When it comes to top-notch actors in Hollywood, Bruce Willis is a name that many people would put on that list. He is most famous for his roles in action films but has also shown to have quite a diverse set of talents, appearing in films and television shows in a variety of genres and even showing off his skills as a singer. On top of that, Willis is also adored for his amazing qualities as a husband and father.
Willis was born as Walter Bruce Willis on Mar. 19, 1955, in Idar-Oberstein, Germany. He grew up with a German mother and an American father, who was stationed in the United States military at the time of his birth. In 1957, the family moved to the United States and raised Willis in Penns Grove, New Jersey.
Willis discovered his passion for acting in his teens and began participating in his high school’s dramatic arts program. He later moved to New York City and appeared in a few off-Broadway plays before finally finding his footing in the world of television and film.
He had his breakthrough in 1985 with the TV series “Moonlighting,” and has since appeared in over 70 films. Some of his most loved performances include his short time on the sitcom “Friends,” his role in “The Sixth Sense,” and his role as John McClane in the “Die Hard” franchise.
In late March 2022, Willis announced that he was retiring from acting due to cognitive health issues. However, these issues were something that people had noticed in the past, sadly showcasing the actor’s decline.
Willis has been a pivotal figure in the acting world for more than 40 years, which is why fans and loved ones were left heartbroken when they heard the news that he was retiring from the field. During his acting career, Willis appeared in a variety of films and television shows. Some of his most popular films include “Pulp Fiction,” “Armageddon,” “The Sixth Sense,” “Looper” and the “Die Hard” franchise.
As John McClane, Willis shaped the image of the American action hero. The dirty undershirt he wore as the character actually turned into a piece of cultural property and can now be seen in the National Museum of American History.
In his private life, Willis has had some ups and downs when it comes to finding love. He married two times and is the father of five daughters. Willis first married actress Demi Moore in 1987, and the two had three daughters together: Rumer, Scout and Tallulah. Although the couple was regarded as a Hollywood powerhouse at the time, the marriage was not working out behind closed doors. Willis and Moore divorced in 2000, but they have remained good friends and great co-parents ever since.
In 2009, Willis married his second wife, model Emma Heming. Some of his wedding guests even included his ex-wife and her then-husband, Ashton Kutcher. To this day, Willis and Heming are still happily married and have two more daughters together, Mabel and Evelyn Penn.
While many of his films brought him great fame and fortune, the “Die Hard” franchise is no doubt responsible for much of Willis’ wealth. According to Celebrity Net Worth, he earned more than $50 million for all four movies and currently has an estimated net worth of $250 million.
Willis will always be an icon, but when asked what he is most famous for, Willis said, “Violence, laughter and ‘Looper.'” Still, the retired actor admitted that he can’t help but say his famous catchphrase from time to time: “Yippee ki yay!”
On Mar. 30, 2022, the world was left heartbroken at the announcement of Willis’ retirement. Both Heming and Moore posted the same picture and caption on their respective Instagram accounts, explaining that Willis was diagnosed with aphasia and therefore needed to take a step away from acting.
According to John Hopkins, aphasia is a language disorder caused by damage in a specific area of the brain that controls language expression and comprehension. This disorder leaves a person unable to communicate with others effectively and can sometimes even cause the afflicted to no longer understand the speech of others correctly.
According to Page Six, Willis was having cognitive issues prior to his family stepping in “to take care of him.” He struggled to remember his lines and was actually unable to do so. A source explained, “He was having cognitive problems, they all knew Bruce was having problems. Everybody knew, the cast and crew. His family has stepped in, they moved in to take care of him.”
Willis was using earpieces so he could have his lines fed to him while on set, according to Page Six. He was also reported to have used one back in 2015 for his Broadway debut in “Misery,” although sources stated this had more to do with Willis feeling “nervous” about script changes than anything else.
However, Willis also had a body double for many of his scenes in more recent films as “it was increasingly difficult to have him on screen.” For one project, Willis was reported to have shot for only three days. “It was becoming super obvious he was having trouble… he could not act anymore,” the source explained.
While Willis may not have any new projects in the works, he does have a few that have been completed or are in the post-production stages, meaning fans of the actor will still get new material in the upcoming year or so. According to IMDB, some of these upcoming titles include “Vendetta,” “Fortress: Sniper’s Eye” and “Wire Room.”
Willis’ family members have been incredibly supportive during this time. In their Instagram posts, Heming and Moore wrote:
“To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities. As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.”
“This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support. We are moving through this as a strong family unit, and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him.”
The post concluded, “As Bruce always says, ‘Live it up,’ and together we plan to do just that.”