The news that Bruce Willis was “stepping back” from acting following an aphasia diagnosis sent shockwaves through Hollywood when it was announced. Now the great and good of Tinsel Town have come out to pay tribute to Willis.
Willis’s Sixth Sense co-star Haley Joel Osment led celebrity tributes to the retiring action movie star. In an emotional Instagram post, Osment wrote how difficult it was to “find the words” to describe Willis but explained he felt compelled to show the level of esteem he holds Willis and his family.
“He’s a true legend who has enriched all of our lives with a singular career that spans nearly half a century,” Osment continued. “I am so grateful for what I got to witness firsthand and for the enormous body of work he built for us to enjoy for years and years to come. I just wanted to express the respect and deep admiration I have for Bruce and his family as they move forward with the courage and high spirits that have always defined them.”
John Travolta, who appeared alongside Willis in the cult thriller movie Pulp Fiction expressed a similar sentiment on Instagram. “Bruce and I became good friends when we shared 2 of our biggest hits together, Pulp Fiction and Look Who’s Talking,” Travolta wrote. “Years later, he said to me, ‘John, I just want you to know that when something good happens to you, I feel like it’s happening to me.’ That’s how generous a soul he is. I love you, Bruce.”
M. Night Shyamalan, who directed Willis in the Unbreakable trilogy, also sent love to the star and his family. “All my love and respect to my big brother Bruce Willis,” he tweeted. “I know his wonderful family is surrounding him with support and strength. He will always be that hero on that poster on my wall as a kid.”
Check out other tributes here:
Long before any of the Cop Out stuff, I was a big Bruce Willis fan – so this is really heartbreaking to read. He loved to act and sing and the loss of that has to be devastating for him. I feel like an asshole for my petty complaints from 2010. So sorry to BW and his family. https://t.co/npSgvkb5v7
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) March 30, 2022
Bruce Willis came to see us in Kuwait. This was 9-10 months into the Iraq invasion. There weren’t great facilities of any kind. And it was BRUTALLY hot there. But we were leaving Iraq and coming home and he brought his band over there and played music for us. We loved him for it.
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) March 30, 2022
I am sending my very best wishes to #BruceWillis and his family during this tough time.
Thank you for so many great performances across a tremendous career including and especially for John McClain. pic.twitter.com/HW5iGfCsIx
— Don Winslow (@donwinslow) March 31, 2022
So sorry to hear the news about Bruce Willis. Worked with him on Death Wish and he was a lovely awesome badass man. Prayers for him and his family. Legend pic.twitter.com/28QKIoeMac
— Dean Norris (@deanjnorris) March 31, 2022
I have so much love for Bruce Willis, and am grateful for every character he’s given us. Hugs and love for the whole family- thank you for sharing him with us all ❤️❤️ https://t.co/ct0HE1Ti2N
— Seth Green (@SethGreen) March 30, 2022
The Razzies have also rescinded its Bruce Willis acting award following the announcement. “After much thought and consideration, the Razzies have made the decision to rescind the Razzie Award given to Bruce Willis, due to his recently disclosed diagnosis,” a statement from The Razzies said. “If someone’s medical condition is a factor in their decision making and/or their performance, we acknowledge that it is not appropriate to give them a Razzie.”
While there has been an outpouring of well-intentioned love towards Willis, some commentators have pointed out that the actor hasn’t died.
Bree Davies probably best expressed the situation in a tweet. “Bruce Willis has a disability. He’s not dead,” she wrote. “It’s so weird to me how people are talking about him/his work in the past tense as if being a person with disabilities somehow means you’re not a person anymore.”