Who would have thought this little horror film would not only become a massive franchise but also give birth to one of Hollywood's biggest stars? Depp got his first big-screen role in 1984's A Nightmare on Elm Street, in which he played terrified teen Glen Lantz.
Depp With Jennifer Grey
Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey and Depp were an item in 1989; it was commonly speculated that they were engaged.
'21 Jump Street'
Depp infiltrated high school crime rings (and America's televisions) as officer Tom Hanson on the Fox crime show. In 1990, the actor left his 21 Jump Street days behind and went on to become an international superstar.
Depp went 1950s greaser in the teen musical Cry-Baby. The 1990 film didn't light up the box office, but it did earn a cult following on home release and went on to inspire the Tony-winning musical of the same name. And for the record -- while Depp can play guitar -- it wasn't him belting out the numbers in this film. That honor went to musician James Intveld, who sang Depp's parts.
Edward Scissorhands showed Depp at his most innocent, lonely and looking for a connection. Despite their three-year engagement, it remains his only collaboration with Winona Ryder.
Depp With Winona Ryder
Depp was engaged to his Edward Scissorhands co-star Winona Ryder from 1990 to 1993, and even got a tattoo in her honor. After their breakup, he altered "Winona Forever" to read "Wino Forever."
''When I was 17, I decided my body would be a journal of skin,'' he told the New York Times in 2001. ''I jot down life experiences that mean something to me -- jot them down permanently."
The actor played the nephew of a businessman (Jerry Lewis) and developed feelings for an offbeat woman (Faye Dunaway) in the 1993 comedy drama.
'What's Eating Gilbert Grape?'
Depp and a young Leonardo DiCaprio tugged at heartstrings in 1993's What's Eating Gilbert Grape? Depp played Gilbert, a young grocery store employee who must care for his morbidly obese mother and mentally challenged brother (DiCaprio).
Ed Wood, the director of the "world's worst film," finally got the A-list treatment when Depp played him. 1994's Ed Woodremains both one of the best-loved and least commercially successful of Depp's collaborations with Tim Burton.
Depp With Kate Moss
Supermodel Kate Moss shared a romance with Depp from 1994-1998, and said it took her years to get over him. The pair attended the 1995 Golden Globes and several editions of the Cannes Film Festival together. In 1994, they were famously found by police in their trashed $1,200-per-night presidential suite in New York's Mark Hotel. Depp claimed the mess had been made by an armadillo he said was hiding in his closet. The animal was never found, and the couple was billed $9,767 for the damages.
It isn't too much of a stretch to imagine the suave Depp being the ultimate ladies' man personified in Don Juan DeMarco. He starred opposite Marlon Brando in the 1995 film, in which he played a man who thought he was literally Don Juan.
'Nick of Time'
1995's Nick of Time took its name rather literally -- taking place in real time. Depp played a widower who is pressured to assassinate the governor by two bad guys (played by Christopher Walken and Roma Maffia) who have his daughter. The film bombed at the box office, earning $8.1 million.
In Dead Man, Depp played an accountant who headed to the Western frontier. He soon found himself in a sticky situation after killing a man in self-defense and having a "dead or alive" bounty placed on his head. The 1996 film went to Cannes and earned a little over $1 million at the box office.
The 1997 hit saw Depp star opposite Al Pacino. Depp played an FBI agent charged with infiltrating a crime family, with his character befriending a hitman (Pacino) and being taken under his wing. The film's screenwriter, Paul Attanasio, considers the movie a turning point for Depp -- calling it a transition from playing cutesy characters such as Edward Scissorhands to taking on manlier roles.
"He was becoming a man, not a boy," Attanasio said in 2012. "We captured that on film. It was incredibly exciting."
'Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas'
Depp brought his friend Hunter S. Thompson's book to life in 1998's Fear and Loathing.
In 2011, Depp recalled meeting Thompson for the first time:
"It was from that very second, when he sat down, that I recognized before me the very definition of a Southern gentleman. We connected on the level of both being from Kentucky, both having checkered pasts in our youth and a great love of literature."
