50 cool things about Johnny Depp at age 50

Johnny Depp. AP
Johnny Depp.

He may not yet have an Oscar, but there’s almost nothing else Johnny Depp doesn’t have: Charisma, guts, an edgy -- but lovable -- persona, and a killer nickname. The actor who could have probably done all right for himself as a pretty boy found a way to prove he was more than just a set of cheekbones and has become one of those rarest commodities in Hollywood: A totally unique specimen who appeals to men, women and children of all ages. So as he turns 50, brace yourself for 50 reasons why Mr. Depp remains Mr. Cool.

1. Someone’s willing to shell out more than $1,000 to attend the premiere of his upcoming movie, "The Lone Ranger."

2. "Pirates of the Caribbean 5," which will be his fifth reprisal of Capt. Jack Sparrow, is a thing. And 1, 2 and 4 were pretty good. We'll forgive him for 3.

3. Publicity stunt? Maybe. But the man joined the Comanche Nation when he was cast as Tonto in "Lone Ranger" and has embraced the role, even riding in the Comanche Fair Parade.

4. He let Hunter S. Thompson, who provided the source material for "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," shave his head for the role.

5. The raw range of parts he's taken on -- including an Army private in "Platoon," an undercover cop in "Donnie Brasco" and nutty chocolate factory owner in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" -- and made convincing is staggering.

6. Nickname: Mr. Stench. Used for a while as an alias when he stayed in hotels.

7. "21 Jump Street," in which he played another kind of undercover cop in a high school -- and refused to let that goofy role define him.

8. Speaking of which: This photo from his "Jump Street" era.

9.Popping up on HBO's "Life's Too Short" as an unhinged version of himself to get back at Ricky Gervais for comments Gervais made while hosting the Golden Globes. "What is nastier than Ricky Gervais' jokes?" Depp asked. "His teeth."

10. Does a spot-on British accent, wielded in such films as "Sleepy Hollow," "From Hell," "Dark Shadows" and of course all of the "Pirates" films.

11. Was nearly mugged in 2010, but when the mugger recognized the actor, he said, "I ain't stealing from Captain Jack," and stood down. Depp gave him some money anyway.

12. This "Rango" quote: "Now remember, son, stay in school, eat your veggies and burn everything but Shakespeare."

13. When he wrecked his hotel room in 1994 -- it was so noisy The Who's Roger Daltrey, staying next door, complained -- he told the police that an armadillo did it.

14. When asked by a 12-year-old boy who admired his hat, he promised to send it to him later. And then he did.

15.This quote: "When kids hit one year old, it's like hanging out with a miniature drunk. You have to hold onto them. They bump into things. They laugh and cry. They urinate. They vomit."

16. Unafraid of his feminine side. Who else can rock an angora sweater ("Ed Wood") or kewpie-doll lips ("Edward Scissorhands") better?

17. First job after moving to Los Angeles? Ballpoint pen salesman.

18. For his upcoming film "Transcendence" (and reportedly others), he ensured homeless were hired as extras.

19. Having used Keith Richards as inspiration for his "Pirates of the Caribbean" character Capt. Jack Sparrow, became friends with Richards (who ultimately appeared in the film franchise, twice thus far).

20. Started the ongoing debate over whether Gene Wilder or Depp portrayed Willy Wonka the best; there's a whole meme devoted to the discussion.

21. Is an avid collector of Barbie dolls.

22. While filming "Lucky Them" near Seattle earlier this year, broke out the guitar to serenade locals.

23. Has his own publishing imprint, Infinitum Nihil ("Nothing is forever") and is publishing Woody Guthrie's lost novel "House of Earth," among others.

24. Was among the most vocal of celebrities who assisted in getting the "West Memphis Three" sprung from death row, and prison.

25. Last year he made this video with Natalie Portman where the two "sang" Paul McCartney's "My Valentine" using sign language.

26. Based his "Ed Wood" character on a combination of President Ronald Reagan, the Tin Man from "The Wizard of Oz," and DJ Casey Kasem.

