Walter Bruce Willis was born on March 19th 1955 in Idar-Oberstein, West Germany, is a German-born American actor, producer, and musician. His career began in television in the 1980s and has continued both in television and film since, including comedic, dramatic, and action roles. He is well known for the role of John McClane in the Die Hard series, which were mostly critical and uniformly financial successes. He has also appeared in over sixty films, including box office successes like Pulp Fiction (1994), 12 Monkeys (1995), The Fifth Element (1997), Armageddon (1998), The Sixth Sense (1999), Unbreakable (2000), Sin City (2005), and Red (2010).
Motion pictures featuring Willis have grossed US$2.64 billion to 3.05 billion at North American box offices, making him the ninth highest-grossing actor in a leading role and twelfth highest including supporting roles. He is a two-time Emmy Award-winning, Golden Globe Award-winning and four-time Saturn Award-nominated actor. Willis was married to actress Demi Moore and they had three daughters before their divorce in 2000, following thirteen years of marriage.
His mother, Marlene K., was German and born in Kaufungen near Kassel, and his father, David Willis, was an American soldier from Southeastern Idaho of English ancestry. Willis is the oldest of four children: he has a sister, Florence, and a brother, David. His brother Robert died of pancreatic cancer in 2001, aged 42. After being discharged from the military in 1957, Willis’s father took his family back to Carneys Point, New Jersey. Willis has described himself as having come from a “long line of blue collar people”; his mother worked in a bank and his father was a welder, master mechanic, and factory worker. 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.
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.
After working as a private investigator (a role he would play in the television series Moonlighting as well as in the 1991 film, The Last Boy Scout), Willis returned to acting. He enrolled in the drama program at Montclair State University, where he was cast in the class production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Willis left school in his junior year and moved to New York City.
After multiple auditions, Willis made his theater debut in the off-Broadway production of Heaven and Earth. He gained more experience and exposure in Fool for Love, and in a Levi’s commercial.
On April 12, 2007, he appeared again, this time wearing a Sanjaya Malakar wig. His most recent appearance was on June 25, 2007 when he appeared wearing a mini-turbine strapped to his head to accompany a joke about his own fictional documentary titled An Unappealing Hunch (a wordplay of An Inconvenient Truth). Willis also appeared on Japanese Subaru Legacy television commercials. Tying in with this, Subaru did a limited run of Legacys, badged “Subaru Legacy Touring Bruce”, in honor of Willis.
Willis has appeared in four films with Samuel L. Jackson (National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1, Pulp Fiction, Die Hard with a Vengeance, and Unbreakable) and both actors were slated to work together in Black Water Transit, before dropping out. Willis also worked with his eldest daughter, Rumer, in the 2005 film Hostage. In 2007, he appeared in the thriller Perfect Stranger, opposite Halle Berry, the crime/drama film Alpha Dog, opposite Sharon Stone, and marked his return to the role of John McClane in Live Free or Die Hard. Recently he appeared in the films What Just Happened and Surrogates, based on the comic book of the same name.
Willis was slated to play U.S. Army general William R. Peers in director Oliver Stone’s Pinkville, a drama about the investigation of the 1968 My Lai Massacre. However, due to the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike, the film was cancelled. Willis appeared on the 2008 Blues Traveler album North Hollywood Shootout, giving a spoken word performance over an instrumental blues-rock jam on the track “Free Willis (Ruminations from Behind Uncle Bob’s Machine Shop)”. In early 2009, he appeared in an advertising campaign to publicize the insurance company Norwich Union’s change of name to Aviva.
Willis starred with Tracy Morgan in the comedy Cop Out, directed by Kevin Smith and about two police detectives investigating the theft of a baseball card. The film was released in February 2010. Willis appeared in the music video for the song “Stylo” by Gorillaz. Also in 2010, he appeared in a cameo with former Planet Hollywood co-owners and ’80s action stars Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the film The Expendables. Bruce Willis played the role of “Mr. Church”. This was the first time these three legendary action stars appeared on screen together. Although the scene featuring the three was short, it was one of the most highly anticipated scenes in the film. The trio filmed their scene in an empty church on October 24, 2009. His most recent project was Red, an adaptation of the comic book mini-series of the same name, in which he portrayed Frank Moses. The film was released on October 15, 2010.
Willis will star in the movie adaptation of the video game Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, named Kane & Lynch. He will also star in the upcoming movies Catch .44, The Cold Light of Day, Moonrise Kingdom, and Looper.
On October 12, 2011, it was announced that A Good Day to Die Hard would see a February 14, 2013 (Valentine’s Day) release, with Willis reprising his most famous role of John McClane for a fifth time.
Sylvester Stallone revealed that he is talking to Willis about returning for The Expendables sequel. Stallone has said that he wants to expand Willis’ role and that he wants Willis to play the villain in the next Expendables. Willis will be starring in the sequel on a more expanded role. They have talked about Willis’ schedule and possible actors that could join the sequel.
Filming for a new movie, Moonrise Kingdom, starring Bruce Willis alongside Bill Murray, Edward Norton and Frances McDormand, is expected to begin in the first half of 2011. Filming will take place in Rhode Island under the direction of Wes Anderson.
Willis will team up with 50 Cent in a new film directed by David Barrett called Fire with Fire, starring opposite Josh Duhamel about a fireman who must save the love of his life. Willis will also join Vince Vaughn and Catherine Zeta-Jones in Lay the Favorite, directed by Stephen Frears, about a Las Vegas cocktail waitress who becomes an elite professional gambler. The two films will be distributed by Lionsgate Entertainment.
Willis owns property in Los Angeles, rents an apartment in the Trump Tower in New York City, and Trump Place, as well as a home in Malibu, California, a ranch in Montana, a beach home on Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos, and multiple properties in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Willis started his own motion picture production company called Cheyenne Enterprises, which he started with his business partner Arnold Rifkin in 2000. He left the company to be run solely by Rifkin in 2007 after Live Free or Die Hard. He also owns several small businesses in Hailey, Idaho, including The Mint Bar and The Liberty Theater and is a co-founder of Planet Hollywood, with actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. In 2009 Willis signed a contract to become the international face of Belvedere SA’s Sobieski Vodka in exchange for 3.3% ownership in the company.
Willis’ acting role models are Gary Cooper, Robert De Niro, Steve McQueen, and John Wayne.
At the premiere for the film Stakeout, Willis met actress Demi Moore. Willis married Moore on November 21, 1987 and had three daughters: Rumer Willis (b. August 16, 1988), Scout LaRue Willis (b. July 20, 1991) and Tallulah Belle Willis (b. February 3, 1994) before the couple divorced on October 18, 2000. The couple gave no public reason for their breakup. Regarding the divorce, Willis stated, “I felt I had failed as a father and a husband by not being able to make it work.” He credited actor Will Smith for helping him cope with the situation. After their breakup, rumors persisted that the couple planned to re-marry, until Moore married the actor Ashton Kutcher. Willis has maintained a close relationship with both Moore and Kutcher, even attending their wedding.
Willis was engaged to Brooke Burns until they broke up in 2004 after ten months together. He married Emma Heming in Turks and Caicos on March 21, 2009; guests included his three daughters, Moore, and Kutcher. The ceremony was not legally binding, so the couple wed again in a civil ceremony in Beverly Hills six days later. Willis has expressed interest in having more children. The couple are currently expecting their first child together.