Walter Bruce Willison, aka Bruce Willis (pronounced in English: [bɹuːs ˈwɪlɪs]) 2, is an American actor and film producer born March 19, 1955 in Idar-Oberstein, West Germany3.
His career began on the Off-Broadway stage, then on television in the 1980s with the role of David Addison in the Clair de lune series (1985-1989). Alternating in television and film in comedic, dramatic and action roles, Bruce Willis achieved notoriety thanks to his role as John McClane with the action film Die Hard in 1988, which met with significant commercial success and s ‘imposes as a benchmark of the genre.
During the 1990s, he returned for two sequels: 58 minutes to live (1990) and Une jour en enfer (1995). He also continues to establish himself as a headliner in action cinema with The Last Samaritan (1990), Last Recours (1996), Le Chacal (1997). He also tried his hand at science fiction with success thanks to The Army of the Twelve Monkeys (1995), Armageddon (1998) and The Fifth Element (1997).
His few forays into black and adult comedy took place under the direction of Brian De Palma (Le Bûcher des vanités, 1990), Robert Zemeckis (La mort vous va si bien, 1992) and especially Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, 1994) ).
The end of the 1990s and the 2000s are synonymous with a remarkable double collaboration with the filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, who reveals it in a more dramatic register with his fantastic thrillers Sixth Sense (1999) and Unbreakable (2000). Subsequently, his forays into a more classic dramatic cinema were received in a mixed way: Bandits (2001), Mission Évasion (2002), Les Larmes du Soleil (2003) and Dangereuse Séduction (2007).
While he continued to tour extensively during the 2010s, he only managed to regain critical acclaim4 with the films Sin City (2005), Planète Terreur (2007), Looper (2012), as well as with an incursion in the universe of Wes Anderson for the acclaimed Moonrise Kingdom (2012). He also becomes John McClane again for Die Hard 4: Back to Hell (2007) and Die Hard: Beautiful Day to Die (2013), while participating in Red and The Expendables: Special Unit in 2010. In 2019, he reunites with M. Night Shyamalan for Glass.
The films in which the actor appeared brought in nearly three billion dollars at the American box office and seven billion at the global box office, making him the eighth highest-grossing actor in cinema history.
Bruce Willis married actress Demi Moore in 1987, together they had three daughters. Their divorce was pronounced in 2000, after thirteen years of marriage. Now he is married to model Emma Heming, with whom he had two daughters.
Walter Bruce Willison was born March 19, 19556; he is the son of David Willison, an American soldier based in Idar-Oberstein in West Germany (FRG), and Marlene1, a German born in Cassel7. He has two brothers, David and Robert (died in 2001 from pancreatic cancer), and a sister, Florence. With his family, he left Germany for the United States at the age of 2. Most of his childhood was spent in Penns Grove, New Jersey. In high school, he already shows a keen interest in the stage and chairs the school’s drama club. After high school, he found a job as a security guard at the Salem nuclear power plant and then transported the work crews to the DuPont Works plant in Deepwater, New Jersey. He resigned after the death of one of his colleagues, then worked as a bartender in New York.
He decides to start an acting career and studies drama at Montclair State University1. He performed in a performance of The Hottie Cat on a Hot Roof, but left that school during his junior year. At the same time, he devoted himself to music and learned to play the harmonica. After this experience, he returned to work in bars, but this time for a part-time job at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. After multiple auditions, he really made his theater debut with the Broadway production Ciel et Terre and gained more and more experience, notably with the play Fool for Love. He also stars in an advertisement for Levi’s and another for a brand of female condoms. During this period, he attended the Actors Studio, one of the most prestigious acting schools in the world.
Debut and television revelation (1980s)
After a few small roles and appearances like The Verdict with Paul Newman and Two cops in Miami with Don Johnson, Bruce Willis came out of anonymity in 1986 thanks to the television series Clair de lune, broadcast on the ABC channel. Alongside Cybill Shepherd, he played Detective David Addison Jr. from 1985 to 1988, winning the Emmy Award for Best Actor in a Dramatic TV Series and the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Television Series in 1987.
He had his first success on the big screen with Boire et Déboires, the romantic comedy by Blake Edwards in which he played Kim Basinger. In 1988, he was unexpectedly chosen to play the role of police officer John McClane in John McTiernan’s action film Crystal Trap. This planetary success opens the Die Hard saga, with increasingly spectacular sequels (58 minutes to live, A day in hell, Die Hard 4: Back to hell and Die Hard: Beautiful day to die) which will make Bruce Willis the worthy successor of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone in the big arms category.
Meanwhile, he takes advantage of his cinematographic success to try a career as a singer. He has recorded two albums, The Return of Bruno (1987) and If It Don’t Kill You, It Just Makes You Stronger (1989).
