William Bradley "Brad" Pitt (born December 18, 1963) is an Academy Award-nominated American actor.
Pitt was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, to Southern Baptist parents William A. Pitt and Jane Etta Hillhouse. He and his two siblings, Doug Pitt and Julie Neal Pitt, grew up in Springfield, Missouri, where the family moved soon after his birth. Pitt's parents and siblings still live in Springfield.
At Kickapoo High School, Pitt was involved in sports, debating, student government, and school musicals. He attended the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri - Columbia where he became a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.
He was two credits shy of graduating with a journalism degree in 1986 when he left to try his luck in Hollywood. According to one of his former advertising professors at MU, Pitt was working on an independent project that was a calendar called "The Men of Mizzou." He was the creative director for the entire project, but it was never completed and ultimately prevented him from earning his degree.
He appeared in the sitcom Head Of The Class, for a while dating the show's star Robin Givens. He was also in an episode of Growing Pains.
Pitt appeared as Chris in the long-running soap Another World. While auditioning for the show Our House, he was asked to read for another part, and found himself playing Shalane McCall's boyfriend Charles in Dallas.
He also had a number of roles in prime time series such as thirtysomething, 21 Jump Street, and Freddy's Nightmares. Pitt appeared uncredited in both Less Than Zero and Charlie Sheen's No Man's Land before appearing in Cutting Class, about a maniac stalking cheerleaders.
He began dating co-star Jill Schoelen, who had earlier been seeing Keanu Reeves.
In 1988, Pitt had his first starring role, in Dark Side Of The Sun, where he played a young American taken by his family to the Adriatic to find a remedy for a terrible skin condition.
The movie was shot in Yugoslavia in the summer of '88 with Brad being paid $1,523 a week for seven weeks. However, with editing nearly complete, war broke out and much of the film was lost. The film was released years later.
Pitt won a part in the TV movie Too Young to Die?, about an abused teenager given the death penalty for murder; he played white trash drug-hound pimp Billy Canton, Brad's character was particularly unpleasant, taking beastly advantage of runaway Juliette Lewis, who he began dating in real life.
"It was quite romantic", he later observed dryly "shooting her full of drugs and stuff". The pair would be together for three years.
In 1991, Pitt starred as Joe Maloney in Across the Tracks in which he portrayed a young Californian athlete with a difficult criminal brother played by Rick Schroder.
However Pitt finally got his big break in one of that year's biggest hits: Thelma & Louise. Brad had in fact been third choice for the role. The first choice, William Baldwin, chose to do Backdraft instead.
After Thelma and Louise, Pitt starred in Johnny Suede as a groovy big-haired rock star in 1991 alongside Catherine Keener and Nick Cave. The film was directed by Tom DiCillo.
After performing a role in Cool World, Pitt was in Robert Redford's A River Runs Through It in 1992, for which Pitt learned fly fishing by casting off of Hollywood buildings.
Pitt struck up a friendship with co-star Buck Simmonds and following the movie, moved into an apartment together.
Then came Kalifornia in 1993, a road movie in which he played a scruffy serial killer alongside his then girlfriend Juliette Lewis and X-Files actor David Duchovny.
In 1994, Pitt played vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac in the movie adaptation of Anne Rice's novel Interview With The Vampire. He played the seventeenth century vampire which required several hours work in make-up on set to achieve the white skin of the character and he had to wear a pair of luminous green eyes, vampire fangs and a shoulder-length hairpiece to complete the appearance.
Pitt worked with the 11-year-old Kirsten Dunst, as well as Tom Cruise, Christian Slater and Antonio Banderas.
He then starred in Legends of the Fall and Se7en. In Se7en Pitt starred as the police detective David Mills alongside Morgan Freeman in the hunt for a serial killer played by Kevin Spacey.
Pitt was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Jeffrey Goines in the 1995 film Twelve Monkeys in which he acted alongside Bruce Willis.
In 1997 he played the IRA terrorist Rory Devany in The Devil's Own alongside Harrison Ford, the first of several films where he has acted using an Irish accent. Reportedly Pitt had a difficult time with the making of the film and expressed his unhappinness with the final script which had apparently been rewritten seven times.
That same year he played the main role of Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer in the Jean Jacques Annaud film Seven Years In Tibet. Pitt trained for months for the role which demanded a great deal of trekking and mountain climbing, working out with co-star English actor David Thewlis by rock climbing in California and the Alps.
