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Josh Brolin
Josh Brolin Berlin 2016.jpg
Brolin in 2016
Josh James Brolin

(1968-02-12) February 12, 1968 (age 56)
Occupation Actor
Years active 1983–present
Full list
  • Alice Adair
    (m. 1988; div. 1994)
  • (m. 2004; div. 2013)
  • Kathryn Boyd
    (m. 2016)
Children 4, including Eden
Family Barbra Streisand (stepmother)
Awards Full list

Josh James Brolin (/ˈbrlɪn/; born February 12, 1968) is an American actor. A son of actor James Brolin, he gained fame in his youth for his role in the adventure film The Goonies (1985). After years of decline, Brolin had a resurgence with his starring role in the crime film No Country for Old Men (2007). Brolin received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for portraying Dan White in the biopic Milk (2008).

Brolin gained wider recognition for playing Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including in the films Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), as well as Cable in Deadpool 2 (2018). His other notable films include W. (2008), True Grit (2010), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010), Men in Black 3 (2012), Oldboy (2013), Inherent Vice (2014), Everest (2015), Sicario (2015), Hail, Caesar! (2016), Only the Brave (2017), and Dune (2021). In 2022, Brolin starred in the supernatural mystery series Outer Range.

Early life

Brolin was born on February 12, 1968, in Santa Monica, California, the son of Jane Cameron (Agee), a wildlife activist who was a native of Corpus Christi, Texas, and actor James Brolin. Brolin was raised on a ranch in Templeton, California, with little exposure to his father's acting career. His parents divorced in 1984, when he was 16 years old.

Brolin said in a 2014 interview that during his youth, he was a member of a surfing friendship group who called themselves the "Cito Rats". In his description of the group, he said, "It was Santa Barbara. It was the '80s. It was punk rock. You either had the children of rich, neglectful parents or children of poor, so it was a mix. But we basically grew up the same way. I've never seen a group like that before or since." I've had 19 friends who died. Most of those guys I grew up with, they're all dead now."


Early work and breakthrough (1980s)

Brolin started his career in TV films and guest roles on TV shows before landing a more notable role as Brandon Walsh in the Richard Donner-directed film The Goonies (1985). He was considered for the role of Tom Hanson in the series 21 Jump Street; Brolin and Johnny Depp were the finalists for the role, and the two became close and remained friends. The role ultimately went to Depp. Brolin guest-starred in an episode of the show in its first season.

Career decline (1990–2006)

Brolin played a small role in the 1994 movie Roadflower. He has implied that he turned away from film acting for years after the premiere of his second film, Thrashin', where Brolin witnessed what he called "horrendous" acting on his part. For several years, Brolin appeared in stage roles in Rochester, New York, often alongside mentor and friend Anthony Zerbe. One of Brolin's more prominent roles early in his career was that of "Wild Bill" Hickok in the ABC western TV series The Young Riders, which lasted three seasons (1989–92). Two other TV series Brolin was involved in include the Aaron Spelling production Winnetka Road (1994) and Mister Sterling (2003), both of which were cancelled after a few episodes.

Career resurgence and stardom (2006–present)

By 2006, Brolin was trading stocks full time when he booked the lead role in the Coen brothers' Academy Award-winning film No Country for Old Men (2007). The film became a critical and commercial success. Brolin would go on to book a part in the similarly successful Ridley Scott film American Gangster (2007).

Josh Brolin LF
Brolin in 2007

In 2008, Brolin starred in another Oliver Stone film, W., a biopic about key events in the life of President George W. Bush. Stone pursued an initially hesitant Brolin for the role. He said of his decision to cast Brolin in the leading role:

It always seemed to me that he was the right person. Although classically handsome, I think he would consider himself a character actor first and foremost, and it was in this context that I thought of him as W. Josh certainly has star appeal and could be a leading man, but I don't think he necessarily wants to be that. I think he really enjoys disappearing into a character.