27. His leading roles have earned his films, in aggregate, over $6 billion dollars.

28. This reprisal of Edward Scissorhands on "Family Guy" in 2012 ... as an unfortunate night nurse.

29. After buying a house in Cornwall, England, he inspired a group of film students to make a short called "Finding Johnny Depp," for which they won a festival award.

30. His garage band called opened up for Iggy Pop twice; Pop returned the favor by calling him a "little turd."

31. Unsurprisingly, his favorite Muppet is Animal.

32. Will direct an untitled documentary about Keith Richards.

33.Showed up in character and costume as Capt. Jack Sparrow at a British Elementary school wielding a letter from 9-year-old Beatrice Delap, a "budding pirate" and helped her stage a mutiny against their teachers.

34. Donated his pay from "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus," Heath Ledger's final film (he, Jude Law and Colin Farrell were brought in to replace him) to Ledger's daughter Matilda.

35. Has three Oscar nominations: For "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," "Finding Neverland" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl."

36. Owns a yacht -- and an island to sail it to.

37.Nicolas Cage introduced Depp to an agent, and that led to his first role: In "Nightmare on Elm Street," in 1984.

38. Broke out of the teen idol box by playing a gang leader in John Waters' musical "Cry-Baby."

39. Dated Winona Ryder and was so passionate about her he had "Winona Forever" tattooed on his arm. When the relationship soured, he fixed the tattoo to read "Wino Forever."

40. Played the title character in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," in which he had to watch out for his impaired brother -- played by a very young Leonardo DiCaprio.

41. Stuck around after finishing all of his scenes in "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," and played an extra small part as a priest, doing a Marlon Brando impersonation.

42. In "Platoon" put his then-fiancee Sherilyn Fenn's name on his helmet.

43. Will do movies clearly for the sheer fun of it: "Dark Shadows" was a campy soap about vampires that had almost no chance of capturing a wide audience -- yet his Barnabas Collins was deliciously wonderful.

44. Regularly gets onstage with actual rock 'n' rollers (here with Aerosmith in 2012) and holds his own quite admirably.

45. Was the co-owner of L.A.'s notorious The Viper Room until 2004; he requested and got Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to play at the opening night.

46.Financed Hunter S. Thompson's funeral, in which the author asked that his ashes be shot out of a cannon. Which happened.

47. Earned the Kate Moss seal of approval; the pair dated for a time and in 2012 she told Vanity Fair, "There’s nobody that’s ever really been able to take care of me. Johnny did for a bit."

48. Favorite instrument: The guitar. Here's more than three minutes of almost nothing but that.

49. After learning the one-eyed horse named Goldeneye that he'd ridden in "Sleepy Hollow" was to be put down, he bought the animal.

50. Because he's an outlaw: "Well, outlaws are fun," he told the Belfast Telegraph recently. "They get to do things that we can't, y'know? Yeah, they break the rules. So there is that vicarious thrill."

  • Slideshow Photos

    Image: Johnny Depp

    Johnny Depp

    From the Mad Hatter to Cry-Baby, the sexy star prefers oddballs and outsiders to traditional leading men.

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    Depp does TODAY -

    Actor Johnny Depp sits down with TODAY's Savannah Guthrie to talk about his recent engagement, upcoming film "Transcendence," and his childhood ambitions of growing up to be a rock star.

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    Red-carpet hello -

    Depp attends the premiere of his film "Transcendence" at 798 Art Zone in Beijing on March 31, 2014.

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    Put a ring on it -

    Depp talks during a promotional event for his new movie "Transcendence" in Beijing on March 31. Depp showed off his diamond ring and confirmed that he's not just wearing it for fashion reasons. "The fact that I'm wearing a chick's ring on my finger is probably a dead giveaway," Depp said when asked by The Associated Press to confirm his engagement. "Not very subtle."

