Walter Bruce Willis was born on the nineteenth of March, 1955 in Idar-Oberstein, Germany. His military-man father was stationed in Germany, and while there, he met a nice German gal named Marlene. They got married, and would have four children (Bruce was their first) before getting a divorce in 1971.

When Bruce was two, his father was discharged, and moved the family back to Carney's Point, New Jersey, where Bruce and his three younger siblings (Flo, Dave Jr. and Robert) attended school at Penn's Grove high (not when he was two--this was later, of course). During his senior year, Bruce was elected student council president, and (not surprisingly) captained the high school wrestling team. He was a wild teen, and was suspended from school for three months for rioting. Yes, rioting. Initially plagued by a severe stutter, he became interested in drama in high school, which helped greatly in working through the condition.

After graduating, he worked a few odd-jobs and played harmonica in the rhythm and blues band Loose Goose. After a while, he began to miss the stage, and went to school at Montclair State College, where he starred in their production of (can I say ick?) Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He eventually dropped out and moved to New York City to live in Hell's Kitchen (eek!), and look for acting work. He briefly lived with fellow to-be famous actor Linda Fiorentino (of Jade, Dogma, Men in Black, etc.). He worked at a trendy bar and shopped for minor roles for a while, before suddenly, things began to happen.

First he scored a hit in Sam Shepard's Fool for Love, and wound up with roles on Miami Vice and Hart to Hart. He appeared in a Levi 501 jeans add, and in a Seagram's add with Sharon Stone, who was also a relative nobody at the time. Then he hit the big time. Willis scored the role of David Addison in ABC's hit show Moonlighting, in which he played opposite Cybill Shepherd (or, rather, alongside--not really opposite). The show ran from 1985 to 1989, and scored Willis both an Emmy and a Golden Globe award. Willis then starred in two big fat Blake Edwards (director of the Pink Panther movies) flops, Blind Date, and Sunset.

In 1987, Willis met Demi Moore, his future wife, at the premiere of Stakeout, which starred Emilio Estevez, who was her boyfriend at the time (yes, I think this is strange, too). He also scored it big in music that year, with a cover of "Respect Yourself" that went to #5 on the Billboard charts.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for... DIE HARD. In 1988, Willis revolutionized the action genre by throwing Alan Rickman off of a skyscraper and playing Tarzan with a firehose. His next role (this makes so much sense, looking back on it), was the role of newborn Mikey in Look Who's Talking. From this point on, his career became a giant rollercoaster of hits and misses (how's that for a mixed metaphor!?)

The sequels to both Die Hard (the brilliantly titled Die Harder) and Look Who's Talking (sigh- Look Who's Talking Too) were huge hits, and he had another success with Tony Scott's The Last Boyscout, but these were balanced out by the universally panned Bonfire of the Vanities and the foible of celluloid Hudson Hawk (based on a story by Willis. Whoops!).

His career began a gradual decline, despite excellent work in several films, starring (along with Demi) in Mortal Thoughts and with Dustin Hoffman in Billy Bathgate, as well as questionable work in films such as Death Becomes Her.

Then, in 1994, Willis got his second big break. A young, cocky hot-shot director named Quentin Tarantino hit the scene big time with his film Pulp Fiction, in which Willis gets to chop a guy up with a samurai sword and run over Ving Rhames with a car. The film saved not only Willis's career, but John Travolta's as well.

Willis continued to do good work and bad work. Four Rooms was artsy and cool, but weird for him, Rob Reiner's North was goodish, but Willis looked a little weird in the bunny suit. 12 Monkeys was fantastic, and Die Hard III was a predictable blockbuster. Last Man Standing was a well-done remake of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo, but it wasn't the success it could have been. By this time, however, Willis (along with Ahnold... and Sly Stallone) was also raking in Planet Hollywood pay dirt, thanks to his business sense. Hey, when three big-time action stars get together and start a restaurant chain, it can't go wrong, right?

Willis did a handfull of forgettable action flicks, including The Jackal and The Siege, and the entertaining but bizarre The Fifth Element. His career was starting to nosedive again, when he took the lead in the smash-hit Armageddon, and then followed it with the mega-mega super-duper hit The Sixth Sense. Then he appeared on the hit show Friends and walked away with another Emmy. Then he took the lead in M. Night Shyamalan's next film Unbreakable.

And then it went sour. Again. In 2000, Willis and Demi Moore filed for divorce. Then he got busted for drunk driving. Then Planet Hollywood went bankrupt. Then he turned down a role as the villain in (doh!) Ocean's Eleven in order to work on a record and go on tour in Europe.

But it wasn't all bad. Willis starred with Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett in the enjoyable Bandits, and starred in two decent war flicks, Hart's War, and Tears of the Sun. He followed these with Hostage, an interesting twist on the hostage-movie theme (which also featured his real-life daughter, Rumer), and then with the spectacular Sin City.

Coming in 2007:

(this is not a joke)

DIE HARD 4!!!!!

Source Material:


spiregrain says re Bruce Willis: oi! That's much to enjoy in "Hudson Hawk"!

Catchpole says re Bruce Willis: C'mon Pulp Fiction didn't save his career, the studio would have fallen over for him to be in the role, unlike Travolta who QT had to fight hard for.

mkb says re Bruce Willis: WHAT?! Hudson Hawk was awesome!

Damodred says re Bruce Willis: Hudson Hawk is one of the few DVDs I own, alongside Highlander, Dune and Blade Runner. Of course what this says for me is anyone's guess.

Segnbora-t says Re: Bruce Willis -- I must agree with the positive reviews of Hudson Hawk. I've always assumed people went into it expecting another Die Hard and got a rather surreal comedy instead, hence its bad rep.



...but you are still free to let me know how you feel, of course.

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