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For other people with a similar name, see Robert Thornton (disambiguation).

Billy Bob Thornton[1] (born August 4, 1955) is an American actor, director, musician, playwright and screenwriter. Thornton gained early recognition as a cast member on the CBS sitcom Hearts Afire and in several early 1990s films including On Deadly Ground and Tombstone. In the mid-1990s, after writing, directing, and starring in the independent film Sling Blade, he won an Academy Award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay). He appeared in several major film roles following Sling Blade 's success, including 1998's Armageddon and A Simple Plan. During the late 1990s, Thornton, who has had a life-long love for music, began a career as a singer-songwriter. He has released three albums and was the singer of a blues rock band.

Early life

Thornton was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas,[1] the son of Virginia Roberta (née Faulkner), a psychic, and William Raymond "Billy Ray" Thornton (November 1929 – August 1974), a high-school history teacher and basketball coach.[1] He is the oldest of three brothers, the others are Jimmy Don Thornton (April 1958 – October 1988)[2] and John David Thornton (born 1969). Thornton lived in both Alpine, Arkansas, and Malvern, Arkansas, during his childhood. He was raised a Methodist,[3] in an extended family in a shack that had neither electricity nor plumbing. Thornton graduated from high school in 1973.[4] A good high school baseball player, he tried out for the Kansas City Royals, but was let go after an injury.[5] After a short period laying asphalt for the Arkansas State Transportation Department, he attended Henderson State University, in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, to pursue studies in psychology, and graduated as an Arkansas Scholar after two semesters.

In the late 1980s, Thornton settled in Los Angeles, to pursue his career as an actor, with future writing partner Tom Epperson.[1] Thornton initially had a difficult time succeeding as an actor, and worked in telemarketing, offshore wind farming,[5] and fast food management between auditioning for acting jobs. He also played drums and sang with South African rock band Jack Hammer. While Thornton worked as a waiter for an industry event, he served film director and screenwriter Billy Wilder, who is famous for films such as Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard. Thornton struck up a conversation with Wilder, who advised Thornton to consider a career as a screenwriter,[1] for which he eventually won an Oscar in the category of best screenplay.

Career

One of Thornton's early screen roles was as a cast member on the CBS sitcom Hearts Afire with John Ritter and Markie Post. His role as the villain in 1992's One False Move, which he also co-wrote, brought him to the attention of critics.[1] He also had small roles in the early 1990s films Indecent Proposal, On Deadly Ground, Bound by Honor, Grey Knight, and Tombstone. Thornton put Wilder's advice to good use, and went on to write, direct and star in the independent film Sling Blade, which was released in 1996.[1] The film, an expansion of a short film titled Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade, introduced the story of Karl Childers, a mentally handicapped man imprisoned for a gruesome and seemingly inexplicable murder. Sling Blade garnered international acclaim.[1] Thornton's screenplay earned him an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, a Writers Guild of America Award, and an Edgar Award, while his performance received Oscar and Screen Actors Guild nominations for Best Actor.[1]

In 1998, he portrayed the James-Carville-like Richard Jemmons in Primary Colors. Thornton adapted the book All the Pretty Horses into a 2000 film with the same name, starring Matt Damon and Penélope Cruz. The negative experience (he was forced to cut more than an hour) led to his decision to never direct another film (a subsequent release, Daddy and Them, had been filmed earlier). Also in 2000, an early script which he and Tom Epperson wrote together was made into The Gift which starred Cate Blanchett, Hilary Swank, Keanu Reeves, Katie Holmes, Greg Kinnear, and Giovanni Ribisi.

During the late 1990s, Thornton, who has had a life-long love for music, began a career as a singer-songwriter. He released a roots rock album titled Private Radio in 2001, and two more albums, The Edge of the World (2003) and Hobo (2005). Thornton's manager, David Spero, helped his Edge of the World album get off the ground with a summer tour.[6] Thornton was the singer of a blues rock band named Tres Hombres. Guitarist Billy Gibbons referred to the band as "The best little cover band in Texas", and Thornton bears a tattoo with the band's name on it.[7] He performed the Warren Zevon song The Wind on the tribute album Enjoy Every Sandwich: Songs of Warren Zevon. Thornton recorded a cover of the Johnny Cash classic "Ring of Fire" for the Oxford American magazine's Southern Music CD in 2001.

