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Posted by bender 03/19/2009 @ 16:08

Tags : imaginarium, museums, fine arts

News headlines
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus -
Heath Ledger's last film, Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, is a potty, overcooked film. Rating * * * By Sukhdev Sandhu Friday morning screenings in the final week at Cannes don't always get big crowds. People are tired....
Heath Ledger Woos Women, Israeli Arab Looks Back: Cannes Movies - Bloomberg
Instead, “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” opened last week at the Cannes Film Festival, with Ledger's performance a highlight -- irrespective of circumstance -- and his part completed by Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell....
New 'Cowboy Astronomer' show at WCC's Imaginarium - Honolulu Advertiser
Windward Community College announces the debut of Hokulani Imaginarium's newest show, "Cowboy Astronomer" on Friday, June 12 at 7:00 pm "Cowboy Astronomer", an engaging planetarium program that integrates storytelling with astronomical exploration,...
First Clip of Heath Ledger in 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' -
Everyone loves to bring up The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus since it marks Heath Ledger's final on screen performance, and at the same time everyone loves to act as if Terry Gilliam has always been one of their favorite directors....
India's PVR Pictures stocks up on Cannes titles -
PVR also acquired Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus from Mandate International; Shana Feste's The Greatest, starring Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon, from Kimmel International, and Martin Campbell's Edge Of Darkness, starring Mel...
The Imaginarium offering package pricing, new film - Florida Weekly
The Imaginarium Hands-On Museum & Aquarium is now offering package pricing for ease of admission and the convenience of guests. The admission package to the Imaginarium includes the film "SOS Planet," handson fun shows, the "Sea-to-See" touch tank...
At Quieter Cannes, Industry Execs Speculate Worst Has Passed - Wall Street Journal
High-budget films for sale, such as the ancient Egypt epic “Agora” and Terry Gilliam's “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus,” were deemed more costly than the marketplace could bear. Acquisition executives said those films would likely find deals...
SUMMER CAMPS - Florida Weekly
The Imaginarium Hands-On Museum & Aquarium and the Southwest Florida Museum of History are hosting a variety of summer camp experiences. Camp Imaginarium and Fun at the Fort offer fun and exciting camp sessions filled with educational hands-on...
Terry Gilliam on Heath Ledger's death and The Imaginarium of ... - Times Online
And after the death of his star Heath Ledger last year, Gilliam came very close to giving up on his latest film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. A lesser man would have crumbled into retirement by now. So what is Gilliam's secret?...
'Heroes in Action! exhibit debuts at The Imaginarium in Fort Myers - Florida Weekly
The Imaginarium Hands-On Museum & Aquarium will host its newest traveling exhibit, "Heroes in Action!," beginning May 15. People of all ages will enjoy the opportunity to explore the world of emergency services personnel through dioramas,...


The Imaginarium is a small science museum (a "science discovery center", in its own words) in downtown Anchorage in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is the only such hands-on science museum in Alaska and is a popular destination, especially for children, with over 50,000 visitors annually.

The Imaginarium Hands-On Museum and Aquarium is a science Museum and small aquarium in Ft. Myers, Florida. It is a popular destination featuring science exhibits, a 3-D theatre, dinosaurs, aquarium displays, a touch tank with stingrays and more.

The Imaginarium of Devonport, Tasmania is also a hands on museum, with different experiments. This place is a place of interest and is roughly to receive 5,000 visitors annually.

Imaginarium also refers to a place or state of mind in which imagining takes place, analogous to aquarium, planetarium, etc.

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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is an upcoming fantasy film directed by Terry Gilliam and written by Gilliam and Charles McKeown. In the film, the leader of a travelling theatre troupe, through a deal with the Devil, takes audience members through a magical mirror to explore their imaginations. Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits, and the late Heath Ledger star in the film, though Ledger's death one-third of the way through filming caused production to be temporarily suspended. Ledger's role was recast with Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell portraying transformations of Ledger's character Tony as he travels through a dream world. The projected release date for this film so far is June 6, 2009, although it is not likely to be released until September 24, 2009. It is now in post-production. The film has received a PG-13 rating for "violent images, some sensuality, language, and smoking" on the week of February 23.

In the present day, immortal 1,000-year-old Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) leads a travelling theatre troupe that offers audience members a chance to go beyond reality through a magical mirror in his possession. Members of the troupe include a sleight of hand expert, Anton (Andrew Garfield), and a dwarf, Percy (Verne Troyer); Parnassus had been able to guide the imagination of others through a deal with the Devil (Waits), who now comes to collect on the arrangement, targeting the doctor's daughter (Lily Cole). The troupe, which is joined by a mysterious outsider named Tony (portrayed by Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell), embark through parallel worlds to rescue the girl.

Director Terry Gilliam and screenwriter Charles McKeown wrote the script for The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, their first collaboration since The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988). Gilliam described the premise as a "fun and humorous story about the consequences of our personal choices in life", and explained his goal for the film: "It's autobiographical. I'm trying to bring a bit of fantasticality to London, an antidote to modern lives. I loved this idea of an ancient traveling show offering the kind of storytelling and wonder that we used to get, to people who are just into shoot-em-up action films." Gilliam and McKeown based the character of Tony on former British prime minister Tony Blair, who "would say the most insane things and probably he'd believe them himself".

The film received a budget of $30 million, considered unusually high for an independent production. Production began in December 2007 in London, at landmarks such as Battersea Power Station, Tower Bridge, and St. Paul's Cathedral. Production for the remainder was planned to be done in Vancouver. Gilliam finished the edit by November 2008, and work began on creating 647 effects shots.

On 22 January 2008, production of the film was disrupted following the death of Heath Ledger in New York City. Ledger's involvement had been a "key factor" in the film's financing. Gilliam was presiding over concept art when he received the phonecall that told Ledger had died; his initial thought was "The film's over, it's as simple as that." Although production was suspended indefinitely by January 24, according to Christopher Plummer, who plays Doctor Parnassus, Gilliam, determined to "salvage" the film, initially considered using computer-generated imagery to make Heath Ledger's character magically change his appearance, perhaps into another character, in order to keep his final work in the film, and, if the film were made, would dedicate it to Ledger. The imagery would be similar to transformation techniques seen on Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and those employed to Roy Scheider in his posthumous release Iron Cross.

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Terry Gilliam

Terry Gilliam KVIFF.jpg

Terrence Vance Gilliam (born 22 November 1940) is an American-born British writer, filmmaker, animator and member of the Monty Python comedy troupe. Gilliam is also known for directing several well-regarded films including Brazil (1985), Twelve Monkeys (1995), and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998).

He is the only "Python" not born in Britain, but gained British citizenship in 1968.

Gilliam was born in Medicine Lake, Minnesota. His father was a traveling salesman for Folgers before becoming a carpenter. Gilliam has two siblings: a sister two years younger, and a brother ten years younger.

