Friday, June 9, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: June 9, 1963 – Johnny Depp

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From Biography Reference Bank -
Johnny Depp first came to prominence during the late 1980s, as the star of the Fox series 21 Jump Street. His role as a youthful-appearing undercover detective earned him legions of female fans. Rather than capitalizing on his leading-man looks and heartthrob status, Depp made his mark on the big screen with a breakthrough performance as the quirky title character in Edward Scissorhands (1990). He has since established himself as one of Hollywood's most versatile actors, taking on unconventional leading roles in several high-profile art house and big-budget films, including Benny & Joon, What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, Ed Wood, Don Juan DeMarco, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Blow, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Finding Neverland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, and Public Enemies.

John Christopher Depp Jr. was born on June 9, 1963 in Owensboro, Kentucky, the fourth and youngest child of John Christopher Depp Sr., a civil engineer, and Betty Sue Palmer (Wells) Depp, a waitress. When Depp was about seven, he moved with his family to Miramar, Florida, and eight years later, shortly after his parents' divorce, he left high school. By then Depp, who was engaging in such self-destructive acts as cutting (a behavior sometimes exhibited by adolescents, in which they purposely make themselves bleed using razor blades or other sharp implements), had already lost his virginity and experimented with alcohol and drugs. "I lost my virginity somewhere around age thirteen," he said during an interview with Johanna Schneller for Rolling Stone (December 1, 1988). "I 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. Eventually you see where it's headed, and you get out." "I did my share of despicable stuff," Depp further acknowledged to Tom Green for USA Today (April 3, 1990). "I don't see what I was doing as a kid as 'bad boy.' What I was doing was out of boredom. . . . As far as anything else I did--the drugs and drinking--was basically out of curiosity. I wasn't a mean kid who did a lot of crime. It's not like I would run down the street and grab an old lady's purse. Anything I did was never malicious."

At age 16 Depp decided to pursue a career in music. As a member of the garage band The Kids, Depp supported himself by playing guitar in local clubs, where he earned about $25 each night. "I was underage," he told the director John Waters, in a piece for Interview (April 1990), "but they would let me come in the back door to play, and then I'd have to leave after the first set. That's how I made a living." In 1981 The Kids served as the opener for several high-profile acts, including the legendary punk rock musician Iggy Pop, the Talking Heads, and the Ramones. Two years later Depp, along with his wife, Lori Anne Allison (whom he married in 1983) and his bandmates, moved to Los Angeles, in the hopes of landing a recording contract. However, the band, which had renamed itself Six Gun Method, had little success. He has recalled, "There were so many bands it was impossible to make any money. So we all got side jobs. We used to sell ads over the telephone. Telemarketing. . . . We had to rip people off. . . . It was horrible."

With the help of his wife, a makeup artist, Depp met the actor Nicolas Cage, who encouraged him to pursue acting and subsequently recommended Depp to his agent. Despite having had no prior acting experience, Depp successfully auditioned for the director Wes Craven's Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), a horror film in which he played the victim of villain Freddy Krueger, a maniacal killer who terrorizes teenagers in their dreams. "[Depp] had a very powerful and yet subtle personality," Craven told Elaine Warren for TV Guide (January 23, 1988). "There was some sort of charisma about him. My teenage daughter and her friend were there at the reading, and they absolutely flipped out over him. He's got real sex appeal for women." In 1985 Depp appeared in Private Resort, a forgettable teen sex comedy, followed by a guest spot in the short-lived drama Lady Blue. He and his wife also divorced. A year later Depp, whose burgeoning film career ultimately led to the breakup of Six Gun Method, won a small part in Oliver Stone's critically acclaimed, Academy Award-winning drama Platoon (1986).

About three months after returning from the Philippines, where Platoon had been filmed, Depp was approached about starring in 21 Jump Street, a teen-oriented police series being produced by Stephen J. Cannell and Patrick Hasburgh for the fledgling Fox network. After Depp refused to read the script for the pilot episode, feeling that a television series would never hold his interest, the producers instead cast Jeff Yagher in the lead role of rookie policeman Tommy Hanson in the show. Only three weeks after filming had begun on 21 Jump Street, Yagher left the cast, and Depp was again courted by the producers. This time, he agreed to a long-term contract, encouraged by the show's willingness to deal with such socially relevant issues as drug abuse, gang violence, teen prostitution, and date rape. Depp was also enticed by the idea of working alongside veteran character actor Frederic Forrest, who was cast as the detective unit's pony-tailed supervisor. "My agents said, 'Listen, this is Frederic Forrest, and he's a great actor.' I loved Frederic Forrest. And they also said, 'The average life span of a TV series is thirteen episodes, if that. One season.' So I said O.K.," Depp explained in his interview with John Waters.