Depp With Vanessa Paradis
Depp's longest relationship was with Vanessa Paradis, with whom he has two children. The couple were together from 1998 to 2012. Days before their breakup was announced, Paradis spoke about love with Harper's Bazaar.
"Love is the strongest and most fragile thing we have in life," she said. "Nothing is ever for sure, but when something in love doesn't work from the beginning, it's never going to work. Don't push it."
'The Astronaut's Wife'
Depp played a NASA astronaut who experiences something unspeakable while in space in The Astronaut's Wife. The 1999 film also starred Charlize Theron.
Walk of Fame
Depp was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1999.
Ichabod Crane never looked as good as when Depp portrayed him in 1999's Sleepy Hollow. The Tim Burton film grossed $206 million worldwide.
Acting isn't his only talent. Depp is an accomplished guitarist, whether he's strumming in 2000's Chocolat or playing onstage with Aerosmith or Tom Petty.
Before becoming the face of some of Disney's prized characters, Depp played a decidedly non-family-friendly character, portraying real-life cocaine dealer George Jung in Blow. Critical reaction to the 2001 film was mixed, and it went on to earn $83 million against a $53 million budget.
'The Tonight Show'
In 2003, Tonight Show hostJay Leno asked if Depp lived in Paris, joking he must have an apartment on top of the Eiffel Tower.
"Yeah, right at the top," Depp said. "You know that little light that blinks red? That's me."
Leno asked: "That's your job?" to which Depp rejoined: "That's my teeth."
'Once Upon a Time in Mexico'
He was blinded and bruised, but that didn't stop Depp's character from kicking butt in 2003's Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Depp played an FBI agent (with some seriously cool hair) who enlisted El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas) to assassinate a general backed by a Mexican drug lord (Willem Dafoe).
'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl'
Captain Jack Sparrow would become Depp's most recognizable character, with his rakish walk and devil-may-care attitude. The 2003 film introducing him to the world grossed $654 million globally.
2004's Finding Neverland earned Depp a best actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of playwright and Peter Pan creator J. M. Barrie.
Mother and Son
Depp took his mother, Betty Sue Palmer, and girlfriend at the time, Vanessa Paradis, to the Oscars in 2004. He was nominated for best actor for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
What'd he expect, showing up at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards? Like so many stars before (and since) Depp got slimed onstage in 2005.
Handprints Are Forever
The star was immortalized in September 2005 when he placed his handprints in a slab of concrete outside of Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'
Depp and Tim Burton brought Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the screen in 2005, generally pleasing critics and moviegoers.
Depp graced the cover of Rolling Stone in July 2006, where he discussed the second Pirates movie.
"With all my characters, it's just depressing to leave them. With Captain Jack, when we finished the first movie, I had a feeling I'd see him again," Depp told the magazine. "I didn't feel like I was saying goodbye. By the end of the third movie, I'm sure that's going to be a different story. But it's always hard."
'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest'
The Pirates franchise struck gold again with 2006's Dead Man's Chest. The sequel earned more than $1 billion globally despite being less well-received by critics than the original.
'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street'
Though he didn't get to actually sing in Cry-Baby, Depp got to show off his pipes in 2007's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The Depp-Burton collaboration saw the actor take vocal lessons to prepare for the part of the murderous barber.
'Sweeney Todd' Wins Two Golden Globes
The Depp-Burton collaboration,Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, nabbed two Golden Globes in 2008, one for best musical/comedy and the other for Depp as best actor in the musical/comedy category. It was Depp's first Globes win.
'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End'
Round three for Jack Sparrow saw Chow Yun-fat play a Chinese pirate lord. The film grossed $963.4 million worldwide.
Now That's a Yacht
What good is a private island without a yacht to match? His 156-foot craft is named Vajoliroja, which is an amalgamation of the names of ex-partner Vanessa Paradis, himself, and his kids, Lily Rose and Jack.
A star's got to have a place to unwind. In Depp's case, that place is his private island, a 45-acre paradise called Little Hall’s Pond Cay.
