Sunday, October 21, 2007

Brad Pitt

Despite his pretty boy looks and movie star charisma, actor Brad Pitt spent most of his career trying to avoid bloated box office leads, in favor of riskier, lower profile roles. After achieving heartthrob status with revealing performances showing off his “six-pack abs” in “Thelma and Louise” (1991) and “Legends of the Fall” (1994), Pitt actively subverted his hunky blond image by taking on ugly and often crazed characters – most notably in “12 Monkeys” (1995), “Fight Club” (1999) and “Snatch” (2001)....

Full Biography

Despite his pretty boy looks and movie star charisma, actor Brad Pitt spent most of his career trying to avoid bloated box office leads, in favor of riskier, lower profile roles. After achieving heartthrob status with revealing performances showing off his “six-pack abs” in “Thelma and Louise” (1991) and “Legends of the Fall” (1994), Pitt actively subverted his hunky blond image by taking on ugly and often crazed characters – most notably in “12 Monkeys” (1995), “Fight Club” (1999) and “Snatch” (2001). While en route to becoming one of the top box office draws of his generation, Pitt generated a substantial amount of tabloid press – particularly for his headline-grabbing romantic entanglements, which provided ample fodder for supermarket stands across the country. His high profile marriage to Jennifer Aniston – once tagged as being the perfect storybook Hollywood romance between the boy and girl next door – crashed and burned in the flames of his alleged affair with proverbial bad girl, Angelina Jolie. The result, however, was a new image of Pitt as multi-racial father and globetrotting activist – thanks to Jolie’s serial adoption of impoverished orphans from Africa and Southeast Asia – a transformation that was underscored by a strong and mature performance in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s meditative “Babel” (2006), for which the actor earned his second Golden Globe nomination.
Born on Dec. 18, 1963 in Shawnee, OK, Pitt was raised in a devout Baptist home headed by William, a trucking company manager, and Jane, a high school counselor. The family moved to Missouri, where Pitt attended high school in Kickapoo. After graduating, he went to the University of Missouri, where he studied journalism and belonged to the Sigma Chi fraternity. But two weeks prior to earning his degree, Pitt suddenly decided to pile into his Datsun with $300 in his pocket and move to Los Angeles, CA to become an actor. Pitt started out in television guest spots, including a recurring role on the CBS primetime soap "Dallas" in 1987 that tended to capitalize on his wiry good looks. He co-starred in "Glory Days" (Fox, 1990), a short-lived drama about post-high school angst. Pitt entered features via the well-traveled low road, appearing in supporting roles in such standard teen fodder as slasher flicks, sex comedies and family-oriented sports dramas.

In that rarest of film moments, Pitt gained instant stardom as the hitchhiking hunk – part charmer, part thief – who seduces Geena Davis while brandishing a hairdryer and sporting a cowboy hat in the female buddy movie, "Thelma & Louise" (1991). The following year, he achieved leading man status while sporting a formidable pompadour as the fictitious, aspiring teen idol "Johnny Suede;” he maintained the hairstyle as a soft-hearted yet hard-boiled vet-turned-cartoon cop in "Cool World” – Ralph Bakshi's uneven blend of live-action and animation. Pitt gained some critical esteem playing the troubled younger brother who casts a mean fishing line in Robert Redford's "A River Runs Through It" (1992), but fared less well as a bearded psycho killer in "Kalifornia" (1993). He provided a delightful character turn as the stoner roommate of a struggling actor (Michael Rapaport) who connects his Detroit buddy (Christian Slater) with a Hollywood producer (Saul Rubinek) for a coke deal gone bad in the Quentin Tarantino-scripted "True Romance" (1993). Despite his relative minor degree of celebrity at that time, there was already considerable interest in Pitt’s romantic involvements. Around the release of “True Romance,” he called off a reported engagement to three-year girlfriend, actress Juliette Lewis.

Pitt subsequently played his first high profile lead in a Hollywood blockbuster as Louis, the lachrymose narrator of "Interview with the Vampire" (1994). His depressed bloodsucker seemed all the more anemic when paired with a lively Tom Cruise. Pitt's star qualities were better displayed as the wild, middle brother of a colorful Western clan in "Legends of the Fall.” In a change of pace from glamour roles – and to subtly subvert his being dubbed the “Sexiest Man Alive" by People magazine – the actor played a scruffy, arrogant policeman tracking a serial killer with Morgan Freeman in "Seven" (1995), before earning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination as a twitching mental patient/animal rights activist in Terry Gilliam’s manic futuristic dystopia, "12 Monkeys" (1995).

