CLOSE
Getty Images
Getty Images

18 Radically Successful People Who Lived With Their Parents

Getty Images
Getty Images

Bloomberg Businessweek is taking some heat for an ad campaign mocking lazy millennials who still live with their parents. Parents can send their kids BBW e-cards with messages like, "You were supposed to make us rich, but we'll settle for just not making us poor" and "We can't wait for your terrible 20s to be over." But these debt-ridden graduates can look to history for more hopeful advice. Here are some notable people who launched successful careers, products, and companies while living with mom and dad.

1. Steve Jobs, Apple Computer Co-Founder

Steve Jobs co-founded Apple Computer and manufactured the original Apple I computer in his parents’ garage. Jobs was living with his folks in 1975 after a brief stint at Reed College and a trip to India the year prior. Jobs ran his computer business out of that garage for more than a year; in 1977 he moved to a ranch house in Cupertino which he dubbed "Rancho Suburbia" and got a proper office space.

Trivia note: Jobs was adopted. His adoptive father taught him woodworking in that garage, and instilled values of craftsmanship. In the Steve Jobs biography, this passage illustrates Jobs’s pride in the craftsmanship of a well-built fence:

Fifty years later the fence still surrounds the back and side yards of the house in Mountain View. As Jobs showed it off to me, he caressed the stockade panels and recalled a lesson that his father implanted deeply in him. It was important, his father said, to craft the backs of cabinets and fences properly, even though they were hidden. ... In an interview a few years later, after the Macintosh came out, Jobs again reiterated that lesson from his father: "When you're a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you're not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You'll know it's there, so you're going to use a beautiful piece of wood in the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through."

2. Alexander Graham Bell

Wikimedia Commons

Yep, the father of the telephone lived with his parents until just before his most famous invention. His mother home-schooled him early on, and his first invention was a wheat dehusking machine, assembled at the age of 12. Around that time, Bell's mother began going deaf, leading him to study early forms of sign language and the principles of acoustics. Bell lived with his parents in various parts of Scotland and England, though he left home several times to study and other times to teach. At age 23, he and his parents moved from London to Canada. Bell finally "moved out" in 1872, at the age of 25, when he headed to Boston to work in a school for the deaf. He promptly fell in love with one of his students, Mabel Hubbard (who was just 15 years old at the time), and proceeded to patent the telephone in 1875, at the age of 28. Two years later, Bell and Hubbard were married, and Bell's wedding present to her was a massive stock grant in the brand new Bell Telephone Company.

3. Rafael Nadal, Tennis Champion

Getty Images

Rafael “Rafa” Nadal is a Spanish tennis player who has won eleven Grand Slam singles titles and is currently ranked No. 4 in the world. Nadal’s uncle Toni trained Rafa from an early age, and to this day Rafa lives in Manacor, Mallorca with his family. In his autobiography, he wrote, “My family had always been the holy, untouchable core of my life, my center of stability and a living album of my wonderful childhood memories.”

4. Kathy Griffin, Comedian

Getty Images

Kathy Griffin’s comedic brand relies largely on her jokingly self-declared place on the Hollywood “D-List,” a spot she earned by having a really hard time breaking into the business and getting decent roles. Griffin is the youngest of five kids, and lived with her parents until she was 28. USA Today reported: “After high school, Griffin moved from the Chicago suburbs to Los Angeles with her parents. For the next decade, the three shared a two-bedroom apartment; Griffin worked as a temp and at mostly dead-end jobs while hustling for auditions.” Her first credited speaking role was as a guest star on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the premise of which involved Will Smith living with his aunt and uncle rather than his parents.

5. Orin Seybert, Founder of Peninsula Airways

Alaskan readers will recognize PenAir as Alaska’s largest regional air carrier, including charter service in Alaska, Canada, and the Lower 48. But its founder, Orin Seybert, learned to fly in high school while living with his grandparents. He earned his commercial pilot’s license at 18 and started the airline at 19 while living with his parents. Today a dozen family members work for PenAir, including several of Seybert’s grandchildren. When asked about his inspiration for becoming a pilot, Seybert said, "Part of my reasoning for having my own airplane was that in my village there were no girls my age. I knew I needed to get out and see who else was out there, so I went all over the central Peninsula and discovered all kinds of great adventures."

