Billy Bob Thornton Biography

Billy Bob Thornton is talented actor, director and screenwriter. This biography profiles his childhood, life, film career, achievements and timeline.

Quick Facts

Birthday: August 4, 1955

Nationality: American

Famous: Quotes By Billy Bob Thornton College Dropouts

Age: 64 Years, 64 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Leo

Born in: Hot Springs, Arkansas, U.S.

Famous as: Actor, Director, Singer-songwriter

Height: 6'0" (183 cm), 6'0" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Angelina Jolie (m. 2000–2003), Cynda Williams (m. 1990–1992), Melissa Lee Gatlin (m. 1978–1980), Pietra Dawn Cherniak (m. 1993–1997), Toni Lawrence (m. 1986–1988)

father: William Raymond

mother: Virginia Roberta

siblings: Jimmy Don, John David

children: Bella

U.S. State: Arkansas

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Bill Bob Thornton is one of the most accomplished actors, directors and screenwriters in Hollywood. Passionate about acting since an early age, he dropped out of university to pursue an acting career. However, things weren't as easy as they seemed to be for this novice artist who worked as a waiter, fast food manager, telemarketer and offshore wind farmer in between acting gigs. He started with a few supporting roles and later switched to writing screenplay for the movies. It was in the mid-1990s that his career witnessed a complete turnaround with the movie, ‘Sling Blade’, for which he served as the actor-writer-director. The movie met received critical appreciation and so did he for his exceptional acting abilities and unique screenplay. He was even bestowed with the prestigious Academy Award for the same. Since then, his acting career went upward with numerous hits films. The success of his film career inspired him to transform his hobby of being a singer and songwriter professionally. He has released four albums till date and is a member of the blues rock band.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • In mid-1980s, he moved to Los Angeles to establish his career as an actor. It was there that he befriended Tom Epperson for life. Meanwhile, he took up varied jobs in the field of telemarketing, off wind farming and fast food management to survive a living.
  • Later on, he tried his luck as a drummer and rock singer. It was during one of the parties that he was advised by Billy Wilder to give up on acting and instead pursue a career as a screenwriter.
  • Both he and Epperson wrote scripts but their work did not have many takers, as people responded with little enthusiasm.
  • His first ever on screen presence was as a counter man of a restaurant in the 1980s ‘South of Reno’. Thereafter, he made an appearance in one of the episodes of Andy Griffith’s popular show, ‘Matlock’. In the episode, ‘The Photographer’, he played the role of a pawn store clerk. He also made a guest appearance in CBS sitcom, ‘Hearts Afire’.
  • In 1992, he got his big break with the crime-thriller film, ‘One False Move’ which he co-wrote and acted in. In the movie, he played the role of a villain. His solid portrayal of the character earned him much critical appreciation.
  • The success of ‘One False Move’ helped him bag a couple of supporting roles in numerous films including, ‘Indecent Proposal’, ‘On Deadly Ground’, ‘Bound by Honor’, ‘Grey Knight’ and ‘Tombstone’.
  • The turning point in his career came with the film, ‘Sling Blade’, which made him a household name. Released in 1996, the film was an expanded version of the short film, ‘Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade’. He not only served as the actor in the film, but was also the writer and director.
  • ‘Sling Blade’ was a hugely successful film and took his career graph to a different level. The film helped him garner his first Academy Award in the category of Best Adapted Screenplay. Furthermore, his excellent portrayal of the role of Karl Childers in the film helped him gain an Academy Award nomination among others.
  • Post ‘Sling Blade’, he became an international sensation and superstar. Offers for major roles in Hollywood flicks came rushing to him. In 1997, he had four films slated for release including, ‘The Apostle’, ‘U Turn’, ‘Princess Mononoke’ and ‘An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn’.
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  • In 1998, he played the supporting role in the tragic film, ‘A Simple Plan’. His brilliant portrayal of the role earned him an Academy Award nomination in the category of Best Supporting Actor.
  • After 'A Simple Plan', he starred in the sci-fi blockbuster, ‘Armageddon’, a thriller dramedy ‘Homegrown’ and drama film, ‘Primary Colors’, the latter of which had him portray the character of Richard Jemmons, which was based on Bill Clinton’s adviser, James Carville. His compelling performance was heartily appreciated by the audience.