Thornton's screen persona has been described by the press as that of a "tattooed, hirsute man's man".[8] He appeared in several major film roles following Sling Blade 's success, including 1998's Armageddon with Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis, and A Simple Plan. In 2001, he directed Daddy and Them, while also securing starring roles in three hollywood pictures, Monster's Ball, Bandits and The Man Who Wasn't There, for which he received many awards. He played a malicious mall Santa Claus in 2003's Bad Santa, a black comedy that performed well at the box office and established Thornton as a leading comic actor, and in the same year, portrayed a womanizing President of the United States in the British romantic comedy Love Actually. Thornton has stated that, following Bad Santa's success, audiences "like to watch [him] play that kind of guy,"[8] and "they [casting directors] call [him] up when they need an asshole. It's kinda that simple... you know how narrow the imagination in this business can be."[9] In 2004 he played Davy Crockett in The Alamo.

He appeared in the comic film School for Scoundrels, which was released on September 29, 2006. In the film, he plays a self-help doctor; the role was written specifically for Thornton.[8] More recent films include The Astronaut Farmer, a drama released on February 23, 2007, and the comedy, Mr. Woodcock, in which Thornton plays a sadistic gym teacher. In September 2008, Thornton starred in the big brother action movie Eagle Eye along side Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan. He will next star in the drama Peace Like a River. Thornton has also expressed an interest in directing another film, possibly a period piece about cave explorer Floyd Collins,[10] based on the book Trapped! The Story of Floyd Collins by Robert K. Murray and Roger Brucker. Thornton received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 7, 2004.

On April 8, 2009, Thornton and his musical group The Boxmasters appeared on CBC Radio One program Q which was widely criticized and received international attention when Thornton's responses to questions were persistently unintelligible or discourteous.[11][12] Thornton eventually told host Jian Ghomeshi he had "instructed" the show's producers to not ask questions about his movie career.[13][14] Ghomeshi had mentioned Thornton’s acting in the introduction. Thornton had also complained that Canadian audiences were like “mashed potatoes without the gravy."[15][16] The following night, opening for Willie Nelson at Toronto's Massey Hall, Thornton said mid-set he liked Canadians but not Ghomeshi, which was greeted with boos and catcalls.[17] The Boxmasters did not continue the tour in Canada as, according to Thornton, some of the crew and band had the flu.[18]

Personal life

File:BillyBobThorntonPointsSXSW2009.jpg

Thornton has frequently disclosed that he has obsessive–compulsive disorder.[19] He and rock singer Warren Zevon became close friends after sharing their common experiences with the disorder.[20] Various idiosyncratic behaviors have been well-documented in interviews with the actor; among these is a phobia of antique furniture — a disorder shared by Dwight Yoakam's character Doyle Hargraves in the Thornton-penned Sling Blade, and by Thornton's own character in the 2001 film Bandits.[21] Additionally, he has stated that he has a fear of certain types of silverware, a trait assumed by his character, Hank Grotowski, in 2001's Monster's Ball, in which Grotowski insists on a plastic spoon for his daily bowl of chocolate ice cream.[21][22] In a 2004 interview with The Independent, Thornton explained: "It's just that I won't use real silver. You know, like the big, old, heavy-ass forks and knives, I can't do that. It's the same thing as the antique furniture. I just don't like old stuff. I'm creeped out by it, and I have no explanation why...I don't have a phobia about American antiques, it's mostly French — you know, like the big, old, gold-carved chairs with the velvet cushions. The Louis XIV type. That's what creeps me out. I can spot the imitation antiques a mile off. They have a different vibe. Not as much dust."[23] In addition to his aversion to silver cutlery, velvet, and "creepy, castle-y stuff," Thornton confesses that "pieces from 1700 and 1800 France and England really freak me out, especially harpsichords."[23][24]

