Ever since gaining recognition as a cowboy hitchhicker in the film Thelma & Louise over 20 years ago, Brad Pitt has been difficult to miss in the movie industry. Most people adore him for his pretty face that has inspired many magazine covers as well as brains of plastic surgeons. The talented actor has stirred in television series, romantic roles and daring films. The Oklahoma born actor has managed to double up as a producer and one of the most celebrated stars in Hollywood.
Brad Pitt was officially born as William Bradley in Shawnee, Oklahoma. His father William Alvin Pitt was the owner of a trucking company while his mother Jane Etta was a school counselor. It was a humble family and they lived an ordinary life just like most of their neighbors. After a few years in Oklahoma, the family moved to Springfield Missouri. Pitt is the oldest in his family as he has a younger brother, Douglas and sister, Julie each three years apart. Although the American actor was raised as a Southern Baptist, he has in recent years disassociated himself with religion. A piano accompanist in South Haven Baptist Church recalls how the little Pitt would chat in the church attracting everyone’s attention. To him, Pitt was an attractive boy even at his early years.
Pitt started school at Horace Mann elementary before attending Kickapoo High School where he showed great interest in sports, student government and other co-curricular activities. He was a team member in swimming, tennis and golf. He was also actively involved in school debates and school musicals. Brad was very popular in his school and always had a lot of love dates back then, thanks to his smart fashion sense and good looks. At Kickapoo, Brad also took part in drama classes, a move that motivated him to pursue journalism later on.
After graduating from high school, Pitt pursued journalism at the University of Missouri in 1982. However, despite focusing on advertising, a course he loved, Pitt felt unsatisfied as his graduation from the university approached. He was not ready to settle down in the profession. His interest was in the film industry. Unfortunately, films were not popular in Missouri and he therefore had to look for an ideal place for his new obsession.
In 1986, two weeks to his graduation at the University of Missouri, Brad Pitt then drove to Los Angeles in his Datsun – nicknamed Runaround Sue – and $325 in his pocket. His parents were not happy with his move of dropping out of the university just two credits shy of a college degree. To ease their tension, Brad told them he intended to enroll in the Art center College of Design in Pasadena. Unknown to Bill and Jane, their son was chasing after his dream in the film industry.
Life in the new city wasn’t as easy as the then 23 year old young man thought. He had to do odd jobs to support himself as he attended various auditions. For several months, he chauffeured strippers from and to parties, delivered refrigerators and other types of odd jobs. He recalls one of his part time jobs that required him to wear a chicken suit and dance around to attract customers to the restaurant.
While trying to break into the Los Angeles acting scene, Pitt joined an acting class that would later on usher him into his dreams. One day, he accompanied his classmate into an audition. In a turn of events, the auditioning agent signaled Pitt instead of his classmate. Although some would call it an unfair twist of fate, the experience saw Brad Pitt finally secure an agent as well as regular acting work.
He was thrilled to have his way in acting especially after taking lessons from acting coach Roy London. However, just like most other upcoming actors, Brad had his share of disappointments. In 1987, he gained entry in three films that is: No Way Out, No Man’s Land and Less than Zero. Unfortunately, none of his roles in these films was credited. Nevertheless, determined to break into the Hollywood dream, Brad was far from giving up. He made frequent guest appearances and supporting roles in television before finally hitting the brim in the industry.
In May the same year, Brad made his television debut on an NBC soap opera, Another World. In November, he also appeared on the ABC sitcom Growing Pains. Another of his television features was in December 1987 and February 1988 on the CBS primetime series Dallas.
His first leading role was in The Dark Side of the Sun which was filmed in 1988 but released much later. Pitt also made motion picture appearances in 1988, in the struggle to succeed in the competitive Hollywood. The first was a supporting role in Happy Together which was a comedy and the other one being the horror film Cutting Class. Without any doubt, the ’80s was a great period for Pitt’s world widespread attention.
Brad Pitt’s breakthrough came live in 1991 after playing a featured role in Thelma & Louise. Here, he assumed the role of a sexy, charming and playful criminal that defines him as a sex symbol particularly in a love scene with Geena Davis. Although Thelma & Louise gained massive globe attention, the next few films that Pitt acted out failed to boost his credibility. Some of which included The Favor, Johnny Suede and Cool World.
Most of Pitt’s earlier roles established him as just a handsome face in Hollywood. Brad Pitt was however determined to achieve more than just a cowboy-hatted hunk by getting filmed in more serious roles. The light then shone on this upcoming Hollywood star after he gained entry in A River Runs Through It in 1992. The film showcased Pitt as a multi layered actor especially after working alongside Robert Redford and a talented cast and crew.
In 1993, Pitt teamed up with his former girlfriend, Juliette Lewis to film Kalifornia. He acted out as a serial killer who goes on a killing spree alongside his girlfriend. Although the film was outstanding with unmatched boyish charm, critics deemed it as self indulgently violent. The negative reviews saw the film performing poorly in the box office. Sad it may sound, Pitt and Lewis broke up immediately after filming the cross country film, and this had a big impact on their public image.