After a turn as a prosecutor in Barry Levinson's "Sleepers" (1996), Pitt adopted a passing Belfast accent as an IRA gunman seeking refuge in the home of a New York City cop (Harrison Ford) in "The Devil's Own" (1997). What had been a long a troubled shoot resulted in a muddled and uneven drama. Pitt caused some controversy with a Newsweek interview, in which he made disparaging remarks about the film’s script. With "Seven Years in Tibet" (1997), he adopted an Austrian accent to play an egotistical man who undergoes a spiritual conversion when he is befriended by the youthful Dalai Lama. That film was also the subject of debate when it was revealed that Heinrich Harrer (Pitt) had been a Nazi Party member – the resulting negative publicity and mixed reviews hurting the film's box office. Pitt followed up by reuniting with his "Legends of the Falls" co-star Anthony Hopkins in the languid "Meet Joe Black" (1998) – a loose remake of "Death Takes a Holiday" (1934) – with the younger actor playing the Grim Reaper in human form.

Further downplaying his attractive facade, Pitt was cast as Tyler Durden, the straight-shooting but charismatic mastermind behind "Fight Club" (1999), an underground society of disaffected young men who engage in brutal fisticuffs as a means of reclaiming their masculinity. He continued in a similar vein with a turn as an Irish gypsy with a flair for bare knuckles boxing in "Snatch" (2000). In both of these films, Pitt's muscular physique was on display, but in "Fight Club,” he favored a scruffy look; while in "Snatch,” he was covered in tattoos. Off-screen, however, Pitt's celebrity status as a hunky Hollywood icon soared into the stratosphere, after his romantic relationship with the equally beautiful and popular “Friends” (NBC, 1994-2004) TV star Jennifer Aniston culminated in 2001 with a storybook wedding – complete with fireworks – in Malibu, CA. The golden couple's every move quickly became must-have fodder for entertainment-oriented media outlets everywhere.

In "The Mexican" (2001), he offered a relaxed, loose turn as a somewhat dim, low-level gangster sent south – over the objections of his long-time girlfriend, played by Julia Roberts – to retrieve the title object, an antique pistol that supposedly carried a curse. He remained busy portraying the protégé of a retiring CIA operative (Robert Redford) in "Spy Game” (2001), before joining George Clooney and an equally beautiful ensemble cast for Steven Soderbergh’s wildly fun remake of "Ocean's Eleven" (2001). That year, Pitt also made two notable TV guest appearances – first, on his wife's sitcom, "Friends," playing a now-thin high school pal of Monica's (Courteney Cox-Arquette) who has long harbored an animosity toward Rachel (Aniston); secondly, in a much discussed slot on MTV's stunt-prank series – and a personal Pitt favorite – "Jackass," where the actor was violently "kidnapped" from L.A.'s Pink's hot dog stand, as several dumbfounded witnesses observed. In 2002, Pitt made brief cameo appearances in Soderbergh's experimental film "Full Frontal" (as himself) and Clooney's directorial debut, "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.” In 2003, he made the jump to animated features, voicing the title character in the quickly forgotten "Sinbad."

After years of downplaying his handsome, heroic looks by appearing in scruffy beards and long hair, Pitt finally took a role that cast him as every bit the Golden Boy, playing legendary Greek hero Achilles in director Wolfgang Petersen's epic, "Troy" (2004) – a role that inspired excitement among his male and female fans alike. The actor also agreed to rejoin Clooney, Soderbergh, et al, for the sequel romp "Ocean's Twelve" (2004), this time playing a Rusty with his own love interest (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Unfortunately, the male camaraderie was wearing thing and the film lacked much of the charm of the first outing.