Thornton has been married five times, most notably to actress Angelina Jolie. Each of Thornton's marriages ended in divorce. Thornton and Jolie were known for their eccentric behavior, which reportedly included wearing vials of each other's blood around their necks; Thornton later clarified that the "vials" were, instead, two small lockets, each containing only a single drop of blood.[8][25] Thornton and Jolie adopted a child from Cambodia whom they named Maddox. Jolie's divorce petition defined the child as both her and Thornton's, and requested the Court grant her custody and Thornton reasonable visitation.[26]

Thornton lives in Los Angeles, and he is the father of four children. His first marriage, to Melissa Gatlin, produced Amanda Spence Brumfield on June 30, 1979; his fourth wife, Pietra Cherniak, bore William Langston on June 27, 1993 and Harry James on June 19, 1994; and Thornton and his current girlfriend Connie Angland bore Bella on September 22, 2004. Thornton has stated that he will likely not marry again, specifying that he believes marriage "doesn't work" for him. He has two younger brothers, Jimmy Don, who died abruptly of a heart attack in 1988, and John David, who resides in Arkansas. Jimmy Don Thornton wrote a number of songs, two of which--"Island Avenue" and "Emily"--Thornton has recorded on his solo albums. A baseball fan, his favorite team is the St. Louis Cardinals. He has said his childhood dream was to play for the Cardinals. Thornton narrated "The 2006 World Series Film," the year-end retrospective DVD chronicling the Cardinals' championship season.[27]

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1986 Hunter's Blood Billy Bob
1988 South of Reno Counterman
1989 Going Overboard Dave
Chopper Chicks in Zombietown Tommy
1991 The Dark Backward Patron at Sloppy's (uncredited)
For the Boys Marine Sergeant, Korea
1992 One False Move Ray Malcolm also co-wrote
1993 Tombstone Johnny Tyler
Blood In Blood Out Lightning
Indecent Proposal Day Tripper
The Killing Box Langston
Trouble Bound Coldface
1994 On Deadly Ground Homer Carlton
Floundering Gun Clerk
Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade Karl Childers Short film
1995 Dead Man Big George Drakoulious
The Stars Fell on Henrietta Roy
1996 Sling Blade Karl Childers also wrote and directed
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Chlotrudis Award for Best Actor
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Don't Look Back Marshall also co-wrote
The Winner Jack
1997 The Apostle Troublemaker
U Turn Darrell
Princess Mononoke Jigo Voice Only (English Language Version)
1998 A Simple Plan Jacob Mitchell Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actor
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Armageddon Dan Truman, NASA Administrator
Homegrown Jack Marsden
Primary Colors Richard Jemmons
1999 Pushing Tin Russell Bell
2000 The Last Real Cowboys Tar
2001 South of Heaven, West of Hell Brig. Smalls
Daddy and Them Claude Montgomery also wrote and directed
Monster's Ball Hank Grotowski Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor also for Bandits and The Man Who Wasn't There
National Board of Review Award for Best Actor also for Bandits and The Man Who Wasn't There
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Bandits Terry Lee Collins Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor also for Monster's Ball and The Man Who Wasn't There
National Board of Review Award for Best Actor also for Monster's Ball and The Man Who Wasn't There
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
The Man Who Wasn't There Ed Crane Chlotrudis Audience Award for Best Actor
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor also for Bandits and Monster's Ball
London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
National Board of Review Award for Best Actor also for Bandits and Monster's Ball
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Russian Guild of Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Actor
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—American Film Institute Award AFI Actor of the Year
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
2002 Waking Up in Reno Lonnie Earl Dodd
The Badge Sheriff Darl Hardwick
2003 Bad Santa Willie Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Love Actually The US President
Intolerable Cruelty Howard D. Doyle
Levity Manuel Jordan
2004 Friday Night Lights Coach Gary Gaines
The Alamo David Crockett
Chrystal Joe
2005 The Ice Harvest Vic Cavanaugh
Bad News Bears Morris Buttermaker
2006 School for Scoundrels Dr. P/Dennis Sherman
2007 The Astronaut Farmer Charles Farmer
Mr. Woodcock Jasper Woodcock
2008 Eagle Eye Thomas Morgan
2009 The Informers William
My Run Narrator
Peace Like a River (in production)
2010 Zero Theorem Qohen Leth (pre-production)
Faster Cop (pre-production)

