“I’m one of those people you hate because of genetics.”
“Heartthrobs are a dime a dozen.”
(entry from Missouri Legends)
Brad Pitt is, by some estimates, one of the most popular and highest paid entertainers in history. But just like many actors, he had to pay his dues before fame and fortune finally came his way. He was twice named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, and his status as one of the most powerful men in Hollywood continues to rise.
He is not only a great actor, but he also spends considerable time volunteering his time and money for charitable causes around
the world. He is an American icon, and a true Missouri legend.
THE EARLY YEARS
William Bradley Pitt was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, on December 18, 1963. His family moved to Springfield soon after his birth, where he spent the remainder of his childhood. He grew up in a middle-class family, graduating from Kickapoo High School in 1984. In school, he was involved in sports, school musicals, and student government. After graduation, he headed off to the University of Missouri–Columbia but dropped out two credits shy of attaining his journalism degree to try his hand at acting in Hollywood.
RISE TO FAME
As most actors discover, the road to success in Hollywood is difficult. Pitt endured the tough years by working odd jobs like transporting exotic dancers in limos, moving refrigerators, and modeling. He started getting small TV and movie roles in shows such as Dallas, thirtysomething, 21 Jump Street, Growing Pains, and Head of the Class. In 1988, he landed his first starring role in The Dark Side of the Sun. But while the film was being produced, civil war broke out in Yugoslavia where the film was being made. Much of the country was damaged or destroyed, including the footage. The video reels remained lost until 1996, when the film was finally released.
SHOW ME SUCCESS
Pitt’s big break came in 1991, when he turned a small movie role into the most talked about part of the year. In Thelma & Louise, Pitt played the role of J. D., a drifter who coached Thelma (Geena Davis) on how to rob a store. His shirtless dance in the hotel room made him an overnight sensation and an actor in high demand. That role paved the way for even bigger parts in movies like A River Runs Through It and Se7en.
Pitt was now one of the biggest stars in Hollywood history, and also one of the highest paid actors ever, commanding more than $20 million per movie. As Pitt continued to rack up movie roles and enormous amounts of money for the studios, he began winning numerous awards as well. He was honored with awards for Best Male Performance and Most Desirable Male for Interview With a Vampire in 1995 in the MTV Movie Awards. He followed those awards up the very next year, again winning Most Desirable Male for Se7en. Also in 1996, he won his first Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by a Supporting Actor for Twelve Monkeys, followed by a Best Actor Award in the Rembrandt Audience Awards for Seven Years in Tibet.
Brad turned his acting career in a new direction by creating a production company called Plan B Productions. He combined his acting skills and his producing interest in 2005 to make a film based on fellow Missourian Jesse James.
His private life has also been of epic proportions, with his every move splashed across the front of newspapers and magazines around the world. His marriage and divorce to actress Jennifer Aniston played out like a real-life soap opera for everyone to see, as well as his relationship with actress Angelina Jolie. Pitt’s adoption of Jolie’s two children and the birth of his first biological child
made front-page news across the world. Between his movie roles and personal life, Pitt continues to prove that he is truly one of the biggest stars in history. Much to the joy of many Missourians, the foundation for his success was built right here in the Show Me State.
*In 1995, he was chosen by Empire Magazine as one of the 25 Sexiest Stars in Film History.
*Brad was a tennis star and basketball player at Kickapoo High School.
*He posed for the Men of Mizzou calendar.
Famous People from Missouri!