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Bruce Willis’ Cruel Diagnosis

Bruce Willis’ name belongs on any list of greatest action stars of all time. He’s been a layered cop in Moonlighting, a one-man army in Die Hard, and more.

He was known not only for his looks and power but for his voice and wit. His characters almost always had a clever quip for the villains. Eventually, he slowly seemed to start going silent. His films also diminished in quality.

Aphasia, a brain condition that affects speech, forced him to step away from acting, but it was only the beginning. Keep watching as Bruce Willis’ daughter reveals his new cruel diagnosis.

His Humble Beginnings

In 1984, Bruce was an ex-bartender from New Jersey. He’d only ever had a small role in Miami Vice. ABC executives were trying to cast David Addison, the lead in the TV comedy-drama Moonlighting. Despite his lack of experience, creator Gleen Gordon Caron wanted Bruce.

The other executives were more interested in trying to find a major name to pair with the rising star Cybill Shepherd. Luckily for him, there was a female executive in the room who preferred him because he “looked like one dangerous fuck.”

Bruce got the part and, like many of his others, managed to make it layered. His version of David Addison was a proud sexist who enjoyed working with a female boss, a common yet cultured man with a powerful wit, hard yet kind, and one could go on. His grating voice, receding hairline, and romantic tension with the female lead also made the show a success.

Once the show was over, Bruce set his sights on the silver screen. He earned several roles in films, but the most famous of all, and the one that made him a household name, was John McClain in the Die Hard franchise.

It was pitched to studios as “Rambo in an Office Building.” This was during the era of lone, buff action stars, so that sentence was enough to convince them. They started casting it before they’d even found their lead.

The part of John McClane was offered to several action stars such as Sylvester Stalone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mel Gibson, who all declined. Bruce was hired for $5 million, which was massive at the time, just to lock in his famous name. It was the film that turned him from a witty TV star to a major, equally quippy action movie staple.

He eventually tried to move away from that kind of role until he surprised the world again as Butch Coolidge in Pulp Fiction. He was uncharacteristically quiet yet intense. He continued to be the strong but silent type in films for most of the rest of his career. His work in The Sixth Sense helped it become one of the top-grossing films of all time.

Bruce wanted to sample all sorts of roles, but his indie performances tended to not perform as well commercially. He was too subtle in films such as Breakfast of Champions, The Siege, and Hart’s’ War. He’d lost the manic charisma and energy that he had early in his career. What no one knew at the time was that his health was primarily to blame.

The Decline of His Career

Bruce’s decline didn’t keep him out of the spotlight or make him stop acting, at least not at first. What it did was reduce the time he spent on set and change the type of roles he took.

During one film, Bruce was paid $2 million for two days of work. The issue was that he seemed unaware of where he was and what he was doing. A body double replaced him for action scenes.

Allegedly, on March 30, 2022, Bruce was on the set of Hard Kill and fired a gun with a blank on the wrong cue. No one was injured, but the crew became afraid.

Bruce was working on Out of Death In June 2020. It was one of 22 films he’d done in four years, even though they’d mostly been glorified cameos. 

Mike wrote the screenwriter of the film a confidential email. He asked him to cut down Bruce’s lines by at least five pages, abbreviate his dialogue, and not give him any monologues.

One of Bruce’s associates even asked him to offer him another film, Wrong Place. He was told that the actor was like a “whole different person,” but Mike thought he seemed even worse. He decided not to hire him in anything else for the sake of his health.

He wasn’t the only one. Jesse V. Johnson directed him in White Elephant, and he would ask why he was there and forget lines. That experience made him want to cut ties with the obviously ailing actor.

Everything else he later worked on was limited to two-day shoots. He was also not supposed to work more than eight hours a day but typically only stayed for four.

Fans were concerned by the type of films he was putting out. They were so terrible that the satirical Razzie awards that give statutes to the worst films of each year took notice. They gave him a special category all his own in 2022.

Even that didn’t reduce his demand. He’d be placed prominently on posters, even if he was barely in the films. He kept securing roles and earning production deals. His team was telling him what to say through an earpiece or read lines so that he could repeat them.

His family emphasised in the announcement of his retirement and iagnosis of aphasia how much he’d loved his career. He refused to stop until he literally couldn’t go on, just like the action characters he was famous for.

Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more on the lives of the best action movie actors. Keep watching to learn about Bruce Willis’ cruel diagnosis.

His Past Health Problems and Support From His Friends

Bruce’s close friend Sylvester Stalone was one of the first stars to common publicly about his general condition. He said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that he was going through difficult times and had been “sort of incommunicado.” Not hearing from his friend was difficult for him.

What he may not have realized then was that Bruce was suffering from a psychological condition called aphasia. It made him struggle to speak, remember words, form sentences, and understand speech.

The condition has a variety of causes, including:

  • Severe head injuries
  • Brain tumours
  • Progressive neurological conditions such as dementia

Bruce’s family first revealed that he had the condition when he was 67 in March of 2022. They also revealed that he would retire from acting and step out of the spotlight.

Sylvester was also one of the first to react to that revelation. He posted several old pictures of them together and captioned them, “we go back a long way. Praying for the best for you and your wonderful family.”

The two truly did go back a long way. They were involved in the chain restaurant Planet Hollywood in 1991 and acted in two of the Expendables films together. He apologized about commenting once saying he was glad that Bruce was out of the third. He let the world know that it wasn’t personal. He also said that Bruce always made fantastic films and that “when he nails it, he nails it big time.”

The Cruel New Diagnosis

As if the cumulative effects of aphasia weren’t enough for Bruce to deal with, the world threw him another curveball a year later. His daughter Rumer Willis recently revealed new information about his health. He’d received a new diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia.

The condition causes a general degeneration of the brain’s frontal lobe. It refers to a group of disorders that are all characterised by a buildup of brain cells that build up in the temporal lobe. His aphasia may have been the first sign, as it can cause challenges with speech as well as changes in personality and movement.

Bruce most likely has a type known as primary progressive aphasia, and, because it wasn’t caused by a stroke or tumour, it’s a neurodegenerative disease that will continue to worsen. It could eventually make him unable to speak at all or remember familiar faces and objects.

His daughter calls it a cruel disease. It’s rare and makes up only 5-10% of all dementia cases. At the same time, it’s the most common in those under 65, making up 20% of those cases.

The family is grateful to have a clear diagnosis. Finding out that you have the disease can take years because the symptoms can be subtle and take time to notice.

The cruel part is that there is no cure. One of the few effective treatments is speech therapy that also teaches them to speak non-verbally.

Bruce’s family hopes for any media attention they get from his disease to increase awareness about it. They believe that he was a man who believed in speaking up and would want to tell the world all about it if he could. They’re also grateful for all the love and support they’ve received since his initial aphasia diagnosis.

His Life Today

Staying connected to others and going outside is helpful in cases of frontotemporal dementia. Bruce still appears in public. He goes out with his friends to engage in impromptu jam sessions.

He was shown in an Instagram clip playing the harmonica with his wife Emma Heming Willis and musician and family friend Derek Richard.

Music may become Bruce’s new way to communicate. It’s always been one of his favorite hobbies. He released an album in 1987 called The Return of Bruno. It features him collaborating with other major names such as The Temptations and The Pointer Sisters. Its singles include Respect Yourself and Young Blood. He also released an album titled If It Don’t Kill You, It Just Makes you Strong in 1989.

It’s unclear how his condition will progress. He may only have a few more years or could live with it for a long time. What is clear is that his legacy in the world of entertainment can never be forgotten.

What is your favorite Bruce Willis performance? Let us know in the comments.

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