Brad Pitt Biography: Hollywood’s Biggest Star

Brad Pitt, an Academy Award and Golden Globe winner for his work as an actor and producer, is well-known for his roles in movies including “Legends of the Fall,” “Fight Club,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Moneyball,” “12 Years a Slave,” and “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.”

Brad Pitt: Who Is He?

Brad Pitt, an actor and producer, made his big-screen debut in the 1989 horror movie Cutting Class, and his performance in the 1994 picture Legends of the Fall contributed to cementing his status as a Hollywood mainstay. Pitt, who was twice named “Sexiest Man Alive” by People magazine, also demonstrated his willingness to take on gritty parts in films like Seven (1995) and Fight Club (1999).


For his performances in Babel (2006), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Inglourious Basterds (2009), and Moneyball (2011), he started to receive more serious award consideration. For his work as a producer on the motion picture 12 Years a Slave, he won his first Academy Award for best picture (2013). The Big Short (2015), Allied (2016), and his Oscar-winning performance in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019) are some of Pitt’s latter efforts. He is also well-known for his high-profile relationships with Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie.

Early Life

Pitt was raised in Springfield, Missouri. He was born William Bradley Pitt on December 18, 1963, in Shawnee, Oklahoma, the oldest of three children in a devoted Southern Baptist family. Bill Pitt, his father, was a trucking company owner, and Jane Pitt, his mother, worked as a family therapist. Pitt initially wanted to work in advertising and was a journalism student at the University of Missouri. 

The young college student, however, had other, more private goals that were a result of a childhood fascination with movies. His final semester of college, when he understood, “I can go,” brought his dreams one step closer to reality. Pitt, who was two credits away from graduating from college, decided to leave school on a whim, packed up his Datsun, and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting.

Pitt told his parents he wanted to go to the Pasadena Art Center College of Design, but instead he spent the following months driving a limo, taking strippers to bachelor parties, delivering refrigerators, and attempting to break into the acting scene in Los Angeles. He enrolled in an acting class and soon after went on an agency audition with a classmate as her scene partner. By chance, Pitt was chosen by the agent rather than his classmate. Pitt had found an agency and steady acting work after only seven months in Los Angeles.

Roles for Pretty Boys

Pitt’s earliest acting roles were in television shows like Dallas, Another World, Growing Pains, and the ephemeral 1990 Fox Television series Glory Days. In the 1989 NBC made-for-television film Too Young to Die, Pitt portrayed Billy Canton, the drug-addicted pimp of a juvenile runaway (played by Juliette Lewis). At the age of 16, Pitt began dating Lewis, who was nine years his junior. Eventually, the two moved in together.

Brad Pitt made his big-screen debut with Donovan Leitch in the 1989 horror/slasher movie Cutting Class, and he also appeared as a teen track star in Sandy Tung’s Across the Tracks, but it was a perfectly timed cameo in a contentious Hollywood movie that catapulted him into the spotlight of overnight fame. In spite of having only a little amount of screen time, Pitt’s performance as a rebellious, sugar-tongued hitchhiker who is picked up by the two main protagonists in Ridley Scott’s Thelma and Louise (1991) captured everyone’s attention. Pitt became a genuine sex icon thanks to his blend of endearing bad boy appeal and sensual playfulness, especially in a passionate love scene with Geena Davis (and wore out the rewind button on many a VCR).

Pitt’s subsequent movies fell short of elevating his acting reputation and making him more than simply a handsome face in Hollywood. He acted alongside Elizabeth McGovern in The Favor (1992), Johnny Suede (1992), Tom CiCillo’s debut feature, and the mediocre, half-animated Cool World (1992).