In early 2005, the film work became secondary, when Pitt found himself at the center of an intense media whirlwind when he announced he was splitting from Aniston. One of the speculated reasons for the divorce of the dream couple centered on rumors of an on-set relationship with Angelina Jolie during his next film, the Doug Liman-helmed action-fest "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" (2005). Long hours spent choreographing fight scenes and special effects could have done the trick, when onscreen, the actors played a bored married couple surprised to learn that they are each secretly assassins and are ultimately hired to kill each other. Though both actors initially refuted rumors of their affair – and after frequently being photographed together in their private lives, took a less coyer stance later on, with Pitt petitioning to adopt Aniston’s two children – the intense media and public interest in their possible relationship propelled the film to huge box office receipts, thanks in large part to their palpable onscreen chemistry. Their "are they or aren't they?" coupling captivated star watchers and was the most written-about celebrity story of 2005 – prompting the coining of the term "Brangelina." As their relationship gradually emerged in the public eye, Pitt accompanied Jolie on her missions of mercy to third world nations to adopt children. The couple ultimately revealed that they were expecting their own biological child together – daughter, Shiloh Nouvel – while articles trumpeting Aniston’s reportedly ongoing anguish over the loss of Pitt continued to propel the spectacle forward. In fact, the public’s intense interest in the split-turned-love affair heard round the world eventually came down to camps – with Team Aniston and Team Jolie T-shirts being sold off the shelves that summer.

After a noted absence from the big screen – but not the tabloid pages, which seemed to concoct a new and ridiculous story about Brangelina every week – Pitt returned with a strong and rather mature performance in “Babel” (2006), a dense and heartbreaking look at confusion, fear and the depths of love. Set on different continents – Asia, Africa and North America – “Babel” told three separate stories brought together by a single random act of violence. Pitt played an American tourist traveling to Morocco, when a stray bullet from a rifle crashes through a bus window and seriously wounds his wife (Cate Blachett), touching off a series of events – including the couple’s Mexican housekeeper (Adriana Barraza) trying to cross the border, a neglected Japanese girl (Rinko Kikuchi) scouring Japan for love in all the wrong places, and two Moroccan boys (Said Tarchani and Boubker Ait El Caid) dealing with their responsibility for the shooting. Meanwhile, Papa Pitt – by now, the father of three adopted children and one biological w/ Jolie – reunited with Soderbergh, Clooney, Damon and the rest one more time for “Oceans 13” (2007), the third installment to the hipster caper series that saw the gang exacting revenge on a ruthless Las Vegas casino owner (Al Pacino) after becoming the victims of a double-cross. Hijinks and hilarity ensue.


Actor, chauffeur, delivery man Sometimes Credited As:
William Bradley Pitt Family
brother:Doug Pitt (owns computer company; born c. 1966)
daughter:Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt (legally adopted in 2006; mother is Angelina Jolie)
daughter:Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt (born May 27, 2006 in Namibia; mother is Angelina Jolie)
father:William Pitt
mother:Jane Pitt
sister:Julie Pitt (born c. 1969; married with at least one child)
son:Pax Thien Jolie-Pitt (adopted at three years old from a Vietnamese orphanage in 2007; Angelina Jolie adopted the boy as a single parent because Vietnam's adoption regulations don't allow unmarried couples to co-adopt; name was legally changed to Jolie-Pitt three months after his adoption)
son:Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt (legally adopted in 2006; mother is Angelina Jolie)
wife:Jennifer Aniston (met in 1998; married July 29, 2000 in Malibu, California; announced separation on January 6, 2005, after more than fours years of marriage; Aniston filed for divorce March 2005; divorce finalized October 2005.)

Angelina Jolie , Companion , ```..met while filming "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"; rumored to be romantically involved throughout filming, but this was denied by both parties; began being photographed together as a couple in spring 2005
Gwyneth Paltrow , Companion , ```..met on set of "Seven" (1994) where they played a married couple; became engaged in November 1996; separated in June 1997
Jill Schoelen , Companion , ```..met on set of "Cutting Class"; (1989); broke up in 1989
Jitka Pohlodek , Companion , ```..dated briefly in 1993
Juliette Lewis , Companion , ```..met on the set of the 1990 TV-movie "Too Young to Die?"; together for three years; broke up c. February 1993; reportedly were engaged
Katja von Garnier , Companion , ```..German; born c. 1966; dated in 1997
Robin Givens , Companion , ```..dated briefly in 1988 after working together on episodes of the TV sitcom "Head of the Class"


Kickapoo High School Springfield, Missouri
University of Missouri at Columbia Columbia, Missouri journalism 1982


