Johnny Depp was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, the son of John Christopher Depp, Sr., a civil engineer, and his wife, the former Betty Sue Wells, a waitress. He has one brother, Daniel, who is a novelist, and two sisters, Christie (now his personal manager) and Debbie. The Depp family in the United States began with a French Huguenot immigrant, Pierre Deppe or Dieppe, who settled in Virginia around 1700, part of a refugee colony situated above the falls on the James River. The actor has also surmised that he is part Native American, saying in 2011, "I guess I have some Native American somewhere down the line. My great-grandmother was quite a bit of Native American, she grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian. Makes sense in terms of coming from Kentucky, which is rife with Cherokee and Creek."
The family moved frequently during Depp's childhood, and he and his siblings lived in more than 20 different locations, settling in Miramar, Florida, in 1970. In 1978, Depp's parents divorced. His mother married, as her second husband, Robert Palmer (died 2000), whom Depp called "an inspiration to me".
He engaged in self-harm as a child, due to the stress of dealing with family problems. He has seven or eight self-inflicted scars. In a 1993 interview, he explained his self-injury by saying, "My 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 tattoo artist".
With the gift of a guitar from his mother when he was twelve, Johnny Depp began playing in various garage bands. His first band was in honor of his girlfriend, Meredith. A year after his parents' divorce, Depp dropped out of 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. 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 and co-wrote their song "Mary", which appeared on Rock City Angels' debut for Geffen Records titled Young Man's Blues.
Depp's first major role was in the 1984 classic horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street, playing the boyfriend of the heroine, Nancy Thompson (played by Heather Langenkamp) and one of Freddy Krueger's victims. Depp was the first choice and was cast to star in the 1986 American skater drama film Thrashin', chosen and cast by the director but ultimately rejected by the film's producer. In 1986, he appeared in a secondary role as a Vietnamese-speaking private in Oliver Stone's Platoon. In 1990, he undertook the quirky title role of the Tim Burton film, Edward Scissorhands. The film's success began his long association with Burton.
Depp, a 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 the writer's pseudobiographical novel of the same name. Depp accompanied Thompson as his road manager on one of the author's last book tours. In 2006, Depp contributed a foreword to Gonzo: Photographs by Hunter S. Thompson, a posthumous biography published by ammobooks.com. In 2008, he narrated the documentary film Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Depp paid for most of Thompson's memorial event, complete with fireworks and the shooting of Thompson's ashes by a cannon, in Aspen, Colorado, where Thompson lived. Johnny Depp returned to Thompson's work with a film adaptation of the novel The Rum Diary, released in 2011.
Critics have described Depp's roles as characters who are "iconic loners. Depp has noted this period of his career was full of "studio defined failures" and films that were "box office poison," but he thought the studios never understood the films and did not do a good job of marketing. Johnny Depp has chosen roles which he found interesting, rather than those he thought would succeed at the box office.
The 2003 Walt Disney Pictures film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was a major success, in which Depp's performance as the suave but shambling pirate Captain Jack Sparrow was highly praised. Studio bosses were more ambivalent at first, but the character became popular with the movie-going public. According to a survey taken by Fandango, Depp was a major draw for audiences. The film's director, Gore Verbinski, has said that Depp's character closely resembles the actor's personality, but Depp said he modeled the character after The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. Johnny Depp was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for the role.
Johnny Depp returned to the role of Jack Sparrow for 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 of the highest weekend tally. The next sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean, At World's End, was released May 24, 2007. Depp has said that Sparrow is "definitely a big part of me", and he wants to play the role in further sequels. Depp voiced Sparrow in the video game, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow. Johnny Depp's swashbuckling sword talents as developed for the character of Jack Sparrow, were highlighted in the documentary film Reclaiming the Blade. Within the film, Swordmaster Bob Anderson shared his experiences working with Depp on the choreography for The Curse of the Black Pearl. Anderson described in the film Depp's ability as an actor to pick up the sword to be "about as good as you can get."
Depp and Gore Verbinski were executive producers of the album Rogues Gallery, Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys. Depp played the title role of Sweeney Todd in Tim Burton's film adaptation of the musical, for which he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Depp thanked the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and praised Tim Burton for his "unwavering trust and support."
Johnny Depp played the former Heath Ledger character in the 2009 film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus along with Jude Law and Colin Farrell. All three actors gave their salaries from the film to Ledger's daughter, Matilda. He portrayed the Mad Hatter in Burton's Alice in Wonderland, and the titular character in Rango.
1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street
1985 Private Resort
1986 Slow Burn
|Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow|
1991 Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare
1993 What's Eating Gilbert Grape
1993 Benny & Joon
1993 Arizona Dream
1994 Ed Wood
1995 Nick of Time
1995 Dead Man
1995 Don Juan DeMarco
1996 Cannes Man
1997 Donnie Brasco
1997 The Brave
1998 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
1998 L.A. Without a Map
1999 The Ninth Gate
1999 Sleepy Hollow
1999 The Astronaut's Wife
2000 Before Night Falls
2001 From Hell
2000 The Man Who Cried
2003 Once Upon a Time in Mexico
2003 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
2004 Happily Ever After
2004 Finding Neverland
2004 Secret Window
2004 The Libertine
2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
2005 Corpse Bride
2006 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
2007 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
2007 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
2009 Public Enemies
2009 The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
2010 Alice in Wonderland
2010 The Tourist
2011 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
2011 The Rum Diary
2011 Jack & Jill
2012 21 Jump Street
2012 Dark Shadows