6. Grigori Perelman, Mathematician

Wikimedia Commons / George M. Bergman

Grigori Yakovlevich Perelman is a Russian mathematician best known for solving the Poincaré Conjecture in 2003 (the problem had remained unsolved for 99 years before Perelman came along). Perelman was awarded the Fields Medal for his work, but he declined the award (including the million dollars it came with) and refused to appear in public. From the door of the St. Petersburg apartment he shares with his mother Lubov (also a mathematician), Perelman told a reporter, “I don’t want to be on display like an animal in a zoo.” By all accounts, he’s still crashing with his mom at age 46.

7. Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia Founder

(With Tom Brokaw) Getty Images

In 1953, Yvon Chouinard became a climber at the age of 14. He was a member of the Southern California Falconry Club, which involved climbing up and rappelling down cliff faces to reach falcon aeries. At the time, the typical practice was to place soft iron pitons (spikes) into the cliff face and then leave them there  but Chouinard had a better idea. By the age of 18, he had bought a coal-fired forge and an anvil, and taught himself the art of blacksmithing. He set up shop in his parents’ Burbank backyard, making reusable chrome-molybdenum pitons, which he sold for $1.50 each. As the years wore on (and he moved the operation out of his parents’ place), Chouinard expanded into more gear and clothing for climbers, and thus Patagonia was born.

8, 9, 10. The Brontë Sisters, Authors

Wikimedia Commons / Painting By Branwell Brontë

Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Brontë were successful women writers in an era when writing literature was perceived as an unseemly pursuit for ladies  but one that was loosely encouraged by their father Patrick, who was an Anglican priest and an author himself. Of the six children born in the family, two girls died in childhood, the remaining three went on to literary success, and the sole boy, Patrick Branwell, went on to become a painter and writer. The three sisters initially published work under the male pseudonyms Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. After Charlotte’s novel Jane Eyre became popular (written by “Currer Bell”), she revealed her true identity; Emily went on to write Wuthering Heights and Anne wrote Agnes Grey, among other works. All of the Brontë children died tragically young: Anne died at age 29, Emily at 30, Patrick at 31, and Charlotte at 38.

11. Michael Kittredge, Yankee Candle Company Founder

Michael Kittredge was just 17 years old when he started making candles in his parents’ garage. His first candle was a Christmas present for his mother, and he made it by melting down his old crayons. When a neighbor offered to buy that candle, Kittredge spotted a business opportunity and began making more candles, founding the Yankee Candle Company just before Christmas, 1969. By 1972 he moved the operation into a former paper mill in Holyoke, Massachusetts  and the rest is scented candle history.

12. Jennifer Lawrence, Academy Award Winning Actress

Getty Images

Jennifer Lawrence hails from Louisville, Kentucky. At age 14, Lawrence convinced her parents to bring her to New York to audition for acting roles. The reaction from talent agents was positive, but Lawrence’s mother offered this deal: Jennifer could get into acting only after she graduated from high school. So Lawrence blasted through high school, graduating two years early with a 3.9 GPA.

Lawrence went on to act in commercials, TV shows, and eventually films including Winter’s Bone, The Hunger Games, and Silver Linings Playbook (that last one garnered her an Oscar). Lawrence’s family moved with her to Los Angeles in 2007, though her official website still lists a Louisville PO Box for fan mail.

13. Miles Davis, Jazz Trumpeter

Wikimedia Commons / Photo By Tom Palumbo

Miles Davis owes a lot to his father, Miles Henry Davis. The elder Davis gave his son a trumpet when Davis was just 13, and arranged for lessons with a local musician. The choice of the trumpet was against his wife’s wishes  Davis’s mother was a blues pianist and wanted her son to study the piano. But Davis took to his trumpet quickly, becoming a professional performer at the age of 16. When Davis was just 18, he played with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker for several weeks while the Billy Eckstine band was performing in the area. Davis went to Juilliard briefly, but (with his father’s permission) dropped out and played professionally instead. During Davis’s “Blue Period” in 1954, he returned to his father’s house in St. Louis and locked himself in his room in order to kick his heroin habit. Now that’s a supportive dad. The next year Davis formed his “first great quintet” featuring John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones.

