Brad Pitt

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Brad Pitt

The son of a trucking company manager, Brad Pitt was born December 18, 1963, in Shawnee, OK. Raised in Missouri as the oldest of three children, and brought up in a strict Baptist household, Pitt enrolled at the University of Missouri, following high school graduation, studying journalism and advertising. However, after discovering his love of acting, he dropped out of college two credit hours before he could graduate and moved to Hollywood. Once in California, Pitt took acting classes and supported himself with a variety of odd jobs that included chauffeuring strippers to private parties, waiting tables, and wearing a giant chicken suit for a local restaurant chain. His first break came when he landed a small recurring role on Dallas, and a part in a teenage-slasher movie, Cutting Class (1989) (opposite Roddy McDowall), marked his inauspicious entrance into the world of feature films. The previous year, Pitt's acting experience had been limited to the TV movie A Stoning in Fulgham County (1988). 1991 marked the end of Pitt's obscurity, as it was the year he made his appearance in Thelma & Louise (1991) as the wickedly charming drifter who seduces Geena Davis and then robs her blind. After becoming famous practically overnight, Pitt unfortunately chose to channel his newfound celebrity into Ralph Bakshi's disastrous animation/live action combo Cool World (1992). Following this misstep, Pitt took a starring role in director Tom Di Cillo's independent film Johnny Suede. The film failed to score with critics or at the box office and Pitt's documented clashes with the director allegedly inspired Di Cillo to pattern the character of the vain and egotistical Chad Palomino, in his 1995 Living in Oblivion, after the actor. Pitt's next venture, Robert Redford's lyrical fly-fishing drama A River Runs Through It (2002), gave the actor a much-needed chance to prove that he had talent in addition to physical appeal. Pitt next starred in the forgettable romantic comedy The Favor (1994) before going on to play a rookie detective investigating a series of gruesome crimes opposite Morgan Freeman in Seven (1995). In 1997, Pitt received a Golden Globe award and an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a visionary mental patient in Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys; the same year, Pitt attempted an Austrian accent and put on a backpack to play mountaineer Heinrich Harrar in Seven Years in Tibet. The film met with mixed reviews and generated a fair amount of controversy, thanks in part to the revelation that the real-life Harrar had in fact been a Nazi. Following Tibet, Pitt traveled in a less inflammatory direction with Alan J. Pakula's The Devil's Own, in which he starred with fellow screen icon Harrison Ford. Despite this seemingly faultless pairing, the film was a relative critical and box-office failure. In 1998, Pitt tried his hand at romantic drama, portraying Death in Meet Joe Black, the most expensive non-special effects film ever made.

In July of 2000, the man voted "Most Sexy Actor Alive" by virtually every entertainment publication currently in circulation crushed the hearts of millions of adoring female fans when he wed popular film and television actress Jennifer Aniston in a relatively modest (at least by Hollywood standards) and intimate service. Following a decidedly busy 2001 that also included a lead role opposite Julia Roberts in the romantic crime-comedy The Mexican, Pitt was virtually absent from the big-screen over the next three years. After walking away from the ambitious and troubled Darren Aronofsky production The Fountain, he popped up for a very brief cameo in pal George Clooney's 2002 directorial debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and lent his voice to the animated adventure Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, but spent the majority of his time working on the historical epic Troy (2004). Directed by Wolfgang Peterson, the film employed a huge cast, crew and budget. The media engulfed Pitt's next screen role with tabloid fervor, as it cast him opposite Angelina Jolie. While the comedic actioner Mr. and Mrs. Smith grossed dollar one at the box office, the stars' off-camera relationship that made some of 2005's biggest headlines. Before long, Pitt had split from his wife Jennifer Aniston and adopted Jolie's two children. The family expanded to three in 2006 with the birth of the couple's first child, to four in 2007 with the adoption of a Vietnamese boy, and finally to six in 2008, with the birth of fraternal twins. In addition to increasing his family in 2006, Pitt also padded his filmography as a producer on a number of projects, including Martin Scorsese's The Departed, the Best Picture Winner for 2006.

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