Bruce Willis Retires: ‘Moonlighting,’ ‘Friends’ & More Memorable TV Roles

Bruce Willis TV appearances
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After over 30 years of filmmaking, Bruce Willis is retiring from acting. On March 30, his family announced that the action star is “stepping away” from the spotlight following an aphasia diagnosis.

Aphasia is a neurodegenerative disorder impacting a person’s cognitive ability to understand and express written and spoken language. Willis’ wife, Emma Heming, ex-wife Demi Moore, and daughters Rumer Willis, Scout Willis, Tallulah Willis, Mabel Willis, and Evelyn Willis released the joint statement on social media, saying it’s not a decision Willis made lightly.

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“To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities,” the statement says. “As a result of this and with much consideration, Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.”

To celebrate Willis’ renowned career in Hollywood, we’re breaking down his most memorable TV performances, from his Emmy-winning turns in Moonlighting and Friends to his unforgettably funny guest appearances.

Cybill Shepherd Bruce Willis Moonlighting
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Moonlighting (1984-1989)

Willis won his first Emmy for playing David Addison Jr. in the drama, which saw him co-starring alongside Cybill Shepherd. The series featured “the quirky cases of a former model and a smart aleck detective who manage a private detective agency.”

THE TWILIGHT ZONE Bruce Willis
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The Twilight Zone (1985)

Willis appeared in the premiere of the second series of The Twilight Zone, which ran from 1985-1989 (the original Rod Serling iteration aired from 1959–1964). The episode, titled “Shatterday,” stars the actor as “an ordinary guy who finds his life is being taken over by an alternate version of himself.”
Bruce Willis as himself in Mad About You
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Mad About You (1997)

In a hilarious turn, Willis played himself in Mad About You‘s “The Birth: Part 2.” In the episode, Paul Reiser’s Paul tries to get into the hospital as Jamie (Helen Hunt) is delivering their child, dodging crowds of people there for an injured “Bruce Willis.” There, the two men meet and Bruce gives Paul advice.

Bruce Willis ALLY McBEAL
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Ally McBeal (1999)

Willis played Dr. Nickle, a substitute therapist for Ally, in one episode of the second season of the Calista Flockhart series.

FRIENDS, Bruce Willis Jennifer Aniston
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Friends (2000)

Willis was one of Friends‘ best guest stars. He played Paul Stevens, father to Ross Gellar’s girlfriend, Elizabeth, in Season 6. He couldn’t stand Ross, but if he wanted to keep dating Rachel Green, he had to play nice. Willis won his second Emmy for his three-episode appearance.

Bruce Willis That '70s Show

That '70s Show (2005)

The actor delivered another memorable comedic turn opposite Ashton Kutcher in That ’70s Show. In the episode, Willis played Vic, the owner of a strip club and a kindred spirit of Kelso.

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE Bruce Willis
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Saturday Night Live (1989, 2013)

Believe it or not, Willis has only host SNL twice. But both were memorable appearances that included the musical number “Man & His Music,” the skit “Overprotective Son” with Taran Killam and Vanessa Bayer, and an Armageddon parody.