Childhood & Early Life
Johnny Depp was born on June 9, 1963 in Owensboro, Kentucky. The youngest of the four children of John Christopher Depp and Elizabeth "Betty" Sue Wells, Depp's early aspirations were rooted in a deep appreciation of rock music.
The actor’s early years were also influenced by frequent moves throughout his childhood since his father was civil engineer. By 1970, Johnny and his family called Miramar, Florida home.
At the age of 12, he received a guitar as a gift from his mother, which would soon inspire him to play in local garage bands.
Depp's parents divorced when he was fifteen. He dropped out of high school to pursue his love of rock music. The aspiring musician made his way to Los Angeles where he was part of ‘Six Gun Method’, a band that broke up before being signed to label. He did, however, get signed to ‘Geffen Records’ as a member of the band ‘Rock City Angels’.
In the early 1980s, Johnny's wife, Lori, introduced her husband to a young actor by the name of Nicholas Cage, who encouraged him to pursue a career in acting.
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Johnny Depp's first acting role was as a boyfriend of the lead character, Nancy, in 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' in 1984. While Depp's character met an early demise, his acting career continued to thrive as he earned a small role in Oliver Stone's 'Platoon', playing a Vietnamese-speaking private.
In early 1987, he made his television debut in what would become his breakthrough role as Tom Hanson, an undercover cop posing as a high school student on the hit television series '21 Jump Street'.
His next movie role was in 'Cry Baby' in 1990. While not a big hit at the box office, the campy movie has since become a cult classic. Later that year, he starred as the title character in 'Edward Scissorhands', the first of many collaborations with director Tim Burton.
Depp followed up the success of 'Edward Scissorhands' with 'Benny & Joon' and 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape' in 1993, both considered sleeper hits. He displayed his diversity as an actor in 'Arizona Dream', also released in the same year.
Proving that he’s more interested in the characters he plays rather than box office potential, the skilled actor teamed with Burton to play the title role in 'Ed Wood,' a 1994 tribute to the notoriously inept director.
In 1995, he showed his versatility by starring in 'Don Juan DeMarco', wherein he portrayed an eccentric man who believes himself to be the great lover; 'Dead Man', a western filmed in black and white, and 'Nick of Time', a dark drama about an accountant who must knock off a politician in order to save his kidnapped daughter.
The fictionalized story of an FBI agent who infiltrates the mob became Depp's next movie role in 1997 when he teamed with Al Pacino in 'Donnie Brasco.'
In 1998, he paid homage to Hunter S. Thompson by playing a version of the writer in the film 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.' Later that year, he had a small role in 'L.A. Without a Map'.
He wrapped up the 20th century with roles in the thriller 'The Ninth Gate', co-written by Roman Polanski; 'Sleepy Hollow’, as Ichabod Crane, and the sci-fi thriller 'The Astronaut's Wife' opposite Charlize Theron.
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Depp continued to show his diversity as an actor as the new millennium arrived, with roles in the romantic-drama 'Chocolat' and 'Before Night Falls', based on the life of Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas, both released in 2000.
The following year, he appeared in 'Blow', 'The Man Who Cried', and 'From Hell', which is an account of the infamous ‘Jack the Ripper’ killings.
In 2003, he starred in 'Once Upon a Time in Mexico', the last film in Robert Rodriguez's Mexico trilogy. That same year, this talented artist made his debut as Captain Jack Sparrow in 'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl’.
In 2004, he made a cameo appearance in 'Happily Ever After' before starring in 'Secret Window,' based on a story by Stephen King.
Also in 2004, he played J.M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, in the film 'Finding Neverland.' This was followed by a role in the British drama 'The Libertine' later that year.
In 2004, Depp and his sister, Christi Dembrowski, put together a production company called ‘Infinitum Nihil’. The first film produced by the company was 'The Rum Diary,' a film adaptation of the Hunter S. Thompson novel of the same name.
In 2005, he became Willy Wonka in 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', a darker version of the classic tale by Roald Dahl. That same year, he provided the voice of Victor Van Dort in Tim Burton's 'Corpse Bride'.
He returned to his Captain Jack Sparrow role in 2006 and 2007 in 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest' and 'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End,' respectively.
He wrapped up 2007 with a darker role as the title character in the film adaptation of 'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,' another collaboration with Burton.
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He became notorious gangster John Dillinger in 'Public Enemies' in 2009. This was followed by 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,' where Depp was among a handful of actors selected to fill in for Heath Ledger's character since the actor had died during filming.
In 2010, he became the Mad Hatter in Burton's version of 'Alice in Wonderland.' He followed this up with a role in 'The Tourist' and served as the voice of the title character in 'Rango'.
'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' marked his return as Captain Sparrow in 2011. This was followed by roles in 'The Rum Diary' and 'Jack and Jill,' in which he made an uncredited cameo as himself.
He made another uncredited cameo in the 2012 film version of his iconic TV show '21 Jump Street,' playing an agent. He once again team with Burton to assume the role of Barnabas Collins in the big screen version of 'Dark Shadows' the same year.
The following year, he was Tonto in 'The Lone Ranger' opposite Armie Hammer. Also in 2013, he made a cameo appearance in 'Lucky Them' before moving on to his role as Dr. Will Caster in science fiction movie 'Transcendence'.
After being cast in ‘Transcendence’ the talented actor was credited as Guy Lapointe when he appeared in 'Tusk', in 2014 before debuting as the wolf in 'Into the Woods' later that year.
In early 2015, Depp starred with Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor as an eccentric art dealer in 'Mortdecai'. His subsequent roles in 2015 and beyond include roles in 'Black Mass,' 'London Fields' and 'Yoga Hosers.'
Depp reprises his role as the Mad Hatter in 'Alice Through the Looking Glass', set for a 2016 release.
He'll suit up again as Captain Jack Sparrow in 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales', set to hit theaters in 2017.
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He has continued to pursue his musical interests, collaborating with artists such as Shane MacGowan and Oasis. He is also a member of the band ‘P’, which also includes ‘Flea’ of the ‘Red Hot Chili Peppers’.
The star continues to split his time among various interests. He owns some vineyards located just north of Saint-Tropez. He also dabbled in editing by assisting with the editing of House of Earth, a previously unpublished Woody Guthrie novel.
Personal Life & Legacy
Depp formed a bond with his mother's second husband, singer Robert Palmer, whom he cited as an inspirational person in his life.
In December of 1983, he married the sister of one of the band members of ‘Rock City Angels’, Lori Anne Allison. He supported himself financially by working as a telemarketer while his wife worked as a makeup artist. But the marriage culminated in a divorce two years later.
In 1986, he became engaged to, but never married, a then aspiring actress named Sherilyn Fenn but the relationship ended in the later '80s.
After that the actor had a long-term off and on relationship with French singer Vanessa Paradis from 1988 through 2012. Paradis is also the mother of Depp's two children.
Their daughter Lily-Rose Melody Depp was born in 1999 and their son John Christopher Depp III came along three years later.
Throughout the late '80s and into the early '90s, he also had relationships with Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey, his Edward Scissorhands co-star Winona Ryder and supermodel Kate Moss. In 2015, he married his second wife, actress Amber Heard.
The actor’s charity work includes involvement with the ‘Actors Fund of America’ and extensive efforts to raise funds for the ‘Children's Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition’.