Day 75, No. 75. Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis portraitHAIRCUT 100: Day 75, No. 75. Bruce Willis (born 1955), Jersey Boy, the son of a soldier and his German sweetheart; former security guard, private investigator and bartender – also does a bit of acting. Willis has described himself as coming from ‘a long line of blue collar people’ – when the family returned to the States, Willis’ father worked as a welder and mechanic while his mother was a bank teller. Willis started acting in high school, finding that stage work helped him to master a stutter. He went on to study drama at Montclair State University, gaining a part in the School production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, but left in his junior year to try his luck off Broadway. When this didn’t work out, he went to Hollywood, eventually gaining a bit part in Miami Vice and a key role in the pilot episode of the 1985 CBS revival of The Twilight Zone, ‘Shatterday,’ a doppelgänger story by Harlan Ellison in which a man meets his own soul. In the same year, Willis auditioned for the part of David Addison Jr. in ABC’s Moonlighting and you know the rest… Willis has appeared in over sixty films to date, and is one of those towering figures in Hollywood, a genuine icon, a star in the true sense of the word. He has referred to his baldness as a way of remaining grounded, once remarking that ‘Hair loss is God’s way of telling me I’m human,’ while dermatologists will cite his example to men like me as a reason to never wear a wig. You know what you’re going to get in a Willis movie – charm, style, action, humour – while he has proven he has a deeper dramatic range in films like The Sixth Sense, Tears in the Sun, and Moonrise Kingdom. Among all those iconic roles, my personal favourite is John Hartigan in the original Sin City, a craggy, aging and honest cop in a rotten world who will never compromise, and to whom Willis brings a tragic, Shakespearian intensity: ‘An old man dies, a young woman lives. Fair trade.’

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