“ AVENGERS” star Jeremy Renner had to overcome a weird, dysfunctional childhood – and a frightening brush with death – to become a superhero on the big screen.

The 41-year-old actor, who plays master archer Hawkeye in the blockbuster action flick, was a shy, geeky kid and nothing like his on-screen character.

“Jeremy would be the first to say his childhood was dysfunc­tional,” declared a pal.

The eldest of five children, his parents Valerie Cearley and Lee Renner divorced when he was only 10, and he ended up attending five different elementary schools in central California.

 “He was just a quiet little kid,” his mom Valerie said.

Jeremy admits he had trouble expressing his feelings at home.

He once explained: “My household wasn’t a place for me to do that. Divorces, separations, moving to a different school every year – those things started to take a toll.”

It wasn’t until Jeremy got into acting after high school that “he came out of his shell,” revealed his pal.

Incredibly, the two-time Oscar nominee seemed to have real-life super powers in 2008 when a vicious windstorm caused a 50-foot tree to crash into the Modesto, Calif., home he’d purchased for his mother – and he miraculously survived.

“I heard lots of noise and craziness,” he recalled, “and I felt branches and broken glass on my neck, so I started running – even though I wasn’t really sure what I was running from.”

His mom told The ENQUIRER: “Jeremy is my real-life hero – I’m so proud of him. I wasn’t at home when it happened, but I’m sure he would have saved me.”


POP FYI: HAWKEYE’s real name is CLINT BARTON. In “The Avengers” classic comics he later assumed the mantle of GIANT-MAN from  Hank Pym.