John Christopher Depp II (born June 9, 1963) is an American actor, producer and musician. He has been nominated for ten Golden Globe Awards, winning one for Best Actor for his performance of the title role in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2008) and has been nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Actor, among other accolades.
Depp rose to prominence on the 1980s television series 21 Jump Street, becoming a teen idol. He is regarded as one of the world’s biggest film stars. He has gained praise from reviewers for his portrayals of screenwriter-director Ed Wood in Ed Wood, undercover FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone in Donnie Brasco, author J. M. Barrie in Finding Neverland, and Boston gangster Whitey Bulger in Black Mass. Depp is the third highest-grossing actor worldwide, as films featuring Depp have grossed over US$3.7 billion at the United States box office and over US$10 billion worldwide.
He has been listed in the 2012 Guinness World Records as the world’s highest-paid actor, with earnings of US$75 million. His most commercially successful films are the Pirates of the Caribbeanseries, which grossed US$4.5 billion, the Fantastic Beasts film series, which grossed US$1.3 billion, Alice in Wonderland, which grossed US$1 billion, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which grossed US$474 million, and The Tourist, which grossed US$278 million.
Depp had a supporting role in Oliver Stone’s 1986 Vietnam War film Platoon and played the title character in the 1990 romantic dark fantasy Edward Scissorhands. He later found box office success in the adventure film Sleepy Hollow (1999), the swashbuckler film series Pirates of the Caribbean (2003–present), the fantasy films Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) and Alice in Wonderland (2010), the animated comedy western Rango (2011) (in which he voiced the title character), and most recently Fantastic Beasts:
The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018). Depp has collaborated on nine films with director, producer and friend Tim Burton. Depp was inducted as a Disney Legend in 2015. He has performed in numerous musical groups, including forming the rock supergroupHollywood Vampires along with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry.
Depp was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, the youngest of four children of Betty Sue Palmer (née Wells), a waitress, and John Christopher Depp, a civil engineer. Depp moved frequently during his childhood. He and his siblings lived in more than 20 different places, eventually settling in Miramar, Florida in 1970.[ Depp’s parents divorced in 1978 when he was 15. His mother married Robert Palmer, whom Depp has called “an inspiration”.
With the gift of a guitar from his mother when he was 12, Depp began playing in various garage bands. A year after his parents’ divorce, he dropped out of Miramar High School to become a rock musician. He attempted to go back to school two weeks later, but the principal told him to follow his dream of being a musician.
He played with The Kids, a band that enjoyed modest local success. The Kids set out together for Los Angeles in pursuit of a record deal, changing their name to Six Gun Method, but the group split up before signing a record deal. Depp subsequently collaborated with the band Rock City Angels and co-wrote their song “Mary”, which appeared on Rock City Angels’ debut Geffen Records album Young Man’s Blues.
On December 20, 1983, Depp married Lori Anne Allison, the sister of his band’s bass player and singer. During their marriage she worked as a makeup artist while he worked a variety of odd jobs, including a telemarketer for pens. His wife introduced him to actor Nicolas Cage, who advised him to pursue an acting career. Depp and Allison divorced in 1985.
In 2004, Depp formed his production company Infinitum Nihil to develop projects where he will serve as actor or producer. Depp is the founder and CEO, while his sister, Christi Dembrowski, serves as president. The company’s first production came in 2011 with The Rum Diary, adapted from the novel of the same name by Hunter S. Thompson. The film is written and directed by Bruce Robinson. Also in 2011, Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese, was released. Dark Shadows, directed by Tim Burton, was released in 2012.
Depp performing with Hollywood Vampires at Wembley Arena in June 2018
Depp played slide guitar on the Oasis song “Fade In-Out” (from Be Here Now, 1997), as well as on “Fade Away (Warchild Version)” (B-side of the “Don’t Go Away” single). He also played acoustic guitar in the film Chocolat and on the soundtrack to Once Upon a Time in Mexico. “He’s playing guitar around the fire,” observed Depp’s friend and future Hollywood Vampires bandmate Joe Perry of Chocolat. “And that’s really him playing the guitar. He was playing Django Reinhardt stuff that I didn’t have a clue about… In some ways, he’s a better guitar player than I am.”
Depp and Paradis grew grapes and had wine making facilities in their vineyard in Plan-de-la-Tour north of Saint-Tropez. Along with Sean Penn, John Malkovich and Mick Hucknall, Depp co-owned the French restaurant-bar Man Ray, located near the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
In July 2012, Depp announced he would be co-editor, alongside Douglas Brinkley, of folk singer Woody Guthrie’s novel House of Earth, which was published in 2013.
Depp is of mostly English ancestry, with some Dutch, Belgian, and French. He is descended from a French Huguenot immigrant (Pierre Dieppe, who settled in Virginia around 1700) and from colonial freedom fighter Elizabeth Key Grinstead (1630–1665), daughter of a British nobleman and an indentured Africanwoman.
Claims of Native American ancestry
In interviews in 2002 and 2011, Depp claimed to have Native American ancestry, stating “I guess I have some Native American somewhere down the line. My great-grandmother was quite a bit of Native American, she grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian. Makes sense in terms of coming from Kentucky, which is rife with Cherokee and Creek Indian.”
Depp’s claims came under scrutiny when Indian Country Today stated that Depp had never inquired about his heritage nor was he recognized as a member of the Cherokee Nation. This led to criticism from the Native American community, as Depp has no documented Native ancestry, and Native community leaders refer to him as “a non-Indian”.
Depp’s choice to portray Tonto, a Native American character, in The Lone Ranger was criticized, along with his choice to name his rock band, “Tonto’s Giant Nuts”. During the promotion for The Lone Ranger, on May 22, 2012, Depp was adopted as an honorary son by LaDonna Harris, a member of the Comanche Nation, making him an honorary member of her family but not a member of any tribe. Critical response to his claims from the Native community increased after this, including satirical portrayals of Depp by Native comedians.
2010 “I Put a Spell on You” (single)
by Shane MacGowan & Friends Guitar
by Babybird “Unloveable”
2011 The Rum Diary – Soundtrack
by Various “Kemp in the Village” – producer/composer/guitar
“Mermaid Song” – piano
From Gainsbourg to Lulu
by Lulu Gainsbourg “Ballade de Melody Nelson” – guitars, bass, drums, & duet with Vanessa Paradis
The Pleasures of Self Destruction
by Babybird “The Jesus Stag Night Club”
2012 Aerosmith: Music from Another Dimension!
by Aerosmith “Freedom Fighter”
by Marilyn Manson “You’re So Vain”
by Jup & Rob Jackson “Street Runners”
West of Memphis: Voices of Justice – Soundtrack
Various “Little Lion Man”
“Damien Echols Death Row Letter Year 16”
2013 Son of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys
by Various “The Mermaid” by Patti Smith – guitar
The Manhattan Blues Project
by Steve Hunter “The Brooklyn Shuffle”
by Vanessa Paradis “New Year”
The Lone Ranger: Wanted (Music Inspired by the Film)
by Various “Poor Paddy on the Railway” – guitar
“Sweet Betsy from Pike” – arrangement
2014 Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes
by The New Basement Tapes “Kansas City”
Into the Woods – Motion Picture Soundtrack “Hello, Little Girl”
2015 Hollywood Vampires
by Hollywood Vampires Guitar, backing vocals, keyboard & sound design
Afraid of Ghosts
by Butch Walker “21+” – Guitar