14. Lou Gehrig, Baseball Legend

Wikimedia Commons / University Archives — Columbiana Library

Lou Gehrig is perhaps best known today for his career-ending “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” technically called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS (the same disease now afflicts Stephen Hawking, among others). But in the 15 seasons between 1925 and 1939, Gehrig played in 2130 consecutive baseball games  a record that stood until Cal Ripken, Jr. broke it in 1995. But aside from his baseball career, Gehrig lived at home with his mother until the age of 30. He only moved out after marrying Eleanor Twitchell in 1933, just eight years before his death. (The New York Times has a whole story about Gehrig's mom and how she kept vetoing his prospective romantic partners....)

15. Reggie Aggarwal, CEO of Cvent

Reggie Aggarwal founded Cvent in 1999 to help schedule events. But in 2000, the dot-com bubble burst, leaving him in a desperate financial position. To avoid bankruptcy, at age 33, Aggarwal swallowed his pride and moved in with his parents, drew no salary for two years, and saved the business. In 2011, Cvent received $136 million in venture capital. Although he moved out of his parents’ house after the business turned around, Aggarwal lives in a modest two-bedroom condo with his wife and child. “We still remember the bad times, and we're always going to think like a startup, which is don't get arrogant, treasure your customers, treasure your employees, and be frugal,” he told Business Insider.

16. Justin Halpern, Author of Sh*t My Dad Says

Getty Images

At age 28, Justin Halpern was dumped by his girlfriend and moved in with his dad, who was then 73. Halpern had long noted his father’s colorful way with words, but the close quarters provided even more material, leading Halpern to start the “Sh*t My Dad Says” Twitter account. That Twitter account led to a book and even a TV show starring William Shatner. A sample Dad-ism:

"The worst thing you can be is a liar. ...Okay, fine, yes, the worst thing you can be is a Nazi, but then number two is liar. Nazi one, liar two."

Halpern’s Amazon biography says he now “Splits his time between Los Angeles and his parents’ home in San Diego.” His Twitter account is still going strong, with over 3 million followers.

17. Andrew Gower, Creator of RuneScape

British game developer Andrew Gower made his biggest hit, RuneScape, in his childhood bedroom at his parents’ house in Nottingham. Gower was an undergraduate student at Cambridge, still living at home, when he created the massively successful MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game). He later sold his stake in RuneScape and in 2009 his wealth was estimated at £99 million; he turned 31 that year.

18. Mangesh Hattikudur, mental_floss Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief

Mangesh Hattikudur lived with his parents while establishing mental_floss. He wrote, “After working two part-time jobs (waiting tables and working as a video store clerk) then coming home at 10 or 11 to work on mental_floss, I needed to focus more on the floss. In 2001 and 2002, people weren't that eager to invest in a magazine from two college grads who had no idea what they were doing. Being able to crash with my parents helped. If they hadn't taken me in (again) I'd have become a mediocre lawyer instead of a mediocre editor!” Things worked out OK for Mangesh. And without his generous parents, you wouldn’t be reading this article right now.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Universal Home Video
arrow
entertainment
15 Surprising Facts About Scarface
Universal Home Video
Universal Home Video

Say hello to our little list. Here are a few facts to break out at your next screening of Scarface, Brian De Palma’s gangsters-and-cocaine classic, which arrived in theaters on this day in 1983.

1. IT WASN'T THE FIRST SCARFACE.

Brian De Palma's Scarface is a loose remake of the 1932 movie of the same name, which is also about the rise and fall of an American immigrant gangster. The producer of the 1983 version, Martin Bregman, saw the original on late night TV and thought the idea could be modernized—though it still pays respect to the original film. De Palma's flick is dedicated to the original film’s director, Howard Hawks, and screenwriter, Ben Hecht.

2. IT COULD HAVE BEEN A SIDNEY LUMET FILM.

At one point in the film's production, Sidney Lumet—the socially conscious director of such classics as Dog Day Afternoon and 12 Angry Men—was brought on as its director. "Sidney Lumet came up with the idea of what's happening today in Miami, and it inspired Bregman," Pacino told Empire Magazine. "He and Oliver Stone got together and produced a script that had a lot of energy and was very well written. Oliver Stone was writing about stuff that was touching on things that were going on in the world, he was in touch with that energy and that rage and that underbelly."