The family moved to California because of his sister's bout of pneumonia. Gilliam attended Birmingham High School where he was class president, senior Prom King, was voted "Most Likely to Succeed", and got straight A's. During high school, he discovered Mad magazine, which was then edited by Harvey Kurtzman; this later influenced his work.

Following high school, he attended Occidental College, at first studying physics, then switching to fine arts before finally majoring in political science. Gilliam contributed to the college magazine, Fang, becoming the editor during his junior year and turning it into a tribute to Kurtzman, to whom he later sent copies. While in college, Gilliam was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. After finishing college, Gilliam worked briefly for an advertising agency before Kurtzman offered him a job at Help! magazine.

Gilliam has been married to the British make-up and costume designer Maggie Weston (who worked on Flying Circus, many of the Python movies and Gilliam's movies up to The Adventures of Baron Munchausen) since 1973. The two have had three children, Amy (b. 1978), Holly (b. 1980), and Harry (b. 1988), who have also appeared in several of Gilliam's films.

In 1968, Gilliam obtained British citizenship and held a dual American and British citizenship for 38 years. In January 2006, he renounced his American citizenship. In an interview with Der Tagesspiegel he described the action as a protest against U.S. President George W. Bush, but in an earlier interview with The Onion AV Club he also indicated that it was related to concerns about future tax liability for his wife and children. As a result of renouncing his citizenship, Gilliam is only permitted to spend 30 days per year in the United States, fewer than ordinary British citizens. Gilliam also maintains a residence in Italy near the Umbria-Tuscany border. He has been instrumental in establishing the annual Umbria Film Festival, held in the nearby hill town of Montone.

Terry Gilliam started his career as an animator and strip cartoonist; one of his early photographic strips for Help! featured future Python cast-member John Cleese. Moving to England, he animated features for Do Not Adjust Your Set, which also featured future Pythons Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin.

Gilliam was a part of Monty Python's Flying Circus since its outset, at first credited as an animator (his name was listed separately after the other five in the closing credits), later as a full member. His cartoons linked the show's sketches together, and defined the group's visual language in other media (such as LP and book covers, and the title sequences of their films).

More frequently, he played parts that no one else wanted to play (generally because they required a lot of make-up or uncomfortable costumes, such as a recurring knight in armour who would end sketches by walking on and hitting one of the other characters over the head with a plucked chicken) and took a number of small roles in the films, including Patsy in Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the jailer in Life of Brian.

Gilliam's surreal animations for Monty Python have a distinctive style. He mixed his own art, characterized by soft gradients and odd, bulbous shapes, with backgrounds and moving cutouts from antique photographs, mostly from the Victorian era.

Gilliam went on to become a motion picture writer and director.

His films are usually highly imaginative fantasies. Most of Gilliam's movies include plot-lines that seem to occur partly or completely in the characters' imaginations, raising questions about the definition of identity and sanity. He often shows his opposition to bureaucracy and authoritarian regimes. He also distinguishes "higher" and "lower" layers of society, with a disturbing and ironic style. His movies usually feature a fight or struggle against a great power which may be an emotional situation, a human-made idol, or even the person himself, and the situations do not always end happily. There is often a dark, paranoid atmosphere and unusual characters who formerly were normal members of society. His scripts feature black comedy and often end with a dark tragicomic twist.

His films have a distinctive look, often recognizable from just a short clip; Roger Ebert has said "his world is always hallucinatory in its richness of detail." There is often a baroqueness about the movies, with, for instance, high-tech computer monitors equipped with low-tech magnifying lenses in Brazil, and in The Fisher King a red knight covered with flapping bits of cloth. He also is given to incongruous juxtapositions of beauty and ugliness, or antique and modern. Most of his movies are shot almost entirely with extremely wide lenses of 28 mm focal length or less, and extremely deep focus.

Gilliam has made a few extremely expensive movies beset with production problems. After the lengthy quarreling with Universal Studios over Brazil, Gilliam's next picture, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen cost around US$46 million, and then earned only about US$8 million in US ticket sales, as it saw no wide domestic release due to financial issues at Columbia Pictures, which was in the process of being sold at the time.

In the mid-1990s, Gilliam and Charles McKeown developed a script for Time Bandits 2; the project never came to be, as several of the original actors had died. He also attempted to direct a version of Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, which collapsed due to disagreements over its budget and choice of lead actor.

In 1999, Gilliam attempted to film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, budgeted at US$32.1 million, among the highest-budgeted films to use only European financing; but in the first week of shooting, the actor playing Don Quixote (Jean Rochefort) suffered a herniated disc, and a flood severely damaged the set. The film was canceled, resulting in an insurance claim worth US$15 million. Despite the cancellation, the story behind the whole production was filmed by a second crew hired by Gilliam to document the process. This production story was made into the documentary Lost in La Mancha. In recent years, both Gilliam and the film's co-lead, Johnny Depp, have expressed interest in reviving the project. However, the insurance company involved in the failed first attempt withheld the rights to the screenplay for several years. The production was finally restarted in 2008.

Gilliam has attempted twice to adapt Alan Moore's Watchmen comics into a film. Both attempts (in 1989 and 1996, respectively) were unsuccessful. Most recently, unforeseeable problems again befell a Gilliam project when actor Heath Ledger died in New York City during the filming of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

Gilliam has encountered some successes though. His first successful feature, Time Bandits (1981), earned more than eight times its original budget even just in the US, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) was nominated for four Academy Awards (and won, among other European prizes, three BAFTA Awards), The Fisher King (1991) (his first film to not feature a member from Python) was nominated for five, and Twelve Monkeys went on to take over US$168 million worldwide whilst The Brothers Grimm, despite a mixed critical reception, grossed over US$105 million worldwide. However, according to Box Office Mojo, his films have grossed an average of $26,009,723.

Gilliam has shown a propensity to work with particular actors in numerous productions. These include all of his fellow Monty Python alumni (Chapman, Cleese, Idle, Jones, and Palin), as well as Jeff Bridges, Johnny Depp, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Michael Jeter, Simon Jones, Heath Ledger, Charles McKeown, Derrick O'Connor, Christopher Plummer, Jonathan Pryce, Jack Purvis, Peter Vaughan, Jim Broadbent, and Robin Williams.

Despite the rumors, Gilliam has stated that he will never direct any Potter film.

In 2002, Gilliam directed a series of television advertisements called The Secret Tournament. The advertisements were part of Nike's World Cup campaign and featured a secret three-on-three tournament between the world's best players inside a huge tanker ship, with the Elvis Presley song A Little Less Conversation playing during the advertisements. The advertisements were hugely popular and critically acclaimed.

In 2006, Gilliam directed the stage show Slava's Diabolo created and staged by Russian clown artist Slava Polunin. The show combines Polunin's clown style, characterized by deep non-verbal expression and interaction with the audience, with Gilliam's rich visuals and surrealistic imagery. The show premiered at the Noga hall of the Gesher theater in Jaffa, Israel.

