MOTW: Johnny Depp's Career Continues to Soar

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
July 5th, 2013

MOTW: Johnny Depp's Career Continues to Soar

Perhaps most well known for portraying the role of Jack Sparrow in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films, Johnny Depp has recently received notice for being cast as the Comanche scout Tonto in the film "The Lone Ranger."

Born in Kentucky on June 9, 1963, Depp was the youngest of four children. Throughout his childhood, the Depp family moved frequently before finally settling in Florida when Johnny was just seven years old. After his mother presented him with a guitar, young Depp became interested in music and eventually began playing in a number of different garage bands. Following the divorce of his parents, Depp chose to leave high school to pursue music professionally. He ultimately landed a gig with a group known as The Kids. After attaining moderate local success, the band moved to Los Angeles but subsequently split up. Depp later collaborated with Rock City Angels and even cowrote a song that appeared on the group's debut album.

In 1983, Depp married a band member's sister, Lori Anne Allison. The marriage proved to be a critical turning point in Depp's life and career. Allison, who was a makeup artist, introduced her husband to Nicolas Cage. Upon Cage's advice, Depp decided to pursue a career in acting. Depp and Allison divorced two years later.

In 1984, Depp received his first major role when he was cast in the horror film "A Nightmare on Elm Street." Although he was also later selected to appear in the film "Thrashin'," he was ultimately rejected by the movie's producer. He also landed a role in "Platoon" that same year. Depp's big break arrived in 1987 when he was selected to fill the leading role in the television series "21 Jump Street." As a result of the show's massive success, Depp quickly became a teen idol.

That success later translated into further film opportunities, particularly when Depp landed the quirky title role in "Edward Scissorhands." Throughout the next several years, Depp continued to steadily develop his acting career while appearing in such films as "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." During this period, Depp frequently pursued film roles that appeared interesting rather than those that appeared to guarantee success at the box office. In 2003, he came across the opportunity to portray a character who would become a legend in his own right while at the same time smashing box office records. When "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" set sail at theatres, the results were nothing short of astonishing. Depp later received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his portrayal of Jack Sparrow.

The following year, he received a subsequent nomination for his work in the film "Finding Neverland." With his career steadily improving, Depp later appeared as Willy Wonka in the hit film "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." He later received a Gold Globe Award nomination for his performance in the movie. Over the course of the next few years, he reprised his role as Sparrow in three "Pirates of the Caribbean" sequels. It was Depp's performance in the title role of Sweeney Todd, a Tim Burton musical, that ultimately landed him a coveted Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.

Since then, Depp has portrayed a number of other roles, including taking over the role formerly played by the late Heath Ledger in "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus." Depp, along with fellow costars Colin Farrell and Jude Law, donated their salaries from the film to Ledger's young daughter. Continuing to display his preference for unique and unusual characters, Depp also took on the role of the Mad Hatter in "Alice in Wonderland." That role was quickly followed by the title character in "Rango." In 2007, the actor accepted the opportunity to take on a starring role in the remake of the gothic soap "Dark Shadows," a television series that had first aired in 1966 and of which Depp had been a fan as a young child.

Depp currently has a number of future projects in the works. Along with costarring in "The Lone Ranger," he is also slated to appear in "Transcendence" and "In Search of Ted Demme." A script is also in the works for a fifth "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie.

Following his divorce, the actor dated both the actress Winona Ryder and the model Kate Moss. Depp was later involved with a French actress, Vanessa Paradis, for several years. The couple had two children together, a son and a daughter, before separating in 2012.