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Facts about Bruce Willis
Biography for Bruce WillisWalter Bruce Willis (born Mar. 19, 1955 (62 years ago)), better known as Bruce Willis, is an American actor and producer. His career began in TV in the 1980 (37 years ago) and has continued both in TV and movie since. One of his more popular roles was that of John McClane in the Die Hard series, which were critical and financial successes. Willis has released several albums and has appeared in several TV shows. He has also appeared in over sixty films, including Pulp Fiction, Sin City, 12 Monkeys, Armageddon, and The Sixth Sense.
Motion pictures (wallpaper) featuring Willis have grossed US$2.55 to US$3.05 billion at North American box offices, making him the seventh highest-grossing actor in a leading role, and ninth highest including supporting roles. Willis was married to actress Demi Moore and they had three daughters, before their divorce in 2000 (17 years ago) after thirteen years of marriage. He is a two-time Emmy Award-winning, Golden Globe Award-winning, and four-time Saturn Award-nominated actor.
Early lifeWillis was born in Idar-Oberstein, West Germany, the son of a Kassel-born German, Marlene, who worked in a bank, and David Willis, an American soldier. Willis was the eldest of four children: he has a sister Florence and a brother David. His brother Robert died of pancreatic cancer in 2001 (16 years ago), aged 42. After being discharged from the military in 1957 (60 years ago), Willis' father took his family back to Penns Grove, New Jersey, where he worked as a welder and factory worker. His parents separated in 1972 (45 years ago), while Willis was in his teens. Willis attended Penns Grove High School in his hometown, where he encountered issues with a stutter. He used to be hatefully nicknamed Buck-Buck by his schoolmates. Finding it easy to express himself on stage and losing his stutter in the process, Willis began performing on stage and his high school activities were marked by such things as the drama club and student council president.
After high school, Willis took a job as a security guard and he also transported work crews at the DuPont Chambers Works factory in Deepwater, New Jersey. He quit after a colleague was killed on the job, and became a regular at several bars. Willis learned to play the harmonica.
After a stint as a private investigator (a role he would play in the TV series Moonlighting as well as in the 1991 (26 years ago) film, The Last Boy Scout), Willis returned to acting. He enrolled in the drama program at Montclair State University, where he was cast in the class production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Willis left school in his junior year and moved to New York City.
Willis returned to the bar scene, only this time for a part-time job at the West Bank Cafe in New York City's Manhattan Plaza. After multiple auditions, Willis made his theater debut in the off-Broadway production of Heaven and Earth. He gained more experience and exposure in Fool for Love, and in a Levi's commercial.
Marriages and familyAt the premiere for the movie Stakeout, Willis met actress Demi Moore, who was dating actor Emilio Estevez at the time. Willis married Moore on Nov. 21, 1987 (30 years ago) and had three daughters: Rumer Willis (b. 16 Aug. 1988 (29 years ago)), Scout LaRue Willis (b. 20 Jul. 1991 (26 years ago)) and Tallulah Belle Willis (b. 3 Feb. 1994 (23 years ago)) before the couple divorced on Oct. 18, 2000 (17 years ago). The couple gave no public reason for their breakup. Willis stated that his divorce made him feel that "I felt I had failed as a father and a husband by not being able to make it work" and credited actor Will Smith (6 walls) for helping him cope with the situation. After their breakup, rumors persisted that the couple planned to re-marry, until Moore married the actor Ashton Kutcher (6 walls), fifteen years her junior. Willis has maintained a close relationship with both Moore and Kutcher, even attending their wedding. Willis and Moore currently share custody of their daughters.
Since the divorce he has dated models Maria Bravo Rosado and Emily Sandberg; he was engaged to Brooke Burns until they broke up in 2004 (13 years ago) after ten months together. He married Emma Heming in Turks and Caicos on Mar. 21, 2009; guests included his three daughters, Moore, and Kutcher. The ceremony was not legally binding, so the couple wed again in a civil ceremony in Beverly Hills six days later. Willis has expressed interest in having more children.
