From a high-school drop-out, to a pen salesman, to arguably the most desired and talented man in Hollywood, Johnny Depp has made a name for himself by simply being himself.
Nodded for three Academy Award nominations within four years, Johnny Depp’s praised performances are often based off of his first love, music. “With any part you play, there is a certain amount of yourself in it”, Depp states, “There has to be, otherwise it's just not acting. It's lying.” One of his especially well-known correlations between acting and his love of rock-and-roll is his portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow, based off of acclaimed guitarist Keith Richards. It is perhaps this particular misfit style of Depp’s that makes him so successful.
Born in Owensboro, Kentucky, Depp’s early life was one of problems and confusion. He recalls, “As a teenager I was so insecure. I was the type of guy that never fitted in because he never dared to choose. I was convinced I had absolutely no talent at all. For nothing. And that thought took away all my ambition, too.” Being involved with narcotics and vandalism as a teenager, he dropped out of school at the age of fifteen to pursue a career in music. Playing in local garage-bands for the next five years, he then married and took a trip to Los Angeles with his now ex-wife Lori A. Depp. There, she introduced him to Nicholas Cage who talked Depp into trying an acting job.
Starting out, Depp was immediately recognized for his good looks in his first film, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1994). Throughout the eighties, this teen heart-throb image made it difficult for Depp to be taken seriously as an actor. It was not until 1990 with his role as Edward Scissorhands that people first saw Depp in the light that he is seen in today. This was Depp’s first of two performances that are on Premiere Magazine’s Top 100 Performances of All Time, the other being Captain Jack Sparrow. However, through the nineties, he still struggled to find an abundance of roles he thoroughly enjoyed and the true meaning of life. Depp reflects, “Anything I've done up till 27 May, 1999 was kind of an illusion, existing without living. My daughter, the birth of my daughter, gave me life.” Claiming to enjoy every aspect of life, including acting, more since then, Depp has also since had a boy named Jack. A man with a family now, Depp devotes as much time as possible to his domestic responsibilities without the intrusion of paparazzi. When asked about the money he earns, Depp explains, “You use your money to buy privacy because during most of your life you aren't allowed to be normal.” He says, “I'm an old-fashioned guy . . . I want to be an old man with a beer belly sitting on a porch, looking at a lake or something.”
Depp has become increasingly famous for not only his good looks, but his abnormal and flawlessly-played roles. There are already rumors amongst the Academy for Depp to be named best actor in the upcoming ceremony for his fourth portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow. When asked about his choice of standout roles, Depp simply insists, “I don't pretend to be captain weird. I just do what I do.” Would anyone have it any other way?