Yippee-ki-yay, Bruce Willis is one talented actor. Over the years Bruce Willis has pretty much been typecast as an ‘action hero’, but a quick glance over his career is enough to tell anyone that this gifted actor has more to him than the ability to handle big guns and fly-kick bad guys in the head.
Walter Bruce Willis was born on 19th March, 1955 in Idar-Oberstein, West Germany. His father, David Willis, was an American soldier and his mother, Marlene K, was German born. The eldest of four children, Bruce found himself moving back to America in 1957 when his father was discharged from the army. When they arrived in Carney’s Point, New Jersey his father took up a job as a welder, mechanic and factory worker while his mother worked in a bank.
Willis discovered his love for acting while attending Penns Grove High School. He struggled with a stutter that often saw him teased and, amazingly, he found the stage the best place to express himself, losing the stutter in the process. He became so involved in high school productions that he joined the drama club but on graduation from found himself working as a security guard and private investigator.
After doing these jobs for a few years Willis decided to enrol in college and signed up for the drama program at Montclair State University, but after appearing in a production of “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” decided to move to New York where he worked as a bar tender while going to auditions. Soon he found himself landing roles in off-Broadway productions and also appearing in a Levi’s Jeans commercial.
After leaving New York to concentrate on acting in Los Angeles Willis soon found himself appearing in television shows including “Miami Vice,” “The New Twilight Zone” and “The Return Of Bruno.” He then beat 3,000 other actors to take up the role of David Addison Jr. opposite Cybil Sheppard in “Moonlighting” and a star was born.
While working on “Moonlighting” Willis also made his credited feature film debut in “Blind Date”, a romantic comedy with Kim Basinger, before following that up with “Sunset” before becoming the iconic character that he is perhaps best known for, the wise-cracking Officer John McClane in “Die Hard.”
After “Moonlighting” wrapped production in 1989 Willis starred in a variety of different roles, from voicing a baby in “Look Who’s Talking” to again playing the action hero in “Die Hard 2” and “The Last Boy Scout”. Despite these films becoming hits many critics were quick to point out that Willis’ career was beginning to free-fall, but that turned around in 1994 when a young filmmaker named Quentin Tarantino cast Willis in “Pulp Fiction” a film that would become a cult favorite and would re-generate Willis’ career.
From then on in his career Willis’ CV reads as a complete success story. With varied films such as “Die Hard: With A Vengeance,” “Twelve Monkeys,” “The Fifth Element,” “Armageddon” and “The Sixth Sense” to his name it is easy to see that Willis made the second half of the 1990s his own and there is little wonder why he is the ninth highest grossing leading actor of all time.
In the 2000s Willis again starred in big films such as “The Whole Nine Yards,” “Unbreakable,” “Hostage,” “Sin City,” “Grindhouse,” “Die Hard 4.0” and “Surrogates” but again flexed his versatility by voicing a character in “Over The Hedge” but also appearing in television shows including “Ally McBeal,” “Friends” and “That 70s Show.”
Over recent years Willis seems to have even moved up another notch with his acting ability and his presence in a film is enough to make it a box-office hit. A new generation of film lovers have seen Willis in comedies like “Cop Out” and the witty “Moonrise Kingdom” but also settle into the role of an aging action hero in “Red,” “The Expendables,” “The Expendables 2,” “Looper,” “A Good Day To Die Hard,” ‘Red 2” and “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”.
Outside of his successful acting career Willis has also established himself as a good businessman. Over the years he has been involved in other enterprises including a production company called Cheyenne Enterprises, he also owns The Mint Bar, The Liberty Theater, has a 3.3% stake-hold in Sobieski Vodka and was a co-founder of the Planet Hollywood chain of restaurants.
When it comes to his personal life Willis was famously married to Demi Moore from the 21st November, 1987 (they met at a premier of “Stakeout”) to the 18th October, 2000. They have three daughters together, Rumer Willis (born 1988), Scout LaRue Willis (born 1991) and Tallulah Belle Willis (born 1994). Willis struggled with the divorce but remained good friends with both Moore and her new partner Ashton Kutcher, he has also admitted that actor Will Smith helped him through the period.
Since then he has been engaged to actress Brooke Burns but they split up after ten months but on the 21st March, 2009 he married model Emma Heming in Turks and Caicos, and then six days later held another service in Beverly Hills as the first one had not legally wed them. They have one daughter, Mabel Ray Willis (born 2012) together.
With films such as “Red 2,” “A Good Day to Die Hard” and “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” doing so well at the box office in 2013 there is little wonder that Bruce Willis is still regarded as one of the world’s most popular action heroes. He is set to have ticket sales going crazy again as he is about to hit the big screen in “American Assassin,” “Expiration” and is keeping two of his franchises alive by appearing in “Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For” and once again playing the legendary John McClane in “Die Hardest.”