Brad Pitt’s critical success and turning point was in 1994. He starred in the romantic horror film Interview with the Vampire where he played alongside Tom Cruise. In the same year, he acted a role in Legends of the Fall that saw him named the Sexiest Man Alive by People’s Magazine. According to film critics, the role in Legends of the Fall would undoubtedly solidify his reputation as a lead actor in upcoming films. It is also in 1994 that he received his first nomination for the Golden Globe Award in the Best Actor Category.
The following year, he played a detective on the trail of a serial killer in the crime thriller Seven. Subsequently, Pitt broke his arm while filming Seven and the injury was included in the script. Besides this film earning him at least $327 million at the box office, it set pace for Pitt’s ability to turn out outstanding in any given role. When filming Sevens, Pitt dated Gwyneth Paltrow who was one of the cast crew. They however split up after seven months for undefined reasons. Another remarkable supporting role was in Twelve Monkeys that won him a Golden Globe Award as well as his first Oscar nomination.
In the years that followed, Pitt was featured in the legal drama Sleepers, The Devil’s Own a Seven Year’s in Tibet that saw him banned from entering China after showcasing China’s and Takeover of Tibet. Others included the comedy version of death film Meet Joe Black and Fight Club, a film that led to the removal of his front teeth but were restored once the filming ended.
The 21st century kicked off with Pitt starring alongside Julia Roberts in the romantic comedy The Mexican, teamed up with Redford in Spy Game and finally the Greek hero Achilles in the Blockbuster epic Troy. In 2005, he starred opposite Angeline Jolie in Mr. & Mrs. Smith a film that earned more than $478 million. Following the success, he featured in Babel and this earned him a Golden Globe nomination.
One of his fantastic works during this period was the lead role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Pitt played as a 70-year old man who aged in reverse. The role earned him an Oscar nomination as well as a win of three Academy Awards. He went on to play in Inglourious Basterds, The Tree of Life and Moneyball in the following years.
In 2013, Pitt presented an outstanding performance in the thriller World War Z starring as Gerry Lane and then later as a supporting actor in The Counselor. His greatest achievement was however as a producer of the 12 Years a Slave. The film not only earned him his 5th Academy Reward but also won him his first Oscar.
In the past few years, Pitt has featured in the WW11 action drama Fury, By the Sea and The Big Short.
The Oscar Award winner has managed to retain his fan base for over four decades now. While some of his audience clings to him for good looks, the majority are attracted to his resilience and determination to pursue different roles. That explains why he was voted The Sexiest Man Alive in 2000 and listed by Time 100 as one of the most influential celebrities in the globe.
Pitt adoration by the public has also been inspired by his humanitarian causes. He supports ONE CAMPAIGN, an organization geared towards combating poverty in the developing nations. Pitt together with ex-wife Jolie have reportedly donated $1 million to organizations supporting people in Chad and Sudan. The two also established a charitable organization in 2006 dubbed Jolie-Pitt foundation that aims at supporting humanitarian causes across the globe.
Nevertheless, critics have continually despised Pitt for his support of same sex marriages. In 2008, he donated $100,000 to a campaign against the initiative to overturn the state Supreme Court decision to legalize the same sex marriages. Pitt also explained that was one of the reasons he supported Barack Obama on his second term bid.
Lately, Pitt’s public relation has taken a negative twist. He has so far had two failed marriages and most of his fans therefore see him as an irresponsible man in marriage life. The media has alleged that the ongoing divorce proceedings between him and Angeline Jolie have been a big blow to Brad Pitt. With a marriage that had been seen a rare Hollywood success and thereafter lasting less than five years, there is every reason for the pretty boy to feel out of place.
The 53-year old actor’s personal life has been in the limelight for a long time, leaving little too his privacy. It could be for the sole reason that he has only been involved with actresses in his line of profession.
Most of his relationships blossomed in the late 80s and early 90s. All his girlfriends had starred with him in most films back then but their romance did not last long. For instance he dated Robin Givens after playing together in Head of the Class, Jill Schoelen of Cutting Class and Juliette Lewis when they fell in love when filming Too Young to Die and Kalifornia. Of all his affairs, the most publicized one was with his Seven Co-star Gwyneth Paltrow who he dated from 1994 to 1997.
Pitt’s love life took a serious twist after meeting actress Jennifer Aniston on a blind date set up by their agent. The two then married in 2000 in a private wedding. After what seemed like a successful marriage in the public eye for five years, Pitt and Jennifer separated in 2005 and two months down the line filed for divorce. Although it was rumored that Pitt and Aniston didn’t see each eye to eye, the award winning actor confirmed that despite their divorce, they were both good friends and checked on each other from time to time.
Later the same year, rumors alleged that Pitt was dating Angeline Jolie. The couple then adopted three children: Maddox from Cambodia, Zahara from Ethiopia, and Pax born in Vietnam. In 2006, Jolie announced that she was pregnant with Pitt’s child and true to their word, the two were blessed with Shiloh who was born in Namibia. Later in 2008, the two were blessed with twins who were born in Nice, France; son Knox Léon and daughter Vivienne Marcheline.
After seven years of courtship, Pitt and Jolie announced their engagement in April 2012. They later wedded in a private wedding in France in August 2014.
After 5 years of marriage, Jolie filed for divorce in September 2016 citing ‘irreconcilable differences’.
Written by: Peris Ngaruiya