3. OLIVER STONE WASN'T INTERESTED IN WRITING THE SCRIPT, UNTIL LUMET GOT INVOLVED.


Universal Home Video

Producer Bregman offered relative newcomer Oliver Stone a chance to overhaul the screenplay, but Stone—who was still reeling from the box office disappointment of his film, The Hand—wasn't interested. "I didn’t like the original movie that much," Stone told Creative Screenwriting. "It didn’t really hit me at all and I had no desire to make another Italian gangster picture because so many had been done so well, there would be no point to it. The origin of it, according to Marty Bregman, [was that] Al had seen the '30s version on television, he loved it and expressed to Marty as his long time mentor/partner that he’d like to do a role like that. So Marty presented it to me and I had no interest in doing a period piece."

But when Bregman contacted Stone again about the project later, his opinion changed. "Sidney Lumet had stepped into the deal," Stone said. "Sidney had a great idea to take the 1930s American prohibition gangster movie and make it into a modern immigrant gangster movie dealing with the same problems that we had then, that we’re prohibiting drugs instead of alcohol. There’s a prohibition against drugs that’s created the same criminal class as (prohibition of alcohol) created the Mafia. It was a remarkable idea."

4. UNFORTUNATELY, ACCORDING TO STONE, LUMET HATED HIS SCRIPT.

While the chance to work with Lumet was part of what lured Stone to the project, it was his script that ultimately led to the director's departure from the film. According to Stone: "Sidney Lumet hated my script. I don’t know if he’d say that in public himself, I sound like a petulant screenwriter saying that, I’d rather not say that word. Let me say that Sidney did not understand my script, whereas Bregman wanted to continue in that direction with Al."

5. STONE HAD FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE WITH THE SUBJECT MATTER.

In order to create the most accurate picture possible, Stone spent time in Florida and the Caribbean interviewing people on both sides of the law for research. "It got hairy," Stone admitted of the research process. "It gave me all this color. I wanted to do a sun-drenched, tropical Third World gangster, cigar, sexy Miami movie."

Unfortunately, while penning the screenplay, Stone was also dealing with his own cocaine habit, which gave him an insight into what the drug can do to users. Stone actually tried to kick his habit by leaving the country to complete the script so he could be far away from his access to the drug.

"I moved to Paris and got out of the cocaine world too because that was another problem for me," he said. "I was doing coke at the time, and I really regretted it. I got into a habit of it and I was an addictive personality. I did it, not to an extreme or to a place where I was as destructive as some people, but certainly to where I was going stale mentally. I moved out of L.A. with my wife at the time and moved back to France to try and get into another world and see the world differently. And I wrote the script totally f***ing cold sober."

6. BRIAN DE PALMA DIDN'T WANT TO AUDITION MICHELLE PFEIFFER.


Universal Home Video

De Palma was hesitant to audition the relatively untested Pfeiffer because at the time she was best known for the box office bomb Grease 2. Glenn Close, Geena Davis, Carrie Fisher, Kelly McGillis, Sharon Stone and Sigourney Weaver were all considered for the role of Elvira, but Bregman pushed for Pfeiffer to audition and she got the part.

7. YES, THERE IS A LOT OF SWEARING.

According to the Family Media Guide, which monitors profanity, sexual content, and violence in movies, Scarface features 207 uses of the “F” word, which works out to about 1.21 F-bombs per minute. In 2014, Martin Scorsese more than doubled that with a record-setting 506 F-bombs thrown in The Wolf of Wall Street.

8. TONY MONTANA WAS NAMED FOR A FOOTBALL STAR.

Stone, who was a San Francisco 49ers fan, named the character of Tony Montana after Joe Montana, his favorite football player.

9. TONY IS ONLY REFERRED TO AS "SCARFACE" ONCE, AND IT'S IN SPANISH.

Hector, the Colombian gangster who threatens Tony with the chainsaw, refers to Tony as “cara cicatriz,” meaning “scar face” in Spanish.

That chainsaw scene, by the way, was based on a real incident. To research the movie, Stone embedded himself with Miami law enforcement and based the infamous chainsaw sequence on a gangland story he heard from the Miami-Dade County police.

10. VERY LITTLE OF THE FILM WAS ACTUALLY SHOT IN MIAMI.

The film was originally going to be shot entirely on location in Miami, but protests by the local Cuban-American community forced the movie to leave Miami two weeks into production. Besides footage from those two weeks, the rest of the movie was shot in Los Angeles, New York, and Santa Barbara.

