Bruce Willis: The Early Years

Bruce Willis epitomizes the all-American action hero on screen. He’s starred in some of the most iconic thrillers and action films of all time, from Pulp Fiction to The Sixth Sense and, of course, the famous Die Hard series. Throughout his career, he’s become known for some of the noteworthy watches he’s worn in character. However, Willis also has some interesting watches in his own personal collection.

Willis was born in West Germany, where his father was stationed in the military. The military discharged his father two years later, and the family relocated to New Jersey. After leaving the military, Willis’s father worked blue collar jobs, serving as a welder and a factory worker. It was here at an early age that Willis unknowingly began to shape his perspective for his future roles.

In his youth, Willis suffered from a stutter. However, he began to take an interest in theater. Surprisingly, his stutter immediately vanished when he began performing for large groups. Willis realized his destiny was to be an actor.

Willis wasn’t able to begin college immediately after graduating high school. Instead, he followed in his father’s footsteps, working at a factory to save money for school. A year later, he began studying drama at Montclair State University. However, by his junior year, he was ready to pursue acting full time, left school, and relocated to New York City.

Bruce Willis

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Bruce Willis: American Action Hero

Like many aspiring actors, Bruce Willis spent most of his time in New York City waiting tables and tending bar between auditions. He scored some minor parts in off-Broadway productions, bit roles in some films, and occasional appearances on some television shows. But it wasn’t until he went to Hollywood for an audition that he would catch his big break.

Willis headed west, hoping to land a role in the film Desperately Seeking Susan. He didn’t get the part. However, he decided to stay an extra day and go on a different audition. He nailed it, beating out over 3000 other actors. The role was David Addison, a private investigator and the lead in the new detective series, Moonlighting.

Bruce Willis

Once in Hollywood, Willis’s career began to steadily unfold. Just a few years after relocating to the west coast, he was landing starring roles in films, including one of his now-signature roles as John McClane in Die Hard. Ever since, Willis has been a star.

The Watches

Over the years, Willis’  most famous character, John McClane, has worn some awesome watches. They range from a Breitling chronograph in Die hard: With a Vengeance to a Hamilton Jazzmaster in It’s a Good Day to Die Hard. However, Willis also has a taste for watches off camera, but it differs slightly from his characters. In Willis’s own collection you can find pieces like a Rolex Yacht-Master and a Panerai Radiomir. His personal watches may not have the same features as John McClane’s, but they seem fitting for an all-American actor with blue collar roots.

A Panerai Radiomir – Willis has a Radiomir in gold with a black leather band.

Check out our other Profiles in Time, like Martin Scorsese

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