Armed with good looks, an everyman appeal, and boundless self-confidence, actor Bruce Willis shot from obscurity to superstar status via both a hit television series and one of the most popular action-adventure films of all time. After beating out literally thousands of contenders, Willis’ portrayal of wisecracking P.I. David Addison on “Moonlighting” (ABC, 1985-89) made him one of television’s hottest leading men. It was, however, the character of indefatigable Det. John McClain in the blockbuster actioner “Die Hard” (1988) that solidified Willis as a legitimate action star – albeit one who ends up broken and bruised. There were periodic career slumps ahead, as evidenced by the colossal failures of “The Bonfire of the Vanities” (1990) and “Hudson Hawk” (1991). Still, as doggedly determined as McClane, Willis followed each low with stellar turns in successes like director Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” (1994). Working with cinema’s most commercially successful filmmakers, Willis helped deliver box office winners like director Michael Bay’s “Armageddon” (1998) and the landmark thriller, “The Sixth Sense” (1999). Despite the end of his 13-year marriage to actress Demi Moore, the actor channeled his sense of humor in the comedy “The Whole Nine Yards” (2000) to fine effect. More than 20 years after entering the limelight, Willis remained one of film’s most bankable stars in such hits as “Sin City” (2005), “Live Free or Die Hard” (2007) and “Red” (2010). Working constantly and playing to his strengths, the witty Willis enjoyed a career longevity that other action movie stars could only envy.
The above TCM overview can also be accessed online here.