There is a lot you could say about Johnny Depp. You could say that he’s a great actor. You could call him a talented musician. You could even say that he’s a pretty weird guy. All of those are accurate in their own right, but put them all together and you have yourself one of the most fascinating and eccentric celebrities that has entered our lives.
From his beginnings as a struggling musician before getting cast in A Nightmare On Elm Street to his multiple appearances in the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise, Johnny Depp has managed to find a way to keep the public’s interest, sometimes against his own will. But still, we’re enamored by Depp and want to know what makes him tick. So without any further ado, here are seven cool and bizarre facts to know about Johnny Depp.
Johnny Depp Claims He Spent $5 Million Blasting Hunter S. Thompson’s Ashes From A Cannon
One of Johnny Depp’s most memorable roles is that of the fictionalized version of Hunter S. Thompson, Raoul Duke, in Terry Gilliam’s 1998 psychedelic black comedy based on Thompson’s autobiographical novel Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. This was a role made for Depp as he and Thompson were already friends after a wild night at the late writer’s house in Aspen, Colorado, in late 1994, as he wrote in a Newsweek profile.
On that first night they met, Thompson asked Depp if he would like to shoot one of his prized shotguns. When Depp said sure, Thompson said they first needed to make a bomb to shoot. After putting together some propane tanks, Thompson told Depp to take the first shot, and when he did, the whole thing went up in a giant fireball. Depp said from that point on they were inseparable.
Thompson would go on to kill himself in the spring of 2005, and one of his final wishes was to have his ashes shot from a cannon. Depp, being the good friend he is, made those wishes come true. The actor claims he spent $5 million blasting the ashes from a cannon, though some reports have the cost closer to $3 million.
True friendship knows no cost.
Nicolas Cage Convinced Him To Become An Actor
Long before Johnny Depp and Hunter S. Thompson first hit it off, Depp was close to another celebrity with an insane personality, Nicolas Cage. In an interview with The New York Times Magazine, Cage explained that he and Depp first met in the early ‘80s, and soon became roommates. One night while playing Monopoly, Cage told Depp, who was trying to make it as a musician at the time, to start acting.
After the conversation, Cage put Depp in contact with his agent, who got the struggling musician turned actor an audition for A Nightmare On Elm Street, which would go on to be Depp’s first of many roles in Hollywood.
He Plays Guitar In Hollywood Vampires
Johnny Depp would go on to become one of the most successful actors in all of Hollywood, but that didn’t stop the boy with a childhood dream of being a musician from making that dream into a reality later in life. Depp continued to play music over the years, but his crowning achievement came to fruition in 2015 when he formed the rock supergroup Hollywood Vampires alongside Alice Cooper and Joe Perry.
The band released its debut album Hollywood Vampires in 2015, which was followed up by Rise in 2019. In addition to featuring the three key members, the band’s albums have also featured appearances by names like Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, and the late Christopher Lee (yes, that Christopher Lee).
Johnny Depp Co-Owned The Viper Room
In addition to acting and being a musician, Johnny Depp was also at one point the co-owner of the infamous Hollywood nightclub the Viper Room. Depp was one of the original owners when the 250-capacity club opened its doors in 1993. Over the years, the Viper Room was frequented by essentially every young Hollywood actor and musician in the mid-90s. Musicians as famous as Johnny Cash and Tom Petty performed at the venue that also featured a number of smaller artists.
The club is most notably known for being the location of River Phoenix’s overdose on October 31, 1993. Depp closed the club for a week as mourning friends and fans used the space as a shrine to remember the late actor and musician. The club would close every October 31 until Depp sold the club in 2004.
He Donated All Of His Doctor Parnassus Earnings To Heath Ledger’s Daughter
Johnny Depp was cast as one of the three actors hired to shoot key scenes in The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus following the death of the film’s original lead star Heath Ledger. Depp, alongside Colin Farrell and Jude Law, portrayed transformed versions of Ledger’s character throughout the movie so that director Terry Gilliam could finish the production and release the film as a tribute to the late actor. Instead of keeping their earnings from the film, Depp and the other two actors donated their fees to a savings account that had been set up for Ledger’s then 3-year-old daughter, Matilda.
In addition to donating his earnings to the late actor’s daughter, Depp also dedicated part of his private 45-acre island in the Bahamas to the Heath Ledger. In an interview with the Daily Mirror newspaper (via the Independent), Depp said he offered the island as a retreat for Ledger’s family following his death and that there would be a location on the island forever known as “Heath’s Place.”
He Keeps A Captain Jack Sparrow Costume With Him At All Times
While older Johnny Depp fans might know him for his roles in films like Edward Scissorhands, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, and Cry-Baby, most children these days know him as Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise. Knowing this, Depp visits children’s hospitals dressed as the lovable Jack Sparrow, and does this so much that he has the costume with him at all times.
In an interview with E! Online, the actor explained that he will sometimes surprise a bunch of kids at a hospital with the costume and end up spending several hours in the hospital meeting with all of the different children. When Depp makes these appearances, he doesn’t go as an actor in a costume, he’s fully in character the entire time.
He Has Never Won An Oscar
One of the most surprising facts about Johnny Depp is that he has never won an Oscar at any point in his career. He was first nominated in the Best Actor category at the 2004 Academy Awards for his role in Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl. He was subsequently nominated for Best Actor for Finding Neverland in 2005, and then in 2008 for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.
Despite his shortcomings at the Oscars, Depp has taken home no fewer than 20 other major awards, including a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award. Maybe he’ll finally win the elusive Oscar one of these days.
There you have it - seven cool and bizarre facts to know about the one and only Johnny Depp. Did we miss anything major about the actor and musician? Let us know in comments.
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Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or chatting about professional wrestling to his wife. Writing gigs with school newspapers, multiple daily newspapers, and other varied job experiences led him to this point where he actually gets to write about movies, shows, wrestling, and documentaries (which is a huge win in his eyes). If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.