11. ALL THAT "COCAINE" LED TO PROBLEMS WITH PACINO'S NASAL PASSAGES.

Though there has long been a myth that Pacino snorted real cocaine on camera for Scarface, the "cocaine" used in the movie was supposedly powdered milk (even if De Palma has never officially stated what the crew used as a drug stand-in). But just because it wasn't real doesn't mean that it didn't create problems for Pacino's nasal passages. "For years after, I have had things up in there," Pacino said in 2015. "I don't know what happened to my nose, but it's changed."

12. PACINO'S NOSE WASN'T HIS ONLY BODY PART TO SUFFER DAMAGE.

Still of Al Pacino as Tony Montana in 'Scarface' (1983)
Universal Home Video

In the film's very bloody conclusion, Montana famously asks the assailants who've invaded his home to "say hello to my little friend," which happens to be a very large gun. That gun took a beating from all the blanks it had to fire, so much so that Pacino ended up burning his hand on its barrel. "My hand stuck to that sucker," he said. Ultimately, the actor—and his bandaged hands—had to sit out some of the action in the last few weeks of production.

13. STEVEN SPIELBERG DIRECTED A SINGLE SHOT.

De Palma and Spielberg had been friends since the two began making studio movies in the mid-1970s, and they made a habit of visiting each other’s sets. Spielberg was on hand for one of the days of shooting the Colombians’ initial attack on Tony Montana’s house at the end of the movie, so De Palma let Spielberg direct the low-angle shot where the attackers first enter the house.

14. SOME COOL TECHNOLOGY WENT INTO THE GUN MUZZLE FLASHES.

In order to heighten the severity of the gunfire, De Palma and the special effects coordinators created a mechanism to synchronize the gunfire with the open shutter on the movie camera to show the huge muzzle flash coming from the guns in the final shootout.

15. SADDAM HUSSEIN WAS A FAN OF THE FILM.

The trust fund the former Iraqi dictator set up to launder money was called “Montana Management,” a nod to the company Tony uses to launder money in the movie.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
YouTube
arrow
entertainment
30 Cold, Hard Facts About Die Hard
YouTube
YouTube

What do you get when you mix one part action movie with one part holiday flick and add in a dash of sweaty tank top? Die Hard, John McTiernan’s genre-bending Christmas action masterpiece for the ages, which sees a badass NYPD cop take on a skyscraper full of bad guys in the midst of an office holiday party. Here are 30 things you might not know about the movie.

1. IT’S GOT A LITERARY BACKGROUND.

Think some action-loving Hollywood scribe came up with the concept for Die Hard? Think again. The movie is based on Roderick Thorp’s 1979 crime novel Nothing Lasts Forever, which is a sequel to his 1966 novel, The Detective. In 2013, Thorp’s long out-of-print book was resurrected to coincide with the film’s 25th anniversary.

2. IT WAS INSPIRED BY THE TOWERING INFERNO.

The idea for Nothing Lasts Forever was inspired John Guillermin’s 1974 disaster flick The Towering Inferno. After seeing the film, Thorp had a dream about a man being chased through a skyscraper by a group of men with guns. He eventually turned that snippet of an idea into a sequel to The Detective.

3. FRANK SINATRA GOT FIRST DIBS ON PLAYING THE ROLE OF JOHN MCCLANE.


Getty Images

Because he had starred in the big-screen adaptation of The Detective, Frank Sinatra had to be offered the role in its sequel. At the age of 73, he smartly turned it down.

4. BRUCE WILLIS’S BIG-SCREEN DEBUT WAS WITH FRANK SINATRA.

In 1980, Willis made his film debut (albeit uncredited) in the crime thriller The First Deadly Sin. He has no name and if you blink you’ll miss him, but the role simply required that Willis entered a diner as Sinatra’s character left it. Maybe it was kismet?

5. CLINT EASTWOOD PLANNED TO TAKE A STAB AT THE PART.

Originally, it was Clint Eastwood who owned the movie rights to Nothing Lasts Forever, which he had planned to star in in the early 1980s. That obviously never happened.

