With actor Brad Pitt celebrating his 49th birthday on Dec. 18, join us for a look back at the three-time Oscar nominee's career so far.
Today Brad Pitt is one of the biggest movie stars around, but it wasn't that long ago that he was a struggling actor desperate for parts. Join us for a look back at the actor's life and career to this point.
Pitt was born in Shawnee, Okla., but grew up in Springfield, Mo. Toward the end of his time studying journalism at the University of Missouri, he decided to give acting a try and headed to Los Angeles. After taking acting lessons and working odd jobs to pay the bills, he got started with uncredited minor roles in the movies "Hunk," "No Way Out," "No Man's Land" and "Less Than Zero." He made his TV debut, and received his first credit, in 1987 for playing the character "Chris" on the soap opera "Another World."
He followed that up with a four-episode run on "Dallas" in the show's 11th season in 1987-88, playing Randy, the boyfriend of Priscilla Presley's daughter.
He continued acting in small TV parts, including roles in shows such as "21 Jump Street," "Head of the Class" and "Growing Pains," scoring his first credited movie role in 1988's romantic drama "The Dark Side of the Sun" along the way.
He also had a role in the short-lived TV drama "Glory Days," which Fox canceled after six episodes.
But it was his role as small-time criminal J.D. in 1991's "Thelma & Louise," not to mention his steamy love scene with Geena Davis, that brought him his first taste of fame.
Following that, the movie roles started coming, including "Johnny Suede," "Cool World" and "A River Runs Through It." Although the first two flopped, the third, a period drama directed by Robert Redford, resulted in some of the best reviews of Pitt's career to that point.
He followed that up playing serial killer Early Grayce in the psychological thriller "Kalifornia," opposite Juliette Lewis and David Duchovny.
In 1993, he had a small but memorable role as a stoner named Floyd in "True Romance."
The following year proved to be a big year for Pitt, appearing in the romantic-comedy "The Favor" and alongside Tom Cruise in the movie adaptation of the Anne Rice novel "Interview with the Vampire," as well as ...
... the epic drama "Legends of the Fall," alongside Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond and Henry Thomas. Pitt earned his first Golden Globe nomination for the role.
Pitt (far right) poses with his "Interview with the Vampire" co-stars Christian Slater, Tom Cruise, Kristen Dunst and Antonio Banderas on Nov. 9, 1994.
Pitt and his then-girlfriend, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, arrive together for the premiere of the film "Copycat" on the Warner Brothers Studio lot on Oct. 18, 1995.
In the fall of 1995, Pitt appeared alongside Morgan Freeman and Paltrow in David Fincher's serial killer drama "Seven."
That same year saw him take a supporting role in the Bruce Willis sci-fi action thriller "12 Monkeys." The role, a mental patient with fanatical animal rights and anti-consumerist leanings, earned Pitt his first Golden Globe award and his first Oscar nomination.
In 1999, Pitt re-teamed with "Seven" director Fincher for "Fight Club." Based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk, the movie became one of the most controversial and talked-about films of 1999 and struggled at the box office, but became a cult favorite once it was released on video.
Pitt started dating "Friends" star Jennifer Aniston in 1998. The couple is seen here watching the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at the Staples Center on June 19, 2000.
Pitt waves to fans as he arrives for the premiere of his new film "Snatch" in London on Aug. 23, 2000.
Pitt and Aniston, seen here arriving at the 52nd Annual Emmy Awards on Sept. 10, 2000, were married in a private wedding ceremony in Malibu on July 29, 2000.
Pitt joined an ensemble cast for Steven Soderbergh's comedy-crime caper film "Ocean's Eleven" in 2001. The cast for the remake of the 1960 Rat Pack film "Ocean's 11" included George Clooney, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy García and Julia Roberts.
A bearded Pitt arrives at Staples Center prior to the start of a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and New Jersey Nets in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on June 5, 2002.
Pitt and Aniston arrive at the screening of the film "The Good Girl" in Los Angeles on Aug. 7, 2002.
In 2004, Pitt took on the role of Achilles in Wolfgang Petersen's movie adaptation of "The Illiad." With a worldwide gross of nearly $500 million, the movie remains Pitt's most commercially successful film to date.