Action movie star (1990s)
During the 1990s, Bruce Willis tried to vary his repertoire. He co-starred with Tom Hanks and Morgan Freeman in Brian De Palma’s Bonfire of Vanities, then starred in the action comedies The Last Samaritan by Tony Scott and Hudson Hawk, gentleman and burglar for which he wrote the screenplay. He then plays a role in the wrong way in Robert Zemeckis’ Death Looks So Good, with Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn.
He confirms by taking the role of a boxer in Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino, alongside stars like John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman. Benefiting from significant public and critical enthusiasm, Pulp Fiction became the cult film of the decade and allowed it to regain great popularity. In addition to the Die Hard saga that he continues to carry with success, he has a series of ambitious films; thus, in The Army of the Twelve Apes by Terry Gilliam, he travels through time and finds himself interned with Brad Pitt. In Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element, he has to escort an alien Milla Jovovich, and in Michael Bay’s Armageddon, he commands a team of astronauts (including Ben Affleck, Owen Wilson and Steve Buscemi) to destroy a meteorite that threatens humanity. These three big budget science fiction films establish him as the archetype of the “savior of the world” in the eyes of the general public.
At the end of the decade, the actor began a successful collaboration with director M. Night Shyamalan with the movie Sixth Sense in the company of Haley Joel Osment, and Unbreakable in which he reunited with Samuel L. Jackson. These two fantastic dramas allow him to show another aspect of his game, by addressing more psychological roles.
However, the actor continues this diversification by going this time in the field of comedy: for the comedies My neighbor the killer (2000) and My neighbor the killer 2 (2004), where he intimidates Matthew Perry. He reunited with the actor for three episodes of Friends, but also appeared in other popular comedy series of the time: Ally McBeal and That ’70s Show. He also wears the family comedy from Disney studios, Sale Môme. He also trusts recognized filmmakers: when he played in 2001 in the comedy-drama Bandits, by Barry Levinson, or even played with his star image in 2002 in the comedy Ocean’s Twelve, by Steven Soderbergh.
At the same time, he continued in a dramatic register in war films: the thriller Mission Évasion (2002), which pitted him against rising star Colin Farrell, then the warlike melodrama Les Larmes du Soleil (2003), by Antoine Fuqua, who associates her with Monica Bellucci.
In the middle of the decade, however, he returned to the muscular heroes: he carried the action film Hostage (2005), directed by the French Florent Emilio-Siri, then the buddy-movie 16 blocs (2006), by Richard Donner. Finally, he becomes John McClane again with a fourth installment of Die Hard. He also returns to the comic-book movie, playing John Hartigan in the experimental Sin City (2005), directed by Robert Rodriguez. He finds the latter for a role in Planète Terreur, co-produced by Quentin Tarantino.
He is also part of the choral castings of independent projects oriented towards irreverence and satire: in 2006, Fast Food Nation, by Richard Linklater; Slevin, by Paul McGuigan; in 2007, Alpha Dog, by Nick Cassavetes. These feature films do not convince the critics4.
This decade ended above all with real critical failures8,9: the romantic thriller Dangereuse Séduction (2007), which pitted him against Halle Berry, then above all the science fiction blockbuster Clones, which he directed under Jonathan Mostow. .
This double failure as headliner heralds a more difficult 2010 decade for the actor.
Passage to the background (2010s)
To stay in action cinema, the actor will parody himself: in 2010 for the buddy movie Top Cops, where Kevin Smith opposes him to comedian Tracy Morgan; then being part of the retirees of the action comedy Red (2010); or by being part of the old glories of action cinema reunited for Expendables 2: Special Unit (2012), on the initiative of Sylvester Stallone. He also found another actress in decline, Catherine Zeta-Jones, for the comedy Lady Vegas: The Memories of a player, directed by the English Stephen Frears. He also plays the old guys for the blockbuster G.I. Joe: Conspiracy (2013), worn by Channing Tatum.
He also gives the answer to young rising Hollywood values in action films that go unnoticed: Robbers (2011), with Ryan Phillippe, No way out (2012), worn by Henry Cavill. He also plays a colorful supporting role in the action film Without Compromise (2012), worn by Malin Åkerman. Some of these feature films are released directly on video: Fire with Fire: Vengeance par le feu (2012), with Josh Duhamel, The Prince (2014), with Jason Patric.
It was in 2012 that he had his last two critical successes, thanks to two independent filmmakers: Wes Anderson, who included him in the choral cast of his acclaimed Moonrise Kingdom, then Rian Johnson who pitted him against Joseph Gordon -Levitt in his ambitious sci-fi film Looper.