Upon its premiere on the Fox network on April 12, 1987, 21 Jump Street became an instant hit with the network's audiences, and Depp's heartthrob looks helped make him an overnight sensation among female viewers. Johanna Schneller wrote for Rolling Stone: "As Tom Hanson . . . Depp is a sexy guidance counselor, the older guy in every neighborhood who takes you around and shows you the ropes but keeps you out of real trouble. And he has everything that makes little girls wriggle: a forest of eyelashes, sensitive eyes, spiked locks stiffened with several hair-care products of the 1980s, [and] dangly earrings." Not all reviews were positive. In the Washington Post (April 11, 1987), Tom Shales commented, "Fox TV says Depp pinned the needle on ye olde popularity meter during audience pretesting (he's a baby-faced hunkie-poo), but his best bet would be to call his agent . . . and see if his contract has a handy-dandy escape clause in it." Elvis Mitchell observed for the Village Voice (January 30, 1990) that Johnny Depp and Holly Robinson, who played Officer Judy Hoffs, "seem to have been chosen for the way they suffer on camera. Robinson and Depp, doe-eyed, high-cheekboned smoothies, spend so much time staring soulfully at a light in the distance before they bust their new best friend that they've probably developed cornea burns by now."

Despite appearing in several teen-idol magazines, including Tiger Beat and 16, Depp wanted the attention focused on his acting rather than his good looks. "I don't want to make a career of taking my shirt off," said Depp, who refused to grant interviews with breathless writers for teen magazines. "I'd like to shave off all my hair, even my eyebrows, try it that way. I don't fault the TV stars who do teen magazines. They took a hold of their situation, took offers that gave them the big money fast--but they were [metaphorically] dead in two years. I don't want that."

Although Depp was grateful for his newfound popularity, he chafed under the constraints of shooting a weekly series. "It's repetitive," he explained to Tom Green. "I'm a little long in the tooth for it. I'm a little dark under the eyeballs." Depp, who had been eager to pursue a full-time movie career, reportedly beat out Tom Cruise, Robert Downey Jr., and Jim Carrey for the title role in Cry-Baby (1990), John Waters's campy musical parody about juvenile delinquency set in the 1950s. (Waters, a director of low-budget, midnight cult movies, was best known for Mondo Trasho and Pink Flamingos, outrageously kitschy films that featured Divine, a corpulent cross-dresser.) Portraying Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker, a sensitive Elvis Presley-like rockabilly singer from the wrong side of the tracks in the Baltimore of 1954, provided Depp the opportunity to spoof his own teen idol status and to work with Waters, whom he described as "an American original, a great outlaw."

In June 1989 Depp had met Winona Ryder at the premiere of her film Great Balls of Fire! and the two began dating later that year. In February 1990 they became engaged. Two months later Cry-Baby premiered to lukewarm reaction. In her review for the New York Times (April 6, 1990), for example, Janet Maslin wrote, "Mr. Depp, who smolders naturally when he isn't trying so hard, acts this role about as well as Elvis would have; under the circumstances, that's fine."

Eager to shed his teen-idol image, Depp vied for one of the most sought-after parts in Hollywood: the title role in Edward Scissorhands, which was being helmed by Tim Burton, the director of Batman, Beetlejuice, and Pee-wee's Big Adventure. Although box-office heavyweight Tom Cruise had expressed interest in the role and was also the first choice of the studio heads, Burton cast Depp instead. "[Depp] certainly was closest to the image of the character," Burton explained to Bill Zehme for Rolling Stone (January 10, 1991). "Like Edward, Johnny really is perceived as something he is not. Before we met, I'd certainly read about him as the Difficult Heartthrob. But you look at him and you get a feeling. There is a lot of pain and humor and darkness and light. I think for him [the role] is probably very personal. It's just a very strong internal feeling of loneliness. It's not something he talks about or even can talk about, because it's sad, you know." To prepare for the title role of a wide-eyed, pale-faced, and spiky-haired boy with scissors for hands, Depp watched several movies by the legendary silent film star Charlie Chaplin.

