Billy Bob Thornton, Tombstone Actor

Billy Bob Thornton, Tombstone Actor

Hollywood has many talents, but very few have been a musician, a writer, a director, and an actor. Speaking of such talents in Hollywood, we must mention the name of Billy Bob Thornton. He was born in 1955, and as he grew up, his talent as an actor came out. He also started his acting career at a young age, but not like the recent era, where newbies come from renowned families and know little to nothing about struggling.

Thornton had to make his way up being a fast food manager, a waiter, a telemarketer, and a wind farmer while he struggled to get his small scenes. He began with supportive scenes, and after some time, he started writing for the movies. In 1997 he was awarded an Academy Award for writing the screen play for the movie Sling Blade (1996). The actor is also a musician, he has released albums, written songs, and directed movies, and it will never be enough to describe all his talents. But here in this article, we will talk about his famous and brilliant roles in films. Read on to know more.

Billy Bob Thornton in Tombstone

The first movie we would like to mention here is Tombstone. He played the role of a bully named Johnny Taylor. Although he wasn’t in the leading role because there were Val Kilmer, Bill Paxton, Kurt Russell, and Dana Delany played the protagonists, Thornton wasn’t insignificant in the herd of hotshot actors. Besides, Tombstone made a mark in Hollywood movies, mainly for the breakthrough acting of the characters.

The movie is slightly based on the real gunfight events that took place In Tombstone. Thornton here played a bully named Johnny Tyler, who was an emerging gambler mob, and his business gets disrupted by Wyatt Earp and his crew, and they took over his reign. Although Tyler is a small character in the entire movie, some scenes hold more importance in the critic’s land.

Billy changed the dialogues of his character and made up a bully from the scratch. But the character Johnny Tyler gets subdued by Wyatt pretty soon. The moment Wyatt walks in front of him and asks him to draw his weapon, Tyler steps back and he is then disarmed by Earp. Although later, Tyler tries to shoot Wyatt (played by Kurt Russell) when his back is turned, Doc (played by Val Kilmer) confronts him, and he had to give away his gun.

This was one of the defining scenes in the 1993 Tombstone movie, and it got more praise from critics.

Other Movies

Now, after we have detailed a bit about Billy Bob Thornton’s Tombstone role, let’s take a look at other significant roles Thornton played in various films.

Sling Blade

Billy Bob played Carl Childers in the 1996 movie Sling Blade. Unlike Tombstone, he had the lead role here, who had a different kind of mental disability. The character Carl Childers murders his mother and his partner when he was only twelve years old, and spends almost his life in the psychiatry department. But after twenty years, he is released from the hospital to start a new life.

Monster’s Ball

The 2001 movie alongside Halle Berry, made Thornton more popular. Although he was already awarded Oscar in 1997, this movie was renowned because the actress got her first Oscar as a black person. Thornton played Hank, a correction officer.

Bad Santa

Bad Santa was a comic movie, released in 2003. Billy played the bad Santa, who befriends a bullied boy. The Santa character he played was helped by the bullied young boy. The Bad Santa later got shot by the police while he was delivering a gift to the boy. But at last, he didn’t pass away, and his actions were pardoned by the police department.


Fargo was a popular movie made in 1996. But later in 2014, it was made into a TV series, and Billy Bob Thornton played Lorne Malvo alongside Martin Freeman, Ewan McGregor, and Colin Hanks. Thornton was in season one, and he played a significant role of a sociopath conman and a hitman with sympathy for people. Malvo has little to no faith in humanity, and he proves that from his murders and his deceptions.


Billy Bob also played Billy McBride in Goliath – a 2016 TV series. In this series, he portrays a dismissed attorney, who wants to provide justice and right the wrongs in the legal system of the USA. His other roles are, in Love Actually, where he played the president of the United States, Jacob in A Simple Plan, and many more.

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