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Billy Bob Thornton

Billy Bob Thornton

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: August 4, 1955 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Hot Springs, Arkansas, USA Profession: screenwriter, actor, director, songwriter, singer, drummer, cater waiter, factory worker, pizza maker

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Though he spent almost a decade struggling to make a name for himself, actor Billy Bob Thornton took matters into his own hands when he wrote, directed and starred in the career-making independent drama, "Sling Blade" (1996), which earned the then-unknown performer an Oscar for Best Screenplay and another nomination for Best Actor. Ever since his sudden rise to stardom, Thornton became a prominent leading man and supporting player whose short-lived but high-profile marriage to offbeat starlet Angelina Jolie overshadowed his exemplary work in films like "Monster's Ball" and "The Man Who Wasn't There" (2001). After their divorce, Thornton receded a bit from the public eye, though he continued his streak of fine performances in "Bad Santa" (2003) and "Friday Night Lights" (2004), two wildly different films that displayed his prowess for disappearing into what ever character he played. Occasionally, Thornton incorporated his own personal issues - namely his battles with eating and obsessive-compulsive disorders, like a fear of Louis XIV furniture - into his characters, as he did in "Bandits" (2001). Despite his seemingly bizarre personal life, Thornton nonetheless maintained a steady stream of quality...

Though he spent almost a decade struggling to make a name for himself, actor Billy Bob Thornton took matters into his own hands when he wrote, directed and starred in the career-making independent drama, "Sling Blade" (1996), which earned the then-unknown performer an Oscar for Best Screenplay and another nomination for Best Actor. Ever since his sudden rise to stardom, Thornton became a prominent leading man and supporting player whose short-lived but high-profile marriage to offbeat starlet Angelina Jolie overshadowed his exemplary work in films like "Monster's Ball" and "The Man Who Wasn't There" (2001). After their divorce, Thornton receded a bit from the public eye, though he continued his streak of fine performances in "Bad Santa" (2003) and "Friday Night Lights" (2004), two wildly different films that displayed his prowess for disappearing into what ever character he played. Occasionally, Thornton incorporated his own personal issues - namely his battles with eating and obsessive-compulsive disorders, like a fear of Louis XIV furniture - into his characters, as he did in "Bandits" (2001). Despite his seemingly bizarre personal life, Thornton nonetheless maintained a steady stream of quality work that always kept him near the top of the game.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