Because of themes of Tibetan nationalism in the film, the Chinese government banned Pitt and Thewlis from China for life.
In 1998, Pitt starred as the main character in the film Meet Joe Black. He starred as a personification of Death inhabiting the body of a young man in order to learn what it is like to be human while informing a billionaire tycoon that his life on Earth is nearly over.
The film covers many storylines at once, including a naive Death's first experiences with simple pleasures like peanut butter and falling in love with a young woman played by Claire Forlani. The film gave Pitt another chance to work alongside Welsh actor Sir Anthony Hopkins whom he had previously worked with in Legends of the Fall.
In 1999 Brad Pitt starred in Fight Club, based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk. Working with his previous director whom he had worked with on Se7en, Pitt portrayed the character of Tyler Durden, a highly colourful and complex character.
In 2000 Pitt played the role of a gypsy Irish boxer in the gangster movie Snatch alongside Vinnie Jones and Benicio Del Toro. The film was a wild caper involving a diamond heist, Russian and American mafia and the shady underground world, that saw Pitt brought in as a ringer by two failing promoters.
The movie saw him moving on from his attempt at the conventional Devil's Own Northen Irish accent, and perhaps inspired by his co-star Benicio Del Toro's recent performance in The Usual Suspects, Pitt created a just-barely-intelligible accent suggesting the Irish Pikers, itinerant and insular Irish gypsies.
Pitt continued to train for the role, and honed his boxing skills at Ricky English's gym in Watford.
In 2001 Brad Pitt worked with long-term friend and actress Julia Roberts in the comical road movie The Mexican. After his wedding to Friends actress Jennifer Aniston in the summer of that year he immediately began filming for Spy Game, a Cold War thriller in which he starred alongside veteran actor Robert Redford playing the role of his mentor.
At the end of the year, Pitt finished filming Ocean's Eleven with George Clooney and Matt Damon, a remake of the 1960s version which starred Frank Sinatra. The film established a close friendship between the three particularly between Pitt and Clooney.
Since then he has done numerous films, including Ocean's Twelve and the Greek historical epic Troy in 2004 in which he portrayed the historical character of Achilles. During the production of Troy Pitt also sustained an injury to his Achilles tendon which was coincidental to playing the role of Achilles.
In 2005 Pitt starred in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, in which he and his current partner, Angelina Jolie, starred as the title roles. There was much speculation in the press at the time that Pitt was embarking on a relationship with Angelina while the film was under production, but Pitt denied any there was intimate involvement with Jolie while he was married to Jennifer Aniston.
In March 2006, it was announced that Paramount had purchased the rights to The Sparrow for Pitt's production company, Plan B, and that Pitt would be playing the lead role of Sandoz.
In June 2006 it was announced that Paramount and Plan B will be working on a new zombie film called World War Z, based on the book of the same name by Max Brooks.
To date Pitt has turned down a number of major roles including The Matrix, Apollo 13, The Bourne Identity, Alexander, The Devil's Advocate, Almost Famous, The Chamber and American Psycho.
Like many A-list stars, Pitt does not normally perform in American television commercials, instead opting to do commercials that are seen in Asia only, most notably for Edwin Jeans, the Toyota Altis, and Japanese canned coffee, ROOTS.
A notable exception to this is a Heineken commercial which aired during the 2005 Super Bowl. It was directed by David Fincher, who directed Pitt in the feature films Se7en and Fight Club.
Together with Aniston and Paramount Pictures head Brad Grey, Pitt is the co-founder of the production company 'Plan B'. Aniston is no longer a partner in the company, although she is still attached to many projects that were set up before her divorce with Pitt. The company produced the blockbuster Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starring Johnny Depp.
He has also had a cameo appearance in season 8 of Friends and on an episode of MTV's Jackass, in which he took part in a staged abduction of himself. In a later episode, he and some cast-members run wild through the streets of Los Angeles in gorilla suits.
After a stint on the TV show Head of the Class, Pitt dated Mike Tyson's then ex-wife Robin Givens. Pitt has also dated Geena Davis, Shalane McCall, and Jill Schoelen. Sometime after that the 26-year old Pitt became involved in a three-year relationship with 17-year old actress Juliette Lewis who was his co-star in Too Young to Die? and Kalifornia.
