Without any doubt, Brad Pitt is one of the most famous movie celebrities in the world. For 25 years, he has been acting in some of the popular films ever produced by Hollywood. And, on top of that, his celebrity romances with the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie have kept him on the pages of celebrity tabloids on a non-stop basis for nearly two decades.
But life did not start out with Hollywood glamour. Pitt was born in Oklahoma and grew up in Missouri, where he attended high school. He later enrolled at the University of Missouri, where he made up his mind to get involved with the world of film in the mid-1980s. Just two weeks before graduation in 1986, he moved to Los Angeles, determined to get involved in TV and movies.
Early work as a Hollywood actor
From 1987 to 1992, Brad Pitt’s career began to take shape. His first-ever roles in films (“No Way Out, No Man’s Land” and “Less Than Zero”) were actually uncredited. He made guest appearances on TV sitcoms and soap operas, but nothing really hinted at the fame and fortune ahead of him. Perhaps Pitt’s most critically acclaimed performance during that time was his role in the 1990 NBC made-for-TV movie, “Too Young To Die?”, in which he played alongside Juliette Lewis.
Pitt’s breakout performance came in the 1991 cult film “Thelma & Louise.” In this film by Ridley Scott, Pitt played a small-time criminal who had a much talked about love scene with Thelma (played by Geena Davis). Many reviewers now credit that performance with people talking widely about Pitt as a sex symbol.
Then, in 1992, Pitt worked with Robert Redford on “A River Runs Through It,” and received almost universal acclaim for his performance. Many now began to see Pitt as an actor capable of a much larger range of roles. For that, Pitt has always given credit to Robert Redford.
Emergence as a true Hollywood star
In 1994, Pitt had another breakout, career-defining performance. He starred as the vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac in the cult horror film “Interview with the Vampire.” The movie, based on the bestselling book by Anne Rice, featured an ensemble cast of some of the biggest Hollywood names – including Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst and Antonio Banderas. For his part in the movie, Pitt picked up two MTV Movie Awards in 1995.
The following year, Pitt picked up new roles that would begin to define him as one of the most important emerging Hollywood superstars. He had an important performance in the movie “Seven,” playing a detective on the search of a serial killer. That movie also featured Morgan Freeman and Gwyneth Paltrow, with whom he would later become romantically involved.
But it was his performance in the science fiction movie “12 Monkeys” that really made him into a superstar. He won a Golden Globe award and also picked up his first-ever Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Other Oscar-worthy roles soon followed, such as a leading role in the fantasy romance movie “Meet Joe Black.”
Solidifying his role as an iconic actor
The period from 1999-2003 helped to solidify Brad Pitt as one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood. The role that made him into a real star was his portrayal of the anarchist Tyler Durden in “Fight Club” (1999). From there, he began to star side-by-side with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. For example, in 2001, Pitt played alongside Julia Roberts in “The Mexican.” He also co-starred with Robert Redford in “Spy Game.”
Then came “Ocean’s Eleven,” a blockbuster crime heist movie starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts. Few could doubt that Pitt was now part of the Hollywood elite. After that, he had a cameo role in George Clooney’s first-ever movie, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” and became a fixture in the celebrity tabloids.
From 2004 on, Pitt enjoyed a golden age of blockbuster Hollywood film roles. It was no longer the case that he was playing a supporting role or appearing as part of a larger ensemble cast. It was now the case that he could command top billing as a real A-list actor. For example, he appeared as Achilles in the blockbuster film “Troy” in 2004.
In 2005, Pitt made a movie that came to define the way the celebrity tabloids talked about him and his personal life. That movie, of course, was “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” in which Pitt co-starred with Angelina Jolie. At the time, Pitt was undergoing a divorce with Jennifer Aniston, and rumors persisted that Pitt’s on-stage romance with Angelina Jolie was at least part of the reason.
From 2005 to 2010 came a string of critically-acclaimed and well-received movies, including “Babel” (2006), for which Pitt picked up a Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor nomination. Pitt’s production company, Plan B Entertainment, also produced its first film, “The Departed” in 2006. It was clear now that Brad Pitt’s role in Hollywood had significantly expanded to include not just actor but also producer.
During that time period, Pitt also starred in a number of big-name movies every year. In 2007, it was “The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford.” In 2008, it was “Burn After Reading.” In 2009, it was “Inglorious Basterds.” Then came even more movies and even more awards, including a star turn in both “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “Moneyball.”
After 2010, Pitt starred in the kinds of blockbuster movies that pulled in some truly staggering box office numbers. These included “World War Z” and “12 Years a Slave” in 2013 and “Fury” in 2014 and then “The Big Short” (2015) and “Allied” (2016). In 2017, Brad Pitt starred in “War Machine,” a Netflix original movie.
Future stardom ahead
The next big movie to feature Brad Pitt could be a sequel to “World War Z” – the movie had been tentatively planned to have a smash debut in summer 2017, but now it looks like plans have been pushed back to late 2017 or early 2018. Meanwhile, his production company Plan B Entertainment continues to work on new TV and film projects.
And don’t forget that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are still very much the epitome of the superstar Hollywood couple. Although the two officially divorced at the end of 2016, their names continue to appear on the front pages of newspapers and tabloid everywhere.
Looking back on Pitt’s work on the big screen, it’s almost hard to believe that it has been more than 25 years since his first breakout role in “Thelma & Louise.” Since that time, Pitt has worked with some of the leading names in Hollywood, and has been romantically linked with several of the most beautiful women ever to appear in TV or film. He truly is a one-of-a-kind Hollywood A-list original.