6. IT WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO BE A SEQUEL TO COMMANDO.

This is one of the most popular internet stories about Die Hard. But according to Stephen de Souza, the screenwriter of both Die Hard and Commando, while there was a sequel to Commando planned, the only similarity with Die Hard is that they both took place in buildings. According to de Souza, Escape Plan is the closest to his original Commando 2 idea and Die Hard was never supposed to be anything but Die Hard.

7. BRUCE WILLIS WASN’T EVEN THE STUDIO’S THIRD CHOICE FOR THE ROLE.

If Die Hard was to be a success, the studio knew they needed a bona fide action star in the part, so they set about offering it to a seemingly never-ending list of A-listers of the time. Rumor has it that Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, Robert De Niro, Charles Bronson, Nick Nolte, Mel Gibson, Richard Gere, Don Johnson, Burt Reynolds, and Richard Dean Anderson (yes, MacGyver!) were all considered for the role of John McClane. And all declined it.

8. BRUCE WILLIS WAS CONSIDERED A COMEDIC ACTOR AT THE TIME.

Die Hard’s producers had nothing against Bruce Willis, of course. He just wasn’t an immediate choice for the role because, up until that point, he was known solely as a comedic actor, not an action star. Following the success of the film, the action genre really became Willis’s bread and butter, and although he has two Emmys for his comedy work, it has remained as such to this day.

9. BRUCE WILLIS WAS BARELY EVEN SEEN ON THE MOVIE’S POSTERS.

Bruce Willis stars as John McClane in 'Die Hard.'
Twentieth Century Fox

Because the studio’s marketing gurus were unconvinced that audiences would pay to see an action movie starring the funny guy from Moonlighting, the original batch of posters for the film centered on Nakatomi Plaza instead of Willis’s mug. As the film gained steam, the marketing materials were altered, and Willis was more prominent in the promos.

10. WILLIS WAS PAID $5 MILLION TO MAKE THE MOVIE.

Even with all the uncertainly surrounding whether he could pull the film off, Willis was paid $5 million to make Die Hard, which was considered a rather hefty sum at the time—a figure reserved for only the top tier of Hollywood talents.

11. WILLIS SUGGESTED THAT BONNIE BEDELIA PLAY HIS WIFE.

Though we suspect that she wasn’t paid $5 million for the gig.

12. BRUCE WILLIS WAS ABLE TO SAY YES THANKS TO A WELL-TIMED PREGNANCY.

The first few times Bruce Willis was asked to star in the movie, he had to say no because of his commitments to Moonlighting. Then costar Cybill Shepard announced that she was pregnant. Because her pregnancy wouldn’t work within the show, producer Glenn Caron gave everyone 11 weeks off, allowing Willis to say yes.

13. SAM NEILL WAS ORIGINALLY APPROACHED FOR THE PART OF HANS GRUBER.

But Neill ended up turning the film down. Then, in the spring of 1987, the casting director saw Alan Rickman playing the dastardly Valmont in a stage production of Dangerous Liaisons and knew they had found their Hans.

14. DIE HARD WAS ALAN RICKMAN’S FEATURE FILM DEBUT.

Though Rickman may have played the part of Hans as cool as the other side of the pillow, it was actually his first role in a feature film.

15. JOHN MCTIERNAN TURNED THE MOVIE DOWN, TOO.

And not just once, but on a few different occasions. His reason was that the material just seemed too dark and cynical for him. “The original screenplay was a grim terrorist movie,” McTiernan told Empire magazine in 2014. “On my second week working on it, I said, 'Guys, there's no part of terrorism that's fun. Robbers are fun bad guys. Let's make this a date movie.’ And they had the courage to do it.”

16. MCTIERNAN SEES IT AS A SHAKESPEAREAN TALE.

In the original script, the action in Die Hard takes place over a three-day span, but McTiernan—inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream—insisted that it be condensed into a single evening.

17. NAKATOMI PLAZA IS ACTUALLY FOX PLAZA.


Yes, the corporate headquarters of 20th Century Fox—the very studio making the movie—proved to be the perfect location for the movie’s much-needed Nakatomi Plaza. And as it was still under construction, there wasn’t a whole lot they needed to do to the space to make it movie-ready. The studio charged itself rent to use its own space.

18. THE ROOM WHERE THE HOSTAGES ARE BEING HELD IS LITERALLY SUPPOSED TO BE FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT'S FALLINGWATER.

