Brad Pitt at 50

Date: 2013-11-09

His mere presence in a film ensures a box office hit, whether he is playing a sultry cowboy in Thelma & Louiseor a skirt-wearing Achilles in Troy and, despite his advancing years, he remains unstoppable.

Brad Pitt was born William Bradley Pitt on 18thDecember, 1963 to strict Baptist parents William A. Pitt and Jane Etta Hillhouse. The eldest of three children, Pitt has a brother, Doug born in 1966 and a sister, Julie born in 1969.

Soon after his birth the family moved to Springfield, Missouri where his father ran a trucking company. He attended Kickapoo High School where he joined the tennis, golf and swimming teams and was a member of the choir, the forensics club, the debating club and the student council.

After graduating from school in 1982, Pitt attended the University of Missouri, majoring in Journalism and Advertising. He dropped out with only two credits left to gain his degree and set off for California to pursue his dream of a Hollywood acting career.

Whilst taking acting lessons, Pitt did part-time work including being a furniture mover, a chauffeur and a costume-wearing mascot for a restaurant chain. Finally, in the late 1980s, he started getting some television work which included appearing in Dallas, 21 Jump Street, Growing Pains, Thirtysomething, Freddys Nightmares, Another World andHead of Class. Pitt’s debut on the big screen was as an uncredited waiter in No Man’s Land in 1987. A number of small roles followed before he landed a starring role in the 1990 crime drama made for television movie Too Young to Die,co-starring Juliette Lewis.



Pitt finally gained notice in Ridley Scott’s Thelma & Louisein 1991 starring Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis and Harvey Keitel. His role as scruffy cowboy hitchhiker, despite being a small one with a mere 14 minutes on screen, was his big break. He played the memorable role of Paul Maclean in Robert Redford’s A River Runs Through Itin 1992, a true story set in Montana and based on the novel by Norman Maclean. He was Floyd in True Romancein 1993, the thriller written by Quentin Tarantino starring Patricia Arquette, Christian Slater and Val Kilmer. 1994’s Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chroniclesstarred Pitt as the unforgettable Louis de Pointe du Lac opposite Tom Cruise in the fantasy horror that won him two 1995 MTV Movie Awards; for Best Male Performance and Most Desirable Male. He was also nominated for Best Actor by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films and for Best On-Screen Duo in the 1995 MTV Movie Awards.

Having certainly proved his capabilities as an actor, as well as his box office bank ability, Pitt continued to give outstanding performances in his next three films. He was cast as the wild and winsome Tristan Ludlow in Legends of the Fall, an epic tale of three brothers and their father, with Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn and Julia Ormond. For this role, he received a 1995 Golden Globes award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture.

In Se7enin 1995, the graphic thriller about a twisted serial killer using the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi, Pitt played Detective David Mills and won the 1996 MTV Movie Award for Most Desirable Male and was nominated for the 1996 MTV Movie Awards Best On-Screen Duo.

Also in 1995, he received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, playing Jeffrey Goines in Twelve Monkeysstarring Bruce Willis and Jon Seda and won a number of awards for Best Supporting Actor.

The following year, he played Michael Sullivan in Sleepers, a story about four boys growing up in Hell’s Kitchen, New York based on the book by Lorenzo Carcaterra. The Devil’s Ownin 1997 with Harrison Ford was next and then Pitt’s pet project, Seven Years in Tibetin 1997 which was the true story of Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountain climber who befriended the Dalai Lama at the time of China’s takeover of Tibet. Pitt won the 1998 Rembrandt Award for Best Actor but had to deal with much controversy surrounding the film. The Chinese government did not approve of the portrayal of Chinese military officers and the Dalai Lama and strongly discouraged both the production and the release of the film. As a result, both Pitt and his co-star David Thewlis were banned from ever entering China.

The next two films for which Pitt received rave critical reviews were Fight Clubin 1999, playing Tyler Durden alongside Edward Norton and Helen Bonham Carter and the role of Mickey O’Neil in Guy Ritchie’s British crime thriller Snatch in 2000 with Vinnie Jones and Benicio Del Toro.



Landing the part of Rusty Ryan in Steven Soderbergh’s hugely successful Ocean's Elevenin 2000, Pitt worked alongside George Clooney, Matt Damon, Elliot Gould, Bernie Mac, Julia Roberts and Andy Garcia. The sequel, Ocean's Twelvein 2004, was just as eagerly received by the viewing public and the cast were joined this time by Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Pitt has always had a weakness for his leading ladies and has always been dogged by the tabloids. His hatred of the paparazzi is well known and he will go to extreme lengths to protect his privacy. In the past, he was romantically linked to Julia Ormonde, Robin Givens, Geena Davis, Shalene McCall, Shirley Walsh and Alice Wilkinson. Pitt was with Juliette Lewis, his co-star in Too Young to Die?for three years and enjoyed a long term relationship with Se7enco-star Gwyneth Paltrow. They were engaged in December 1996 but split up in June 1997.

On 29thJuly 2000, Pitt married Friendsstar Jennifer Aniston in a fabulous cliff-top ceremony in Malibu. They became Hollywood’s ‘Golden Couple’ and together with Paramount Pictures head Brad Grey, set up Plan B Entertainment, a production company which produced Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factoryin 2005 starring Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. However, Pitt became the sole owner of the company in 2006 and after four and a half years of marriage, he walked out on Aniston, never once looking back, much to her dismay.

In 2005, Pitt starred in Mr & Mrs Smithwith Angelina Jolie and photographs began appearing in the media of the two of them looking remarkably romantic. They were seen together on holiday in Kenya, Britain and France, fuelling media speculation that they were a couple. On 7thJanuary 2005, Pitt and Aniston announced their split after what they said was “much thoughtful consideration”, saying in a joint statement: “We happily remain committed and caring friends with great love and admiration for one another”. Aniston filed for divorce on 25 March 2005 which was finalised on 2ndOctober 2005.

