Mar. 19th, 1955
Idar-Oberstein, West Germany
Guest TV Roles
Peter Novins (segment "Shatterday")
Officer John McClane
Walter Bruce Willis (born March 19, 1955) is an American actor, producer, and singer. His career began in television in the 1980s.
German born, New Jersey raised US actor and musician well known for his film appearances as wise cracking or hard edged characters, often in spectacular action films. Collectively, he has appeared in films that have grossed in excess of $2.5 billion USD placing him in the top ten stars in terms of box office receipts. The young Willis picked up an interest for the dramatic arts in high school, and was allegedly "discovered" whilst working in a café in NYC and then appeared in a couple of off-Broadway productions.
After countless auditions, Willis contributed minor film appearances, usually uncredited, before landing the role of private eye "David Addison" alongside sultry Cybill Shepherd in the hit romantic comedy TV series Moonlighting (1985). The series firmly established Bruce Willis as a hot new talent, and his sarcastic and wise cracking PI was in effect a dry run for the role of hard boiled, NYC detective "John McClane" in the monster hit of 1988, Die Hard (1988). This superbly paced action film balanced laconic humor and wholesale destruction as Willis' character single handedly battles a gang of ruthless international thieves in a Los Angeles skyscraper.
Willis reprized the role of the tough guy cop "John McClane" in the eagerly anticipated sequel Die Hard 2 (1990) set at snow bound Washington's Dulles International Airport as a group of renegade Special Forces soldiers seek to repatriate a corrupt South American general. Excellent box office returns demanded a further sequel Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995) this time also starring 'Samuel L. Jackson' as a cynical Harlem shop owner unwittingly thrust into assisting McClane during a terrorist bombing campaign on a sweltering day in NYC.
Willis found time out from all the action mayhem to provide the voice of "Mikey" the baby in the very popular family comedies Look Who's Talking (1989), and its sequel Look Who's Talking Too (1990) also starring 'John Travolta' and 'Kirstie Alley'. Over the next decade, Willis starred in some very successful films, some very offbeat films and some unfortunate box office flops. The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) and Hudson Hawk (1991) were both large scale financial disasters that were savaged by the critics, and both are arguably best left off the CVs of all the actors involved.
However, Willis was still popular with movie audiences and selling plenty of theatre tickets with the hyper violent The Last Boy Scout (1991), the darkly humored Death Becomes Her (1992) and the mediocre police thriller Striking Distance (1993). During the 1990s, Willis also appeared in several independent and low budget productions that won him new fans and praise from the critics for his intriguing performances working with some very diverse film directors. He appeared in the oddly appealing North (1994), as a cagey prize fighter in the Quentin Tarantino directed mega-hit Pulp Fiction (1994), the Terry Gilliam directed apocalyptic thriller Twelve Monkeys (1995), the Luc Besson directed sci-fi opus The Fifth Element (1997) and the M. Night Shyamalan directed spine tingling epic The Sixth Sense (1999).
Willis next starred in the gangster comedy Whole Nine Yards, The (2000), worked again with "hot" director M. Night Shyamalan in the less gripping Unbreakable (2000), and in two military dramas, Hart's War (2002) and Tears of the Sun (2003) that both failed to really fire with movie audiences or critics alike. However, Willis bounced back into the spotlight in the critically applauded Frank Miller graphic novel turned movie Sin City (2005), the voice of "RJ" the scheming raccoon in the animated hit Over the Hedge (2006) and Die Hard fans rejoiced to see "John McClane" return to the big screen in the high tech Live Free or Die Hard (2007) aka Die Hard 4.0.
Willis was married to actress 'Demi Moore' for approximately thirteen years and they share custody to their three children.
- Ranked #3 in Star TV's Top 10 Box Office Stars of the 1990s (2003).
- (2001) Stated he will no longer be doing violent action or "save-the-world" movies.
- He filled in as a last-minute host for 'David Letterman' (qv) on February 26, 2003, a show he was supposed to be the guest for. It was Letterman's first "sick day" in 20 years (other than his time off for heart surgery).
- He ad-libbed many of John McClane's one-liners in the "Die Hard" films.
- Attended the 'Stella Adler' (qv) Conservatory / Theatre program in New York City for three years.
- Was chosen to play John McClane in _Die Hard (1988)_ (qv) because the producers felt he brought warmth and humor to an otherwise cold and humorless character. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone had turned down the role.
- Has named his acting idols as 'Robert De Niro' (qv), 'Gary Cooper (I)' (qv), 'Steve McQueen (I)' (qv) and 'John Wayne (I)' (qv).
- Endorsed his friend and former co-star 'Fred Dalton Thompson' (qv) in his failed bid to win the Republican nomination for the 2008 presidential election.