ReligionBruce Willis was, at one point, Lutheran (specifically Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod); but no longer practices, after clarifying in a Jul. 1998 (19 years ago) interview with George magazine:
“ Organized religions in general, in my opinion, are dying forms", he says. "They were all very important when we didn't know why the sun moved, why weather changed, why hurricanes occurred, or volcanoes happened", he continues. "Modern religion is the end trail of modern mythology. But there are people who interpret the Bible literally. Literally! I choose not to believe that's the way. And that's what makes America cool, you know? ”
Business interestsWillis owns property in Los Angeles, rents an apartment in the Trump Tower in New York City, and 220 Riverside Boulevard at Trump Place, as well as a home in Malibu, California, a ranch in Montana, a beach home on Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos, and multiple properties in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Willis owns his own motion picture (wallpaper) production company called Cheyenne Enterprises, which he started with his business partner Arnold Rifkin in 2000 (17 years ago). He also owns several small businesses in Hailey, Idaho including The Mint Bar and The Liberty Theater and is a co-founder of Planet Hollywood, along with actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.
Other interestsWillis, an avid New Jersey Nets fan, made controversial comments on Apr. 29, 2007 (10 years ago) during a live broadcast of a Nets home playoff game on TSN by saying a catch phrase from his Die Hard films, "Yipee-ki-aye-ay motherfucker", at the end of the interview. Reacting to the backlash, he later blamed his actions on jet lag, stating: "Sometimes I overestimate my ability to function under duress with less than enough sleep".
On May 5, 2007 (10 years ago), someone using the screen name "Walter_B" started posting detailed responses onto Ain't it Cool News, where people were discussing the fact that Live Free or Die Hard received a PG-13 rating, instead of an R rating like the earlier three Die Hard films. The responses included detailed information on Live Free or Die Hard, which was yet to be released; the theme of the Die Hard movie series, direct criticisms of other movie crews and casts, and many movie trivia answers. Many people were skeptical that "Walter_B" was indeed Willis, but on May 9, Willis revealed his identity on a video chat session (using iChat).
Political viewsIn 1988 (29 years ago), he and Moore actively campaigned for Massachusetts Governor Michael S. Dukakis's Presidential bid. Four years later, he supported President George H.W. Bush for reelection and he was a vocal critic of Bill Clinton. However, in 1996 (21 years ago), he declined to endorse Clinton's Republican opponent Bob Dole, because Dole had criticized Moore for her role in the movie Striptease. Willis was an invited speaker at the 2000 (17 years ago) Republican National Convention, and actively supported George W. Bush that year. He did not make any contributions or public endorsements in the 2008 (9 years ago) Presidential campaign. In several Jun. 2007 (10 years ago) interviews, he declared that he still maintains some Republican ideologies, but is currently an independent.
In 2006 (11 years ago), he proposed that the United States should invade Colombia, in order to end the drug trafficking. In several interviews Willis has said that he supports large salaries for teachers and police officers, and says that he is disappointed in the United States' foster care and treatment of Native Americans. Willis also stated that he is a big supporter of gun rights:
"Everyone has a right to bear arms. If you take guns away from legal gun owners, then the only people who have guns are the bad guys." Even a pacifist, he insists, would get violent if someone were trying to kill him. "You would fight for your life."