Describing the premise of the quirky comedy for the Village Voice (December 11, 1990), J. Hoberman wrote: "The hero (Johnny Depp) is an adolescent android left unfinished by his inventor's untimely heart attack: normal in most other respects (we think), he has soulful eyes, a sensitive overbite, and hands that might have been designed by the Spanish Inquisition. Most simply described, they resemble a phalanx of outsized metal shears. Each itch an invitation to scar, every gesture potential decapitation, . . . lonely Edward lives by himself in the archetypal Old Dark House on the hill until lured into suburbia by a friendly Avon lady (Dianne Wiest). Edward Scissorhands sounds perverse, and, to Burton's credit, it is."

During the three-month filming of Edward Scissorhands (April 1990-July 1990), Depp, who had grown increasingly dissatisfied with 21 Jump Street, retained legal counsel and succeeded in being released from his contract following the airing of the show's fourth and final season in June 1990. (The series aired for another season in syndication on local Fox affiliates.)

Released in December 1990, Edward Scissorhands, which was made for $20 million, became a box-office success, grossing $86 million worldwide. "As embodied by Johnny Depp," Janet Maslin wrote for the New York Times (December 7, 1990), "Edward himself is a stunning creation, with a blackish cupid's-bow mouth and plaintive expression to offset his fright hairdo, abundant scars, and potentially lethal hands." In a dissenting review for the Wall Street Journal (December 6, 1990), Julie Salamon observed, "Depp is no Chaplin; his appeal is limited to his look of otherworldly sensitivity. He doesn't have the presence a great physical comic might bring to the part, and so many of the sight gags fall flat." For his performance, Depp won a Golden Globe nomination in the category of best performance by an actor in a motion picture, comedy, or musical.

Depp earned further critical acclaim with his role in the offbeat romantic comedy Benny & Joon (1993), in which he played Sam, a magician and silent film buff who falls in love with a mentally ill woman (played by Mary Stuart Masterson). His portrayal earned him a second Golden Globe nod. Also in 1993, Depp starred in the Lasse Hallstrom drama What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, earning plaudits for his convincingly understated performance as a teen struggling to balance taking care of his overweight mother and mentally challenged brother (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) with falling in love. That same year the actor, branching out into business, also opened the now-defunct West Hollywood nightclub the Viper Room, which made headlines that Halloween as a result of River Phoenix's fatal overdose outside the club. Depp ended his engagement to Ryder, subsequently altering a tattoo on his arm, from 'Winona Forever' to 'Wino Forever.' Following the breakup, he began dating supermodel Kate Moss.

A year later, Depp reteamed with Burton for the critically acclaimed biopic Ed Wood (1994), receiving his third Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of the B-movie director. For his next film Depp co-starred opposite Marlon Brando in Don Juan DeMarco as John, a psychiatric patient who thinks he is the world's greatest lover. After making its U.S. premiere in Atlantic City, NJ, in October 1994, Don Juan DeMarco, which had a $25 million budget, went into wide release in April 1995 and was a modest hit, garnering more than $66 million worldwide.

After starring roles in the little-seen films Nick of Time (1995) and Dead Man (1996), Depp earned some of the best reviews of his career for Donnie Brasco (1997), in which he co-starred opposite Al Pacino as Joe Pistone, an undercover FBI agent who assumes the alias of Donnie Brasco to infiltrate the Bonnanos, one of the major Mafia crime families. (Also in 1997 Depp and Kate Moss ended their volatile on-off relationship.) In his next film, a 1998 adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971), he played Raoul Duke, Thompson's alter ego. To get into character, Depp shadowed Thompson, who permitted the actor to wear some of his own clothes and shaved Depp's hair. (The two developed a close friendship that lasted until Thompson committed suicide in February 2005.)

In 1998 Depp reunited with Burton, taking on the role of Ichabod Crane in box-office hit Sleepy Hollow, a period horror film that was inspired by the Washington Irving story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820) and grossed more than $200 million worldwide. In September of that year, while filming the Roman Polanski film The Ninth Gate (1999) in France, Depp met singer and actress Vanessa Paradis. In May 1999 Depp and Paradis had their first child, Lily-Rose.

After reuniting with Hallstrom for the romantic comedy Chocolat (2000), Depp went on to appear in two more period films: the 1970s-era crime drama Blow (2001) and From Hell (2001), a murder mystery set in a late 19th-century London. He next co-starred in Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003), the final installment in Robert Rodriguez's Mariachi Trilogy, which includes El Mariachi (1992) and Desperado (1995).