Gilliam has several projects in various states of development, including an adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's comic fantasy novel Good Omens. Other projects Gilliam has been trying to get off the ground since the 1990s are an adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities (starring Mel Gibson), an adaptation of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain (which has been adapted into movies several times before), and a script entitled The Defective Detective that Gilliam has co-authored with Richard LaGravenese (who wrote Gilliam's The Fisher King before).

After regaining the rights to the screenplay of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote Gilliam restarted pre-production in 2008, with Johnny Depp still attached to the project. The film will be reshot completely, and Rochefort's role will be recast. Michael Palin reportedly entered talks with Gilliam to step in for Rochefort and play Don Quixote. Main production start is planned for 2009.

On 23 January 2007, Gilliam announced that he had been working on a new project with writing partner Charles McKeown. One day later, the fansite Dreams reported that the new project was entitled The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. On 3 October 2007, Dreams confirmed that Gilliam's next project will be Imaginarium, slated to star Christopher Plummer and Tom Waits, and scheduled for release in 2009. Production began in December 2007 in London.

On 22 January 2008, production of the film was disrupted following the death of Heath Ledger in New York City. Variety reports that Ledger's involvement had been a "key factor" in the film's financing. Although production was suspended indefinitely by 24 January, Gilliam has now completed principal photography, the major task now being the completion of the visual effects. The director has stated his intention to dedicate the film to Ledger. In February 2008 actors Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell reportedly signed on to continue Ledger's role, transforming into multiple incarnations of his character in the "magical" world of the film.

On January 24, 2009, it was announced that Gilliam would direct a project entitled Zero Theorem, produced by Richard D. Zanuck, and set to star Billy Bob Thornton. With a screenplay by Pat Rushin, the film is about a reclusive computer genius who is working on a project which deals with the absurdity of the meaning of life. Filming is set to start on May 1, 2009.

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Militari Shopping

Besides the hypermarket Auchan and Praktiker store, the other hosts 61 shops, bringing the first on the Romanian market several international brands. Decathlon, a world leader in the marketing of sports equipment, opens in Militari Shopping biggest store profile in Romania, with over 5,000 articles. C & A, Mladinska and Imaginarium are other international brands that have chosen this commercial center to enter the Romanian market. Well-known name in fashion, New Yorker, is the first time in Bucharest Militari Shopping.

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Laredo, Texas

In 2003, the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Fine Arts Center opened on the Laredo Community College campus. It hosts both student and community events.

Laredo (pronounced /ləˈreɪdoʊ/ "luh-RAID-o" in English, in Spanish) is the county seat of Webb County, Texas, United States, located on the north bank of the Rio Grande (Río Bravo) in South Texas, across from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. According to the 2007 census estimate, the city population was 217,506. Laredo is part of the Laredo-Nuevo Laredo Metropolitan Area with an estimate population of 718,073. Laredo's economy is based on international trade with Mexico. It is the largest inland port in the United States. Most major transportation companies have a facility in Laredo. Laredo's location along the southern end of I-35 close to the manufacturers in North Mexico promotes its vital role in trade between the United States and Mexico.

Laredo has the distinction of flying seven flags (the Flag of the Republic of Rio Grande in addition to the the Six Flags of Texas). Founded in 1755, Laredo grew from a villa to the capital of the brief Republic of the Rio Grande to the largest inland port on the United States-Mexican Border. Today, it has four international bridges and one railway bridge. Laredo's weather is semi-arid during the summer and mild during the winter.

Laredo International Airport is within the Laredo city limits, while the Quetzalcoatl International Airport is nearby in Nuevo Laredo in Mexico. The city has three professional sports teams: the Bucks, Broncos, and Heat. Texas A&M International University and Laredo Community College call Laredo home. The biggest festival, Washington's Birthday Celebration is held during February all month long, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists. The Jalapeño Festival, Stockmen's Ball, Princess Pocahontas Pageant, Mr. South Texas Luncheon, an air show, and two major parades are all held in conjunction with the Washington birthday events.

Villa de San Agustin de Laredo was founded in 1755 by Don Tomás Sánchez while the area was part of the Nuevo Santander region in the Spanish colony of New Spain. Villa de San Agustin de Laredo got its name from Laredo, Cantabria, Spain and in honor of Saint Augustine of Hippo. In 1840, Laredo was the capital of the independent Republic of the Rio Grande, set up in opposition Antonio López de Santa Anna and brought back into Mexico by military force. In 1846, during the Mexican-American War the town was occupied by the Texas Rangers. After the war, the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo ceded the land to the United States. A referendum was taken in the town, which voted to petition the American military government in charge of the area to return the town to Mexico. This petition was rejected, and the bulk of the population moved over the river into Mexican territory to found Nuevo Laredo. In 1849, the military set up Fort McIntosh (originally Camp Crawford). Laredo was rechartered as a city in 1852.

Laredo is one of the oldest border crossing points along the U.S.-Mexico border, and the nation's largest inland port of entry. In 2005, Laredo celebrated the 250th anniversary of its founding.

The origin of name of the original Spanish town of Laredo is unclear. Some scholars say the name stems from Glaretum which means "sandy, rocky place" others state that Laredo stems from a Basque word meaning "beautiful pastures". Laredo might also stem from the latin Larida which means gull.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 79.6 square miles (206.0 km²), of which, 78.5 square miles (203.2 km²) of it is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km²) of it (1.37%) is water.

Laredo is located on the west end of the Rio Grande Plains is south of the Edwards Plateau, Coastal Plains to the east, and Mexican Mountains to the west. The area consists of a few hills and flat land covered brush: grass lands, oak, and mesquite. The annual Cola Blanca Contest brings hunters from across the United States and Mexico.

Notable geographic features are the Rio Grande and Chacon Creek's man-made reservoir Lake Casa Blanca in Lake Casa Blanca International State Park. The lake is 371 acres (1.5 km2) of land and 1,650 acres (7 km2) of water. There are six major creeks Chacon Creek, San Ildefonso Creek, San Ygnacio Creek, Santa Isabel Creek, Sombrerillito Creek, and the Zacate Creek all of which drain into the Rio Grande. There are several man made reservoirs including: San Ildefonso Creek Lake (second largest reservoir), Sombrerillito Creek Lake (third largest reservoir), among other smaller lakes.

Laredo's weather is affected by the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains to the west and the Gulf of Mexico to the east and the Sonoran Desert of Northern Mexico; any moisture from the Pacific is cut-off by the Mexican mountain range. Its geographic location causes Laredo's weather to range from long periods of heat to sudden violent storms and tornadoes in a short period of time. Laredo is cold for south Texas standards during winter, the average daytime highs are around 66 °F (19 C) and overnight lows around 43 °F (6 C); although it is rare for snow to fall in Laredo, there was actually snow on the ground for a few hours on the morning of Christmas Day 2004.

