Johnny Depp

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3 mins read

John Christopher Depp II was born June 9, 1963 and is an American actor, producer, and musician. He is regarded as one of the most notable film stars.

In addition to acting, Depp has also worked as a musician. He has performed in numerous musical groups, including forming the rock supergroup Hollywood Vampires along with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry.

He was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, the youngest of four children of waitress Betty Sue Palmer (née Wells) and civil engineer John Christopher Depp. Depp moved frequently during his childhood. He and his siblings lived in more than 20 different places, eventually settling in Miramar, Florida in 1970. Depp’s parents divorced in 1978 when he was 15. His mother married Robert Palmer, whom Depp has called “an inspiration”.

With the gift of a guitar from his mother when he was 12, Depp began playing in various bands. A year after his parents’ divorce, he dropped out of Miramar High School to become a rock musician; he attempted to go back to school two weeks later, but the principal told him to follow his dream of being a musician. He played with The Kids, a band that enjoyed modest local success, from 1980 to 1984. The Kids set out together for Los Angeles in pursuit of a record deal, changing their name to Six Gun Method, but the group split up before signing a record deal. Depp subsequently collaborated with the band Rock City Angels. In December 1983, Depp married the sister of his band’s bassist and singer. During their marriage, she worked as a makeup artist while he worked a variety of odd jobs, including as a telemarketer for a pen company. His wife introduced him to actor Nicolas Cage, who advised him to pursue an acting career. Depp and her divorced in 1985. 

Depp is primarily of English descent, with some French, German, and Irish ancestry. He is descended from a French Huguenot immigrant (Pierre Dieppe, who settled in Virginia around 1700) and from colonial freedom fighter Elizabeth Key Grinstead (1630–1665), daughter of an English planter and his African slave.

Depp’s first film role was in the horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). He then appeared in a minor supporting role as a Vietnamese-speaking private in Oliver Stone’s Vietnam War drama Platoon (1986).

Depp became a popular teen idol during the late 1980s, when he starred as an undercover police officer in a high school operation in the Fox television series 21 Jump Street, which premiered in 1987. He accepted this role to work with actor Frederic Forrest, who inspired him. Despite his success, Depp felt that the series “forced [him] into the role of product.” He subsequently decided to appear only in films that he felt were right for him. 

In 1990, Depp played the title character in Tim Burton’s film Edward Scissorhands, in which he starred opposite Dianne Wiest and Winona Ryder. The film was a critical and commercial success that established him as a leading Hollywood actor and began his long association with Burton.

Depp’s first film release in 1990 was John Waters’ Cry-Baby, a musical comedy set in the 1950s. Although it was not a box office success upon its initial release, over the years it has gained cult classic status. 

Depp has gained critical praise for his portrayals of inept screenwriter-director Ed Wood in the film of the same name (1994), undercover FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone in Donnie Brasco (1997), author J. M. Barrie in Finding Neverland (2004) and Boston gangster Whitey Bulger in Black Mass (2015). He has starred in a number of successful films, including Cry-Baby (1990), Dead Man (1995), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Corpse Bride (2005), Public Enemies (2009), Alice in Wonderland (2010) and its 2016 sequel, The Tourist (2010), Rango (2011), Dark Shadows (2012), Into the Woods (2014), and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018). Depp also plays Jack Sparrow in the film series Pirates of the Caribbean (2003–present).

In 2004, Depp formed his production company Infinitum Nihil to develop projects where he will serve as actor or producer. Depp is the founder and CEO, while his sister, Christi Dembrowski, serves as president. The company’s first production came in 2011 with The Rum Diary and Hugo, directed by Martin ScorseseDark Shadows, directed by Tim Burton, was released in 2012.

Depp and Paradis grew grapes and had wine making facilities in their vineyard in Plan-de-la-Tour north of Saint-Tropez. Along with Sean Penn, John Malkovich and Mick Hucknall, Depp co-owned the French restaurant-bar Man Ray, located near the Champs-Élysées in Paris.