Childhood & Early Life
He was born on February 12, 1968 in Santa Monica, California to actor James Brolin and wildlife activist Jane Cameron (Agee). He spent his childhood on a ranch in California with hardly any link with his father’s professional life.
During early 80s his parents got divorced when he was sixteen years of age. He got used to drugs and later revealed that he used to steal cars to bear his drug expenses.
His passion for acting developed while in high school. To pursue a career in acting he moved to Los Angeles and stayed with his father while taking acting lessons from the renowned Stella Adler.
In 1995, his mother succumbed to a car accident that co-incidentally happened on his twenty-seventh birthday.
His father married famous actress and singer Barbra Streisand in 1998.
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In 1985, he made his debut in the big screen with the Richard Donner film, ‘The Goonies’ which became a hit garnering over $60 million.
His second film ‘Thrashin' was premiered in 1986 and considering his acting in the film as “horrendous”, he took a long gap from film acting.
He made his television debut in 1987 with ‘Private Eye’, a historical crime drama series. In that year he appeared in one of the episodes of ‘21 Jump Street’, a police procedural series.
He performed on stage for many years along with Anthony Zerbe in Rochester, New York.
He earned recognition playing James Butler Hickok in the television series, ‘The Young Riders’ which remained one of his noted roles. Starting on September 20, 1989, the series which was co-directed by his father ran for three seasons and ended on July 23, 1992.
He returned to the big screen with the 1994 film ‘The Road Killers’ and followed up with the romantic film ‘Bed of Roses’ in 1996.
His television performances from mid-nineties onwards include television films, ‘Gang in Blue’ (1997) and ‘Picnic’ (2000) and TV series ‘Mister Sterling’ (2003) and ‘Into the West’ (2005) among others.
Although a few films old, he could not attract much attention before his breakthrough film ‘Flirting With Disaster’, a comedy released in 1996. He brilliantly essayed the character of Tony Kent, a gay cop in the David O. Russell movie which led him to take up roles of different genres.
His other films during the late 90s include science fiction horror film “Mimic’ and the thriller ‘Nightwatch’ in 1997 and ‘The Mod Squad’, ‘Best Laid Plans’ and ‘It’s the Rage’ in 1999 but nothing really struck.
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Early 2000s saw him doing several films including ‘Hollow Man’ (2000), ‘Melinda and Melinda’ (2005) and ‘The Dead Girl’ (2006) among others without much success, although ‘Hollow Man’ earned him first ever award nomination.
His career in films really took off from 2007 when he earned acclaim for his performances. The films include horror flick, ‘Grindhouse’ (Segment: ‘Planet Terror’), where he played Dr. William Block, a villainous character and a crime epic “American Gangstar’ where he played Trupo, a corrupt officer. He also essayed the role of an honest cop in ‘In the Valley of Elah’, an Iraq War drama.
Eventually, he came to limelight when he landed up with a lead role in the 2007 Ethan and Joel Coen film ‘No Country for Old Men’. His portrayal of a cowboy, Llewelyn Moss in the film remains one of his best portrayals earning him several award nominations.
Two of his most remarkable films followed in 2008 - the first being a satirical biopic of President George W. Bush, ‘W’, a film by Oliver Stone where Brolin played George W. Bush. The film earned him accolades apart from several award nominations. The second one a Gus Van Sant film, ‘Milk’ a biopic on activist Harvey Milk saw him playing Dan White, a weak and bitter politician of San Francisco. He received several awards and a nomination for the ‘SAG Awards’ along with his first ever ‘Academy Awards’ nomination for the performance.
He was the executive producer and also a performer, playing himself, in the 2009 documentary film, ‘The People Speak’ which was based on ‘A People's History of the United States’, a non-fiction by American historian Howard Zinn.
He was the writer-director of the short film ‘X’ which became the inaugural film in New Jersey’s ‘Union City International Film Festival’.
His other notable films include ‘True Grit’ (2010), ‘Men in Black 3’ (2012), ‘Gangster Squad’ (2013), ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ (2014) and ‘Inherent Vice’ (2014) among others.
He lent his voice as villain Thanos for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ in 2014 and ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ in 2015, the two superhero films.
He will be seen in Coen brothers upcoming comedy film, ‘Hail, Caesar!’ in the role of Eddie Mannix, a fixer, starring with George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson and others. On February 11, 2016, the film is slated to open the ‘66th Berlin International Film Festival’.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1988, he married actress Alice Adair but the marriage ended in 1992. Their son Trevor Mansur was born in 1988. Although the couple were divorced, they stayed together and in 1994 their daughter Eden was born.
He dated actress Minnie Driver for many years and later they got engaged in April 2001, but parted ways after six months.
On August 15, 2004, he married actress Diane Lane. In December that year the couple had an altercation that led to his arrest making headlines. Diane Lane refused to press charges and the couple’s spokesman brushed off the incident as a misunderstanding. Later Brolin was acquitted of the charges. The couple later filed a divorce petition in February 2013 and by the end of the year they were divorced.
Josh Brolin and 5 crew members of the film ‘W’ including actor Jeffrey Wright were arrested on July 12, 2008 following squabble at the ‘Stray Cat Bar’ in Shreveport, Louisiana. Later, all the men were acquitted of the charges by the prosecutors of Shreveport.
In 2013, he was again arrested in Santa Monica on the New Year’s Day with charges of public intoxication.
In 2015, he got engaged with Kathryn Boyd, a model who was his former assistant.