Oral History: How and Why Brad Pitt Became an Actor

by Jack Tewksbury November 8, 2018
Brad Pitt, Golden Globe winner, in 1995

For over 40 years the HFPA has recorded famous and celebrated actors, actresses and filmmakers. The world's largest collection of its kind - over 10,000  items- is now in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Margaret Herrick Library.

In this excerpt from our archives, Golden Globe winner Brad Pitt shares how he decided to become an actor.

"Where I'm from is a million miles away.  I call it the Ozarks. A little bit of Huckleberry Finn, with rivers and lakes, trees and places to go get lost.  I come from a very stable Christian family. I have a younger brother and younger sister, both married.  Dad's into the outdoors and had a  business. I'm crazy about all of them.

When in Missouri, you see Hollywood fame, you see money, you see all these things. They're definitely an attraction, but when you come out here it turns into something else.

My dream was not about the fame or the money.  It was about those movies  I watched sitting by myself in the dark.

Seeing films offered me a different way of looking at things.  They gave me reasons why people do the things they do.  They helped me realize that  I could leave Missouri if I wanted to.  I got bad college grades,  and  I got it into my head it was time to go,  so  I left two credits short.

Arriving in L.A.,  I had a million jobs. I slept the first couple of nights in my car, and I lived in six different places during the first eight months.  I met people,  where  I could kind of crash.  The first week I started  doing  work as an extra, but I also delivered chickens and refrigerators

A woman in acting class needed a partner to do a scene for an agent. I did the scene and ended up with the agent."