Laredo experiences an average high temperature of about 99 °F (37 C), and an average low of about 75 °F (24 C) during summer, and 20 inches (510 mm) of rain per year. As Laredo sometimes undergoes drought, a water conservation ordinance was implemented in 2003.

Laredo places 88th in the top 100 cities in population in the United States. According to the census estimate of 2006, there were 231,470 people. In the 2005 estimate there were 99,675 males and 108,112 females living in 60,816 households, out of those 33,832 were owner occupied. The average household size has 3.69 occupants. The population density was 2,250.5 people per square mile (868.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 179,887 or 86.6% White, 1,012 or 0.5% African American, 599 or 0.3% Native American, 779 or 0.4% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 23,932 or 11.5% from other races, and 1,578 or 0.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino accounts for 197,198 or 94.9% of the population in terms of ethnicity.

The city's population is 35.5% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 15.8% from 45 to 64, and 7.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,019, and the median income for a family was $32,577. The per capita income for the city was $12,269. 29.2% of families were below the poverty line.

According to the United States Census Bureau, at a 2000 census, Laredo was the second fastest growing city in the United States, (Las Vegas, Nevada, having been first).

Laredo's municipal government is controlled by a strong city council-weak mayor system. The mayor presides over the city council, but he/she may only vote to break a tie. City Council elections are based on single-member districts and campaigns have no party affiliations. Nominally nonpartisan municipal elections are held in May of even-numbered years. The municipal government is administered by the city manager hired by the city council. All city elected offices have a four-year term and are nonpartisan though most officials have a party preference or affiliation. City council meetings are held on Mondays and can be viewed on the public access channel.

Laredo is served by two school districts: the Laredo Independent School District and the United Independent School District and eight private schools.

The Laredo Independent School District (LISD) serves the areas in central Laredo. The LISD high schools are Cigarroa High School, Martin High School, J. W. Nixon High School and the Laredo Early College High School. LISD also contains three magnet schools: Dr. Dennis D. Cantu Health Science Magnet School, LISD Magnet for Engineering and Technology Education, and Vidal M. Trevino School of Communications and Fine Arts.

The United Independent School District serves the rest of Laredo and northern Webb County. The UISD high schools are John B. Alexander High School, Lyndon B. Johnson High School, United High School, United South High School. UISD has three magnet schools: John B. Alexander Health Science Magnet, United Engineering Magnet, and the United South Business Magnet. There are thirty-nine schools within UISD and more are under construction and/or in the development stage. United ISD is one of the fastest growing districts in the state, serving almost forty thousand students and covering an area the physical size of Rhode Island.

Laredo is home to Laredo Community College and Texas A&M International University (TAMIU). The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has a campus in Laredo.

The Laredo Community College is a two-campus institution which offers two-year Associates Degrees. The main campus is located in west Laredo near the Rio Grande. The smaller but newer second campus, Laredo Community College South Campus, is located in south Laredo along United States Highway 83. The main campus is located at the western end of downtown Laredo on the land formerly known as Fort McIntosh. This fort played a major role in the development of Laredo as it served to protect Laredo's border from Indian raids in its early history. Several of the fort's old buildings were converted into classrooms, and then into nightclubs.

The Texas A&M International University is a 4/6 year university that offers Bachelors and Master's Degrees. On April 22, 2004,, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in Austin provided its approval for Texas A&M International University to grant its first Ph.D. in International Business Administration . TAMIU’s College of Business Administration has been named an outstanding business school in "The Princeton Review’s" “Best 282 Business Schools,” 2007 Edition, and ranked third in the nation for the category: “Greatest Opportunity for Minority Students.” The university's campus is located in Northeast Laredo along Loop 20. The university was once an extension of Texas A&I-Kingsville and later changed to Laredo State University. Prior to its current location along Loop 20, the university was housed on Laredo Community College's downtown campus grounds.

The University of Texas Health Science Center campus is located in East Laredo near U.S. Highway 59 and the Laredo Medical Center. The campus is an extension university from UTHSC in San Antonio, Texas. The university offers Doctoral Degrees in the medical and dental fields.

Laredo has four South Texas banking institutions Falcon International Bank, International Bank of Commerce, Laredo National Bank, and Texas Community Bank. As a result of Laredo's location in North America, Interstate Highway 35 / Mexican Federal Highway 85, the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), dozens of twin assembly plants, and dozens of import export agencies to expedite trade, Laredo is the largest inland port in the United States and Nuevo Laredo the largest in Latin America. Laredo is a shopping destination for Mexican shoppers from Northern Mexico.

More than 47 percent of United States international trade headed for Mexico and more than 36 percent of Mexican international trade crosses through the Laredo port of entry. Laredo's economy and lifestyle revolves around commercial and industrial warehousing, import, and export. As a major player of international trade, Laredo benefited from the passing of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The city's Laredo International Airport has non-stop flights to Houston, Dallas, and Las Vegas. The Laredo port of entry consists of five international bridges crossing the Rio Grande into the Mexican states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon.

As of October 2007, Laredo's labor market was in the following industries by percentage of number employed: Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (32%), Information (1%), Financial Activity (5%), Professional and Business Services (6%), Education and Health Services (15%), Leisure and Hospitality (10%), Government (23%), Mining and Construction (5%), Manufacturing (2%), and Other Services (2%).

Laredo has increased the number of non-agricultural jobs from 55,100 in January 1996 to 86,600 in October 2007. Laredo has experienced a higher job growth rate (2%-6.5%) than the state as a whole because of expanded international trade through the North American Free Trade Agreement. In 2007, Laredo experienced a job growth rate of 2.5%. As of October 2007, the Laredo unemployment rate was 4.1% or 3,700 unemployed persons as compared to 3.9% in Texas statewide. This is a significant drop since the mid-1990s when Laredo's unemployment was over 15%.

Laredo has had positive job market growth since the mid-1990s, setbacks in the Mining (oil/gas) industry shifted a few thousand workers to other industries such as international trade and construction. Many large employers in the oil and gas industries shut down operations in Laredo and across Texas and shifted to foreign countries. The same effect occurred in the garment industry (Levis and Haggar) along the Texas border area, but Laredo experienced the closing of the one and only garment-producing company (Barry) of about 300 workers. Laredo's strong job growth rate in retail and transportation services limited the adverse effects of long-term unemployment in the few massive layoffs of the late 1990s. Laredo's vulnerability continue to exist in international trade due to unforeseen changes to Mexico's economy, immigration laws (along with daily border crossings: shoppers and commercial trade) and terrorism as the result of September 11th.

The Washington's Birthday Celebration (WBCA) is a month long event that celebrates George Washington's Birthday. It was founded in 1898 by the Improved Order of the Red Men, local chapter Yaqui Tribe #59. It is the largest celebration of its kind in the United States with 400,000 attendees annually. The first celebration was a success and its popularity grew rapidly and in 1923 it received its state charter. In 1924, the Celebration featured its first Colonial Pageant, which featured thirteen young girls from Laredo, representing the thirteen original colonies. The celebration includes parades, a carnival, an air show, fireworks, live concerts, and a city-wide prom during which many of Laredo's elite dress in very formal attire. The related Jalapeño Festival is one of the United States' top 10 eating festivals.

