Josh Brolin

Josh Brolin in Gangster Squad

Josh Brolin in “Gangster Squad”

Josh Brolin has climbed some mountains in his life; in many ways, he’s an explorer navigating his own path while he easily could have taken more commonly blazed trails. Son of James and Jane Agee Brolin, Josh was born in the California central coast town of Templeton in 1968. At first, young Brolin swore off acting, but couldn’t help himself from falling in love following his participation in a high school production of “A Streetcar Named Desire.” And so during his teen years, he made his film acting debut: as older brother Brand to Sean Astin’s Mikey in “The Goonies” in 1985.

While Josh displayed a strong on-screen presence in the Spielberg-produced adventure flick, the subsequent projects Josh chose to be a part of failed to claim any kind of faithful audience, cult or otherwise. He earned his pay through television, particularly in the three-season run of “The Young Riders” from 1989 to 1992, which featured Josh as a young Wild Bill Hickok and Stephen Baldwin as young Buffalo Bill Cody. Father James even tried his hand at directing some episodes. During the show’s run, Josh founded the Reflections Festival in Rochester, New York, a kind of symposium on theater, acting and directing. He was also busy raising a child, Trevor, with his wife Alice Adair; a daughter, Eden, was born to them in 1994.

Following “The Young Riders,” Josh bounced around on some short-lived shows before his appearance in “Flirting with Disaster” in 1996 as a government agent who arrests Ben Stiller. The David O. Russell film did much to further launch Stiller’s burgeoning career, as well as Tea Leoni’s and Patricia Arquette’s. Many thought the same would happen with Josh’s career. And yet things like “Mimic,” “The Mod Squad” and “Hollow Man” followed. His marriage to Alice Adair ended in the first half of the decade, and a romance with Minnie Driver blossomed and then fizzled when she dumped Josh in 2001. Barbara Streisand became Josh’s stepmother in 1998. A return to television as the title character of “Mr. Sterling” lasted nine episodes in 2003. A year later, Josh’s personal life took a dramatic turn when he wedded Diane Lane in August. In December, Josh was arrested for domestic battery, but Ms. Lane did not press charges.

At last, Josh reached 2007. In April, “Grindhouse” was released in theaters, featuring Josh in heavy makeup as Dr. William Block in Robert Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror.” During the filming, Josh got some help in preparing an audition tape to send the Coen Brothers for their upcoming production of “No Country for Old Men.” Josh had Tarantino direct him in a couple scenes and Rodriguez shoot it. The Coen Brothers called, but not to hire Josh: they wanted to know who lit the audition. But Josh was keeping plenty busy. He has a small role in Paul Haggis’ “In the Valley of Elah” with Tommy Lee Jones, and in early November appeared in Ridley Scott’s 1970s crime epic “American Gangster” as New York detective Trupo. “No Country for Old Men” came shortly after. The Coen Brothers relented after Josh’s agent doggedly pursued them to meet him, and the result is Josh’s stunning performance as Moss, keeping one step ahead of Javier Bardem. Approaching 40, Josh Brolin is at a pivotal juncture in his career. While he claims he’s nothing close to a discovery, what his next projects will be will determine if he is indeed among the natural heavy hitters.

Get the latest on Josh by following our Josh Brolin tag.

Josh on the Screen

It all started with Richard Donner’s “The Goonies” in 1985, which then led to roles in “Thrashin'” and “Flirting with Distaster,” as well as TV shows like “Private Eye” and “The Young Riders.” He’s Bryce in “Best Laid Plans,” Hal Carter in “Picnic,” and Matthew Kensington in “Hollow Man.” Following the collapse of “Mr. Sterling,” he played the subject of Will Ferrell’s envy in Woody Allen’s “Melinda and Melinda,” and Jedediah Smith in the TNT miniseries “Into the West.” That same year, he starred as bad guy Bates in “Into the Blue.” 2007 brought the career revival Josh had been looking for with roles in “Grindhouse,” “In the Valley of Elah,” “American Gangster” and “No Country for Old Men.” Since then, he’s appeared in films as diverse as “Milk” (for which he was nominated for an Oscar), “Jonah Hex,” “True Grit” and “Men in Black 3,” and played the 43rd President in Oliver Stone’s “W.”

Josh Says

On the stock market:
“I love the competitive part of stocks. A lot of fear and greed, that’s all it is. All I see is green and red.”

On owning up:
“’When you lose, just admit you’ve lost and take the loss.’”

On being honest with himself:
“I’ve been around for a while, and I’m not going to play into the hype that I’m some great, you know, discovery.”