Ever since he first started gracing us with his larger than life presence on the big screen, Brad Pitt has been associated with the Hollywood lifestyle. Although, the actor did not always live and breath a Tinseltown way of life, as he came from much humbler beginnings growing up. He grew up in the city of Springfield, which hails from the state of Missouri.
Brad Pitt was originally born in Shawnee, Oklahoma to Alvin Pitt - a truck company proprietor - and Jane Etta, who was a school counselor. However, soon after Pitt's birth, him and his family moved to Springfield, Missouri. Pitt has since - on an episode of Inside the Actor's Studio - recalled his time in Springfield as a time where he lived in "Mark Twain country, Jesse James" country due to being surrounded by nothing but hills and lakes in this town. It was not until his college days when Pitt finally decided to leave the city behind in favor of pursuing a career in Hollywood, but he will never forget that he was breaded and buttered by good ole Springfield.
Springfield is the third largest city in Missouri with a reported population of 159,498. In 82.31 square miles, the city is dripping in rich culture and history. It was founded in 1838 and with that much history on its record books, there are just as many interesting facts about Springfield as there are about world renowned actor Brad Pitt.
25 ABOUT BRAD: HE HAS A PILOT'S LICENSE
Brad Pitt has the luxury of being able to go wherever he wants to go in the world thanks to the millions of dollars in his bank account. He has the cash to pay for his own private jet if he wants, but we think he might prefer to fly out to other countries with himself as the pilot.
Just like his ex-wife, Pitt has his own pilot's license. More specifically, he has himself a single engine license, and took helicopter lessons in the Czech Republic.
24 BRAD'S HOMETOWN: IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SIMPSONS
If someone knows nothing about The Simpsons - first off, they lived under a rock for their entire life - they at least know that it takes place in the humble, bright yellow town of Springfield. One might make an understandable assumption that this means The Simpsons takes place in Missouri (or at least the name was based on the town there). It doesn't.
Simpsons creator Matt Groening finally revealed in an issue of Smithsonian Magazine where he confirmed Simpsons' Springfield is actually based his hometown of Springfield, Oregon, not to be mistaken with the city of the same name in Pitt's home state.
23 ABOUT BRAD: HE USED TO BE BANNED FROM CHINA
In 1997, Brad Pitt starred in the film Seven Years in Tibet, which focused on an Austrian explorer's relationship with a young Dalai Lama. The film also focused on highlighting harsh Chinese rule in the Himalayan region, which didn't sit too well for Chinese authorities who were prompted to ban Pitt from travelling to China again.
Nearly 20 years after the fact, Pitt appeared in China to promote his film Allied. There's no word on how he got unbanned from the country.
22 BRAD'S HOMETOWN: IT'S WHERE ROUTE 66 WAS BORN
Route 66 is a historic highway that stretches throughout California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma, and of course Missouri. In the latter's case, it is the state where Route 66 originated. More specifically, it originated in Springfield, Missouri.
It was in 1916 that there were first plans in place to construct a national highway, and these plans were dealt between Cyrus Avery of Tulsa, Oklahoma and John Woodruff of Springfield, Missouri. The numerical destination of 66 was assigned to the Chicago-to-Los-Angeles route on April 30th, 1926 in Springfield, Missouri.
21 ABOUT BRAD: HE KNOWS HOW TO SPEAK JAPANESE
Since so many celebrities spend their time out of the country, it is almost essential for a celeb to try to pick up at least one or two languages along the way. This would have to explain why Brad Pitt knows how to speak Japanese so well.
While Pitt is not 100% fluent in the language, he does know enough to keep a conversation going. He has often made appearances over on Japanese television in commercials and interviews over there.
20 ABOUT BRAD: HE AND ANGELINA JOLIE SOLD THEIR FAMILY PHOTOS FOR $14 MILLION
In a day where Instagram and Twitter are alive and well and people can just upload their pictures onto social media themselves for free, it's hard to believe there was once a time where folks would kick out big cash just to see celebrity pictures. However, once upon a time, paparazzi would kick out big bucks to get physical pictures of famous people.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie understood the market for this, and so when they gave birth to their first child in 2006, they sold their first family photos to Hello! and People Magazine for $14 million. All proceeds went to the Jolie-Pitt Foundation.
19 ABOUT BRAD: HE USED TO BE A CHAUFFEUR
Earlier, we mentioned that Brad Pitt used to do odd jobs when he first came to LA and cited his time at El Pollo Loco as an example. That was not his only odd job starting out, and not even his oddest of jobs. That would have to be his job as a chauffeur.
He did not chauffeur high status celebs or anything like that, but he did used to chauffeur women who, well, let's not delve too far into that. Pitt would drive and escort them to bachelor parties and clubs. One of these ladies suggested that Pitt go to an acting class taught by a famous acting coach named Ray London, and it helped kick his acting career into full speed.