Willis has criticized the religious right and its influence on the Republican party. In Feb. 2006 (11 years ago), Willis appeared in Manhattan to talk about 16 Blocks with reporters. One reporter attempted to ask Willis about his opinion on current events, but was interrupted by Willis in mid-sentence:
“ I'm sick of answering this fucking question. I'm a Republican only as far as I want a smaller government, I want less government intrusion. I want them to stop shitting on my money and your money and tax dollars that we give 50 percent of... every year. I want them to be fiscally responsible and I want these goddamn lobbyists out of Washington. Do that and I'll say I'm a Republican... I hate the government, OK? I'm apolitical. Write that down. I'm not a Republican. ”
Military interestsWillis meeting members of the U.S. Navy on Jul. 25, 2002 (15 years ago).Throughout his movie career, Willis has depicted several military characters in movies such as The Siege, Hart's War, Tears of the Sun, and Grindhouse. Growing up in a military family, Willis has publicly sold Girl Scout cookies for the United States armed forces. In 2002 (15 years ago), Willis' youngest daughter, Tallulah, suggested that he purchase Girl Scout cookies to send to troops. Willis purchased 12,000 boxes of cookies, and they were distributed to sailors aboard USS John F. Kennedy and other troops stationed throughout the Middle East at the time. In 2003 (14 years ago), Willis visited Iraq as part of the USO tour, singing to the troops with his band, The Accelerators. Willis considered joining the military to help fight the second Iraq war, but was deterred by his age. It was believed he offered US$1 million to any civilian who turns in terrorist leaders Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, or Abu Musab al-Zarqawi; in the Jun. 2007 (10 years ago) issue of Vanity Fair, however, he clarified that the statement was made hypothetically and not meant to be taken literally. Willis has also criticized the media for its coverage of the war, complaining that the press were more likely to focus on the negative aspects of the war:
“ I went to Iraq because what I saw when I was over there was soldiers — young kids for the most part — helping people in Iraq; helping getting the power turned back on, helping get hospitals open, helping get the water turned back on and you don't hear any of that on the news. You hear, 'X number of people were killed today,' which I think does a huge disservice. It's like spitting on these young men and women who are over there fighting to help this country. ”
Willis stated in 2005 (12 years ago) that he wanted to "make a pro-war movie in which American soldiers will be depicted as brave fighters for freedom and democracy." The movie would follow members of Deuce Four, the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, who spent considerable time in Mosul and were decorated heavily for it. The movie is to be based on the writings of blogger Michael Yon, a former United States Army Special Forces soldier who was embedded with Deuce Four and sent regular dispatches about their activities. Willis described the plot of the movie as "these guys who do what they are asked for very little money to defend and fight for what they consider to be freedom." He has not spoken publicly about his plans for this movie since 2005 (12 years ago).
CareerWillis left New York City and headed to California to audition for several TV shows. He auditioned for the role of David Addison Jr. of the TV series Moonlighting (1985–89), while competing against 3,000 other actors for the position. The starring role, opposite Cybill Shepherd, helped to establish him as a comedic actor, with the show lasting five seasons. During the height of the show's success, beverage maker Seagram hired Willis as the pitchman for their Golden Wine Cooler products. The advertising campaign paid the rising star between $5–7 million over two years. In spite of that, Willis chose not to renew his contract with the company when he decided to stop drinking alcohol in 1988 (29 years ago). One of his first major movie roles was in the 1987 (30 years ago) Blake Edwards movie Blind Date alongside Kim Basinger and John Laroquette. Edwards would cast him again to play the real-life cowboy actor Tom Mix in Sunset. However, it was his then-unexpected turn in the movie Die Hard that catapulted him to fame. He performed most of his own stunts in the film, and the movie grossed $138,708,852 worldwide. Following his success with Die Hard, he had a supporting role in the drama In Country as Vietnam veteran Emmett Smith and also provided the voice for a talking baby in Look Who's Talking, as well as its sequel Look Who's Talking Too.
In the late-1980s, Willis enjoyed moderate success as a recording artist, recording an album of pop-blues entitled The Return of Bruno, which included the hit single "Respect Yourself", promoted by a Spinal Tap-like rockumentary parody featuring scenes of him performing at famous events including Woodstock. Follow-up recordings were not as successful, though Willis has returned to the recording studio several times. In the early 1990s, Willis' career suffered a moderate slump starring in flops such as The Bonfire of the Vanities, Striking Distance, and a movie he co-wrote entitled Hudson Hawk, among others. He starred in a leading role in the highly sexualized thriller Color of Night (1994, 23 years ago), which was very poorly received by critics, but has become popular on video. However, in 1994 (23 years ago), he had a supporting role in Quentin Tarantino's acclaimed Pulp Fiction, which gave a new boost to his career. In 1996 (21 years ago), he was the executive producer of the cartoon Bruno the Kid which featured a CGI representation of himself. He went on to play the lead roles in Twelve Monkeys and The Fifth Element. However, by the end of the 1990s, his career had fallen into another slump with critically panned movies like The Jackal, Mercury Rising, and Breakfast of Champions, saved only by the success of the Michael Bay-directed Armageddon which was the highest grossing movie of 1998 (19 years ago) worldwide. The same year his voice and likeness were featured in the PlayStation video game Apocalypse.