Also in 2003, Depp landed the role of the swashbuckling Jack Sparrow, opposite Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, in the big-budget blockbuster action-adventure Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. The film, which went on to gross more than $650 million worldwide, has thus far spawned two sequels, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007), both of which were even more commercially successful than the first. (Another is scheduled for 2012.) From the early to the mid-2000s Depp also starred in Secret Window (2004), Finding Neverland (2004), The Libertine (2004), and the 2005 adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Of his performance as the iconoclastic candy maker in the last film, A.O. Scott wrote for the New York Times (July 15, 2005, on-line), "There is Willy Wonka, the latest--and perhaps the strangest--of Mr. Depp's eccentric characterizations. Jack Sparrow, the louche buccaneer in Pirates of the Caribbean, put many viewers in mind of Keith Richard. There has already been some debate about possible real-life models for Wonka. The preternaturally smooth features and high-pitched voice--as well as the fantasy kingdom into which selected children are invited--may suggest Michael Jackson. Mr. Depp, in a recent interview, has dropped the name of the Vogue editor Anna Wintour. To me, the lilting, curiously accented voice sounded like an unholy mash-up of Mr. Rogers and Truman Capote, but really, who knows? The best thing about this Wonka, who tiptoes on the narrow boundary between whimsy and creepiness, is that he defies assimilation or explanation."

In 2007 Depp again reunited with Burton for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's musical of the same name in which Depp played the title character, a murderous barber. That performance earned him his first Golden Globe award for best actor in a motion picture, musical or comedy. Roger Ebert wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times (December 21, 2007, on-line): "[The film] combines some of Tim Burton's favorite elements: The fantastic, the ghoulish, the bizarre, the unspeakable, the romantic and in Johnny Depp, he has an actor he has worked with since Edward Scissorhands and finds a perfect instrument." (The year of the movie's release, Depp's daughter was hospitalized with a life-threatening infection that resulted in an extended hospital stay; she has since recovered.)

In 2009 Depp starred as the notorious bank robber John Dillinger in the Michael Mann-directed film Public Enemies (2009), which many reviewers welcomed as a change of pace for him. "Depp trades the theatrical whimsy of Cap'n Jack Sparrow and Sweeney Todd for a character with much more gravity in his latest screen outing. Literally and figuratively," Vicky Roach wrote for the Australia Daily Telegraph (July 29, 2009). "The 46-year-old actor gives every appearance of having bulked up substantially for the role of mid-Western gangster John Dillinger in Michael Mann's chilling outlaw saga. Dressed in heavy overcoats, and shouldering even heavier artillery, Depp's historical figure seems to be made of much denser material than the characters born out of his flamboyant, offbeat collaborations with the likes of Tim Burton. The actor also subdues his on-screen charm to lend Dillinger a tough and dangerous authenticity."

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Black, Thurman, Marksbury, Nolte, Busey, Penn, Depp, Thompson, Black, Christopher, Thurman, Tom, Marksbury, Tom, Nolte, Nick, Busey, Gary, Penn, Sean, Depp, Johnny, Thompson, Hunter S, Starz Entertainment, and FBN Motion Pictures. Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride. Englewood, Colo.]: Distributed by Starz Home Entertainment, 2007.
AV-D6869, Young Media Library

Depp, Johnny., P. J. O'Rourke, Ralph. Steadman, George S. McGovern, John Cusack, Warren. Zevon, Benicio Del Toro, Cable News Network, and Thames Television, Ltd. Breakfast with Hunter. United States]: Wayne Ewing Films ; B Gonzo International, 2003.
AV-D3863, Young Media Library

Thompson, Hunter S., Alison. Ellwood, Alex. Gibney, Johnny. Depp, Magnolia Home Entertainment, Magnolia Pictures, HDNet Films, Jigsaw Productions, and Consolidated Documentaries, Inc. Gonzo the Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Collector's Ed.; Widescreen ed. Los Angeles, Calif.: Magnolia Home Entertainment, 2008.
AV-D8695, Young Media Library

Dobyns, Stephen, Johnny. Depp, Robert. Mitchum, Gabriel Byrne, and Alfred Molina. Dead Man. Burbank Calif.: Miramax Home Entertainment ; Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, 2000.
AV-D3486, Young Media Library

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