  • In 2000, he directed Penelope Cruz and Matt Damon in the film adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy’s novel, ‘All The Pretty Horses’. He resolved to give up on direction after being forced to edit an hour of the film. The same year, along with Epperson, he wrote the script for the successful film, ‘The Gift’
  • Year 2001 brought in good news for him as all his films did well at the box office. The year started with the release of directorial venture, ‘Daddy and Then’ for which he served as the actor and writer as well. He then played the role of Terry Lee Collins in ‘Bandits’, Hank Grotowski in ‘Monster’s Ball’ and Ed Crane in ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’. The latter two films earned him twin Golden Globe nominations
  • His musical aspirations too found their wings to fly as he transformed his hobby of being a singer-songwriter into a profession with the launch of the roots rock album, ‘Private Radio’ in 2001. Following this, he released three more albums including, ‘The Edge of the World’, ‘Hobo’ and ‘Beautiful Door’.
  • In 2003, he starred as the wicked Santa Claus in the movie, ‘Bad Santa’. A black comedy, the movie was very well received at the box office. His artistic talent was much appreciated to the point of establishing him as the top comic actor. The same year, he was featured as a womanizing president in the film, ‘Love Actually’.
  • From 2004 to 2005, he starred in a couple of films including, ‘Friday Nights Light’, ‘The Alamo’, ‘Chrystal’, ‘The Ice Harvest’ and ‘Bad News Bears’. In 2006, he played the role of a self-help doctor in the comedy, School for Scoundrels’
  • He did several films from 2008 to 2011, some of which include, ‘The Astronaut Farmer’, ‘Mr Woodcock’, ‘Eagle Eye’, ‘The Informers’, ‘My Run’, ‘The Smell of Success’, ‘Deadly Creatures’, ‘Faster’ and ‘Puss in Boots’.
  • After his decade-long self-proclaimed hiatus in direction since 2001, he put on the hat of a director once again for the 2012 released film, ‘Jayne Mansfield’s Car’. He co-wrote as well as starred in the film.
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Awards & Achievements
  • He won the prestigious Academy Award in the category of 'Best Adapted Screenplay' for the 1996 released film, ‘Sling Blade’. Additionally, he was presented with the Edgar Poe Allen Award, national Board of Review Award, Independent Spirit Award and Writer’s Guild of America Award in the similar category.
  • In October 2004, he was bestowed with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • Over the years, he has received nominations in various categories from prestigious award such as Golden Globe Award, AFI Award, Satellite Award, Saturn Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and so on.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • He has been married and divorced five times. His ex-spouses include Melissa Lee Gatlin, Toni Lawrence, Cynda Williams, Pietra Dawn Cherniak and Angelina Jolie. After his divorce from Cherniak and before being married to Jolie, he was engaged to Laura Dern.
  • With Gatlin and Cherniak, he has fathered three children, a daughter and two sons respectively.
  • Presently, he is reported to be in a relationship with makeup effect crew member, Connie Angland with whom he has a daughter. He has explicitly mentioned of not marrying ever again in life.
  • He suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder. Additionally, he has a phobia of antique furniture and of a type of silverware
  • This actor of the ‘Sling Blade fame’ has a phobia of antique furniture, especially those French. He is so spooked out by the antiquity that he can easily differentiate between an original antique and a fake one.

Billy Bob Thornton Movies

1. Sling Blade (1996)


2. Tombstone (1993)

  (History, Romance, Action, Western, Biography, Drama)

3. Bound by Honor (1993)

  (Crime, Drama)

4. A Simple Plan (1998)

  (Thriller, Drama, Crime)

5. Dead Man (1995)

  (Drama, Western, Fantasy)

6. Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade (1994)

  (Short, Thriller, Drama)

7. Love Actually (2003)

  (Drama, Romance, Comedy)

8. The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)

  (Crime, Drama)


Academy Awards(Oscars)
1997 Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published Sling Blade (1996)
Golden Globe Awards
2017 Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama Goliath (2016)
2015 Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television Fargo (2014)

See the events in life of Billy Bob Thornton in Chronological Order

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