3.
  Daddy and Them (2001) Director
4.
  All the Pretty Horses (2000) Director
5.
  Sling Blade (1996) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Entourage (2015)
2.
 Cut Bank (2014)
3.
 Judge, The (2014)
4.
 London Fields (2014)
5.
6.
 Red Machine (2013)
7.
 Parkland (2013)
8.
9.
 Puss in Boots (2011)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1963:
Met writing partner Tom Epperson at age eight
:
Began acting as a high school student
:
Began performing career as a rock singer and drummer
1983:
Took acting classes in Los Angeles
1986:
Made film debut in "Hunter's Blood"
1987:
First created character of Karl Childers (the protagonist of "Sling Blade") for "The Man Who Broke 1,000 Chains" (HBO)
1987:
Appeared onstage in various productions as Karl Childers, refining the monologues and story
1989:
TV series debut as actor, "The Outsiders" (Fox)
1992:
First produced screenplay (co-wrote with Tom Epperson), "One False Move"; also co-starred
1992:
Landed a recurring role on the CBS sitcom "Hearts Afire" (CBS) as Billy Bob Davis; first collaboration with John Ritter
1994:
Wrote and starred as Karl Childers in the short film "Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade"
1995:
First asociation with Robert Duvall, "The Stars Fell on Henrietta"
1996:
TV debut as screenwriter, the HBO film "Don't Look Back"; also acted
1996:
Co-wrote with Epperson, "A Family Thing"; starred James Earl Jones and Duvall
1996:
Feature directorial debut, "Sling Blade"; also wrote and starred; earned Best Actor Oscar and SAG nominations
1997:
Played a reluctant religious convert in the Duvall-directed "The Apostle"
1998:
Portrayed the James Carville-like political advisor in Mike Nichols' "Primary Colors"
1998:
Joined ensemble cast in the disaster flick "Armageddon"
1998:
Re-teamed with Bill Paxton to play brothers in "A Simple Plan"; earned a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination
1999:
Cast in Mike Newell's "Pushing Tin" alongside John Cusack, Cate Blanchett, and then-wife Angelina Jolie
2000:
Co-wrote (with Epperson) the gothic thriller "The Gift" starring Cate Blanchett
2000:
Directed the film adaptation of "All the Pretty Horses" with Matt Damon and Penélope Cruz
2001:
Directed the film "Daddy and Them"; also wrote and starred
2001:
Played the lead role in the Coen brothers' "The Man Who Wasn't There"
2001:
First solo album, <i>Private Radio</i>
2001:
Played a racist prison guard who falls for the black widow of an executed prisoner (Halle Berry) in Marc Forster's "Monster's Ball"
2002:
Co-starred with Natasha Richardson in the comedy "Waking Up in Reno"
2003:
Starred as a parolee who returns back to the town for which he committed his crime in "Levity"
2003:
Played a chain smoking, criminal minded Santa Claus in "Bad Santa"; earned a Best Actor Golden Globe nomination
2004:
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
2004:
Played a high school football coach in "Friday Night Lights," based on the book by Pulitzer Prize winning H.G. Buzz Bissinger
2005:
Cast in the Walter Matthau role for Richard Linklater's remake of "The Bad News Bears"
2005:
Co-starred with John Cusack in Harold Ramis' dark comedy "Ice Harvest"
2006:
Played a teacher of a confidence-building class in Todd Phillips' "School For Scoundrels"
2007:
Played a NASA astronaut who gives up his dream job to try and save his family farm in "The Astronaut Farmer"
2007:
Played the title character in "Mr. Woodcock," the titular evil high school gym teacher who is dating the mother of one of his former students
2009:
Joined an ensemble cast for the film adaptation of "The Informers"; based on a collection of short stories by Bret Easton Ellis
2010:
Co-starred with Dwayne Johnson in the action drama "Faster"
2011:
Voiced the animated character Jack (opposite Amy Sedaris' Jill) in the "Shrek" spin-off "Puss in Boots"
2012:
Published the memoir <i>The Billy Bob Tapes: A Cave Full of Ghosts</i>
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Henderson State University: Arkadelphia , Arkansas -

Notes

Thornton was the fourth recipient of the Beatrice Wood Film Award.

He admitted to becoming anorexic when he lost 60 pounds for his role in "Pushing Tin".

"When a studio treats me badly, I remember it. I have no patience for studio executives who treat me like an idiot or tell me how my characters should talk." --Thornton quoted in Los Angeles Times, November 24, 1996.

"I'm one of those people who just attract weirdos. I always seem to end up, like, in the middle of the desert with some biker, you know, and he's threatening to tie me up or something. I've known a lot of strange people." --Billy Bob Thornton in Time Out New York, November 21-28, 1996.

"Now there's a call I never used to get. That was my manager asking me what hotel I want to stay in when we're on location. They used to say, 'You're staying at the Holiday Inn, and that's it.' Now they give me a list of the four or five best hotels in the area, and let me pick." --Thornton to Detour Magazine, March 1998.

"I can name three happy times in my life. One was when my kids were born. One is right now, because of the relationship I'm in [with Laura Dern] and the relationship with my family. And the other one was at a time when I didn't have much at all but I felt free somehow. I was working a physical-labor job back in Arkansas ... I had exactly enough money to just live barely, but I didn't want anything else, other than stuff I knew was way in the future. You know what it was? My dreams were the most alive they ever were right then. It was like I knew I was going somewhere. And for right then, that was good enough. I know I'm going in a roundabout way explaining about being haunted, but I guess I'm haunted by the happiness and the sadness of the past, and I'm looking for it all to come back, to bottle it up and keep it. Until I do, I think I'll feel like a little bit of a ghost. A little bit hollow-eyed. I feel like I'm a bird, kind of flying around." --Thornton to Us, August 1998.

