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|Also Known As:||Walter Bruce Willis||Died:|
|Born:||March 19, 1955||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Profession:||Cast ... actor producer singer songwriter screenwriter harmonica player security guard bartender waiter|
tion-adventure "The Expendables" (2010) that made fanboys giddy with anticipation over a brief scene that, for the first time ever, united Sly, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Willis on screen. The following year was relatively uneventful for the star, with the direct-to-DVD offerings "Set Up" (2011) and "Catch .44" (2011) comprising his output. One year later, he returned to screens with his biggest release slate in recent memory. Among his half-dozen offerings were such projects as idiosyncratic filmmaker Wes Andersonâ¿¿s coming-of-age tale "Moonrise Kingdom" (2012). A rare non-action role for Willis, it earned him a Best Supporting Male nomination from the Independent Spirit Awards. He also starred in the time-travel thriller from writer-director Rian Johnson, "Looper" (2012). As an added treat, he once more appeared alongside Schwarzenegger and Stallone in the bullet-ridden sequel "The Expendables 2" (2012), this time in a greatly expanded role, which, of course, entailed expending huge amounts of ammunition.
This trend continued prominently in 2013 with Willis starring in no less than three major action sequels. After reprising the role of tough guy John McClane yet again in "A Good Day to Die Hard," Willis appeared in the long-delayed toy-tie-in "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" as the original "Joe," with both films making money yet earning critical scorn. His entry in the 2013 summer-blockbuster field proved to be "Red 2," which failed to capture the verve of the first installment. agent (Willis) helping an autistic child (Miko Hughes) find safety after accidentally discovering a secret code. Willis' power hungry general also single-handedly altered the tone of "The Siege" (1998) from a serious-minded thriller to a one-dimensional, cartoon shoot-em-up.
In 1999, Willis finally made a life-long pet project, playing Dwayne Hoover, the suicidal car salesman from author Kurt Vonnegut's "Breakfast of Champions." He wisely chose to act in M. Night Shyamalan's paranormal sleeper hit, "The Sixth Sense," which presented him at his most subdued, endearing and effective opposite 12-year-old Haley Joel Osment, a boy who sees dead people. The star also undertook a role which paralleled his own life in Rob Reiner's comedy-drama "The Story of Us" (1999), drawing on his own difficulties with Demi Moore for its sad-sack story of a marriage in trouble. In 2000, Willis continued to resist the call of the action hero, playing a fast-paced, but unhappy Los Angeles executive who gets in touch with his physically manifested inner child (Spencer Breslin) in "Disney's The Kid." After reuniting with Shyamalan in the supernatural thriller "Unbreakable" (2000), Willis scored a surprise hit with "The Whole Ten Yards," a broad comedy in which he was ex-mobster and friendly suburban neighbor Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski.
Returning to the small screen for a three-episode arc on NBC's hit sitcom "Friends" (1994-2004), Willis picked up his second Emmy playing the disapproving father of a college co-ed dating the character of Ross (David Schwimmer) who winds up romancing Rachel (Jennifer Aniston). On the big screen, Willis was back to being laconic in "Bandits" (2001), playing a prison escapee who robs a number of banks with his hypochondriac partner (Billy Bob Thornton), even though both fall in love with a runaway housewife (Cate Blanchett). Willis was used to better effect as an American P.O.W. presiding over a murder trial in the WWII drama "Hart's War" (2002), then as the leader of a special operations force on a search and rescue mission in the jungles of Africa in "Tears of the Sun" (2003). That year he also voiced the animated canine Spike in "Rugrats Go Wild" and had an unaccredited, nearly unrecognizable cameo in "Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle," the comeback vehicle for friendly ex-wife Moore, before reprising Jimmy the Tulip for the dreadful sequel "The Whole Ten Yards."
He popped up with another cameo appearance, playing himself in "Ocean's 12" (2004), the rather unworthy sequel to the 2001 caper comedy hit. Willis returned to the thriller genre with the Miramax-produced "Hostage" (2005), with a screenplay written by best-selling novelist Robert Crais. In the film, he was a failed LAPD hostage negotiator who, as a suburban police chief, finds himself forced to rely on his old skills to save his estranged family. Though the film had merits, it failed at the box office. He was better served in the highly stylized "Sin City" (2005), Robert Rodriguez's visually arresting adaptation of Frank Miller's crime noir comic book series. In the film's best segment, "That Yellow Bastard," Willis had the plum role of Hartigan, a noble, but world-weary and heart-troubled cop who goes to jail rather than lead the corrupt family of a pedophile to the victim he saved, only to become embroiled again with all of the players in his past.
Returning to animation, Willis voiced the manipulative and opportunistic raccoon, RJ, in DreamWorks' "Over the Hedge" (2005), an amusing though standard comedy about a group of forest critters trying to reclaim a neighboring backyard after waking from their long winter's nap. In "Lucky Number Slevin" (2006), he was a notorious hit man who helps a man (Josh Hartnett) trapped between two crime bosses (Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley). After a small part as a big-wig cattle supplier in "Fast Food Nation" (2006), Willis made a cameo as a retired astronaut who tries to convince a determined farmer (Billy Bob Thornton) not to build his own rocket ship in "The Astronaut Farmer" (2006). Willis returned to leading man status in the well-made popcorn thriller "16 Blocks" (2006), playing a hard-drinking, hard-living New York City cop tasked with transporting a petty criminal (Mos Def) to his grand jury testimony against a corrupt cop (David Morse), only to learn the hard way that the cop wants the witness dead.
Willis made another off-kilter cameo, this time as a macho military fanatic in the "Planet Terror" segment of "Grindhouse" (2007), a compilation of two 90-minute horror flicks from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez that was a throwback to the days of bloody, sex-fueled, low-rent double features that played in seedy 42nd Street theaters in New York City. He then reverted to playing the heavy in "Perfect Stranger" (2007), a dull and lifeless thriller about an investigative reporter (Halle Berry) who poses as a temp at an advertising agency in order to unravel the murder of a friend connected to a powerful ad executive (Willis). Meanwhile, action fans had cause to scream a celebratory "Yippee-ki-yay, motherf*cker!" in the summer with the long-awaited return of hero John McClane in the fourth installment of the "Die Hard" series, "Live Free or Die Hard" (2007). Returning to the signature role he created nearly twenty years earlier, Willis played an older, less resilient John McClane entering middle-age who, when duty calls, would prove that once an action hero, always an action hero. He then played a bearded, overweight parody of himself in "What Just Happened?" (2008), Barry Levinson's satire about a middle-aged Hollywood producer (Robert De Niro) struggling to hold onto the last vestiges of his flagging career.
In March of 2009, Willis married Emma Heming, an English model-actress 23 years his junior. In attendance at the wedding ceremony were his three children, ex-wife Moore and her own much younger husband, actor Ashton Kutcher. Professional flops like the sci-fi thriller "Surrogates" (2009) and the Kevin Smith-directed "Cop Out" (2010) were offset by another box-office winner, the action-comedy "Red" (2010). Co-starring such acting luminaries as Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich, the comic-book adaptation followed a group of begrudgingly retired CIA operatives blissfully returning to the cloak-and-dagger world of espionage. As well as "Red" had performed in theaters, it was writer-director-star Sylvester Stalloneâ¿¿s bloody ensemble acp Fiction" (1994).
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