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Walter Bruce Willis (Walter Willis, Bruno)

Bruce Willis is an American actor, producer, and singer. He is well known for his film appearances as wisecracking or hard-edged characters, often in spectacular action films. Collectively, he has appeared in films that have grossed in excess of $2.5 billion dollars placing him in the top ten stars in terms of box office receipts.

Background

  • Ethnicity: David Willis (father) had English, Dutch, French, Welsh, Irish ancestry. Marlene (mother) was German.

  • EARLY LIFE.

    Bruce Willis (Walter Bruce Willison - birth name) was born on March 19, 1955, in Idar-Oberstein, West Germany, where his father was stationed in the U.S. military at the time. Willis is the oldest of David and Marlene Williston's four children, a group that includes three sons and a daughter. In 1957, following his father's discharge from the military, Willis moved with his family to Carney's Point, New Jersey.

    There, the seeds for the tough, blue collar edge that's come to define so many of Willis's roles were planted as he watched his father feed the family through work as a welder and later a factory employee.

    By all accounts Willis, nicknamed "Bruno" by his friends, was a popular kid with a good sense of humor who in high school was elected Student Council President. He liked pranks and wasn't immune from getting into occasional trouble. Coupled with this, however, was a slightly softer side that centered on his interest in the theater and the stage. It was born oddly enough out of the realization that a stutter that plagued his speech as a youngster, immediately went away as soon as he began performing in front of large groups.

    PERSONAL LIFE.

    On March 21, 2009, Willis, who remains close to Moore (he attended her wedding to Ashton Kutcher in 2005) and shares custody of his three children with her, back-tracked on his pledge never to marry again, when he wed model-actress, Emma Heming at Willis's home on the Turks and Caicos Islands, in the West Indies. They then married again a few days later in a civil ceremony at Willis' California home. Willis and Heming have two daughters, Mabel Ray (b. 2012) and Evelyn Penn (b. 2014).

  • Education

    • Willis attended Penns Grove High School in his hometown, where he encountered issues with a stutter. He was 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.

      He briefly studied drama at Montclair State College, but dropped out when it bored him

    Career

    • ASPIRING ACTOR.

      After graduating from high school, Willis followed in his father's footsteps and found work with his hands, first in a chemical factory and then as a security guard, before returning to the classroom as a drama student at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Willis's interest in acting didn't wane, but eager to strike out on his own, he quit school after his sophomore year and moved to New York City to try and make it as a working actor.

      For Willis, whose acting heroes include Robert De Niro, Gary Cooper, Steve McQueen and John Wayne, work didn't come easy. He waited tables, tended bar and, when he had the chance, auditioned for roles. His first real break of any kind came in 1977, when he debuted in the off-Broadway play, Heaven and Earth. More stage work followed, but in 1980 Willis jumped over to film when he scored a bit role in the Frank Sinatra film, The First Deadly Sin. Two years later he landed another minor part in The Verdict, starring Paul Newman. There was some exposure on the television screen, too, with occasional appearances on episodes of Hart to Hart and Miami Vice.

      In 1984, after replacing Ed Harris in the off-Broadway hit, Fool for Love, Willis headed west to Hollywood to audition for the Madonna vehicle, Desperately Seeking Susan. He didn't get the part, but in a decision that would prove to be incredibly smart, stuck around an extra day so that he could audition for a new romantic comedy called Moonlighting, set to debut the following March on ABC.

      BIG BREAK.

      As the story goes, Willis dressed in combat fatigues and, donning a punk haircut, read for the part of David Addison, a wise-cracking private investigator. He wowed the TV executives with his gregariousness and charming attitude to beat out some 3,000 other actors.

      Co-starring Cybill Shepherd, the show revolved around the complicated, crime-solving duo of Maddie Hayes (Shepherd) and Addison, who ran a down-and-out Los Angeles private investigation firm, The Blue Moon Detective Agency.

      The show, which aired until May 1989, was a huge hit for ABC and an even bigger launching pad for Willis. "Women find him appealing, and guys have a fantasy that they could be like him," ABC talent vice-president Gary Pudney told People magazine. "That's why he's become such a valuable commodity to us so quickly."

      ACTION HERO.