Jamboozie is held in late January in downtown Laredo as part of the Washington Birthday Celebrations. Similar to New Orleans' Mardi Gras, the Jamboozie is a colorful event, with many people dressed in beads, masks, and flamboyant outfits.

The area around the Laredo Entertainment Center has experienced substantial growth in recent years. Besides new housing developments, the area includes Hal's Landing, a restaurant/arcade that serves as a popular nightspot on the weekends. Also in the area are the dance clubs Las Cananas and Club Tonic, an upscale gym, and a small yet popular cafe named Cuadros. In development next to the Laredo Entertainment Center is a new baseball field that will house the Laredo Broncos.

Around the Springfield area, several restaurant/bars have set up residence. Some of these places include Agave Azul, Cosmos, Old No.2, Bleu Room, and Lima Sol. This area has proven to be especially popular with the college crowd.

Lake Casa Blanca International State Park, located on Loop 20, contains a 1,680-acre (7 km2) artificial lake along with cooking out, camping, picnicking, lake swimming, skiing, boating, and mountain biking. The most popular recreational use of the lake is fishing. A boat ramp and fishing pier is available on the eastern side of the lake.The lake is a popular destination for winter Texans. The park was operated by the City of Laredo and Webb County before it was acquired by the state in 1990 and opened in March 1991.

Laredo has two 18-hole golf courses; the Laredo Country Club and the Casa Blanca Golf Course. The Laredo Country Club is an 18-hole private course that features 7,125 yards (6,515 m) of golf. The golf course has a rating of 74.6, a slope rating of 133, and has a par of 72. The country club was designed by Joseph S. Finger and was opened in 1983. The Casa Blanca Golf Course is an 18-hole course that features 6,590 yards (6,030 m) of golf. The golf course has a rating of 72.5, a slope rating of 125, and has a par of 72. The golf course was designed by Leon Howard and was opened in 1967. There is also an 18-hole country club across the border in Nuevo Laredo. The Club Campestre Riviera del Bravo in Nuevo Laredo is an 18-hole that features 6,325 yards (5,784 m) of golf. The golf course has a rating of 71.1 and has a par of 72.

The City of Laredo owns 8 recreational centers, 34 developed parks, 22 undeveloped parks or under construction, 5 baseball fields, and 4 plazas. The parks total area is 618 acres (2.50 km2).

A memorial honoring the forty-one Hispanic soldiers who have received the Congressional Medal of Honor was built in Laredo, Texas in 2002. The plaza was named after the only Laredo Congressional Medal of Honor recipient David B. Barkley. The David B. Barkley Plaza has a bronze statue of David B. Barkley and an American flag measuring 100ft by 50ft and is 308ft tall making it the tallest flagpole in the United States. The memorial is located at 27°30′22″N 99°30′8″W / 27.50611°N 99.50222°W / 27.50611; -99.50222 (David B. Barkley Plaza).

Republic of the Rio Grande Capitol Building Museum is located in the downtown historical district next to the historical La Posada Hotel. It was once the Republic of the Rio Grande Capitol building now showcases memorabilia from the short lived Republic of the Rio Grande. It displays pictures, books, and furniture from the 19th century Laredo area. It offers guided tours for school age children and adults year-round. Because of this Republic, Laredo had flown seven flags instead of the traditional Six Flags over Texas.

The Laredo Center for the Arts is located in downtown Laredo. The building houses three galleries: the Goodman Gallery, the Laredo Art League Gallery and the Lilia G. Martinez Gallery. The Center for the Arts, located in the former City Hall offices known as the Mercado, displays regional artwork and provides community events for children and adults. The Laredo Little Theater provides Laredoans with live stage performances. The theater also hosts comedians.

Imaginarium of South Texas (formerly Laredo Children's Museum), located in Mall del Norte, provides a hands-on experience with science, technology, and art for Laredo's youth. A second museum is planned on the Texas A&M International University campus.

The Nuevo Santander Museum Complex comprises restored buildings of Fort McIntosh, a historical collection of photographs of the fort, the main Guardhouse, which contains World War I (1914-1918) memorabilia, and a science and technology museum.

The Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center Planetarium is located on the Texas A&M International University Laredo campus. The Planetarium surrounds audiences in a dome with an accurate image of the night sky showing all the motions and cycles of the Sun, Moon, planets, and constellations in the sky creating a multi-media experience in revealing the wonders of the cosmos. The Planetarium introduces to you to a life-long acquaintance with the sky and an interpretion of the Universe that appeals to both the mind and eye. The Digistar 3 system at the TAMIU Planetarium takes audiences on a fantastic voyage through the cosmos and beyond.

The Laredo Public Library was first housed on the second floor of the City Hall, now known as the Market Hall, in 1916. In 1974, the Laredo Public Library moved to the historic Bruni Plaza in downtown Laredo. In 1993, the citizens of Laredo approved the construction of a new main library. The new main library opened its doors for the first time in February 1, 1998. The Laredo Public Library has a 60,000 sq ft (6,000 m2). main library and two branches that serve the City of Laredo. The main library is located in central Laredo and the Bruni Plaza Branch is located in downtown, and the Santo Niño Branch is located in south Laredo.

Laredo has many known nightlife establishments.

The F Lounge, formerly known as the F Bar, is a popular club located in central Laredo.

Another establishment is Hal's Landing located next to the Laredo Entertainment Center. Hal's is a full service restaurant with a bar, pool tables, and a large room filled with arcade games.

Laredo’s architecture is of Spanish Colonial, American, and Mexican flavor. Most of Laredo's Spanish colonial buildings are located in downtown Laredo. American architecture can be seen along Interstate Highway 35 and in the downtown area.

Heavily Roman Catholic in church affiliation, Laredo has impressive houses of worship in multiple denominations. The oldest congregation, San Agustin Cathedral in the downtown historic plaza, dates to the founding of the city in 1755. Other Catholic congregations included Our Lady of Guadalupe, an imposing structure in the inner-city at San Jorge Avenue and Callaghan Street, Blessed Sacrament and Christ the King, both in the Heights neighborhood, St. John Neumann church at Hillside Road and Springfield Avenue, San Martin de Porres at 1704 Sandman Street near the municipal water tower, and the large renovated St. Patrick's on Del Mar Boulevard. The Catholic diocese office, the headquarters of Bishop James Tamayo, is located on Corpus Christi Street north of Guadalupe Street.

The First United Methodist, the Presbyterian, and Episcopal congregations are located in the Heights neighborhood of south central Laredo. In 1963, First Baptist Church (pastor Ronald A. Scott) moved from downtown to the Heights neighborhood J. W. Nixon High School. The congregaton relocated on March 2, 2008, to a new structure on Bartlett Street north off Del Mar Boulevard.