Pitt and Aniston pose for photographers on the red carpet at the premiere of "Troy" in New York on May 10, 2004.
Pitt speaks at the Live 8 concert in Hyde Park in London on July 2, 2005.
In 2005, Pitt starred with Angelina Jolie in "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" as a bored married couple who discover that each is an assassin sent to kill the other. While Jolie has denied the pair started an affair while filming the movie, she has said they "fell in love" while on set.
After Pitt and Aniston announced they were separating in January 2005, Pitt and Jolie began being seen together more often. Later that year they adopted six-month-old Zahara Marley from Ethiopa and, in early 2006, Pitt legally adopted Jolie's two children, Zahara and Cambodia-born Maddox Chivan. Pitt and Jolie are seen here in Mumbai, India, on Nov. 12, 2006, with Pitt carrying Maddox and Jolie carrying Zahara.
In 2006, Pitt starred in the Best Picture Oscar nominee "Babel" as a man whose wife, played by Cate Blanchett, is shot while the vacationing couple travel by bus through Morocco.
Pitt crosses the red carpet after signing autographs for fans in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles at the premiere of "Ocean's 13" on June 5, 2007. Pitt reprised his role from "Ocean's Eleven" in both of that movie's sequels.
The year 2007 also saw Pitt play famous outlaw Jesse James in the drama "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford."
Pitt looks over the Pink Project, metal frames draped in pink fabric, in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans on Dec. 3, 2007. Pitt was working to help raise awareness and build 150 environmentally friendly homes for families displaced by Hurricane Katrina in the hard-hit New Orleans neighborhood.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Pitt greet volunteers from the Clinton Global Initiative before a groundbreaking ceremony for Pitt's "Make it Right" construction project in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans on March 16, 2008.
Pitt and Clooney pose on the red carpet for a showing of "Burn After Reading" at the Venice Film Festival on Aug. 27, 2008.
Pitt with adopted sons Maddox Jolie-Pitt (left) and Pax Thien Jolie-Pitt (right) arrives at the airport in Venice, Italy, on Aug. 26, 2008. Jolie adopted Pax from an orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in March 2007. The couple had their first child together, daughter Shiloh Nouvel, on May 27, 2006, and had twins, son Knox Léon and daughter Vivienne Marcheline, on July 12, 2008.
In 2008, Pitt starred in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" as a man who is born an octogenarian and ages in reverse. The role earned him his second Oscar nomination.
Pitt and Jolie arrive on the red carpet at the 81st Academy Awards in Hollywood, Calif., on Feb. 22, 2009.
Pitt appears for a photo op before a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the "Make it Right" project in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on March 5, 2009.
In 2009's "Inglourious Basterds," Pitt played Lieutenant Aldo Raine, an American resistance fighter battling Nazis in German-occupied France during World War II.
Pitt arrives for the premiere of "The Tourist" in New York on Dec. 6, 2010.
Pitt and Jolie, arrive at the 68th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Jan. 16, 2011. The couple announced their engagement in April 2012 after seven years together.
The year 2011 saw Pitt tackle roles in two Oscar contenders. First up was Terrence Malick's impressionistic drama "The Tree of Life," which earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Cinematography.
Next up was "Moneyball," which saw Pitt playing real-life Oakland Athletics General Manger Billy Beane in an adaptation of the 2003 book of the same name by Michael Lewis. The role earned Pitt his third Oscar nomination and the movie was also nominated for five other Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Jonah Hill.
In the fall of 2012, Pitt took some flak for starred in a black-and-white perfume commercial for Chanel No. 5. The awkward and rambling ad was widely panned and spoofed.
Pitt's most recent movie is 2012's gangster movie "Killing Them Softly," in which he plays an enforcer hired to restore order after three dumb guys rob a Mob protected card game.
For his next role, Pitt is playing the lead in "World War Z," an adaptation of the best-selling zombie novel of the same name. Here is seen on set in Glasgow, Scotland, on Aug. 18, 2011. The movie is scheduled for a June 21, 2013, release.
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