Pitt cites this chauffeur job as the moment that "set [him] on the path to where [he] is now."
18 ABOUT BRAD: HE SPENT SOME TIME IN A PSYCH WARD FOR A MOVIE ROLE
A lot of actors go to extreme lengths to deliver a fantastic performance; some actors do not even break character until filming is completely wrapped up. Rather than go that method acting route, Brad Pitt often commits to first hand research for his roles.
One example of him doing such a thing was when he was cast to play a mental patient in Twelve Monkeys. To study for the part, he checked himself into a psych ward in Philadelphia for one day. The research seemed to work out since Pitt was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for his part in the movie.
17 ABOUT BRAD: HE ONCE HAD A STALKER
Acting can be a scary lifestyle not because of the work, but because being famous warrants a few obsessive fans. Brad Pitt's most obsessive fan arrived to his doorstep - literally - in 1999 at the height of his fame.
In 1999, a 19-year old woman named Athena Rolando broke into Pitt's home located in the Hollywood area. Pitt wasn't home, but she stayed in his house for ten hours straight - trying on his clothes no less - before the alarm went off. She was then court ordered to never contact the actor by any means and to never be within 100 yards of the man.
16 BRAD'S HOMETOWN: CASHEW CHICKEN IS THE FOOD OF THE LAND
Anyone who loves cashew chicken absolutely must take a visit down to Springfield, Missouri because Springfield is cashew chicken capital of the world; it's the city's dish of choice.
Cashew chicken is originally a Chinese dish, but Springfield seems to have adopted the delicacy on its own as several restaurants and diners throughout Springfield serve their own unique variations of cashew chicken. The city even holds its own event called Sertoma Cashew Craze every year to celebrate their love for cashew chicken
15 ABOUT BRAD: HE USED TO BE ENGAGED TO GWYNETH PALTROW
While his respective marriages to Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie have always been highly publicized, plenty of us forget that Brad Pitt almost married Gwyneth Paltrow. Some of us forget they were even in a relationship.
The two were dating between 1994 and 1997, and sometime along the way had got hitched. Until, suddenly, they weren't engaged anymore. An anonymous source told People Magazine that "Brad called it off. He changed his mind about a month ago. He got caught up in the frenzy of getting married, but he really didn't want to."
14 ABOUT BRAD: HE GOT HIS FIRST BIG START AS A CHICKEN?
As if coming from the city of Springfield, Missouri was not a humbler way to come up in this world, Brad Pitt's first big break came when he dressed up as a chicken.
Well, not so much as a big break as much as it was the only way he could make ends meet for a while. When he first moved to Los Angeles, it was not easy for Brad Pitt to find acting work and had to depend on odd jobs to make money. One of those odd jobs saw Pitt dress up in a chicken suit to work at and advertise the El Pollo Loco restaurant.
13 BRAD'S HOMETOWN: HOME OF A FAMOUS DUEL
One of the world's most famous duels of the Wild Wild West era was the very first one. The first one on one quick draw duel between two gentlemen took place between Wild Bill Hickok and Davis Tutt in the year 1865. The biggest surprise about this bit of history is that the duel took place in none other than the heart of Springfield, Missouri.
More specifically, it took place at the Park Central Square, and two plaques with both men's names on them mark the site to this day. As a result, it is a big tourist attraction.
12 ABOUT BRAD: HE PUT TOGETHER HIS OWN BASKETBALL TEAM
That's Brad in the front row holding the basketball.
When Pitt was still a kid living in Springfield, he was the furthest from being a natural at playing basketball. That's probably a big reason why he didn't take up the pro NBA leagues when he grew up. It also didn't help that he wasn't good enough to make the middle school basketball team in eighth grade.
However, Pitt refused to give up on his dream of playing basketball at the time, so he and a few pals decided to make their own unofficial basketball team. They called themselves the Cherokee Rejects, and enlisted Pitt's own father as their coach.
11 ABOUT BRAD: HIS COMMERCIAL WAS BANNED IN MALAYSIA
We mentioned earlier that Brad Pitt was once banned in China for a controversial part he played in a movie, but that was not the only time that his face was banned from a country.
This time, a Toyota Altis ad he starred in was banned in 2002 by the country's deputy information minister, Zainuddin Maidin. The reason wasn't due to the content of the ad or the nature of the commercial, but it was literally because of Pitt's face. Maidin ruled to The Guardian that Pitt's all too handsome face would make locals feel "inferior" and he deemed it to be "humiliation against Asians."
10 BRAD'S HOMETOWN: IT'S AFFORDABLE TO LIVE IN
In sharp contrast to the home life in Los Angeles, California where the average home robs its owners blind with prices that soar through the roof, Springfield is actually a pretty affordable place to live. In fact, Forbes once listed it among the Top 100 Best Places for Businesses and Careers, and it currently sits at #126 on the list, which isn't bad at all.
