After countless auditions, Willis contributed minor film appearances, usually uncredited, before landing the role of private eye “David Addison” alongside sultry Cybill Shepherd in the hit romantic comedy television series Moonlighting (1985). The series firmly established Bruce Willis as a hot new talent, and his sarcastic and wisecracking P.I. was in effect a dry run for the role of hard-boiled NYC detective “John McClane” in the monster hit Die Hard (1988). This superbly paced action film balanced laconic humor and wholesale destruction as Willis’ character single handedly battles a gang of ruthless international thieves in a Los Angeles skyscraper. Willis reprized the role of tough guy cop “John McClane” in the eagerly anticipated sequel Die Hard 2 (1990) set at snowbound Washington’s Dulles International Airport as a group of renegade Special Forces soldiers seek to repatriate a corrupt South American general. Excellent box office returns demanded a further sequel Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995) this time also starring Samuel L. Jackson as a cynical Harlem shopowner unwittingly thrust into assisting McClane during a terrorist bombing campaign on a sweltering day in NYC.
Willis found time out from all the action mayhem to provide the voice of “Mikey” the baby in the very popular family comedies Look Who’s Talking (1989), and its sequel Look Who’s Talking Too (1990) also starring John Travolta and Kirstie Alley. Over the next decade, Willis starred in some very successful films, some very offbeat films and some unfortunate box office flops. The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) and Hudson Hawk (1991) were both large scale financial disasters that were savaged by the critics, and both are arguably best left off the CVs of all the actors involved, however Willis was still popular with movie audiences and selling plenty of theatre tickets with the hyperviolent The Last Boy Scout (1991), the darkly humored Death Becomes Her (1992) and the mediocre police thriller Striking Distance (1993). During the 1990s, Willis also appeared in several independent and low budget productions that won him new fans and praise from the critics for his intriguing performances working with some very diverse film directors. He appeared in the oddly appealing North (1994), as a cagey prizefighter in the Quentin Tarantino directed mega-hit Pulp Fiction (1994), the Terry Gilliam directed apocalyptic thriller Twelve Monkeys (1995), the Luc Besson directed sci-fi opus The Fifth Element (1997) and the M. Night Shyamalan directed spine-tingling epic The Sixth Sense (1999).
Willis next starred in the gangster comedy The Whole Nine Yards (2000), worked again with “hot” director M. Night Shyamalan in the less gripping Unbreakable (2000), and in two military dramas, Hart’s War (2002) and Tears of the Sun (2003) that both failed to really fire with movie audiences or critics alike. However, Willis bounced back into the spotlight in the critically applauded Frank Miller graphic novel turned movie Sin City (2005), the voice of “RJ” the scheming raccoon in the animated hit Over the Hedge (2006) and “Die Hard” fans rejoiced to see “John McClane” return to the big screen in the high tech Live Free or Die Hard (2007) aka “Die Hard 4.0″.
Willis was married to actress Demi Moore for approximately thirteen years and they share custody to their three children.
Birth Name Walter Bruce Willis
Height 6′ (1.83 m)