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    All eyes on him -

    Depp stars as Will in "Transcendence", a movie about a terminally ill scientist who downloads his mind into a computer granting him power beyond his wildest dreams.

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    Have you Heard? -

    Depp and Amber Heard attend the premiere of "3 Days to Kill" at the Arclight Theatre Feb. 12, 2014, in Los Angeles. Heard met Depp while filming "The Rum Diary" and they have dated since 2012.

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    Hats off to you -

    Depp appeared on "The Late Show with David Letterman" on Feb. 21, 2013, in New York where he chatted about his upcoming film "The Lone Ranger," and played guitar.

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    'The Lone Ranger' -

    Depp joined the Comanche Nation in advance of playing Native American Tonto in "The Lone Ranger," which opened in July 2013.

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    Axe man -

    Depp loves to play guitar, and took the stage at the Jameson Petty Fest West on Nov. 15, 2012, in Los Angeles.

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    With his alter ego -

    Depp poses with a photo of himself as Barnabas Collins in "Dark Shadows" while in Tokyo to promote the film on May 13, 2012.

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    Depp and the ladies -

    "Dark Shadows" stars Chloe Moretz, Bella Heathcote, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter pose with Depp in London on May 9, 2012.

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    'Dark Shadows' -

    Depp was a fan of the 1960s-1970s TV show "Dark Shadows" as a child, and in 2012, plays vampire Barnabas Collins in the movie version.

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    Over and done -

    Depp and girlfriend Vanessa Paradis attend the 9th Annual Critics' Choice Awards on Jan. 10, 2004, at the Beverly Hills Hotel, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Depp and Paradis began dating in 1998 and have two children together, Lily-Rose Melody and John Christopher, but separated in 2012.

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    'The Rum Diary' red carpet -

    Depp poses for photographers as he arrives for the French premiere of his film, "The Rum Diary," on Nov. 8, 2011.

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    'The Rum Diary' -

    In "The Rum Diary," Depp plays an itinerant journalist who leaves Eisenhower-era America for the freedoms of Puerto Rico and its plentiful rum. Depp reportedly found the manuscript for "Rum Diary" at Hunter S. Thompson's home and encouraged the famed gonzo journalist to publish it.

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    In the spotlight -

    Depp attends the premiere of the movie "Public Enemies" at the Mann Village theatre in Westwood, Calif., on Tuesday, June 23, 2009. The star told David Letterman that he never actually watches his own performances.

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    'Alice in Wonderland' -

    Depp plays the Mad Hatter in director Tim Burton's take on the 2010 film version of "Alice in Wonderland." The two have collaborated eight times. Burton told the L.A. Times that Depp didn't mind playing another oddball character, "He loves doing that. That's never a problem. He doesn't like to be the same way twice. That's good, it always keeps it fresh and all. And he likes the material we have here and he gets it. It's nice to have people involved that are fans of the material and all."

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    'Public Enemies' -

    Depp stars as bank robber and folk hero John Dillinger in Michael Mann's "Public Enemies." Christian Bale co-stars as the FBI agent who's determined to track him down. In an interview with the U.K. Telegraph, Depp said, "John Dillinger was that era’s rock and roll star,” said Depp. “He was a very charismatic man and he lived the way he wanted to and didn’t compromise. I feel he was a kind of a Robin Hood because he truly cared about people."

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    'Sweeney Todd' -

    For his sixth collaboration with director Tim Burton, Depp starred as murderous barber Sweeney Todd, who begins a sinister partnership with Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), when they begin turning his victims into meat pies. The role required Depp to sing and the actor told Entertainment Weekly that the experience was "frightening. Really frightening! When Tim asked if I'd be into it, he said, 'Do you think you can sing?' And I said, 'Honestly, I don't know. 'I'm not tone deaf, so I knew I could stay in key to some degree. But I didn't know if I could sustain a note, or belt one out."

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    Another popcorn trophy -

    Depp accepts the award for best performance for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" onstage during the 2007 MTV Movie Awards on June 3, 2007, in Universal City, Calif.