More Serious Fare

But later that year, in Robert Redford’s 1992 movie A River Runs Through It, which was based on Norman McLean’s memoirs, the Hollywood sun ignited the golden kid once more. Brad Pitt portrayed the fly-fishing and gambling brother of the main character (looking remarkably like a younger version of the director). Redford later acknowledged that his decision to cast Pitt was not based solely on the actor’s performance in the audition, but rather because “[he] had an inner conflict that was very compelling to me.” Pitt gave a brilliant performance, expertly capturing the character’s precarious balance between obnoxious charm and reckless self-destruction.

In Dominic Sela’s Kalifornia, Pitt and Lewis, his three-year girlfriend, re-teamed in 1993. Pitt portrayed Early Grayce, a man who, along with his lover, goes on a cross-country murdering spree. Many critics criticised the movie for being self-indulgently violent and nihilistic, and it did poorly at the box office. Soon after filming, Pitt and Lewis split, ruining their public image.

Pitt then added comedy to his resume by playing “Floyd,” a burned-out hippie in Tony Scott’s True Romance. However, Pitt’s next significant part was with Tom Cruise in the adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. The two youthful, all-American movie actors, who Rice initially found too raw for the story’s homoerotic connotations, caused her wrath. She reportedly remarked, “It’s like casting Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.”

When Rice saw the finished product, she later withdrew her earlier claims and agreed to appear in a brief advertisement for the DVD release praising the movie. The New York Times’ Caryn James observed, “The depth and profundity of Mr. Pitt’s performance are essential to the movie’s impact. He makes Louis seem like a heartbroken parent, lover, or even son by acting calm and composed.”

His A-List Movies/Roles

Pitt’s subsequent projects solidified his status as a Hollywood mainstay, but many critics thought his parts lacked depth. Pitt portrayed Tristan, a classic love hero with long, golden hair and a passion for alternatingly selfish and selfless deeds, in the epic family melodrama Legends of the Fall from 1994. Pitt, though, unexpectedly changed gears in David Fincher’s unsettling and gruesome thriller Seven as a detective on the hunt for a serial killer.

Pitt and his then-relatively unknown co-star Gwyneth Paltrow met while filming and started dating. Both stated that “love at first sight” occurred. They were one of Hollywood’s most cherished and famous couples for their two and a half years of marriage. After a seven-month engagement, the pair eventually broke up in 1997 for unspecified reasons.

Pitt received his first Oscar nomination in 1995 for his role as a mentally ill inmate in Terry Gilliam’s psychological thriller Twelve Monkeys, for which he won the Golden Globe for best supporting actor. After Sleepers (1996) and Alan J. Pakula’s Devil’s Own (starring Harrison Ford), he went on to Argentina to shoot Seven Years in Tibet, an ambitious $70 million feature that received unfavourable reviews. Pitt portrayed a very attractive version of death in his next movie, the three-hour Meet Joe Black, which also starred Anthony Hopkins. The movie received mixed reviews.

After a brief absence from the Hollywood A-list, Pitt and Seven director Fincher reunited to create Fight Club in 1999. In the dystopian movie, which also stars Edward Norton, an unglamorous Pitt plays the frightening leader of “fight club,” a violent pastime for young professional men. The British criminal caper Snatch (2000), which also starred Benicio Del Toro and was directed by Guy Ritchie, was Pitt’s next project.

The Mexican, a romantic comedy he co-starred in with Julia Roberts, Spy Game, a thriller he co-starred in with Robert Redford, and Ocean’s Eleven—a remake of the Rat Pack heist caper starring Roberts, George Clooney, and Matt Damon—all included an A-list ensemble cast. Then, in the Warner Bros. mega-hit epic Troy, Pitt played the Greek warrior Achilles in 2004. The actor appeared in Ocean’s Twelve the same year.

Brad Pitt Blockbuster Hits

Pitt and Angelina Jolie co-starred in the popular action movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith in 2005. The movie, which starred a married couple who are also covert spies, made more than $478 million worldwide, and the two actors later got married.

