Bruce Willis Biography
Walter Bruce Willis better known as Bruce Willis, is an American actor and film producer. His career began in television in the 1980s and has continued both in television and film since. One of his more popular roles was that of John McClane in the Die Hard series. Willis was married to actress Demi Moore and they had three daughters before their divorce in 2000 after thirteen years of marriage. Willis has released several albums and has appeared in several television shows. He has also appeared in over sixty films, including Pulp Fiction, Sin City, Die Hard, Unbreakable, The Fifth Element, 12 Monkeys, Armageddon and The Sixth Sense.
Motion pictures featuring Willis have grossed US$2.55 to US$3.04 billion at North American box offices, making him the seventh highest-grossing actor in a leading role, and ninth highest including supporting roles. He is a two-time Emmy Award-winning, Golden Globe Award-winning, and four-time Saturn Award-nominated actor and has publicly shown his support for the United States armed forces.
Willis was born in Idar-Oberstein, West Germany, the son of a Kassel-born German mother, Marlene, who worked in a bank, and David Willis, an American soldier. Willis was the eldest of four children (his siblings are Florence, David, and Robert). After being discharged from the military in 1957, 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 while Willis was in his teens. He was always an outgoing youngster, although he grew up with a stutter. Willis attended Penns Grove High School in his hometown. 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 school 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 and joined an R&B band called Loose Goose. After a stint as a private investigator (a role he would play in the television series Moonlighting as well as in the 1991 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 countless 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.
Willis left New York City and headed to California to audition for several television shows. He auditioned for the TV series Moonlighting (1985–89), while competing against three thousand other actors for the position and was selected to play David Addison Jr. 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 memorable ad campaign paid the rising star between five and seven million dollars 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. One of his first major film roles was in the 1987 Blake Edwards film 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 film Die Hard that catapulted him to fame. He performed most of his own stunts in the film, and the film grossed US$138,708,852 worldwide. (Due to its box office success, the film would eventually engender three sequels, with the most recent entry, Live Free or Die Hard, (released as Die Hard 4.0 outside the United States) released in June 2007.) 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 film he co-wrote entitled Hudson Hawk, among others. He starred in a leading role in the highly sexualized thriller Color of Night (1994), which was very poorly received by critics but has become popular on video. However, in 1994 he had a supporting role in Quentin Tarantino's acclaimed Pulp Fiction, which gave a new boost to his career. In 1996, 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 films 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 film of 1998 worldwide The same year his voice and likeness were featured in the PlayStation video game Apocalypse.
In 1999, Willis then went on to the starring role in M. Night Shyamalan's film, The Sixth Sense. The film was both a commercial and critical success and helped to increase interest in his acting career. He once had to appear in the sitcom Friends without pay, because he lost a bet to Matthew Perry, his co-star in the comedy The Whole Nine Yards and its sequel The Whole Ten Yards. He won a 2000 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 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) but dropped out to work on recording an album. In Ocean's Twelve (2004), he makes a cameo appearance as himself. In 2007 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 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 February 26, 2003, when he was supposed to be a guest. He interviewed Dan Rather in what he would later call "the most serious conversation of my entire life". 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 April 12, 2007, he appeared again, this time wearing a Sanjaya Malakar wig. His most recent appearance was on June 25, 2007 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 television commercials, optimizing the car for sale, with the backing music of Jade from Sweetbox, "Addicted" and "Hate Without Frontiers". 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 film Hostage. In 2007, he appeared in the thriller Perfect Stranger, opposite Halle Berry, the crime/drama film Alpha Dog, opposite Sharon Stone, and marked his return to the role of John McClane in Live Free or Die Hard.
Willis appeared on the 2008 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, he appeared in a £9 million advertising campaign to publicise the insurance company Norwich Union's change of name to Aviva.
At the premiere for the film Stakeout, Willis met actress Demi Moore, who was dating actor Emilio Estevez at the time. Willis married Moore on November 21, 1987 and had three daughters (Rumer Willis (born 1988), Scout Willis (born 1991) and Tallulah Willis (born 1994)) before the couple divorced on October 18, 2000. 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 for helping him cope with the situation. After their breakup, rumors persisted that the couple planned to re-marry, until Moore married the younger actor Ashton Kutcher. 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 after ten months together. In 2007, he was spotted with Playboy Playmates Tamara Witmer and Karen McDougal on different occasions.
He married Emma Heming in Turks and Caicos on March 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.
His dog, a Yorkshire Terrier is named Wolf Fishbein ("Wolfie") after a character in the Woody Allen movie Deconstructing Harry.