Venice Film Festival Best Actor "The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford" 2007
MTV Movie Award Best Fight "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" 2006
People's Choice Favorite Leading Man 2005
MTV Movie Award Most Desirable Male 1996
Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor "12 Monkeys" 1995
MTV Movie Award Best Male Performance "Interview with the Vampire" 1995
MTV Movie Award Most Desirable Male 1995


2007 Reprised role along with the original cast for "Ocean's 13"
2007 Produced "A Mighty Heart," the film based on the book by Mariane Pearl, wife of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, and which starred his partner Angelina Jolie
2007 Portrayed outlaw Jesse James in "The Assassination Of Jesse James" by Coward Robert Ford"
2006 Co-starred with Cate Blanchett as a tragedy-stricken American couple in "Babel"; received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
2005 Starred opposite Angelina Jolie, as a bored married couple that is surprised to learn that they are assassins hired to kill each other in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"
2004 Portrayed fated warrior Achilles in director Wolfgang Petersen's epic "Troy"
2004 Reunited with the original cast for "Ocean's Twelve" directed by Steven Soderbergh
2003 Voiced the title character in the animation feature "Sinbad"
2002 Cast as the lead in the sci-fi film "The Fountain" directed by Darren Aronofsky; film fell through
2001 Teamed with Robert Redford in "The Spy Game", playing the protege of a retiring CIA agent
2001 Had featured role in the ensemble of "Ocean's Eleven" which included Julia Roberts, George Clooney and Matt Damon
2001 Co-starred with Julia Roberts in "The Mexican", playing a mafia bagman sent to retrieve the titular object, an antique pistol that supposedly carried a curse
2000 Portrayed an itinerant Irish gypsy bare knuckles boxer in "Snatch", written and directed by Guy Ritchie
1999 Co-starred with Edward Norton in "Fight Club"
1998 Reteamed with Anthony Hopkins for "Meet Joe Black", a loose remake of "Death Takes a Holiday"
1997 Engendered controversy for making negative comments about "The Devil's Own", in which he played an Irish revolutionary opposite Harrison Ford as an NYC cop
1997 Successfully sued Playgirl magazine to stop distribution after it published unauthorized nude photographs of Pitt and then-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow
1997 Film "Seven Years in Tibet" was subject of controversy when it was disclosed that the character Pitt played, Heinrich Harrer, had ties to the Nazis
1995 In January dubbed "The Sexiest Man Alive" by People magazine
1995 Co-starred with Morgan Freeman as detectives tracking a serial killer in "Seven"
1995 Earned Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a mental patient in "12 Monkeys"
1994 First worked with Anthony Hopkins playing one of his sons in "Legends of the Fall"
1994 Co-starred with Tom Cruise in "Interview With the Vampire", playing Louis, the aristocratic Southerner made turned reluctant bloodsucker
1993 Played featured role in "True Romance"
1992 Had major role in "A River Runs Through It", directed by Robert Redford
1991 Cast in breakthrough role of drifter J D in "Thelma & Louise" after Billy Baldwin bowed out to star in "Backdraft"
1991 Debut as a feature lead, "Johnny Suede", about an aspiring pop singer
1990 Co-starred with Juliette Lewis in the fact-based NBC TV-movie "Too Young to Die?" , about a teenage girl put on trial for murder
1990 Appeared in the regular role of Walker Lovejoy, a high school graduate working as a reporter, in the short-lived Fox drama "Glory Days"
1989 Made second guest appearance on "Growing Pains", playing a different character
1989 Feature acting debut, "Cutting Class"
1988 TV-movie debut, "A Stoning in Fulham County"
1987 Did extra work in the film "Less Than Zero"
1987 Had small role on the NBC soap opera "Another World"
1987 Primetime TV debut in a guest role in an episode of the ABC sitcom "Growing Pains"
1987 Cast as the boyfriend of Jenna Wade Ewing's daughter in three episodes of the CBS primetime soap "Dallas"
1986 Moved to Los Angeles claiming to his parents that he was attending the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena
Grew up in Springfield, Missouri
Worked at odd jobs including as a chaffeur to Strip-O-Gram strippers, delivering refrigerators to college students and dressing up in a chicken costume outside the El Pollo Loco restaurant
Will star in David Fincher's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (lensed 2006)

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