From ‘army brat’ to Hollywood royalty

Last month, Bruce Willis made headlines after his family announced he would be retiring from acting. The 67-year-old actor’s family posted on Instagram that their “beloved Bruce” would be “stepping away from his career” because he was experiencing some health issues.

Willis had been diagnosed with a condition called aphasia – a cognitive disorder which affects a person’s ability to communicate. The news of his retirement brings to an end his more than three decade-long career which firmly established him as a member of the Hollywood lineup of brooding action heroes.

“He belongs in the list of the most influential and most charismatic movie stars of the 80s and 90s,” Irish Times chief film correspondent Donald Clarke told the In The News podcast. “After the hugeness of Schwarzenegger, and the hugeness of Stallone as well, you needed somebody who was a little bit more downbeat to compensate for those two. And he did that, he fitted that role quite neatly.”

How did Willis become such a superstar and what was it about his style that ended directors, and audiences, to keep coming back to him for leading roles?

And what exactly is aphasia, the condition that has forced him to step back from the movies?

Today on the In the News podcast, we speak to Donald Clarke about Bruce Willis’ movie career and with Professor Jenny Crinion, a consultant speech therapist who specializes in cognitive neuroscience about how aphasia impacts a person’s life.

In the News is presented by reporters Sorcha Pollak and Conor Pope.

Listen to the podcast here:

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