Pitt dated English actress Thandie Newton briefly on the set of the 1994 film Interview With The Vampire but the relationship soon fizzled out. She has publicly described Pitt as "A very beautiful man."
Pitt was involved in a long-term relationship with actress Gwyneth Paltrow whom he met and became close to on the set of the 1995 film Se7en, for which she played his wife. They became engaged in December 1996 after Pitt proposed to her in Argentina on set of Seven Years in Tibet, but the couple split in June 1997.
Extensive tabloid coverage surrounded the relationship. Nude photographs of the couple, taken by paparazzi, controversially appeared in magazines, primarily Playgirl which featured a full face shot of the actor on the cover.
Marriage to Jennifer Aniston
Brad Pitt met Friends actress Jennifer Aniston in 1998 and married her at an enclosed wedding ceremony in Malibu on July 29, 2000. The couple were adamant that the ceremony would be a private affair and hired hundreds of guards to block out any attempts of invasion by the paparazzi. Only one media picture was ever released of the wedding.
Not long after the wedding, Pitt sued Damiani International, the company which made the wedding ring he gave Jennifer Aniston, for selling replica "Brad and Jennifer" rings. According to Pitt, the ring was his design and was to be exclusive.
Under the settlement reached in January 2002, Pitt will design jewelry for Damiani that Aniston will model in ads, and the company will stop selling the copies.
Their separation was announced on January 7, 2005. Aniston filed for a divorce on March 25 the same year. The divorce was finalized on October 2, 2005.
The troubled marriage inspired Brad Pitt to cooperate with Steven Klein for a photoshoot which was displayed on the July 2005 edition of W magazine. The spread showed Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as a 1963 married couple with children who were experiencing differences in an era where he believed the importance of maintaining a "facade" was becoming complicated.
Relationship with Angelina Jolie
After his separation from Aniston, Pitt began dating Angelina Jolie. The couple were quickly dubbed "Brangelina" by the media. Pitt accompanied the actress to Ethiopia in July 2005 to pick up her adopted daughter Zahara from an orphanage in that country.
In late 2005, Pitt accompanied Jolie twice during visits to Pakistan in her function as ambassador of UNHCR to support earthquake victims in that country. It was announced on December 2, 2005, that Pitt was seeking to legally adopt Jolie's two children, son Maddox and daughter Zahara, and to have the children's surnames legally changed to Jolie-Pitt.
On January 19, 2006, a judge in Santa Monica, California approved the name-change request. Jolie gave birth to the couple's first biological child, a daughter named Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, at the Cottage Medi-Clinic Hospital in Swakopmund, Namibia. Shiloh was born by a scheduled caesarean section, due to breech presentation, and Pitt was there to cut her umbilical cord.
Pitt confirmed that their newly born daughter will have a Namibian passport.
Jolie decided to offer the first pictures of Shiloh through the distributor Getty Images rather than allowing paparazzi to make these extremely valuable snapshots. People paid more than $4.1 million for the North American rights, while British magazine Hello! obtained the international rights for roughly $3.5 million; the total rights sale earned up to $10 million worldwide - the most expensive celebrity image of all time.
All profits were donated to an undisclosed charity by Jolie and Pitt.
Shiloh's name means peaceful one in Hebrew. Her middle name, Nouvel, comes from a favorite French architect of Pitt's.
Pitt has been an active supporter of research into diseases such as AIDS.
In Popular Culture
In 1995, Pitt was chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 25 sexiest stars in film history. Pitt has also twice been named the Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine.
He is also prominently featured in the December 2006 Art Issue of Vanity Fair, appearing on the cover in nothing but a pair of white boxers. The cover promotes an article on the Robert Wilson video portraits, a production of LAB HD that includes numerous celebrities and noted personalities.
This cover has drawn criticism from Pitt because although he had signed a release for the image, he did not expect it to end up on the cover of Vanity Fair more than a year later. The video portrait, which represents Pitt's first effort in avant-garde cinema, was exhibited at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.
Pitt is mentioned in a number of songs including rap and R&B songs by Jay-Z/Punjabi MC's Beware of the Boys and The Black Eyed Peas f/Talib et.al in the song "Like That".
He was also mentioned by Shania Twain in the song "That Don't Impress Me Much" in which she makes a reference to Brad Pitt as being the model of male perfection.
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