Bruce Willis, the action movie star, was born on March 19, 1955, in Germany. The award-winning actor has many successes to his credit, the most popular and well-known being the “Die Hard” series, which also established him as an action hero. Known for his charm, humor, and his shaved head, through career highs and lows Willis enjoyed much fame and put an end to his career recently after a diagnosis of aphasia. Celebrate the birthday of this actor with some fun trivia about his life and career.
With over a hundred films to his credit and many successful ones to boot, Bruce Willis is certainly an actor who has amassed a widespread fan following throughout his career. Born Walter Bruce Willis on March 19, 1955, in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, to Marlene and David Willis, he is the oldest of four siblings. His star sign is Pisces. In 1957, his family moved to Carneys Point in New Jersey, where his mother worked in a bank and his father, an army veteran, worked as a mechanic. Willis attended Penns Grove High School in New Jersey, where he was bullied for stuttering. It was in school that he found his penchant for acting and joined the drama club. However, upon graduating high school, he took up a job as a security guard at the Salem Power plant, and later switched careers to become a private investigator. He then went on to enroll at Montclair State University in the drama program. To pursue his acting career, he left college in 1977 and moved to New York, working as a bartender as he auditioned for roles.
His first acting role in a movie came in the Paul Newman movie “The Verdict” in 1982, where he was cast as an extra. He then acted in an off-Broadway production in 1984, titled “Fool for Love.” In the same year, he moved to California to appear in “Miami Vice.” Then, in 1985, he was cast in the lead for the comedy-drama television series “Moonlighting,” where, playing a private investigator, he received his first big break. For his role, he went on to receive an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award, and these established him as a rising star. It was in 1987 that he made his feature film debut in the lead, starring in “Blind Date.” That same year, he also released a music album, “The Return of Bruno,” which was moderately successful. It was also the year he married his first wife, Demi Moore, with whom he shares three daughters. A year later, in 1988, it was as John McClane in “Die Hard” that Willis tasted worldwide success as a movie star. He went on to reprise his role in “Die Hard II” in 1990. Following a few box office duds, in 1995 he appeared in “Pulp Fiction” and “Die Hard with a Vengeance,” the third in the “Die Hard” series, both of which were massive hits internationally and established him as an action star. His career again took off after the success of the 1995 movie “12 Monkeys.” In 1997, he was the lead in the successful sci-fi movie “The Fifth Element,” which he followed up with another blockbuster in 1998, “Armageddon,” which was the highest-grossing movie of the year. Another global success followed with his performance in “The Sixth Sense,” winning him critical and popular acclaim. Then, for a guest appearance on “Friends,” he won an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in 2000. That same year, he starred in two more box office successes, “The Whole Nine Yards” and the cult favorite “Unbreakable.” It was in 2005 that Willis tasted box office success again from his role in “Sin City.” That same year, he starred with his daughter Rumer in the movie “Hostage.” In 2006, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Then, in 2007, he appeared in “Live Free or Die Hard,” the fourth movie of the superhit franchise. In 2009, some nine years after his divorce from Demi Moore, he married model-actress Emma Heming, with two more daughters from this marriage. The years following 2010 marked a new phase of revival in Willis’ career, with him turning to action and comedy roles in several direct-to-video releases. In 2010, he starred in “Cop Out,” “The Expendables,” and “RED,” all of which were commercial successes. Continuing to appear in action movies, in 2013, he starred in the fifth “Die Hard” movie — “A Good Day to Die Hard.” Fulfilling a long-time ambition, in 2015, Willis made his Broadway debut in the adaptation of Stephen King’s novel “Misery” at the Broadhurst Theater. In 2018, he was roasted live on “Comedy Central Roast” by fellow comedians and actors. Between 2019 and 2021, he went on to appear in 15 movies. He was set to appear in eight more in 2022 and 2023. However, following a diagnosis of aphasia in March 2022, Willis announced his retirement from acting.
Willis enjoyed a highly successful career as an actor for over four decades, with his movies amassing billions in the U.S. alone, and making him the eighth highest-grossing actor in a lead role in 2010. During the initial days of his career, he was the pitchman for Seagram’s Golden Wine Cooler products. He has also endorsed the Japanese Subaru Legacy, Sobieski Vodka, and SoftBank. For his on-screen roles, he has been nominated for and even won several awards. Off the screen, he has kept fans entertained with his wit and charisma. A doting family man, Willis is devoted to his daughters and also enjoys the love and support of a blended family with his ex- and present wife. With the announcement of his retirement, sympathy and love from fans all over the world continue to pour in as they wait for positive news from the actor.
Willis’ breakout role as a private investigator in the television series wins him an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award.
Starring in the first movie of the successful franchise, Willis establishes himself as an action movie star.
The Michael Bay-directed “Armageddon,” starring Willis in the lead, becomes a box-office success and the highest-grossing movie of the year.
Appearing in a guest role on the popular sitcom “Friends,” Willis wins an Emmy Award, his second ever.
For his impressive movie career, Willis is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Reprising his role in the “Die Hard” franchise for one last time, Willis stars in the fifth movie, “A Good Day to Die Hard.”
In a stage adaptation of Stephen King’s novel “Misery,” Willis is cast alongside Laurie Metcalf.
Following a diagnosis of aphasia, Willis announces his retirement from acting.
Why We Love Bruce Willis
He can take a joke
Willis is one celebrity who has been the subject of many jokes. And he has laughed them all out with good humor. He even sat on a "Comedy Central Roast" as others took shots at him and he gave back as good as he got.
He is outspoken about the pressure
As a celebrity, Willis, like his colleagues, has often felt the pressure of his celebrity status. What makes him admired by fans and the press is that he discusses the pressure candidly.
He maintains good relations with his ex
Having been married to Demi Moore for 13 years, Willis shares a close bond with her even after their divorce. He even attended her wedding to Ashton Kutcher and frequently gets together with her and their children.
5 Surprising Facts
He has a category at the Razzies
Willis has been given his own category at The Golden Raspberry Awards (the Razzies, for short), called Worst Performance by Bruce Willis in 2021.
He used to own a production company
In 2000, Willis started a picture production company called Cheyenne Enterprises with his business partner Arnold Rifkin, only to exit the company in 2007.
He set a bounty on terrorists
In 2005, Willis offered a bounty of one million dollars to anyone if they turned in Osama bin Laden or his associate Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
A singer officiated his first wedding
American singer and musician Little Richard, an ordained minister, officiated at Willis’ wedding with his first wife, Demi Moore.
He appeared on “Friends” for free
After losing a bet to “Friends” actor Mathew Perry, Willis appeared on the show and donated his earnings to charities.
Bruce Willis FAQs
Is Willis still married?
Yes, he has been married to his second wife, Emma Hemming Willis, a model and actress, since 2009.
How many 2021 movies featured Willis?
He acted in seven movies, six of which were direct-to-video releases.
What college did he go to?
Willis went to Montclair State University, attending their drama program in 1977.
Bruce Willis’s birthday dates