Johnny Depp was born in Owensboro, Kentucky to John
Christopher Depp, Sr. and Betty Sue Wells. He has one brother,
Danny, and two sisters, Christie (who now is Depp's personal
manager) and Debbie. The Depp family has Cherokee, Irish and
German ancestry; Johnny has said he doesn't know the origin of
his surname, but he repeatedly jokes that the name translates to
"idiot" in German. Depp's maternal great-grandmother, Minnie,
was a full-blooded Cherokee, and his father also has distant
Cherokee heritage. The family was constantly on the move during
Depp's childhood, and he and his siblings lived in more than
twenty different locations, finally settling in Miramar, Florida
in 1970. Johnny has admitted to engaging in self-mutilation as a
child, due to the stress of dealing with family problems and his
own insecurity. He has seven or eight scars from practicing
self-harm. In a 1993 interview, he explained his self-injury by
saying that his "body is a journal in a way. It's like what
sailors used to do, where every tattoo meant something, a
specific time in your life when you make a mark on yourself,
whether you do it yourself with a knife or with a professional
Johnny Depp has stated that he lost his virginity at the age of thirteen and "did every kind of drug there was by fourteen, swiped a few six-packs, broke into a few classrooms, just to see what was on the other side of that locked door".
Johnny Depp's parents divorced in 1978, and he dropped out of school a year later to become a rock musician. Depp's mother bought him a guitar at age thirteen, and he began playing in garage bands. He played with a band named "The Kids", who had modest local success and set out for Los Angeles, California in pursuit of a record deal. At this time, they changed their name to "Six Gun Method". Depp married Lori Anne Allison, the sister of the drummer of the band, on December 20, 1983. The marriage caused friction between the band members and the group split before signing a record deal. Depp subsequently also collaborated with the band "Rock City Angels"and co-wrote the song "Mary", which appeared on their debut for Geffen Records, "Young Man's Blues". During Depp's marriage, Johnny's wife worked as a makeup artist and he worked a variety of odd jobs, including as a pen salesman. Later, his wife introduced him to actor Nicolas Cage, who advised Depp to pursue an acting career. In 1985, Depp and Allison divorced.
Depp's first major role was in the 1984 horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street. In 1986, he also appeared in a secondary role as a Vietnamese speaking private in Oliver Stone's Platoon. Depp was later cast in a lead role on the FOX TV television series, 21 Jump Street, which premiered in 1987. The series' success turned Depp into a popular teen idol during the late 1980s. Depp found the status an irritant, noting that he felt "forced into the role of product" and describing it as a "very uncomfortable situation and I didnít get a handle on it and it wasnít on my terms at all". Depp promised to himself that after his contract on the series had expired, he would only appear in films that he felt were "right" for himself.
Johnny Depp left his teen idol image in 1990, after playing the quirky title role in the Tim Burton film, Edward Scissorhands. The film's success began a long association with Burton, as Depp starred in several of his films, including Ed Wood (1994), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) and Corpse Bride (2005). Depp, an avid fan and long-time friend of writer Hunter S. Thompson, played a version of Thompson (named Raoul Duke) in 1998's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, based on Thompson's novel of the same name. Depp also accompanied Thompson and was his road manager on one of Thompson's last book tours.
Depp's film characters have been described by the press as "iconic loners", and Depp has noted that this period of his career was full of "studio defined failures" and films that were "box office poison", stating that Johnny believes film studios never "understood" the films he appeared in and did not know how to properly market them. Depp has also said that he specifically chose to appear in films that he found personally interesting, rather than those he thought would succeed at the box office.
Johnny Depp (right) as Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las
VegasDepp's status as a major star was solidified with the
success of the 2003 Walt Disney Pictures film, Pirates of the
Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, where he was highly
praised for his lead performance as the wacky pirate Captain
Jack Sparrow. The performance was initially received negatively
by the studio bosses who saw the film, but the character became
popular with the movie-going public; in 2006, Depp's co-star
from the sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean, Bill Nighy,
described the role as likely being "one of the most popular
performances of recent times". The film's director, Gore
Verbinski, has said that Depp's Jack Sparrow character closely
resembles Depp's own personality. Depp, who has noted that he
was "surprised" and "touched" at the positive reception given to
the film, was nominated for an Academy Award for the role. In
2004, he was again nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, this time
for playing author J. M. Barrie in the film Finding Neverland.