      In 1987 he returned to film when he was matched with Kim Bassinger in the comedy, Blind Date. That same year, the actor hitched himself to a future of tabloid gossip when he married another star, Demi Moore. The couple, who divorced in 2000, have three children together: Rumer Willis (b. 1988), Scout LaRue Willis (b. 1991) and Tallulah Belle Willis (b. 1994).

      The same year as the release of Blind Date, Willis, an avid blues fan and harmonica player, stepped into the music studio for Motown Records to record Return to Bruno, a collection of bluesy soul songs that produced a modest sales return.

      If his music failed to turn him into the star he dreamed of being, his next film choice wouldn't. In the summer of 1988, Die Hard, an action-packed flick that cast Willis as the muscle-pumping hero, John McClane, hit movie screens across the country with a bang. Even before its release, the film had managed to catch some notice, in part because both Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger had turned down the McClane role. When movie executives settled on Willis, in part because he brought a level of warmth and humor to the character, they agreed to pay him $5 million, a huge sum for an actor many still considered a relative Hollywood novice.

      The viewing public didn't care. With Willis doing his own stunts and whipping out memorable one-liners, Die Hard garnered an impressive $81 million at the domestic box office and later spawned three sequels. It was just the start for Willis, who in the ensuing decades has starred in films that have grossed more than $3 billion in ticket sales.

      A year after Die Hard, Willis was at the wheel of another hit, and back in a full-on comedic role as the voice of Mikey, the ever-observant baby, in Look Who's Talking.

      His role as the English tabloid journalist in Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) drew mixed reviews, and in 1991 the action movie Hudson Hawk, a vanity project of sorts, which Willis wrote and starred in, proved to be a box office failure. Other, less memorable projects soon followed.

      RECENT FILMS.

      Then, in 1994, Willis experienced a comeback of sorts when he took on the role of the weathered but still tough boxer, Butch Coolidge, in the Quentin Tarantino-directed smash hit, Pulp Fiction. Perhaps sensing the film was going to do well, Willis agreed to take a modest salary ($1,685 a week) in return for a share of the profits. The film went on to gross more than $100 million.

      From there a steady run of hits followed, from a third installment of the Die Hard series (Die Hard: With a Vengeance) in 1995, to the 1998 sci-fi action thriller, Armageddon. In 1999, Willis came through with one of his more memorable roles as child psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe in the M. Night Shyamalan film, The Sixth Sense. Along the way, Willis kept busy with more comedy (The Whole Nine Yards) and a bevy of television appearances (Ally McBeal, Mad About You and Friends).

      "It's not just that he's so incredibly cool—it's that he makes you feel like you're cool too," crowed one film critic in 2007, "He is the bouncer who listens to you and smiles as he's tossing you from the bar."

      In 2010, Willis starred, along with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Sylvester Stallone, in The Expendables. In August 2012, he reunited with the film's cast to star in a follow-up film, The Expendables 2. Within just one week, the movie had climbed to the No. 1 spot at the box office, bringing in nearly $28.6 million.

      In recent years, Willis has shown no signs of slowing down, demonstrating a range that mixes muscular intimidation (Sin City, Live Free or Die Hard) with sharp comedic timing (The Whole Ten Yards) that few actors can claim. His upcoming projects include the independent thriller Wake directed by John Pogue. In March 2015, plans were announced for Willis's Broadway debut in a stage adaptation of Stephen King's bestseller Misery.

    Major achievements

    • - His recording of "Respect Yourself" reached #5 in January 1987.

      - 1994: Maxim magazine ranked his sex scene in Color of Night the #1 sex scene in film history.

      - 1997: Ranked #22 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list.

      - Was the first actor to ever "act" in a video game (Apocalypse (1998)). No one before had ever done voice work along with having their likeness and movements digitally added to the game, as well as receiving prominent billing on the game's cover.

      - 2002: Appointed as national spokesman for Children in Foster Care by President George W. Bush; Willis wrote online: "I saw Foster Care as a way for me to serve my country in a system by which shining a little bit of light could benefit a great deal by helping kids who were literally wards of the government."

      - 2006: Honored by French government for his contributions to the film industry; appointed an Officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters in a ceremony in Paris; the French Prime Minister stated, "This is France's way of paying tribute to an actor who epitomizes the strength of American cinema, the power of the emotions that he invites us to share on the world's screens and the sturdy personalities of his legendary characters."