Other screen credits

Year Film Role Notes
1992 One False Move Writer Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay
1994 Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade Writer
1996 A Family Thing Writer Humanitas Prize
Sling Blade Director/Writer Academy Award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay
National Board of Review Award for Special Achievement in Filmmaking
Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature
Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated—Chlotrudis Award for Best Director
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Original Screenplay
Don't Look Back Story and teleplay
2000 All the Pretty Horses Director/Producer
The Gift Writer Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Writing
2001 Camouflage Story and screenplay as Reginald Perry
Daddy and Them Director/Writer

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 "Billy Bob Thornton". Inside the Actors Studio. August 18, 2002. No. 18, season 8.
  2. "Social Security Death Index". Ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved 2010-05-09. 
  3. "Billy Bob Thornton, Astronaut Farmer". BeliefNet.com. 
  4. "Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture". Encyclopediaofarkansas.net. Retrieved 2010-05-09. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Pringle, Gill (September 23, 2007). "On the Move: Billy Bob Thornton". The Times (London). Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  6. Deanna R. Adams. "Northern Ohio Live, September 2003". Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  7. "Billy Bob's Music". BillyBobThornton.net. Archived from the original on August 25, 2006. Retrieved September 24, 2006. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 "Billy Bob Hollywood's go-to guy". JAM! Showbiz. Retrieved September 24, 2006. 
  9. "School is in session". Daily News. Retrieved September 24, 2006. 
  10. "Interview with "School for Scoundrels" Star Billy Bob Thornton". About.com. Retrieved September 25, 2006. 
  11. "Billy Bob Thornton Gives Bizarre Interview On Canadian Radio". Huffington Post. April 8, 2009. Retrieved October 2, 2009. 
  12. "Billy Bob Thornton has a Joaquin Phoenix moment". The Sydney Morning Herald. April 10, 2009. Retrieved October 2, 2009. 
  13. "Thornton obnoxious in CBC interview". UPI. April 9, 2009. 
  14. "Thornton clashes with radio host". BBC. April 9, 2009. 
  15. Schmidt, Veronica (April 9, 2009). "Billy Bob Thornton does a Joaquin Phoenix on Canadian radio". The Times (London). Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  16. Kreps, Daniel (April 8, 2009). "Billy Bob Thornton Attempts To Outdo Joaquin Phoenix In CBC Interview". Rolling Stone. 
  17. Wallace, Kenyon; Raju Mudhar (April 10, 2009). "Billy Bob not done with the barbs". The Star (Toronto).  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthor= (help)
  18. Marlow, Iain; Andrew Chung (April 10, 2009). "Billy Bob ends Canadian tour". The Star (Toronto).  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthor= (help)
  19. "Billy Bob Thornton opens up". msnbc.com. April 2, 2004. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  20. I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Billy Bob's Fear Of Spoons". Cinema.com. Retrieved September 24, 2006. 
  22. "Monster's Ball screenplay transcript". Script-o-rama.com. Retrieved May 30, 2008. 
  23. 23.0 23.1 Rose, Tiffany (September 3, 2004). "Interview with Billy Bob Thornton: Acting very strange". Independent.co.uk (London). Archived from the original on December 19, 2008. Retrieved May 30, 2008. 
  24. Muldoon, Beth (January 16, 2002). "Who’s afraid of the big bad FEET?". TheBatt.com. Retrieved May 30, 2008. 
  25. "What I've Learned: Billy Bob Thornton". 
  26. "Angelina Jolie's Petition for Divorce from Billy Bob Thornton". Smokinggun.com. May 24, 2000. Retrieved March 29, 2007. 
  27. Walton, Brian (July 17, 2005). "Exclusive Interview – Billy Bob Thornton –Part One". www.thestlcardinals.com. Retrieved November 15, 2009. 

Further reading

External links

Template:AcademyAwardBestAdaptedScreenplay 1981-2000

Template:Billy Bob Thornton

Script error

an:Billy Bob Thornton

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