Babel (2006), which received accolades, was Pitt’s subsequent movie, and it led to yet another Golden Globe nomination for the actor. The actor reprised his role as Rusty Ryan in Ocean’s Thirteen before moving on to less serious material (2007). In 2008, Pitt starred in the FBI humorous thriller Burn After Reading with Joel and Ethan Coen. The movie received two nominations for Golden Globes and brought in more over $60 million at the box office.

Pitt took on a more fantastical starring role in the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story adaptation The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Pitt portrays the title character in this Fincher-directed film, who is born as a 70-year-old man who ages backward. The movie, which won three Oscars, earned Pitt another nomination.

Pitt played in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds in 2009, and he co-starred in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, in 2011 alongside Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain. Additionally, he played the title role in the baseball dramedy Moneyball, which depicts the struggles of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane and his attempt to revamp his squad. Pitt received nominations for both best producer and best actor at the Oscars, in addition to the other six nominations the movie received.

Pitt’s First Oscar

In the zombie-apocalyptic thriller World War Z (2013), directed by Marc Forster, Pitt received praise for his portrayal of Gerry Lane. Later that year, Pitt played a supporting role in The Counselor. His performance in the film 12 Years a Slave also garnered praise. The actual account of free African American musician Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who was abducted and sold into slavery, is depicted in the Steve McQueen-directed movie. Along with Quvenzhané Wallis, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael Fassbender, and Benedict Cumberbatch, Pitt portrays a Canadian carpenter who considerably helps Northup.

Pitt received his second nomination in the best picture category for his involvement as a producer on the movie, earning him his fifth Academy Award nomination overall. He shared the 2014 Oscar with McQueen, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, and Anthony Katagas, making it his first Oscar victory.

Pitt also starred as an army sergeant in the WWII action film Fury that same year. After that, Pitt co-starred with his wife Angelina Jolie in the independent film By the Sea, which she also wrote and directed, in 2015. He also made an appearance in The Big Short, a movie about those men who foresaw the impending chaos and the housing bubble that contributed to the financial crash of 2008. The project received numerous award nominations and was based on Michael Lewis’ nonfiction book.

Pitt then starred in the satirical War Machine (2017) as a character based on former U.S. General Stanley McChrystal and the WWII romance thriller Allied (2016) opposite Marion Cotillard. He costarred in Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in 2019, earning him his second Golden Globe and first Oscar for best supporting actor. He also starred in the space adventure Ad Astra.

Personal Life

Pitt, who was named “Sexiest Man Alive” by People magazine twice (1995 and 2000), started dating Friends star Jennifer Aniston in 1998. In Malibu, California, on July 29, 2000, Pitt and Aniston exchanged vows. The couple separated in January 2005 and got divorced in October of the same year.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt started dating shortly after they split up, and the actress subsequently admitted that they fell in love while filming Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt was the couple’s baby child who was born in May 2006. Pitt and Jolie welcomed twins in July 2008: a boy named Knox Leon and a daughter named Vivienne Marcheline. Maddox, Pax Thien, and Zahara are three other adopted children they have.

The couple got engaged in 2012 and married on August 23, 2014, in France, in a small ceremony. However, Jolie requested sole physical custody of their six children when she filed for divorce in September 2016.

The drama surrounding their bitter divorce was publicised in the media, with Jolie reportedly in jeopardy of losing custody in June 2018 because of her insistence on preventing the kids from seeing their father. Jolie allegedly claimed in court documents that had separated from her husband in August and that he had “paid no substantial child support since.” In a subsequent filing, Pitt’s legal team claimed that the actor had paid more than $1.3 million in household costs and assisted his wife in obtaining a $8 million loan to help her purchase their present home.

The actor encountered additional legal issues that month when a lawyer revealed intentions to file a lawsuit against Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation on behalf of citizens of a New Orleans neighbourhood that was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. In 2008, the foundation purportedly pledged to perform the necessary repairs after constructing more than 100 “green” homes. The attorney stated that his clients had health problems and infrastructure problems at their residences.

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