahlberg's Best Naked and Shirtless Moments." I'm a big fan of his body even if I think he's marginally talented and seems to be quite an unpleasant person (those pesky racist bashing incidents from his teen years, his initial lack of graciousness over SNL's funny parody).
But I actually met Wahlberg when he was Marky Mark.
I loved "Good Vibrations"! I had no clue it was a harbinger of trashy rap-ruined pop. I remember buying it at Gramaphone in Chicago on 12" and quickly falling in love with his beefcake approach to making the scene. (I also had a heart-shaped Gerardo pillow for a while. "Rico Suave" was unlistenable, but he looked good. And when I later met him during his A&R relaunch, I of course requested a pic-with!)
As Wahlberg became a major, Calvin Klein-fueled sex symbol, I moved to NYC and was thrilled to hear he was signing copies of his book (dedicated to his cock, mind you) at the Barnes & Noble in the Village. There was a huge line of dudes only waiting for his signature. I'd brought a bunch of revealing tear sheets of Mr. Third Nipple, including a page from the UK teen mag Smash Hits, which showed his big brother Donnie pulling Marky's underpants down to reveal his ass. Teen mags are...different...in Europe.
But as I got closer, the handlers were barking at us that he'd only sign the book. I decided to be bold even though Marky didn't look friendly—at all—and I placed all my stuff on the table anyway. The bodyguard no-way-no-way-no-wayed me, but Marky just grabbed all of them and said, "It's okay." And brusquely signed everything. But hey, he did sign, so that beats, well, getting beat.
I've heard he's good in The Fighter, and he did star in one of my all-time favorites—Boogie Nights. But something tells me I wouldn't like Mark Wahlberg nearly as much as I used to like Marky Mark, not unless he were naked and brusquely saying, "It's okay," or rapping, "Come on, come on—feel it, feel it!"