"In this period, Japanese corporations were buying America," production designer Jackson De Govia said in the Die Hard DVD audio commentary. "We posited that ... Nakatami Corporation bought Fallingwater, disassembled it, and reassembled it in the atrium, like a trophy."

19. THAT PANORAMIC VIEW OF THE CITY BELOW? IT’S NOT REAL.

A 380-foot-long background painting provided the illusion of a breathtaking city view in the movie. And it was a state-of-the-art one, too, with animated lights, moving traffic, and the ability to change from night to day. The painting is still the property of the studio and has been used in other productions since.

20. THE FILM’S SUCCESS SPAWNED A BONA FIDE FRANCHISE.

In addition to its four sequels, Die Hard has spawned video games and comic books, too.

21. JOHN MCCLANE’S TUMBLE DOWN A VENTILATION SHAFT WAS AN ACCIDENT.

Or maybe “error” would be a better word. But in the scene in which McClane jumps into an elevator shaft, his stunt man was supposed to grab onto the first vent. But he missed. By a lot. Which made the footage even more exciting to watch, so editor Frank J. Urioste kept it in the final cut.

22. ALAN RICKMAN’S DEATH SCENE WAS ALSO PRETTY SCARY.

At least it was for Rickman. In order to make it look as if he was falling off a building, Rickman was supposed to drop 20 feet onto an air bag while holding onto a stunt man. But in order to get a genuinely terrified reaction out of him, they dropped him on the count of two—not three, as was planned.

23. BRUCE WILLIS SUFFERED PERMANENT HEARING LOSS.


Twentieth Century Fox

In order to get the hyper-realism that director John McTiernan was looking for, the blanks used in the guns in the movie were modified to be extra loud. In one scene, Willis shoots a terrorist through a table, which put the action star in extremely close proximity to the gun—and caused permanent hearing loss. He referenced the injury in a 2007 interview with The Guardian. When they asked Willis his most unappealing habit, he replied that, “Due to an accident on the first Die Hard, I suffer two-thirds partial hearing loss in my left ear and have a tendency to say, ‘Whaaa?’”

24. ALAN RICKMAN WASN’T FOND OF THE NOISE EITHER.

Whenever he had to shoot a gun in the film, Rickman couldn’t help but flinch. Which forced McTiernan to have to cut away from him so that his reactions were not caught on film.

25. GRUBER’S AMERICAN ACCENT POSED NOTHING BUT PROBLEMS.

The scene in which Rickman, as Gruber, slips into an American accent and pretends to be yet another hostage who got away was insisted on by screenwriter Steven de Souza, who wanted them in a room together to duke it out. But McTiernan was never happy with Rickman’s American accent, saying, “I still hear Alan Rickman’s English accent. I was never quite happy with the way he opened his mouth [in that scene] ... I shot it three times trying to get him to sound more stridently American ... it’s odd for someone who has such enormous verbal skills; he just had terrible trouble getting an American accent.”

26. HANS GRUBER’S GERMAN IS MOSTLY GIBBERISH.

And the bulk of his German cohorts were not German either. Bruce Willis, on the other hand, was actually born in West Germany to an American father and a German mother.

27. BRUCE WILLIS HAS FOUR FEET.

As Willis spends much of the movie in his bare feet running through broken glass, he was given a pair of rubber feet to wear as a safety precaution. Which is great and all, but if you look closely in certain scenes, you can actually see the fake appendages.

28. YOU CAN SEE—BUT NOT TOUCH—JOHN MCCLANE’S SWEATY TANK TOP.


Getty Images

In 2007, Willis donated the blood-soaked tank top he wore in Die Hard to the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian.

29. “YIPPEE-KI-YAY” STOLE THE MOVIE.

It was a simple line: “Yippee-ki-yay, motherf*cker!” But it became the film’s defining moment, and the unofficial catchphrase that has been used in all four Die Hard sequels as well.

30. CREDIT FOR THE LINE IS OWED TO WILLIS.

In a 2013 interview with Ryan Seacrest, Bruce Willis admitted that “Yippee-ki-yay, motherf*cker!” was really just a joke. “It was a throwaway,” said Willis. “I was just trying to crack up the crew and I never thought it was going to be allowed to stay in the film."

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios