His big break came in what may seem like a modern-day Cinderella story. He found instant fame as a hitchhiker named J.D. in Ridley Scott’s (“Alien” and “Blade Runner”) 1991 film, “Thelma & Louise.” Afterwards, he started to cultivate his leading-man status as a working actor and received critical acclaim for his role in “A River Runs Through It” (1992). Pitt was already a topic of interest in the celebrity gossip arena, and his terminated engagement to actress Juliette Lewis made the rounds. However, his first A-list role came when he was cast alongside Tom Cruise in 1994’s blockbuster, “Interview with the Vampire,” as the tale’s depressed vampire narrator, Louis. Many were introduced to him as the wild brother Tristan Ludlow in “Legends of the Fall.” “People” dubbed him the sexiest man alive in both 1995 and 2000.
Pitt took a departure from pretty-boy roles when he appeared as scruffier and edgier characters in films such as “Seven” and Terry Gilliam’s “12 Monkeys,” which introduced him to a wider audience and showed how diverse his acting skills are. He also earned a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his portrayal of the mental patient in the latter film.
He continued to play many roles, including one in the controversial “Seven Years in Tibet.” He also starred in a film that was a commercial failure but would become a cult classic and a generational icon: 1999’s “Fight Club.” That film was followed up by his role as a fighting Irish gypsy in “Snatch.” It was at this time that he became involved with “Friends” star Jennifer Aniston, and the couple married in 2001 in Malibu. Pitt continued his constant flow of films as he played a gangster alongside Julia Roberts in Joel Wyman’s (“Fringe” and “Almost Human” ) 2001 flick, “The Mexican,” and he starred as one of Danny Ocean’s (George Clooney) accomplices in “Ocean’s Eleven,” a remake of the 1960 film starring the storied Rat Pack. He’d portray his golden boy image once again in the 2004 epic “Troy.” Shortly after, he had to deal with the media storm that erupted due to his divorce from Aniston, mainly due to the rumors that he had fallen for his “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” costar, Angelina Jolie, whom he later married.
Pitt was soon accompanying his social activist wife on charity missions overseas. They had their first child, Shiloh, in 2006, and the couple adopted Pax, an orphan from Vietnam, in 2007. The couple then welcomed twins, Vivienne and Knox, in 2008. Pitt had been enjoying a well-deserved rest from acting, but the media would not let up on its relentless pursuit of stories involving him and his family.
He returned to the screen in 2006 in an emotionally endearing film, “Babel,” alongside Cate Blanchett. He’d also perform again alongside George Clooney, Matt Damon, and company in the final film of the “Ocean’s Trilogy,” 2007’s “Oceans 13.” Pitt and Blanchett would also reunite for a touching performance in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (2008). This film tells the story of a man who was in his eighties during WWI, but his age decreased all the way to the 21st century. This part earned Pitt nominations for both a Golden Globe Award and an Oscar for Best Actor.
Quentin Tarantino tapped Pitt for the role of an American army officer in 2009’s “Inglourious Basterds” alongside Diane Kruger (who was also Helen in “Troy”). His next big film would be as Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane in “Moneyball” (2011). This performance also earned him Best Actor nominations for the Academy Awards and Golden Globes. Although Pitt has been on record recently making statements that indicate a desire to retire from acting, his next film, ” World War Z,” is set for release on June 21, 2013.