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    Fans across the world -

    Fans cheer Depp on his arrival at Narita International Airport for the Japanese premiere of "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" on May 22, 2007, in Narita, Japan. The film grossed over $960 million worldwide.

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    'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest' -

    Depp was more than ready to play Captain Jack Sparrow for a second time. He told About.com, "I kind of like everything about playing him. I feel like he's just good fun to play ... You get to add stuff and try things and get away with it, just to see what you can get away with. I've been very lucky so far, and he's just a really fun character. I certainly wasn't ready to say goodbye to him after the first film. I felt like there was a lot more to be done, more fun to be had."

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    Slimed! -

    Johnny Depp and Ben Stiller share the stage at the 18th Annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards at the UCLA Pauley Pavillion on April 2, 2005, in Westwood, Calif. Depp took home the award for favorite movie actor for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and favorite voice from an animated feature for "Corpse Bride."

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    Leaving his mark -

    Depp attends the hand and footprint ceremony honoring him in the courtyard of the Mann's Chinese Theatre on Sept. 16, 2005 in Hollywood, Calif.

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    'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' -

    Depp plays eccentric candy mogul Willy Wonka in 2005's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Director Tim Burton doesn't give us the warm and fuzzy version of Wonka, instead he twists everything just enough to make Depp perfect as the child-despising candy maker.

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    'Finding Neverland' -

    Depp played "Peter Pan" author J.M. Barrie in 2004's "Finding Neverland." In the film, the married Barrie befriends Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kate Winslet) and her sons and finds inspiration for his classic story of a boy who doesn't want to grow up.

    Mirimax Films via AP
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    Dynamic duo -

    Depp and Kate Winslet attend the "Finding Neverland" screening at the Venice Film Festival on Sept. 4, 2004, in Venice, Italy. Depp told the BBC that he enjoyed the idea behind "Peter Pan." "The notion is beautiful, the idea of staying a boy and a child forever, and I think you can. I have known plenty of people who, in their later years, had the energy of children and the kind of curiosity and fascination with things like little children. I think we can keep that, and I think it's important to keep that part of staying young. But I also think it's great fun growing old."

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    'Pirates of the Caribbean' -

    Depp found his inner pirate when he surprised everyone with his free-wheeling portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow in 2003's "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl." Orlando Bloom played straight man to Depp's almost drunken performance of a pirate, a character he based partially on Rolling Stones' guitarist Keith Richards.

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    Still in character? -

    Depp arrives at the premiere for "Blow" in Los Angeles on March 29, 2001. He told Cinefile.com he found the film challenging, especially after meeting the real-life character he was about to play. "You initially would think of this guy as the smuggler who, it appears, has abandoned his family and would not be a very likeable person. When I met George and read the book, I realized it was a lot more complicated than that. He was doing what he knew ... He became the thing he did not want to become. He became his greedy, money-obsessed mother ... The real George, who I spent days with in the Otisville penitentiary, is a very charming, very bright, interesting guy."

    Lucy Nicholson / AFP-Getty Images
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    'Blow' -

    This 2001 film is based on the true story of George Jung (Depp), who was instrumental in establishing the cocaine trafficking market in the 1970s. Depp clearly had fun with both the hair styles -- check the sideburns -- and clothes when making this film about the downward spiral of a drug dealer.

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    'Chocolat' -

    Who can woo mysterious chocolatier Juliette Binoche? Could it be the dashing Roux (Depp), a gypsy who's just passing through but gets a taste for Binoche's sweets? Lasse Hallstrom directed this 2000 film, which may be a bit too sweet for its own good, though Depp and Binoche make an appealing pair.

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    'Sleepy Hollow' -

    In 1999's "Sleepy Hollow," yet another collaboration with Tim Burton, Depp plays Ichabod Crane, New York police inspector sent to sort out a series of murders who falls for the lovely Katrina Van Tassel (Christina Ricci). But to reach her he must travel through the frightening woods, chased by the deadly Headless Horseman.