Brolin received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Gus Van Sant's biopic Milk as city supervisor Dan White, who assassinated San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. He made news by wearing a White Knot to the Academy Awards ceremony to demonstrate solidarity with the same-sex marriage movement. Brolin told an interviewer that co-star Sean Penn, who portrayed Milk, decided to dispel any nerves the actors had about playing gay men by "grabbing the bull by the horns". At the first cast dinner, which included castmates James Franco, Emile Hirsch and Diego Luna, "[Penn] walked right up and grabbed me and planted a huge one right on my lips", Brolin said. Brolin has received critical acclaim for his performance and, in addition to his Oscar nomination, received NYFCC and NBR Awards for Best Supporting Actor and a nomination for a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role.

In 2009, Brolin executive produced and performed in The People Speak, a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. The next year, Brolin wrote and directed the short film X as his directorial debut. The film is about an inmate who escapes prison to reunite with his daughter and searches for her murdered mother. It was the opening film at the first annual Union City International Film Festival in Union City, New Jersey in December 2010.

In the early 2010s, Brolin would appear in a variety of big-budget studios film. He portrayed the titular character in Jonah Hex (2010), based on the DC Comics' character with the same name. Brolin would later admit that he hated the experience making the film stating that at one point they had to "[reshoot] 66 pages in 12 days", implying that the filming schedule was hectic. Brolin would go on to blame the film's failure on studio interference in the film's post-production and on director Hayward, who he called "inexperienced" and a "bad choice (of director)." Brolin also appeared in the Coen Brother film True Grit (2010) and in Oliver Stone's Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010). In 2012, Brolin played the younger version of Tommy Lee Jones's character Kevin Brown / Agent K in Men in Black 3, which reunited both Brolin and Jones after their initial collaboration in No Country for Old Men and In the Valley of Elah, both in 2007. Brolin later starred in the 2013 film Gangster Squad, portraying a fictional World War II veteran named John O'Mara. Later that year, Brolin also portrayed Joe Doucett in Oldboy, a remake of the 2003 South Korean film of the same name.

Josh Brolin 2 SDCC 2014 (cropped)
Brolin promoting the film Avengers Age of Ultron at the 2014 San Diego Comic Con International

In 2014, it was announced that Brolin would play Thanos within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He portrays the character through motion capture performance, as well as voice acting. Brolin cameoed as the character in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and then reprised Thanos in a starring role in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and 2019's Avengers: Endgame, which were filmed back-to-back. In 2021, Brolin voiced an alternate Thanos in What If...? His performance in the role was critically acclaimed. Writing for Variety, critic Owen Gleiberman called Brolin's motion capture performance in Infinity War "supremely effective" and said, "Brolin infuses Thanos with his slit-eyed manipulative glower, so that the evil in this movie never feels less than personal." Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, critic Todd McCarthy similarly said, "Brolin's calm, considered reading of the character bestows this conquering beast with an unexpectedly resonant emotional dimension, making him much more than a thick stick figure of a supervillain."

Cast from the film Deadpool 2
Zazie Beetz, Ryan Reynolds and Brolin during an interview in 2018

In April 2017, Brolin signed a four-film contract with 20th Century Fox studios to portray the Marvel Comics character Nathan Summers / Cable in the X-Men film series. Deadpool 2 (2018) was his first installment within that contract. He was set to reprise his role in Fox's planned X-Force movie until the acquisition of 20th Century Fox by Disney.

Personal life

Marriages and family

Brolin with then-wife Diane Lane in 2009

Brolin was married to actress Alice Adair from 1988 until 1994; they have two children, Trevor and Eden, both actors. He was engaged to actress Minnie Driver for six months. Brolin married actress Diane Lane on August 15, 2004. They divorced in 2013.

In March 2013, Brolin began dating his former assistant and model Kathryn Boyd. They became engaged in March 2015. The couple married on September 24, 2016, and announced on May 29, 2018, that they were expecting their first child. Brolin announced through Instagram on November 4, 2018, that Boyd had given birth to a daughter. Their second daughter was born on December 25, 2020.

Business interests

Brolin commenced in stock trading in his mid-20s and briefly considered quitting acting. In 2014, he explained he made a large amount of money over a three-year period: "Fear and greed, that's all that there is. And I traded very specifically. I found momentum stocks that had room to breathe and I just grab a little of the breath." He was also co-founder of a now defunct stock trading website.


Awards and nominations

See also

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