Depp next starred as Willy Wonka in the 2005 film Charlie and
the Chocolate Factory, which was a major success at the box
Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, 2006Depp's most recent film is the sequel Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which opened on July 7, 2006 and grossed $135.5 million in the first three days of its U.S. release, breaking a box office record in reaching the highest weekend tally ever. The next sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean will be released in May of 2007. Depp has mentioned his attachment to his Captain Jack Sparrow character, specifying that Sparrow is "definitely a big part of me", and expressing his desire to portray the character in further sequels. Depp has voiced Sparrow in the video game, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow.
In late June 2006, several reports indicated that Depp has joined the cast of the upcoming science fiction-action film, I Am Legend, which also stars Will Smith and will begin filming in September of 2006. Depp has also been in talks to appear in a film version of the musical Sweeney Todd, which may be directed by Tim Burton. He has denied rumors that he has been offered to play either musician Michael Hutchence or writer Edgar Allan Poe in upcoming film biographies, although it has been confirmed that he will portray writer Hunter S. Thompson in a film version of Thompson's book, The Rum Diary.
Since Johnny Depp's first marriage ended, Depp has dated and been engaged to Sherilyn Fenn, Jennifer Grey, Winona Ryder and Kate Moss. Depp is now in a long-term relationship with French singer and actress Vanessa Paradis, whom he met while filming The Ninth Gate in 1998; the two have no plans to get married,with Depp commenting that "if you are together and you love each other and are good to each other... for all intents and purposes you are married". The couple have two children, daughter Lily-Rose Melody Depp (b. May 27, 1999) and son John Christopher "Jack" Depp III (b. April 9, 2002). Depp has noted that having children has given him "real foundation, a real strong place to stand in life, in work, in everything". The family divides their time between Los Angeles and a villa in France. Depp also owns an island in the Bahamas, where he spends some of his time. He recently announced he would be moving to the island with Vanessa and their children, where they want to spend most of their time.
In 2003, Johnny was quoted criticizing the United States in a German magazine, commenting that "America is dumb, is something like a dumb puppy that has big teeth - that can bite and hurt you, aggressive"; he later asserted that the magazine had misquoted him and that the quote was taken out of context. Johnny has also disagreed with subsequent media reports that he says paint him as a "European wannabe", citing the fact that he enjoys the "simpler" life and anonymity that living in France provides.
Depp has been arrested several times. His first arrest was in Vancouver B.C for a late-night altercation in a hotel lobby. He was accused of selling drugs at his club The Viper Room, after actor River Phoenix died in front of the club from a drug overdose in 1993, although the owners were deemed as not involved in the death. In 1994, Depp was arrested and questioned by police for allegedly causing serious damage to a New York City hotel suite. He was arrested again in 1999 for fighting with paparazzi outside a restaurant while dining in London with his girlfriend, Vanessa Paradis. Depp dislikes fans taking pictures of his family and has threatened paparazzi who have attempted to photograph his children. In May 2006, Autograph Collector Magazine published its list of 10 Best & 10 Worst Hollywood Signers, with Depp topping the list of Best Signers.
Johnny Depp, a musician, is a keen guitar player and a big fan of the Rolling Stones as well as The Mars Volta. He can be heard playing slide guitar on the Oasis song "Fade In-Out" (from Be Here Now, 1997), as well as playing an acoustic guitar in the movie Chocolat and playing on the soundtrack to Once Upon a Time in Mexico (he wrote "Sands' Theme," although the track is credited to "Tonto's Giant Nuts"). He also performed on Shane MacGowan's first solo album and was a member of P, a group featuring Butthole Surfers singer Gibby Haynes.
Along with Sean Penn and Mick Hucknall, Depp part-owns the Parisian restaurant-bar Man Ray. He has thirteen tattoos, including the inscriptions "Lily-Rose" (the name of his first-born child) over his heart , "Betty Sue" (his mother's name), and "Wino Forever" (originally "Winona Forever"; Depp had the tattoo altered after his break-up with Winona Ryder).
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