A Mormon Church is situated at the intersection of Hillside Road and Cactus Drive. The city also has a Lutheran congregation and nondenominational Grace Bible Church off Hillside and Church of the Crossroads on International Boulevard. Another Baptist congregation, United Baptist (pastor Mike Barrera), is also on International. The First Assembly of God draws a large congregation to its sanctuary on McPherson Road. There are also Spanish-language congregations in nearly all denominations.

Doctor's Hospital is the second largest medical center in Laredo. The hospital complex is over 250,000-square-foot (23,000 m2) complex with 180 licensed beds in a 58-acre (230,000 m2) campus and is affiliated to Universal Health Services. It is located in Loop 20 in north Laredo. Behind the main building the Doctors Regional Cancer Treatment Center which offers comprehensive cancer services.

The Laredo Specialty Hospital is the fourth largest medical center in Laredo. It is owned by Ernest Health Inc. and was founded by Elmo Lopez, Jr., on May 22, 2006, and admitted its first patient within hours of operation. Although in operation, it did not hold a "Grand Opening" by Webb County until March 2007.

Laredo is home to the two-time President's Cup Champion Laredo Bucks hockey team, which play at the Laredo Entertainment Center. The Bucks' successful coach is the native Canadian Terry Ruskowski (born 1954). The Laredo Bucks are part of the Southeast Division of the Central Hockey League and were inaugurated in the 2002-2003 season. The Bucks were awarded Franchise of the Year in their first year of operation. The Laredo Bucks are the 2003-2004 and the 2005-2006 Central Hockey League President's Cup Champions as well as the 2003-04 Governors’ Cup Regular Season Champions. They have made the playoffs since the first year in play and have gone to the finals the past four years, setting a new CHL/WPHL record for consecutive Finals appearances and have won 2/4. They have also been the Southeast Division and Southern Conference Champions the last 4 years. The Laredo Bucks have also been in the top 5 every year since their inauguration in attendance.

The Laredo Heat is a United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League team. The team's home stadium is the Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex. The team was founded in 2004. It plays in the Mid-South Division of the Southern Conference In the 2006 season the Laredo Heat finished Runner-up yet made it only to the first round of the Open Cup. In the 2007 season, the Laredo Heat were the Southern Conference champions. And in 2007 Laredo heat won its first PDL Championship.

The Laredo Broncos are a baseball team in the independent United League and Texas Winter League. The Laredo Broncos plays its home games at Veterans Field, while its new state of the art baseball complex is built. The team was founded in 2005.

The Laredo Entertainment Center is located at Loop 20 and Jacaman Road. LEC is the home of the Laredo Bucks and the Laredo Lobos. The 178,000-square-foot (16,500 m2), $36.5 million facility seats 8,002 people for ice hockey and arena football, and up to 10,000 for concerts. It has 14 luxury suites, four meeting rooms and a private club for 200 charter members. It was completed in mid 2002 with the help of the Laredo sales tax increase of .25 percent. Sports that can be played at the LEC include Hockey, Arena Football, Indoor Soccer, Basketball, Wrestling, and Boxing. The arena also hosts many events such as The Laredo Hunting and Fishing Show, Miss Texas USA, Laredo Home and Garden Show, and high school graduation ceremonies. Well-known artists and bands have performed in the arena such as Tool, Aerosmith,KISS,Elton John, Styx, ZZ TOP, Ricky Martin, George Lopez, Enrique Iglesias and many more.

The Student Activity Center Sports Complex is located on State Highway 359. It is utilized for United Independent School District's students. It was built in 2004 and it contains the city's only artificial grass stadium. The SAC was also the home of the Laredo Heat. The capacity is 8,500. Sports played at the SAC include football, soccer, and baseball.

Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex (also known as Dustdevil Field and TAMIU Soccer Complex) was built in 2006 and renovated in 2007. The soccer complex is located in Laredo, Texas in the Texas A&M International University campus. The complex has two soccer stadiums with a seating capacity of 4,000 each. The Dustdevil Field is the new home stadium to the 2007 champion team Laredo Heat member of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL) and the TAMIU Dustdevils women and men's soccer teams member of the Heartland Conference, NCAA Division II.

Shirley Field is located next to the Civic Center and R&T Martin High School on San Bernardo Ave. It was built in 1937, along with Martin High School. Shirley Field is the location for outdoor athletics for Laredo Independent School District and also hosts the annual Border Olympics events. It seats between 5,000 and 10,000 fans with additional seating at the 2 endzones. Professional Mexican soccer teams have played various exhibition games here, notting that the real grass allows for "better" soccer games. The various sports played on the stadium are football, soccer and track & field events. Major renovations are slated for this historic stadium.

Krueger Field is located in north Laredo and is owned by United Independent School District. The stadium has a capacity of 3,000 and is used to play football and soccer high school games. It is home to United High School's and John B. Alexander High School's football and soccer teams.

Veterans Field is a baseball park which was previously known as West Martin Field. It is the home field for the Laredo Broncos. Its capacity is about 5,000. Major renovation is happening to update the 1950 ball park. Veterans Field was also the home to the five time champion Mexican Baseball League team Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos from 1985 to 2003. Veterans Field is also home to the Texas A&M International University's Heartland Conference NCAA Division II Dustdevils baseball team.

The Field of Dreams is the nickname of a current City of Laredo project in progress. The project consists of building a new Baseball field near the Laredo Entertainment Center (LEC). The project was first approved by the city council and was voted in favor of (with 61.32% of the votes in favor 38.68% against) constructing it with money collected by a .25% sales tax increase for the LEC since 2004 of which there is a surplus of about $15 million. The stadium will be home to the United Baseball League's Laredo Broncos. The stadium will be used for soccer leagues, youth and prep baseball games, along with other youth sports. The stadium will also be used for soccer leagues, youth and prep baseball games, along with other youth sports.

Prior to the construction of the Laredo Entertainment Center most major concerts and shows were performed at the Laredo Civic Center. The Laredo Civic Center complex has an auditoriums with 1,979 seats and a banquet and exihibit hall with 1,635 seats.

Laredo is served by the Laredo International Airport. Daily flights are available to Houston (George Bush Intercontinental Airport) and to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Tri-weekly flights to Las Vegas, Nevada are available. After Laredo Air Force Base closed in the mid-1970s, the federal government handed over the old air force base and property to the City of Laredo for a new municipal airport. From the mid-1970s until mid-1990s, the airport utilized a small terminal for passenger airline service and several old hangars for air cargo and private aircraft. A new state-of-the art passenger terminal was built along the newly constructed Loop 20 to accommodate larger jets and to increase passenger air travel through Laredo. Expansion of air cargo facilities, taxiways and aprons, air cargo carriers such as DHL, FedEx, UPS, BAX, and others have responded by adding commercial air cargo jet services. Laredo also has two medical helipads, at Laredo Medical Center and Doctor's Hospital.

