MOTW: Brad Pitt: The Life of an All-American Star

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A ticking-time-bomb insomniac and a slippery soap salesman channel primal male aggression into a shocking new form of therapy. Their concept catches on, with underground "fight clubs" forming in every town, until it starts an out-of-control spiral toward oblivion.
Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
August 29th, 2013

MOTW: Brad Pitt: The Life of an All-American Star

Brad Pitt was born William Bradley Pitt on December 18, 1963. Born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, to a high school counselor and the owner of a truck company, Pitt had surprisingly humble beginnings. Soon after his birth, his family moved to Springfield, Missouri, where he was raised in a Southern Baptist home with his two younger siblings, Doug and Julie. Interestingly, the film he first became truly known for was "A River Runs Through It," a Robert Redford film that takes place in an environment similar to the one he grew up in.

When Pitt was a teenager, he went to Kickapoo High School and became an active member of the wrestling and swim teams. He also played golf and tennis. Aside from his sporting clubs, Pitt participated in school debates, musicals, and the forensics club. After graduating from Kickapoo High School, he went to the University of Missouri and majored in journalism. During his college years, Pitt was an active member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. However, as his graduation day drew nearer, he became torn about whether or not he was truly pursuing his dreams. He adored films, but never felt like being an actor was a possibility, since films were never made in his area. In spite of being so close to finally earning his degree, he left the University of Missouri just two weeks before graduating and moved to Los Angeles so he could be closer to his dreams.

There, Pitt took acting lessons from Roy London, a popular acting coach. While he was sharpening his acting skills, he worked odd jobs and lived below his means. Finally, in 1987, Pitt's onscreen career got its start with several virtually uncredited roles as extras in "No Way Out," "Less Than Zero," and "No Man's Land." His luck got a bit better when he received a television debut with a short-lived role on "Another World," an NBC soap opera. That November, he had a guest role on "Growing Pains," and in the following months, he received roles in several episodes of primetime shows "Dallas" and "21 Jump Street."

In 1988, Pitt's luck finally seemed like it would take a turn for the better when he received his first leading film role in "The Dark Side of the Sun." Unfortunately, due to the Croatian War of Independence, the film was not released for nine years, so it failed to start his film career. In 1989, he had film appearances in "Happy Together" and "Cutting Class," the first of the films to reach theaters with Pitt having a credited role. After years of short-lived roles in television episodes and very minor supporting roles, he finally got some recognition with the release of "Thelma & Louise" in 1991, where he portrays a criminal who befriends the lead female. The romantic love scene he shared with Geena Davis, who portrayed Thelma, earned attention from admirers who were instantly attracted to him.

Unfortunately, he did not have any better roles until 1993, when he played serial killer Early Grayce in "Kalifornia." He received a small amount of attention in "Rolling Stone" for that performance. After lending some comic relief to cult classic "True Romance" as Floyd, a deadbeat stoner, Pitt earned a ShoWest Award and was named Male Star of Tomorrow, which got some attention from Robert Redford when he was casting "A River Runs Through It." This 1992 film featured him as one of the lead characters and has often been credited with making his career.

Brad Pitt went on to star in many major films and has since been considered one of Hollywood's top actors. His acting career even led him to true love. After filming "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" with Angelina Jolie, he fell in love with his costar and has been with her ever since. After spending seven years together, they announced their engagement in April 2012. However, they have decided to wait to marry until marriage is available for everyone regardless of sexual orientation. Pitt and Jolie have several biological children and several adopted children from foreign countries.

Because of his involvement with his family and his humanitarian efforts with Jolie, Pitt is considering retiring from his acting career so he can focus on doing charity work and raising his children. Angelina Jolie is also considering retiring. Together, they run the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, a charity organization that is dedicated to helping relieve multiple humanitarian crises all over the world.