"I've done one or two too many films where I play the tough guy hero who has to extricate himself from a difficult situation. Sound familiar? I thought so," quipped Bruce Willis on his action star status. The Armageddon hero's up-and-down career shares something with that of his 1994 Pulp Fiction co-star John Travolta: reinvention as a way of survival.
First an Emmy award-winner for his portrayal of wise-cracking detective David Addison in Moonlighting
, Bruce morphed into an action superhero in the late Eighties through the Die Hard
The series spawned a slew of copycat films, many of which starred the actor himself.
After appearing in two of the biggest cinematic disasters in history, an adaptation of Tom Wolfe's Bonfire Of The Vanities
and Hudson Hawk
, Bruce, who was born on March 19, 1955, in West Germany, floundered once again.
Along with partners Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, he invested in Planet Hollywood, a string of themed restaurants, which quickly ran into financial difficulties.
But just when it looked like his career was over, the one-time waiter reinvented himself. Taking character roles in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction
and Nobody's Fool
alongside Paul Newman
, Bruce altered public perception once again, proving he was not just an action hero, but an actor too. Enter M Night Shyamalan.
The writer-director was the mastermind behind The Sixth Sense,
the supernatural thriller that wowed audiences worldwide and ushered in another of Bruce's incarnations.
His pay cheque – $20 million, plus 20 percent of the film's gross – also made an impression on his bank account. And that
was enough to put the catastrophe of Planet Hollywood behind him.
For many years Republican supporter Bruce was half of a Hollywood power couple. His former wife, Brat Pack survivor Demi Moore
, shot to stardom with 1990's Academy Award-nominated Ghost,
opposite Patrick Swayze. That decade she became the world's highest paid actress with well received performances in A Few Good Man, Indecent Proposal,
Demi and Bruce married after three months of dating and set up camp in Hailey, Idaho, 900 miles from Hollywood. There they raised their three daughters, Rumer, Scout and Tallulah. Rumours of infidelity spread in 1996, but the couple seemed to be on solid ground.
Then, to the dismay of fans, the pair separated in 1998 and officially divorced in October 2000, after 13 years of marriage.
Bruce went on to date Spanish beauty Maria Bravo Rosado, who looked similar to his ex Demi, but the two split up after little over a year together.
In 2008, he began stepping out with another beautiful brunette. Despite a 24-year age gap, the connection between him and model Emma Heming was instant.
Explaining her effect on his life just before their marriage in March 2009, he said: "I spent the last 10 years single and, for the most part, unhappy.
"Then, I started hanging around Emma, and on a day-to-day basis my life became much happier."
In 2012, the second Mrs Willis, described by his friends as "unbelievably calm and non-demanding", made her husband even happier by presenting him with his fourth daughter, Mabel Ray.