      - 2006: Honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 16; located at 6915 Hollywood Boulevard and it was the 2,321st star awarded in its history; at the reception, he stated, "I used to come down here and look at these stars and I could never quite figure out what you were supposed to do to get one...time has passed and now here I am doing this, and I'm still excited. I'm still excited to be an actor."

      - 2011: Inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

      - 2013: Promoted to the dignity of Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters on February 11 by French Minister of Culture Aurélie Filippetti.

    • The total number of films - 286.

    Works

    • The Return of Bruno
    • If It Don't Kill You, It Just Makes You Stronger
    • Classic Bruce Willis: The Universal Masters Collection
    • 1986

    Politics

    Willis is often considered a rarity in Democrat, liberal Hollywood–a Republican. The truth is, he’s got his own views, some of which would be considered conservative, some of which would be considered liberal. He is pro-free health care (at least for the elderly)6 but he’s also pro-gun ownership rights. He endorsed Democrat Michael Dukakis for president in 19888 but has spoken out in favor of every Republican president since–including George W. Bush.

    In his own words, Willis is tired of talking about it:

    "I’m a Republican only as far as I want a smaller government. I want less government intrusion. I want them to stop pissing on my money and your money, the tax dollars that we give 50 percent of, or 40 percent of, every year, and 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… Okay. I admit it. I hate government and I hate political parties" [http://hollowverse.com/bruce-willis/].

    Religion

    '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?'

    Bruce has been a Lutheran, but now expresses extreme distaste for organized religions and has said things that imply a sort of pantheism, saying:

    "I believe there are a lot of things in the world that happen that are inexplicable but still happen. And I accept that, and that to me is part of what I call God. But God is also this snow, and God is also the little buds that come out on the trees, little babies that get born. That’s my God. But organized religion you can set on fire" [http://hollowverse.com/bruce-willis/].

    Views

    Quotations: "I'm much more proud of being a father than being an actor".

    "You can't undo the past... but you can certainly not repeat it".

    :If you take guns away from legal gun owners, then the only people who would have guns would be the bad guys. Even a pacifist would get violent if someone were trying to kill him or her. You would fight for your life, whatever your beliefs".

    "Hair loss is God's way of telling me I'm human".

    "I'm really just a regular guy who has had an incredibly blessed life".

    "I just try to go to work, and concentrate on coming home to my girls".

    "I've always had confidence. Before I was famous, that confidence got me into trouble. After I got famous, it just got me into more trouble".

    "Fifty is the new forty. I always thought my best work would come in the years forty to sixty, if I was fortunate enough to hang around - and it is hard to stick around".

    "I'm happy every day".

    "Who I am as a father is far more important to me than the public perception".

    "When you think about where are you going to find that big love of your life, you seldom think it's someone you already know. You think it's someone you're yet to meet".

    [http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/b/bruce_willis.html]

    Personality

    - He is 6 ft (1.83 m) tall.

    - Zodiac sign is Pisces.

    - Willis was very outgoing and outspoken as a child and as a teenager, but he had a hard time with the physical act of speaking due to a severe stutter he struggled with until the age of nine. According to an interview he gave to Reader’s Digest, Willis discovered a way to overcome his stutter by accident — he tried out for a part in his high school’s drama club production of ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’ and as soon as he took the stage, he noticed his stutter was gone. “When I stepped off the stage, I started stuttering again,” Willis said. “And I went, ‘This is a miracle. I’ve got to investigate this more.’”[http://thefw.com/bruce-willis-facts/?trackback=tsmclip]

    - He personally recommended Michael Clarke Duncan for ‘The Green Mile’.

    - He was a talented wrestler in his high school days, but suffered a serious sprain that needed a surgery and left a scar on his right shoulder.

    - After high school, Willis took a job as a security guard at the Salem Nuclear Power Plant and also transported work crews at the DuPont Chambers Works factory in Deepwater, New Jersey.

    - He met a producer when he was tending a bar in Cafe Central, NY. He became a bartender after showing lack of skill in being a waiter.

    - Willis started pursuing acting work in New York City and eventually earned the interest of producers for the Madonna film 'Desperately Seeking Susan.' He didn't get the part but the day before he left, he tried out in a large casting call for the lead male role on ABC's 'Moonlighting.'

    - Bruce was arrested on Memorial Day 1987 after reportedly disturbing the peace and assaulting a police officer who was called to quiet a raucous party at his home. The charges were dropped after Willis agreed to apologize to his neighbors.

