Date of Birth: December 18, 1963
Place of Birth: Shawnee, Okla., USA
Sign: Sun in Sagittarius, Moon in Aquarius
Relations: Wife: Jennifer Aniston
Education: Attended University of Missouri at Columbia
BRAD PITT WAS born on December 18, 1964, in Shawnee, Oklahoma. He grew up in Springfield, Missouri, the eldest of three children in a devoutly Southern Baptist family. His father, Bill Pitt, owned a trucking company and his mother, Jane Pitt, was a family counselor. Pitt originally aspired to be an advertising art director, studying journalism at the University of Missouri. However, the young college student had other quiet aspirations, the product of a childhood “love of movies,” which finally seemed tangible in his last semester at university when he realized, “I can leave.” On a whim, Pitt dropped out of college, packed up his Datsun, and headed West to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles, just two credits shy of a college degree.
Pitt told his parents he intended to enroll in the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, but instead spent the next several months driving a limousine--chauffeuring strippers from one bachelor party to the next, delivering refrigerators, and trying to break into the L.A. acting scene. He joined an acting class and, shortly after, accompanied a classmate as her scene partner on an audition with an agent. In a twist of fate, the agent signed Pitt instead of his classmate. After weathering only seven months in Los Angeles, Pitt had secured an agent and regular acting work.
Pitt’s first jobs came in television, appearing in episodes of Dallas, the daytime soap Another World, the sitcom Growing Pains, and 1990’s short-lived Fox Television series, Glory Days. In 1989, Pitt played Billy Canton, the drug-addicted pimp of a teenage runaway, played by Juliette Lewis, on the NBC made-for-television movie Too Young to Die. Pitt and Lewis started dating and eventually moved in together.
Pitt made his big screen debut in 1989’s horror/slasher film Cutting Class with Donovan Leitch and played a teen track star in Sandy Tung’s Across the Tracks; but it was a well-timed bit part in a controversial Hollywood film that pushed him into the glare of instant stardom. Pitt’s performance as a renegade, sugar-tongued hitchhiker who gets picked up by the two title characters in Ridley Scott’s Thelma and Louise (1991) grabbed universal attention despite only a few minutes worth of screen time. Pitt’s combination of charming bad boy charisma and sexual playfulness (particularly in a fiery love scene with Geena Davis) made him the elusive, yet perfect, object of female desire and wore out the rewind button on many VCRs!
Pitt’s next few films failed to boost his acting credibility and establish him as more than just a pretty face in Hollywood. He appeared in The Favor (1992) with Elizabeth McGovern, Tom CiCillo’s directorial debut, Johnny Suede (1992), and the unconvincing, half-animated Cool World (1992).
However, later that year, the Hollywood sunshine set the golden boy alight once more in Robert Redford’s 1992 film based on Norman McLean’s autobiography, A River Runs Through It; in which Pitt played the main character’s gambling, fly-fishing brother (looking remarkably like the young Robert Redford). Redford later admitted that he did not choose Pitt on the strength of his audition, rather, because “[he] had an inner conflict that was very interesting to me.” Pitt delivered a sparkling performance, skillfully depicting the character’s dangerous footing between overwhelming charm and reckless self-destructiveness.
In 1993, Pitt re-teamed with three-year girlfriend, Juliette Lewis, in Dominic Sela’s Kalifornia. Pitt played Early Grayce, a man who goes on a cross-country killing spree with his girlfriend. The film was deemed self-indulgently violent and nihilistic by many reviewers and did not do well in the box office. Pitt and Lewis broke up soon after filming, creating a publicity disaster.
Pitt proceeded to lighten his repertoire with a comedic performance as “Floyd,” a burnt-out hippie in Tony Scott’s True Romance, but his next major role came in the adaptation of Ann Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, alongside Tom Cruise. Rice initially expressed outrage at the casting choices, finding the two boyish, all-American film stars too rough for the subtle, slightly homoerotic overtones of the tale. “It’s like casting Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer,” she reportedly complained. However, after seeing the final film, Rice retracted her initial statements and filmed a short spot for the video version, endorsing the film.
Pitt’s next few efforts secured his place as a Hollywood staple; still, many critics found his roles lacking in dimension. In 1994’s Legends of the Fall, an epic family melodrama, Pitt played Tristan—a stereotypical romantic hero with long, golden locks and a penchant for alternate selfish and self-sacrificing gestures. However, Pitt abruptly took a gritty turn as a detective on the trail of a serial killer in David Fincher’s disturbing and gory, Seven. During filming, he met and began dating his then relatively unknown costar, Gwyneth Paltrow. Both claimed it was “love at first sight.” The two stayed together for two and a half years and were one of Hollywood’s most admired and celebrated couples. Then, in 1997, after a seven-month engagement, the couple split for unknown reasons.
In 1995, Pitt starred as a mental patient in Terry Gilliam’s psychological thriller 12 Monkeys and won a Golden Globe for best supporting actor. He followed with another dark thriller, Sleepers (1996) and Alan J. Pakula’s Devil’s Own with Harrison Ford, before heading to Argentina to film Seven Years in Tibet, an ambitious, seventy million dollar project, which met disappointingly mixed reviews. Unfortunately, his next film, the three-hour plus Meet Joe Black, co-starring Anthony Hopkins, in which he played a very comely version of “death,” also inspired little praise.
In 1999, after a brief hiatus from the Hollywood hot list, Pitt re-teamed with Seven director, David Fincher, in Fight Club. The apocalyptic film, also starring Edward Norton, presents an unglamorous Pitt in a disturbing role as leader and recruiter of Fight Club; a bloody diversion for young professional males.
2000 Listening with the Eyes
1999 Being John Malkovich
1999 Fight Club
1998 Meet Joe Black
1997 The Dark Side of the Sun
1997 The Devil's Own
1997 Seven Years in Tibet
1995 Twelve Monkeys
1994 Interview with the Vampire
1994 The Favor
1994 Legends of the Fall
1993 True Romance
1992 Cool World
1992 Johnny Suede
1992 A River Runs Through It
1991 Thelma & Louise
1991 Across the Tracks
1989 Cutting Class
1989 Happy Together
1990 Too Young to Die?
1990 The Image
1988 A Stoning in Fulham County
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)