The average home in Springfield, Missouri usually clocks in at around $109,000, which again, ain't bad at all.
9 ABOUT BRAD: HE INJURED HIS ARM FOR REAL IN SE7EN
Fans of the movie Se7en may remember that following a chase scene, Brad Pitt's character Detective David Mills was injured during the chase scene and as a result wore a cast on his hand for the remainder of the movie. Little do some of those fans know that Mills has a cast not because it was in the script, but because Pitt really injured himself.
Pitt injured his arm on set while filming a scene where he broke a mirror. Rather than delay the film's production to have Pitt heal up, the director worked the injury into the script.
8 BRAD'S HOMETOWN: IT IS ONE BIG ART SPACE
It makes sense as to why Brad Pitt grew up to become an actor and indulge himself into the wondrous world of art. Springfield, Missouri itself is an enriching and rather engrossing place where artists of all kinds can flourish.
The Springfield Regional Arts Council oversees and orchestrates a plethora of different art events which take place all year round in the city of Springfield. Such events would include the First Friday Art Walk and the Walnut Street Art Fest.
7 ABOUT BRAD: INJURED HIS ACHILLES WHILE PLAYING ACHILLES
How ironic. Achilles was a Greek hero who fought during the Trojan War. His strength as a warrior was unmatched and his only weakness was his Achilles tendon; he died after taking a poisonous arrow to the heel; hence the term Achilles heel. Ironically enough, Brad Pitt would sustain a similar injury on the set of Troy while playing Achilles.
According the film's director Wolfgang Petersen, Pitt injured himself while filming his fight scene against Boagrius - played by bodybuilder Nathan Jones - and as a result, was "hobbling around for months."
6 BRAD'S HOMETOWN: IT'S A COLLEGE TOWN
Above all else, Springfield, Missouri is definitely a college town. There is a seemingly never ending number of colleges and universities in the city, leaving a seemingly endless amount for aspiring students to choose from.
Springfield is home to the University of Missouri, which is the second largest university in the state of Missouri. It is also home to Evangel University, Ozarks Technical Community College, Drury University, and a good handful of other impressive universities. Springfield is a proudly eclectic place to enjoy student life.
5 ABOUT BRAD: HE DROPPED OUT OF COLLEGE RIGHT BEFORE GRADUATION
After graduating from Kickapoo High School in Springfield, he branched out to the University of Missouri to pursue a degree in journalism. However, he decided he wanted to redirect his attention to a calling in acting, so he dropped out and moved to LA with $325 in his pocket. The odd thing was that he dropped out of college just two weeks before he was supposed to graduate.
"I just felt I was done. I was done with it," Pitt explained to NPR's Fresh Air to explain why waited until his last two weeks at college to drop out. "I knew where I wanted to go. I had a direction. I always liked those moments of epiphany when you have the next destination."
4 BRAD'S HOMETOWN: IT'S A HEALTHY COMMUNITY
Few communities in any town, city, or even state come close to being as health oriented as Springfield, Missouri given that the city has a heavy focus on supporting organic food produce in local areas.
This is reason enough why the city has a remarkable five farmer's markets in town. One of those markets that stand out is the Farmers Market of the Ozarks as it brings farmers to the city every Thursday and Saturday of the month from March until October.
3 ABOUT BRAD: HE HAS AN OSCAR, BUT NOT FOR ACTING
Regardless if someone's favorite Brad Pitt movie/performance is Fight Club, Snatch, Twelve Monkeys, or even Mr. & Mrs. Smith, it's hard to deny that Pitt has an incredible acting ability. Yet, somehow, the Academy Awards have denied Pitt for years by snubbing him whenever he's nominated for Best Actor.
Thankfully, Pitt still has an Oscar to his name. While he has yet to win an Oscar for acting, he has one for producing as one of the several producers awarded Oscars for 12 Years a Slave after the film won Best Picture.
2 BRAD'S HOMETOWN: HOST TO A CAVALCADE OF TALENT
Brad Pitt is not the only actor - or famous figure, for that matter - to grow up in Springfield, Missouri. Another notable actor would have to be two time Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominee Kathleen Turner.
Other famous faces who stepped out of Springfield would include Civil Rights leader Linda Brown, music record producer Lou Whitney, and The Price is Right's former host Bob Barker. Barker actually went to the same high school as Brad Pitt, though obviously not at the same time.
1 BRAD'S HOMETOWN: ORIGIN OF ITS NAME
This one is tricky to talk about because there are multiple accounts claiming the origins of Springfield, Missouri's name.
One account tells us that it was named Springfield simply because the city was founded on a field next to spring. In another, a man suggested the name after growing homesick over his hometown of Springfield, Tennessee. One idea detailed in the book Springfield of the Ozarks, the name came from Springfield, Massachusetts.
Whichever origin story our readers believe, we can all agree that these are some interesting, unique ways to come up with a town name.