Following his divorce, Pitt started dating Jolie and the couple was dubbed “Brangelina” by the media. Pitt readily took on the role of ‘dad’ to Jolie’s two adopted children, son Maddox from Cambodia and daughter Zahara from Ethiopia. In December 2005, they finally announced to the world that they were a couple and that Pitt wanted to adopt her children, legally changing their surname to Jolie-Pitt. On 27thMay 2006, Jolie gave birth to their daughter, Shiloh Nouvel in Swakopmund, Namibia by caesarean section. Pitt was present at the birth and cut the umbilical cord, a very proud moment for him.

Somewhat of a humanitarian, Pitt actively supports AIDS research and global environmental issues. Showing his solidarity for the fight against world poverty, he was a presenter at the July 2005 Live8 benefit concert in London’s Hyde Park. He is a spokesman for the ONE campaign in the US, part of the international Make Poverty History movement and travelled to Turkey in 2001 to entertain the American troops. Pitt was also involved in the reconstruction of New Orleans after the hurricane Katrina disaster. He voiced his support for same-sex marriages in the October 2006 issue of Esquire magazine.

The actor, who refuses to be typecast and who always accepts challenging roles, is not about to slow down. In 2006, Pitt appeared opposite Cate Blanchett in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's film entitled Babel, a thriller set in Morocco, Tunisia, Mexico and Japan. The film won critical acclaim and Pitt’s portrayal of the character Richard earned him a nomination for the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also landed nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor.



He also took on an entirely different character in The Assassination of Jesse Jamesby the Coward Robert Fordin 2007 and appeared in Ocean’s Thirteen. Further recognition for the talented star followed with the Coen Brothers’ Burn after Readingin 2008, which led to nominations for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, the Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast and the Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Since 2008, Pitt's work has included a leading role in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, released in August 2009 at a special presentation at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Pitt played Lieutenant Aldo Raine, an American resistance fighter battling Nazis in German occupied France. The film was a box office hit taking $311 million worldwide and garnered generally favorable reviews. The film received multiple awards and nominations including eight Academy Award nominations and seven MTV Movie Award nominations, including that of Best Male Performance for Pitt.

He voiced the superhero character Metro Man in the 2010 animated feature Megamind. Then Pitt appeared in Terrence Malick's drama The Tree of Lifeco-starring Sean Penn, which won the Palme d'Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. In a performance that attracted strong praise, he portrayed the Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane in the drama Moneyball, which is based on the 2003 book of the same name written by Michael Lewis. Moneyball received six Academy Award nominations including Best Actor for Pitt.

His next role was as mob hit man Jackie Cogan in Andrew Dominik's 2012 Killing Them Softly, based on the novel Cogan's Trade by George V. Higgins. In 2013, Pitt starred inWorld War Z, a thriller about a zombie apocalypse based on Max Brooks' novel of the same name. Pitt also produced the film. World War Z grossed over $539 million at the box office worldwide, becoming Pitt's most commercially successful picture. Next in 2013, he produced and played a small role in 12 Years a Slave, an historical drama based on the autobiography of Solomon Northup and had a supporting role in Ridley Scott's The Counselor.


Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Family

The first child adopted by Angelina Jolie was Maddox Chivan who was born on 5thAugust 2001 in Cambodia; he was adopted on 10thMarch 2002 by Jolie and Pitt in early 2006.

In July 2005, Pitt accompanied Jolie to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where she adopted her second child, six month old Zahara Marley. On 19thJanuary, 2006 a California judge granted Jolie's request to change the children's surnames from "Jolie" to "Jolie-Pitt". The adoptions were finalised soon after.

Jolie gave birth to daughter Shiloh Nouvel in Swakopmund, Namibia on 27thMay, 2006. Pitt confirmed that their newborn daughter would have a Namibian passport. The couple sold the first pictures of Shiloh through the distributor Getty Images; the North American rights were purchased by Peoplemagazine for over $4.1 million while Hello!obtained the British rights for approximately $3.5 million. The proceeds from the sale were donated to charities serving African children. Madame Tussauds in New York unveiled a wax figure of two month old Shiloh; it marked the first time an infant was recreated in wax by Madame Tussauds.

On 15thMarch, 2007 Jolie adopted three year old Pax Thien from an orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Pitt adopted Pax in the United States on 21stFebruary, 2008.

At the Cannes Film Festival in May 2008, Jolie confirmed that she was expecting twins. She gave birth to son Knox Léon and daughter Vivienne Marcheline on 12thJuly, 2008 in Nice, France. The rights for the first images of Knox and Vivienne were jointly sold to People and Hello!for $14 million, the most expensive celebrity pictures ever taken. The couple donated the proceeds to the Jolie-Pitt Foundation which is committed to environmental security, creating peace and stability in all communities by planning and implementing interventions which prevent negative environmental changes. Working with impoverished rural villagers and local governments to alleviate food insecurities and to increase access to basic primary healthcare and education; implementing projects in order to build healthy and vibrant communities.

On the 3rdJune, 2012, after being together for seven years, Pitt hired a private jet to transport his fiancé to Egypt to celebrate her 37th birthday on the following day.

The pair spent several days sightseeing in the land of the Nile and strolled around the ancient cities of Aswan and Luxor. They also toured the temples of Philae and Edfu as well as visiting the Nubia Museum.

However, it was not all play for this hard working couple as Angelina was also preparing for her portrayal of the Egyptian queen in the film Cleopatra which will be directed by Ang Lee.

Rumour has it that it will not be their last trip to Egypt as it is said they are planning to return for their honeymoon.