Born December 18, 1963, in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Pitt grew up in Springfield, Missouri, the eldest of three children in a devoutly Southern Baptist family. His father, Bill Pitt, owned a trucking company and his mother, Jane Pitt, was a family counselor. Pitt originally aspired to be an advertising art director, studying journalism at the University of Missouri. However, the young college student had other quiet aspirations, the product of a childhood “love of movies,” which finally seemed tangible his last semester at university when he realized, “I can leave.” On a whim, Pitt dropped out of college, packed up his Datsun, and headed West to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles, just two credits shy of a college degree. Pitt told his parents he intended to enroll in the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, but instead spent the next several months driving a limousine—chauffeuring strippers from one bachelor party to the next, delivering refrigerators, and trying to break into the L.A. acting scene. He joined an acting class and, shortly after, accompanied a classmate as her scene partner on an audition with an agent. In a twist of fate, the agent signed Pitt instead of his classmate. After weathering only seven months in Los Angeles, Pitt had secured an agent and regular acting work. Pitt’s first jobs came in television, appearing in episodes of Dallas, the daytime soap Another World, the sitcom Growing Pains, and in 1990’s short-lived Fox Television series, Glory Days. In 1989, Pitt played Billy Canton, the drug-addicted pimp of a teenage runaway, played by Juliette Lewis, in the NBC made-for-television movie Too Young to Die. Pitt and Lewis (9 years his junior at age 16) started dating and eventually moved in together. Pitt made his big screen debut in 1989’s horror/slasher film Cutting Class with Donovan Leitch, and played a teen track star in Sandy Tung’s Across the Tracks, but it was a well-timed bit part in a controversial Hollywood film that pushed him into the glare of instant stardom. Pitt’s performance as a renegade, sugar-tongued hitchhiker who gets picked up by the two title characters in Ridley Scott’s Thelma and Louise (1991) grabbed universal attention despite only a few minutes worth of screen time. Pitt’s combination of charming bad boy charisma and sexual playfulness (particularly in a fiery love scene with Geena Davis) secured him as a genuine sex symbol (and wore out the rewind button on many a VCR).
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Brad Pitt biography
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