El Metro is the mass transit system that operates in Laredo with 21 fixed routes and Paratransit services with approximately 4.6 million passengers per year. El Metro works with a fleet of over 47 fixed route buses, 2 trolleys and 18 Paratransit/El Lift vans. El Metro hub is located in downtown Laredo at El Metro Transit Center. The Center also houses Greyhound Bus Lines and provides fee-based daily parking for downtown shoppers and workers.

Rural transportation is provided by the Webb County operated "El Aguila Rural Transportation" (the Eagle) bus services. El Aguila provides fixed daily routes from Rural Webb County (Bruni, El Cenizo, Mirando City, Oilton, and Rio Bravo) to the downtown Laredo Transit Center.

During the month of January Laredo sponsors the Laredo International Sister Cities Festival which was founded in 2003. The festival is an internaional business, trade, tourism, and cultural expo. All of Laredo's sister cities are invited to participate. In 2004, the Laredo International Sister Cities Festival received the best overall Program award from the Sister Cities International. The following list is of Laredo's sister cities.

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Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp received a Hollywood Walk of Fame star on November 19, 1999.

Johnny Depp (born John Christopher Depp II, June 9, 1963) is an American actor known for his portrayals of offbeat, eccentric characters such as Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series and Edward Scissorhands.

He has collaborated with director and close friend Tim Burton in seven films, the most recent of which include Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) and the upcoming Alice in Wonderland. Depp garnered acclaim for his portrayals of real life figures such as Edward Wood, Jr., in Ed Wood.

Films featuring Depp have grossed over $2.2 billion at the United States box office and over $4.7 billion worldwide. Depp has been nominated for three Academy Awards and has won Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Depp was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, the son of Betty Sue Palmer (née Wells), a waitress, and John Christopher Depp, Sr., a civil engineer. He has one brother, Danny, and two sisters, Christie (now his personal manager) and Debbie. Depp has German, Cherokee (mostly from a great-grandmother), and Irish ancestry. According to biographies, the Depp family originated with a French Huguenot, Pierre Deppe or Dieppe, who settled in Virginia around 1700. Depp stated he did not know the origin of his surname and joked that the name translates to "idiot" in German, though it is actually a minor insult meaning "fool". The family moved frequently during Depp's childhood, and he and his siblings lived in more than 20 different locations, settling in Miramar, Florida, in 1970. In 1978, Depp's parents divorced. He engaged in self-harm as a child, due to the stress of dealing with family problems and his own insecurity. He has seven or eight scars from practicing self-harm. In a 1993 interview, he explained his self-injury by saying, "My body is a journal in a way. It's like what sailors used to do, where every tattoo meant something, a specific time in your life when you make a mark on yourself, whether you do it yourself with a knife or with a professional tattoo artist".

Depp's mother bought her son a guitar when he was 12, and Depp began playing in various garage bands. His first band was in honor of his girlfriend, Meredith. A year after his parents' divorce, Depp dropped out of high school to become a rock musician. As he once explained on Inside the Actors Studio, he attempted to go back to school two weeks later, but the principal told him to follow his dream of being a musician. He played with The Kids, a band that enjoyed modest local success. The Kids set out together for Los Angeles in pursuit of a record deal, changing their name to Six Gun Method. The group split before signing a record deal. Depp subsequently collaborated with the band Rock City Angels and co-wrote their song "Mary", which appeared on Rock City Angels' debut for Geffen Records titled Young Man's Blues.

On December 24, 1983, Depp married Lori Anne Allison, a makeup artist and sister of his band's bass player and singer. During Depp's marriage, his wife worked as a makeup artist while he worked a variety of odd jobs, including a telemarketer for ink pens. Later, his wife introduced him to actor Nicolas Cage, who advised Depp to pursue an acting career. In 1985, Depp and Allison divorced. After his marriage ended, Depp dated and was engaged to Sherilyn Fenn (whom he met on the set of the 1985 short film Dummies).

In 1994, Depp was arrested and questioned by police for allegedly causing serious damage to a New York City hotel suite. He was arrested again in 1999 for brawling with paparazzi outside a restaurant while dining in London with his girlfriend, Vanessa Paradis. Since 1998, Depp has had a relationship with Vanessa Paradis, a French actress and singer whom he met while filming The Ninth Gate.

The couple have two children. Daughter Lily-Rose Melody Depp was born May 27, 1999, Son John "Jack" Christopher Depp III was born April 9, 2002. In 2007, his daughter recovered from a serious illness, an E. coli infection that began to cause her kidneys to shut down and resulted in an extended hospital stay. However, earlier sources reported that she had blood poisoning due to stepping on a rusty tack.

Although Depp has not remarried, he has stated that having children has given him "real foundation, a real strong place to stand in life, in work, in everything." "You can't plan the kind of deep love that results in children. Fatherhood was not a conscious decision. It was part of the wonderful ride I was on. It was destiny; kismet. All the math finally worked." The family divides its time between their home in Meudon, located in the suburbs of Paris, Los Angeles, and their villa in Le Plan-de-la-Tour, a small town an hour and a half from Saint-Tropez, in the south of France. Depp also acquired a vineyard estate in the Plan-de-la-Tour area in 2007.

Depp has 13 tattoos, many of them signifying important persons or events in his life. They include an American Indian in profile and a ribbon reading "Wino Forever" (originally "Winona Forever", altered after his breakup with Winona Ryder) on his right biceps, "Lily-Rose" (his daughter's name) over his heart, "Betty Sue" (his mother's name) on his left biceps, and a sparrow flying over water with the word "Jack" (his son's name; the sparrow is flying towards him rather than away from him as it is in Pirates of the Caribbean) on his right forearm.

In 2003, Depp comments about the United States appeared in Germany's Stern magazine, commenting that "America is dumb, is something like a dumb puppy that has big teeth — that can bite and hurt you, aggressive." Although he later asserted that the magazine misquoted him and the quotation was taken out of context, Stern stood by its story, as did in its coverage of the interview. CNN added his remark that he would like his children "to see America as a toy, a broken toy. Investigate it a little, check it out, get this feeling and then get out." The July 17, 2006 edition of Newsweek reprinted the "dumb puppy" quotation, verbatim, within the context of a Letter to the Magazine. Depp has also disagreed with subsequent media reports that he says paint him as a "European wannabe" who enjoys the "simpler" life and anonymity that living in France provides.

Depp starred in a lead role on the FOX TV television series, 21 Jump Street, which premiered in 1987. Depp accepted this role because he wasn't getting much work in the business and wanted to work with actor Frederic Forrest, who inspired him. Later in the season, Depp's long time friend Sal Jenco joined the cast as a semi-co-star as the janitor named Blowfish. The series' success turned Depp into a popular teen idol during the late 1980s. He found the teen-idol status an irritant, noting that he felt "forced into the role of product" and that it was "a very uncomfortable situation and I didn't get a handle on it and it wasn't on my terms at all." Depp promised himself that after his contract on the series expired, he would only appear in films that he felt were right for him.