In 1999 (18 years ago), Willis then went on to the starring role in M. Night Shyamalan's film, The Sixth Sense. The movie was both a commercial and critical success and helped to increase interest in his acting career. He won a 2000 (17 years ago) Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his work on Friends (in which he played the father of Ross Geller's much-younger girlfriend). He was also nominated for a 2001 (16 years ago) American Comedy Award (in the Funniest Male Guest Appearance in a TV Series category) for his work on Friends. Willis was originally cast as Terry Benedict in Ocean's Eleven (2001, 16 years ago) but dropped out to work on recording an album. In Ocean's Twelve (2004, 13 years ago), he makes a cameo appearance as himself. In 2007 (10 years ago), he appeared in the Planet Terror half of the double feature Grindhouse as the villain, a mutant soldier. This marks Willis' second collaboration with director Robert Rodriguez, following Sin City.
Willis at the German premiere of Over the Hedge on Jun. 28, 2006 (11 years ago).Willis has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman several times throughout his career. He filled in for an ill David Letterman on his show Feb. 26, 2003 (14 years ago), when he was supposed to be a guest. On many of his appearances on the show, Willis stages elaborate jokes, such as wearing a day-glo orange suit in honor of the Central Park gates, having one side of his face made up with simulated buckshot wounds after the Harry Whittington shooting, or trying to break a record (parody of David Blaine) of staying underwater for only twenty seconds. On Apr. 12, 2007 (10 years ago), he appeared again, this time wearing a Sanjaya Malakar wig. His most recent appearance was on Jun. 25, 2007 (10 years ago) when he appeared wearing a mini-turbine strapped to his head to accompany a joke about his own fictional documentary entitled An Unappealing Hunch (a wordplay of An Inconvenient Truth). Willis also appeared on Japanese Subaru Legacy TV commercials. Tying in with this, Subaru did a limited run of Legacys, badged "Subaru Legacy Touring Bruce", in honor of Willis.
Willis has appeared in four movies with Samuel L. Jackson (National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1, Pulp Fiction, Die Hard with a Vengeance, and Unbreakable) and both actors were slated to work together in Black Water Transit, before dropping out. Willis also worked alongside his eldest daughter, Rumer, in the 2005 (12 years ago) movie Hostage. In 2007 (10 years ago), he appeared in the thriller Perfect Stranger, opposite Halle Berry (24 walls), the crime/drama movie Alpha Dog, opposite Sharon Stone, and marked his return to the role of John McClane in Live Free or Die Hard. His most recent role was in the movie What Just Happened.
Willis appeared on the 2008 (9 years ago) Blues Traveler album North Hollywood Shootout, giving a spoken word performance over an instrumental blues-rock jam on the track "Free Willis (Ruminations from Behind Uncle Bob's Machine Shop)". In early 2009 (8 years ago), he appeared in an advertising campaign to publicize the insurance company Norwich Union's change of name to Aviva.
Upcoming filmsWillis' future projects include several movies that will debut between 2009 (8 years ago) and 2010 (7 years ago). Willis was slated to play U.S. Army general William R. Peers in director Oliver Stone's Pinkville, a drama about the investigation of the 1968 (49 years ago) My Lai Massacre. However, due to the 2007 (10 years ago) Writers Guild of America strike, the movie was cancelled and Willis took up the film, The Surrogates, which is based on the comic book of the same name.
Willis will star alongside Tracy Morgan in a comedy with a working title of A Couple of Dicks, directed by Kevin Smith. The movie is about two police detectives investigating the theft of a baseball card. Release is set for Jan. 2010 (7 years ago).
Awards and nominations
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