“I don’t think I’d ever seen any place so pure and beautiful," Depp said in 2009. "You can feel your pulse rate drop about 20 beats. It’s instant freedom.”
Depp turned to crime in Public Enemies, in which he played real-life baddie John Dillinger. Christian Bale's FBI agent squared off against Depp's Dillinger in the 2009 Michael Mann film.
'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus'
After the untimely death of Heath Ledger, Depp was among three A-listers who stepped in to help fill his shoes for TheImaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Jude Law and Colin Farrell also portrayed a transformed version of Ledger's character in the 2009 film.
'Alice in Wonderland'
Depp and Tim Burton's box-office domination continued with 2010's Alice in Wonderland. The film saw Depp once again don heavy makeup to play -- who else? -- the Mad Hatter. And it worked, with the film going on to gross $1.024 billion globally.
2011's Academy Award winner for best animated feature saw Depp voice a chameleon lost in the desert. On his journey, he met all sorts of great characters, voiced by the likes of Isla Fisher, Bill Nighy, Abigail Breslin and Alfred Molina.
Joining Alice Cooper to Play Guitar
In 2011, Depp stopped by London's 100 Club to join rocker Alice Cooper onstage for several songs. Cooper remarked that Depp could play with his band "if this whole movie thing doesn't pan out."
At the Piano
Depp, who has played the guitar in many small clubs, is seen in a poster showcasing a thoughtful moment while smoking a cigarette at a piano.
'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides'
Captain Jack Sparrow got a fourth go-around in 2011's Pirates of theCaribbean: On Stranger Tides, which was without series regulars Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley but added Penelope Cruz. The film made serious waves at the box office, earning more than $1.04 billion worldwide.
'Pirates' Hits Cannes
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011. Depp waved to the crowd after a screening of the fourth installment of the franchise.
'The Rum Diary'
Depp returned to Hunter S. Thompson territory with 2011's The Rum Diary. Depp shared a friendship with the writer, and wrote after his death:
"Even though there was great shock when he died at 67, it really wasn’t a shock. More than anything, it was a devastating blow, like, 'Oh, my God, I’ll never get those calls anymore or hear that f---er’s voice. The "Too-Much-Fun Club" will be dispersed.' That’s what Hunter used to say. He’d call me up and say, 'Colonel, it’s time the "Too-Much-Fun Club" gets together.'"
Depp co-starred with the actress in the 2011's The Rum Diary. The duo, who shared an onscreen romance in the gonzo-journalism film, are rumored to be dating.
Petty Fest 2012
At the El Rey Theatre in 2012, Depp joined many notable musicians, including The Black Keys' Patrick Carney and The Strokes' Nick Valensi, who paid tribute to Tom Petty and rocked out with their own covers of his music.
'21 Jump Street'
Depp reprised his role as Tom Hanson – now an undercover DEA agent – in the 2012 film version's most memorable scene. Along with original Jump Street characterDoug Penhall (Peter DeLuise), the two revealed themselves after having infiltrated a gang for five years. Depp seems more upset that he had to wear a fake nose and get a tattoo in a private area than that their cover was blown.
Burton and Depp reteamed for 2012's Dark Shadows, which saw the star follow in the footsteps of a childhood hero, Jonathan Frid. The Canadian actor who originally played the vampire Barnabas on the TV series had a cameo in the film, but died before its release.
“His elegance and grace was an inspiration then and will continue to remain one forever more,” Depp said after Frid's death. “When I had the honor to finally meet him … [he] generously passed the torch of Barnabas.”
'The Lone Ranger'
Depp plays the trusty Native American warrior Tonto in 2013's The Lone Ranger. Depp, who claims Native American ancestry, was ceremonially adopted into the Comanche Nation during filming of the movie. And after filming wrapped, Depp participated in the Comanche Nation Fair in Lawton, Okla.
Dwayne Johnson, Matthew McConaughey, Julie Plec, Megan Fox, Chloe Grace Moretz, Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez were among those attending the events in the first few days at San Diego Comic-Con. View gallery
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