Depp's first major role was in the 1984 horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street, playing the heroine's boyfriend and one of Freddy's victims. In 1986, he also appeared in a secondary role as a Vietnamese-speaking private in Oliver Stone's Platoon. Depp then left his teen idol image in 1990, playing the quirky title role in the Tim Burton film, Edward Scissorhands. The film's success began a long association with Burton. Depp, an avid fan and long-time friend of writer Hunter S. Thompson, played a version of Thompson (named Raoul Duke) in 1998's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, based on the writer's pseudobiographical novel of the same name. Depp also accompanied Thompson as his road manager on one of the author's last book tours. In 2006, Depp contributed a personal foreword to Gonzo by Hunter S. Thompson, a posthumous visual biography of the writer's legacy published by A close friend of Thompson's, Depp paid for most of Thompson's memorial event, complete with fireworks and the shooting of Thompson's ashes by a cannon, in Aspen, Colorado, where Thompson lived.

Depp's film characters have been described by the press as "iconic loners," and Depp has noted that this period of his career was full of "studio defined failures" and films that were "box office poison," stating that he believes film studios never "understood" the films he appeared in and did not know how to market them properly. Depp has also said that he specifically chose to appear in films that he found personally interesting, rather than those he thought would succeed at the box office.

Depp's status as a major star was solidified with the success of the 2003 Walt Disney Pictures film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, for which his lead performance as the suave pirate Captain Jack Sparrow was highly praised. The performance was initially received negatively by the studio bosses who saw the film, but the character became popular with the movie-going public; in 2006, Depp's co-star from the sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean, Bill Nighy, described the role as probably being "one of the most popular performances of recent times." According to a survey taken by Fandango, Depp was also considered to be one of the main reasons audiences wanted to see the movie. The film's director, Gore Verbinski, has said that Depp's Jack Sparrow character closely resembles Depp's own personality, although Depp himself said that he modelled the character after Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. Depp, who has noted that he was "surprised" and "touched" at the positive reception given to the film, was nominated for an Academy Award for the role. In 2004, he was again nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, this time for playing Scottish author J. M. Barrie in the film Finding Neverland. Depp next starred as Willy Wonka in the 2005 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was a major success at the box office.

Depp returned to the character of Jack Sparrow for the sequel Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which opened on July 7, 2006 and grossed $135.5 million in the first three days of its U.S. release, breaking a box office record in reaching the highest weekend tally ever. The next sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean, At World's End, was released May 24, 2007; Depp has mentioned his attachment to his Captain Jack Sparrow character, specifying that Sparrow is "definitely a big part of me", and expressing his desire to portray the character in further sequels. Depp voiced Sparrow in the video game, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow.

As a child, Depp was obsessed with Dark Shadows, a gothic-themed soap opera that aired on ABC from 1966 to 1971. As a result, he accepted Warner Brothers proposal to make a film version of the show. In July 2007, a rights deal was struck with the estate of Dan Curtis, the show's producer/director. Depp and Graham King will produce the movie with David Kennedy, who ran Dan Curtis Productions inc. until Curtis died in 2006. Depp will also appear in a film version of writer Hunter S. Thompson's book, The Rum Diary, portraying the main character Paul Kemp. Depp's production company has also picked up the rights to the story of poisoned former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko. Depp signed on to play one incarnation of the Heath Ledger character in the 2009 film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus along with Jude Law and Colin Farrell. All three actors gave their salaries from the film to Ledger's daughter, Matilda. In upcoming films, he will portray the Mad Hatter in Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Disney Studios also announced that a fourth installment of the Pirates series is in development, in which Depp would reprise his Captain Jack Sparrow role.

Depp has collaborated with director and close friend Tim Burton in seven films, beginning with his breakout role in Edward Scissorhands (1990), opposite Winona Ryder and Vincent Price. His next role with Burton was in the 1994 film, Ed Wood. Depp later said that "within 10 minutes of hearing about the project, I was committed." At the time, the actor was depressed about films and filmmaking. By accepting this part it gave him a "chance to stretch out and have some fun", and working with Landau, "rejuvenated my love for acting".

Producer Scott Rudin once said, "Basically Johnny Depp is playing Tim Burton in all his movies," although Burton personally disapproved of the comment. Depp, however agrees with Rudin's statement. According to Depp, Edward Scissorhands represented Burton's inability to communicate as a teenager. Ed Wood reflected Burton's relationship with Vincent Price (very similar with Edward D. Wood Jr. and Bela Lugosi).

Depp did not work with Burton again until the 2005 release of two films, the first of which was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Depp modeled the character's hair on Anna Wintour. The film was a box office success and received positive critical reaction, although Gene Wilder, who played Willy Wonka in the 1971 film, initially opposed this version. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was released in July, followed by Corpse Bride, for which Depp voiced the character Victor Van Dort, in September.

He has referred to working with Burton as "coming home", and he wrote the introduction to Burton on Burton, a book of interviews with the director, in which he called Burton "...a brother, a friend,...and brave soul". The next Depp-Burton collaboration is the upcoming Alice in Wonderland (2010). Depp will play the Mad Hatter alongside long time collaborator Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway and Alan Rickman.

As a guitar player, Depp has recorded a solo album, played slide guitar on the Oasis song "Fade In-Out" (from Be Here Now, 1997), as well as on "Fade Away (Warchild Version)" (b-side of the "Don't Go Away" single). As well, he played acoustic guitar in the movie Chocolat and on the soundtrack to Once Upon a Time in Mexico. He is a friend of The Pogues' Shane MacGowan, and performed on MacGowan's first solo album. As well, he was a member of P, a group featuring Butthole Surfers singer Gibby Haynes and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea. He has appeared in Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' music video "Into the Great Wide Open".

Depp and Paradis grow grapes and have wine making facilities in their vineyard in Plan-de-la-Tour north of Saint-Tropez. Known for a fondness of French wines, among Depp's favourites are the Bordeaux wines Château Calon-Ségur, Château Cheval-Blanc and Château Pétrus, and the Burgundy wine Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Interviewed in Madame Figaro, Depp stated, "With those wines, you reach nirvana". Along with Sean Penn, John Malkovich and Mick Hucknall, Depp co-owns the Parisian restaurant-bar Man Ray, located near the Champs-Élysées.

Some of the awards that Depp has won include honors from the London Critics Circle (1996); Russian Guild of Film Critics (1998); Screen Actors Guild Awards (2004); and a Golden Globe for Best Actor. At the 2008 MTV Movie Awards, he won the award for "Best Villain" for his portrayal of Sweeney Todd and "Best Comedic Performance" for Jack Sparrow. Johnny has been nominated for three Academy Awards, in 2004 for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, in 2005 for Finding Neverland, and most recently in 2008 for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Depp Won his first Golden Globe for his portrayal of Sweeney Todd in 2008.

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Source : Wikipedia