Happy Birthday, Bruce Willis!

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Bruce Willis (Photo via Willis Family)

Bruce Willis, the beloved actor in such iconic roles as the Die Hard films and the Moonlighting TV series, turned 69 on March 19, 2024, thirteen months after his family announced he has been diagnosed with dementia. That news arrived on February 16, 2023, from his wife, Emma Heming Willis. The previous March, his family announced that he was retiring, citing his diagnosis of aphasia, a brain disorder that affects the ability to produce and process speech. In the 2023 statement, the family revealed that the actor’s condition had progressed to frontotemporal dementia. On his 69th birthday, his daughter, Rumer, shared a series of heartwarming photos on her Instagram. In the post, she wrote, in part, “Looking through these photos this morning I am just filled with the deepest gratitude that we chose to spend this life together. I am your first baby and man sometimes I wish I could be tiny enough to just cozy up on your chest again and laugh and cuddle you.”

Here is the complete 2023 statement from the family, via Heming Willis’ Instagram account:

Our family wanted to start by expressing our deepest gratitude for the incredible outpouring of love, support and wonderful stories we have all received since sharing Bruce’s original diagnosis. In the spirit of that, we wanted to give you an update about our beloved husband, father and friend since we now have a deeper understanding of what he is experiencing.

Since we announced Bruce’s diagnosis of aphasia in spring 2022, Bruce’s condition has progressed and we now have a more specific diagnosis: frontotemporal dementia (known as FTD). Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces. While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis.

To read our full statement and learn more about this disease please go to the link in our bio.
In Love & Gratitude
Ladies of Willis/Moore

Bruce Willis (Photo via his daughter Rumer Willis’ Instagram)

Here is the March 30, 2022 statement from the family:

To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities. As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.

This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support. We are moving through this as a strong family unit, and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him.

As Bruce always says, “Live it up” and together we plan to do just that.

Emma, Demi, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, & Evelyn

Willis was born March 19, 1955, in West Germany, the son of an American soldier and German mother. His family relocated to New Jersey soon thereafter when his father was discharged from the Army. After enrolling in the drama program at Montclair State University in N.J., he moved to New York City to pursue an acting career.

After several small roles on stage and television, the still relatively unknown actor was cast as the male lead opposite Cybill Shepherd in ABC-TV’s comedy-drama series, Moonlighting, in 1985. He earned his first lead film role in 1987’s Blind Date opposite Kim Basinger.

Willis became a Hollywood star with his role as John McClane in 1988’s Die Hard. The action film went on to earn an astounding $140 million at the box-office and later spawned four sequels.

Watch the trailer from 1988’s Die Hard

The actor often displayed a sarcastic wit and his on-screen personas occasionally offered a knowing wink to the appreciative audience.

Willis’ long theatrical film resume includes key or lead roles in 1994’s Pulp Fiction, 1998’s Armageddon, 1999’s The Sixth Sense, and 2000’s The Kid, among his large filmography.

The day after the family’s announcement, John Travolta wrote on his Instagram, “Bruce and I became good friends when we shared 2 of our biggest hits together, Pulp Fiction and Look Who’s Talking.

“Years later he said to me, ‘John, I just want you to know that when something good happens to you, I feel like it’s happening to me.’ That’s how generous a soul he is. I love you Bruce.”

Watch Willis in Pulp Fiction (“It’s not a motorcycle, baby; it’s a chopper”)

Willis recorded two albums in the late 1980s, both for Motown. He earned a Top 5 single with “Respect Yourself,” a duet with June Pointer.

Many of Willis’ movies are available to stream or purchase here.

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3 Comments so far

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  1. Music Jedi
    #1 Music Jedi 31 March, 2022, 09:59

    Very sad for anyone and more so for a beloved well known actor who has given us so many iconic movie roles. I wish him the best as he goes into these phase of his life.

    Reply this comment
  2. Baybluesman
    #2 Baybluesman 1 April, 2022, 00:50

    From my perspective, Bruce Willis is one of the most relatable male actors of the past 40 years.
    He is an Everyman, that just happens to step up to the plate and be “That Guy” (Live Free or Die Hard)” in his role portrayals.

    My thoughts are with him and family for improvement and possible recovery, as I know intimately, first-hand, of aphasia, as my mother had a stroke, and she jumbled words for many months, which was hard on her and myself.

    So, for an actor who relies on his/her mind to remember and/or recite dialogue, it is a game-changer.
    Through several months of speech therapy and family support, my mom is gradually expressing herself in a manner in which we had been accustomed to, pre-stroke.
    My thoughts, best wishes, as well as prayers, go out to the Willis Family, for a similar recovery for Bruce/Bruno.

    Yippee Ki Yay John McClane.

    Reply this comment
  3. 122intheshade
    #3 122intheshade 20 March, 2024, 01:35

    Moonlighting was the greatest. “One for the money, two for the glitz, three to get ready, let’s see some . . . DAVID!!”

    It’s finally streamable on Hulu. Looks great, and it sounds like they’ve remixed the audio into stereo.

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