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Bruce Willis has demonstrated career versatility with diverse characterizations in memorable motion pictures.
Among these have been Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, which won the Palme d’Or at the 1994 Cannes International Film Festival; Robert Benton’s Nobody’s Fool, opposite Paul Newman; Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys, with Brad Pitt and Madeleine Stowe; Norman Jewison’s In Country, for which Mr. Willis received a Golden Globe Award nomination; M. Night Shyamalan’s phenomenon The Sixth Sense, for which he won the People’s Choice Award; and, as Detective John McClane, four globally popular Die Hard movies directed by John McTiernan (the first and third installments), Renny Harlin, and Len Wiseman, respectively. He is reprising the latter role for a movie that he is executive-producing, directed by John Moore, to be released in 2013.
Following studies at Montclair State College’s prestigious theater program, the New Jersey native honed his craft in several stage plays and countless television commercials. In 1984, he took on the lead role in Fool for Love, under the direction of the play’s author Sam Shepard, in a run which lasted for 100 performances off-Broadway.
Mr. Willis next won international stardom and multiple honors, including Emmy and Golden Globe Awards, for his starring role as private eye David Addison in the hit television series Moonlighting.
Since then, his many motion pictures have included Robert Altman’s The Player; Michael Bay’s Armageddon; Robert Benton’s Billy Bathgate; Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element; Blake Edwards’ Blind Date and Sunset; Stephen Frears’ Lay the Favorite; Barry Levinson’s Bandits and What Just Happened; Rob Reiner’s North and The Story of Us; Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City and Planet Terror; Alan Rudolph’s Mortal Thoughts and Breakfast of Champions, which he executive-produced; Robert Schwentke’s RED; M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable; Florent Emilio Siri’s Hostage, which he produced; Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables; Robert Zemeckis’ Death Becomes Her; and Edward Zwick’s The Siege. With his brother David Willis and business partner Stephen Eads, he co-founded Willis Brothers Films, a film production company based in Los Angeles.
He also maintains a hand in the theater. In 1997, he co-founded A Company of Fools, a non-profit theater troupe committed to developing and sustaining stage work in the Wood River Valley of Idaho, and throughout the U.S. He starred in and directed a staging of Sam Shepard’s dark comedy True West at the Liberty Theater in Hailey, Idaho. The production, dedicated to Mr. Willis’ late brother Robert, was recorded for television airing.
An accomplished musician, he recorded two Motown albums; The Return of Bruno (1986), which went platinum and yielded a Top 5 hit in “Respect Yourself,” and If It Don’t Kill You, It Just Makes You Stronger (1989). In 2002, he launched a club tour with his musical group Bruce Willis and the Blues Band, traveling to Iraq to play for U.S. servicemen.