"There's a real common misconception that I'm like a big deal. I'm really not. I'm a big deal only because of people like Roger Ebert, Jeffrey Lyons, Joel Siegel, critics like that. That's the only reason anybody ever hears about me." --Billy Bob Thornton quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald, February 7, 2002.

"I like outcasts of society. I've felt like one myself. Still do. I'm a fairly normal person, really, contrary to what they write in the papers. Fairly normal. But I kind of don't fit in." --Thornton to the Sydney Morning Herald, February 7, 2002.

"I'm looking forward to having a little one around. We're planning to give Maddox a life there [Cambodia] too. He'll know both places as home." --Thorton People July 2002

Thorton has a country band called Private Radio.

Thornton never mentions fourth wife Jolie by name, he does provide some seemingly expert advice on marriage, suggesting that first-timers, "go into it with the idea that you want it to last, but don't put pressure on yourself to try to achieve perfection every day, because I think that's when you get into trouble." In summation, says Thornton, "those about to march down the aisle should be thinking, Like, yeah, I'm doing this forever, but don't let it freak you out." People September 4, 2003

"One of my favorite things I ever did," he says of 'The Man Who Wasn't There.' "And I gotta tell you something: If I had to say exactly who I am based on the movies I've done, that's him, that son of a bitch right there. But the character I identify with on a soul level more than anything I've ever done was the character in 'A Simple Plan.' It's that fucking scene where I talk to [Hank, played by Bill Paxton] before he kills me. I can watch that and not even recognize it's a movie or an actor. And I can break it down to one line: when I look at him and say, 'Hank, I'm tired.' That's the most honest line I've done in my lifetime. 'I'm tired.' And I am. I mean, I've gone so far beyond where I should have played out. I'm so fucking tired. So fucking tired, --but I'm gonna get a second wind."---Thornton GQ April 2004

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Melissa Lee Gatlin. Married in 1978; divorced in 1980; mother of Amanda.
wife:
Toni Lawrence. Actor. Married in 1986; separated in 1987; divorced in 1988.
wife:
Cynda Williams. Actor. Married c. 1990; divorced in 1992; co-starred together in "One False Move".
wife:
Pietra Dawn Cherniak. Fourth wife; married on February 18, 1993; mother of Thornton's two sons; met in 1992; born c. 1969; filed for divorce April 1997 claiming spousal abuse.
companion:
Laura Dern. Actor. Began dating in March 1997; announced plans to marry in 1999 but had separated before the end of the year.
wife:
Angelina Jolie. Actor. Appeared together in "Pushing Tin" (1999); eloped in Las Vegas on May 5, 2000; separated in June 2002; Jolie filed for divorce in July 2002.
companion:
Danielle Dotzenrod. Model. Dating as of September 2002; engaged as of March 2003; no longer together as of March 2003.
companion:
Connie Angland. Special effects. Mother of Thornton's daughter Bella.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Billy Ray Thornton. Basketball coach. Died of lung cancer c. 1973.
mother:
Virginia Thornton. Psychic.
brother:
Jimmy Don Thornton. Musician. Born c. 1958; died in 1988 of heart problems.
brother:
John David Thornton. Born c. 1969; in medical school c. 1998.
daughter:
Amanda Thornton. Mother, Melissa Lee Gatlin.
son:
William Langston Thornton. Born June 27, 1993; mother, Pietra Thornton; named for Thornton's great-great-great uncle.
son:
Harry Thornton. Born c. 1994; mother, Pietra Thornton; named after producer Harry Thomason.
son:
Maddox Thornton. Adopted at age seven-and-one-half months in 2002 with Angelina Jolie; Cambodian; no longer part of childs life.
daughter:
Bella Thornton. Born September 2004; mother, Connie Angland.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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