    - He is the co-founder of Planet Hollywood, , a theme restaurant inspired by the popular portrayal of Hollywood, along with actors Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Demi Moore.

    - He was the first star to act in a video game by he lending his voice and body movement for Trey Kincaide in action game "Apocalypse".

    - He owns The Mint bar, the Liberty Theater and Hailey Drug Store in Hailey, Idaho, but the latter has gone idle since the early 1990s.

    - In 2001 Bruce Willis publicly stated that he would no longer appear in movies that featured violent action. He also stated that he would no longer appear in "save the world" films.

    - Along with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Charlton Heston, Willis was one of very few Hollywood celebrities to publicly support the Iraq war. While visiting the troops in 2003, he offered $1 million of his own money for the man who would capture Saddam Hussein. When Hussein was captured, it turned out that military rules prevent troops from collecting such a reward.

    - Bruce was chosen as the special ambassador in his birth town Idar-Oberstein since his 50th birthday.

    - Bruce Willis' net worth is $150 million.

    Trade mark:

    - Frequently plays a man who suffered a tragedy, had lost something or had a crisis of confidence or conscience.

    - Frequently plays likeable wisecracking heroes with a moral centre

    - Headlines action-adventures, often playing a policeman, hitman or someone in the military

    - Often plays men who get caught up in situations far beyond their control

    - Sardonic one-liners

    - Shaven head

    Quotes from others about the person

    "Women find him appealing and guys have a fantasy that they could be like him," ABC talent vice-president Gary Pudney tells PEOPLE in 1987. "That's why he's become such a valuable commodity to us so quickly."

    [http://www.people.com/people/bruce_willis/biography/]

    Interests

    Favorite actors:

    - Robert De Niro;

    - Gary Cooper;

    - Steve McQueen;

    - John Wayne;

    - Robert Duvall;

    - Al Pacino;

    - Cary Grant;

    - Bob Hope;

    - Robert Mitchell.

    Favorite fashion designer: Giorgio Armani

    He likes cooking!!!His daughters motivated him to study cooking as he always wanted to please them with delicious dishes.

    Favorite food:

    - bacon;

    - lobster;

    - he doesn't like HAMBURGERS!!!!

    Favorite dish:

    - lasagne;

    - cacciatore (stewed chicken, baked with spice and mushrooms).

    Music & Bands: Nick Lachey

    Connections

    • father: David Willis - soldier
      David willis had English, as well as Dutch, French, Welsh, Irish ancestry.
    • mother: Marlene Willis
      Marlene Willis has German ancestry.
    • brother: Robert Willis
      Robert died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 42. [2001]
    • brother: David Willis - producer
    • Sister: Flo Willis
    • paternal grandfather: Edgar George Willis
      He was born in Dover, Delaware, the son of Edgar Prettyman Willis and Cora Augusta Tarburton.
    • Paternal grandmother: Martha Florence Tingle
      She was born in Maryland, the daughter of David Henry Tingle and Julia Martha Parsons.
    • ex-wife: Demi Moore - USA - actress
      1987-2000, three daughters.
    • Wife: Emma Heming - USA - actress and model
      2009 - present, two children.
    • ex-girlfriend: Linda Fiorentino - USA - actress
      cohabited late 70s to early 80s
    • ex-girlfriend: Maria Bravo Rosado - Spain - model, producer, actress
      They were together in 1998-2000.
    • ex-girlfriend: Emily Sandberg - model
    • ex-girlfriend: Nadia Bjorlin - model
    • ex-girlfriend: Brooke Burns - USA - actress
      They were together in 2003-04.
    • Daughter: Rumer Willis - USA - actress
      She was born in 1988.
    • Daughter: Scout Larue Willis - USA
      She was born in 1991.
    • Daughter: Tallulah Belle Willis - USA
      She was born in 1994.
    • Daughter: Evelyn Penn Willis
    • Daughter: Mabel Ray Willis
      She was born in 2012.
    • Ex-girlfirend: Rachel Hunter - New Zealand - model and actress
      They were together in 2001.
    • Ex-girlfirend: Alisha Klass - USA - pornstar
      They were together in 2001.
    • Ex-girlfirend: Eva Jasanovska - model
      They were together in 2002.
    Walter Bruce Willis
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    • 1980 - present

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    Natalya Krechko last changed 13/05/2013 view changes
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