His consecutive returns to established brands ended in critical failures: when he returned to John McClane in 2013 for John Moore’s Die Hard: Beautiful Day to Die by John Moore, he was exhausted by criticism10 and experienced a commercial failure in the North. American, thus compromising the chances of a sixth and final Die Hard11. Likewise, Dean Parisot’s Red 2 and Sin City: I Killed For Her by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez are huge disappointments. These two films received negative reviews12,13 and, while the first managed to repay its budget, the second was a major commercial failure in 201414.
In 2016, while he was already engaged on the set of Woody Allen’s film Café Society, he was suddenly replaced by Steve Carell. His difficulty in delivering the dialogues written by the filmmaker would have caused his dismissal15.
The second half of the 2010 decade marked a shift in the background for the actor, where he followed the series B action films, exhausted by critics4, and coming out directly on video: Vice (2015), with Thomas Jane; Extraction (2015), with Kellan Lutz; Precious Cargo (2016), with Mark-Paul Gosselaar; Marauders (2016), with Christopher Meloni; L.A. Rush (2017), with John Goodman and Jason Momoa; First Kill (2017), with Hayden Christensen; Acts of Violence (2018), with Cole Hauser; Reprisal (2018), with Frank Grillo; then the Chinese war film Sentinels of the Pacific (2018), released directly on video due to significant money laundering and tax evasion affecting production.
In 2018, he attempted a comeback with two projects: the action film Death Wish, inspired by Brian Garfield’s novel which was adapted forty-four years earlier for the cinema with A vigilante in the city16. However, the film was poorly received by critics17 and did not achieve box office success18.
Then he reunited with M. Night Shyamalan and the character of David Dunn for the independent fantastic thriller Glass, concluding the trilogy started in 2000 with the acclaimed Unbreakable, which had imposed it in a dramatic register, and continued in 2017 with Split, carried by the performance of James McAvoy. Bruce Willis also reunites with Samuel L. Jackson. Despite mixed reviews from the English-speaking press19 (except in France where it was better received20), the feature film enabled the actor to return to commercial success21.
The same year, he lent his voice in the successful animated feature La Grande Aventure Lego 222.
The actor is preparing for the next decade with another more exposed project: he will star in actor Edward Norton’s second production, the historic independent drama Brooklyn Affairs. However, he does not give up the action films of series B: he thus shares the poster of 10 Minutes Gone with Michael Chiklis. He is also about to say goodbye to John McClane in a sixth and final feature film seeing him pass the torch to a younger version of the character.
From 1987 to 2000, Bruce Willis was married to American actress Demi Moore, a union from which were born three daughters named Rumer Glenn (1988), Scout LaRue (1991) and Tallulah Belle (1994). He was engaged to Brooke Burns from 2003 to 2004. On March 22, 2009, Rogers & Cowan, the public relations agency, announced that the 54-year-old actor had just remarried model Emma Heming, from 23 years younger. They have been dating since 2008. They are the parents of two daughters,
Mabel Ray (born April 1, 2012) and Evelyn Penn (born May 5, 2014). He was naturalized American in 1988. He is left-handed24 and speaks German. He was also appointed ambassador of his hometown, Idar-Oberstein, on his fiftieth birthday. [Ref. desired] As far as his convictions are concerned, he is of the Lutheran Protestant religion [ref. desired]. At the political level, he says he does not belong to any party, although he has often voted for Republican candidates in many elections. [Ref. desired]
He has a large fortune collected during his acting career and thanks to his actions in various companies [ref. desired]. He owns properties in Los Angeles, rents an apartment in Trump Tower in New York, a house in Malibu, a ranch in Montana, a villa in Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos Islands and multiple properties in Sun Valley. , Idaho.
Around the actor
-In 1996, writer Roger Director, producer of the Clair de Lune series, wrote a keyed novel about Bruce Willis entitled A Place to Fall. Cybill Shepherd writes in his autobiography, Cybill Disobedience (2000), that the actor was angry with Director because he described him as a “neurotic and petulant actor” 26.
-In 1998, Bruce Willis participated in Apocalypse, a video game for PlayStation. The game is advertised with the actor as a supporting role, and not as the main character. The company subsequently reworked the game using the actor’s appearance and voice for use as the main character.
-In 2005, the actor was promoted to Officer of Arts and Letters for his significant contribution to the world cinema industry.
-In 2010, the actor appeared in the Gorillaz group’s Stylo music video, as a police officer in a car chasing Murdoc, 2D and Noodle’s cyborg.
-In 2000, the actor appeared in a few episodes of the Friends series, in the role of Paul Stevens, the father of Elizabeth (a student with whom Ross is in a relationship).