    Paramount Pictures via Corbis
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    'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' -

    Depp plays writer Hunter S. Thompson in this 1998 adaptation of his classic book about a drug-filled adventure with friend and lawyer Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro, in an other-worldly performance). The film may leave you feeling like you've indulged in a couple of illegal substances.

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    'Donnie Brasco' -

    Depp stars as an undercover FBI agent in 1997's "Donnie Brasco." In the film, he infiltrates the mob and befriends Benjamin 'Lefty' Ruggiero (Al Pacino). The deeper he gets, the more his regular life suffers, with his marriage falling apart. But can he walk away without making Ruggiero pay for his sins?

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    'Don Juan DeMarco' -

    Depp plays a man who believes himself to be Don Juan, the greatest lover in the world, in 1995's "Don Juan DeMarco." Marlon Brando plays the psychiatrist treating him who gets more and more drawn in by his stories, especially those of the lovely Dona Ana (Geraldine Pailhas). Beyond Depp's usual fine performance, a rotund Brando has major chemistry with his wife, played by Faye Dunaway.

    Getty Images / New Line Cincema via Getty Image
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    Bad boy -

    Depp being escorted out of the 19th Precinct in New York after his arrest in 1994 for damaging a hotel suite.

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    Thrilled? -

    Depp holds a replica of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994. Depp once told Cinema.com, "I'll never understand the animal, the machine of Hollywood business. And I don't want to understand it. It's like joining a club, a clique just because everyone else is in it. You don't have any particular interest in it, and it has nothing to do with who you are as a person. You just join it because it's the thing to do."

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    'Ed Wood' -

    Depp portrayed the worst director ever in Tim Burton's 1994 film "Ed Wood." Known for his love of cross-dressing and for making films like "Plan Nine From Outer Space," Wood was yet another oddball outsider to add to Depp's growing quiver of quirky characters.

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    'Benny & Joon' -

    Depp plays Sam, a simple man with a love for Buster Keaton films in 1993's "Benny & Joon." After winning him in a poker game, Joon (Mary Stuart Masterson) brings him home, much to the chagrin of her brother and caretaker Benny (Aiden Quinn), who doesn't have time for a love life of his own, let alone taking care of yet another person with psychological problems. But when Sam and Joon find love, Benny has to realize that sometimes it's time to let go. The film features some awesome Chaplin-esque routines from Depp.

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    'Edward Scissorhands' -

    Depp is never afraid to adopt a strange hairstyle or makeup for a role as he proved in his first collaboration with Tim Burton, 1990's "Edward Scissorhands." In the title role, Depp stars as gentle man with scissors for hands who falls for golden girl Winona Ryder, while finding time to create interesting hairstyles for the town's women, as well as trim a few hedges. Of course, not everyone likes this oddball, and as in many of Depp's films, he finds himself an outcast.

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    Power couple -

    Depp dated Winona Ryder from 1989-93, his co-star from "Edward Scissorhands." They got engaged, and he tattooed "Winona Forever" on his right arm -- but after they separated, he had that changed to read "Wino Forever."

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    '21 Jump Street' -

    Depp made an early splash playing Officer Tom Hanson on "21 Jump Street." Depp, along with Peter DeLuise, Holly Robinson and Dustin Nguyen, played cops who staked out high schools. Yes, it's true, this is the show that made being a narc somewhat cool.

    Krause Johansen / Fox TV
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    'Cry-Baby' -

    Depp stars as greaser Wade 'Cry-Baby' Walker, the delinquent orphaned son of the executed Alphabet Killer in Jon Waters' 1990 film "Cry-Baby." Sexpot Wanda Woodward (former teen porn queen Traci Lords) is part of Cry-Baby's gang. Cry-Baby tries to use his many charms to woo the virginal Allison Vernon-Williams (Amy Locane) away from her square friends and battle lines are drawn.

    Universal Pictures
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