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Why We Love…Johnny Depp

For oh, so many reasons!

When Florida boy Johnny Depp first flickered on the radar back in 1987 in the Fox show 21 Jump Street, he quickly became a teen idol, the hottie of choice for many a pubescent girl. Even though those girls have grown up, things haven’t changed much.

With his chiseled looks, sleepy-smoky voice and deep-set eyes that are a little sad (and a little scary, but we love that)–the now 41-year-old Depp is older and wiser, and still deadly sexy.

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Throughout his career, the actor has long been known for choosing to play out-there characters like Edward Scissorhands, Hunter S. Thompson and Ed Wood and quietly intense parts in movies such as What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, Donnie Brasco and From Hell–that is, until Jerry Bruckheimer’s big-budget Pirates of the Caribbean made him Hollywood’s new golden boy (to his credit, he was still out-there).

Now, Depp is possibly looking at another Oscar nod for his endearing performance as Peter Pan playwright J.M. Barrie in this year’s already critically acclaimed Finding Neverland, opening Friday.

Here are a few other reasons why we love him so:

He’s sexy without trying. Those dark looks will kill you every time, even though Johnny’s never made them the focal point of his performances like some actors, and in fact, takes roles in which his looks are downplayed, or not the stereotype. Remember when Cry Baby really cries? And a little tear spills over that teardrop tattoo? How cute was that? Or confusedly wielding his razor-sharp hands before realizing he can’t touch true love Winona Ryder in Edward Scissorhands–heartbreaking.

And he’s still sexy… even when he’s being devoured by his mattress in Nightmare on Elm Street.

He’s a Gemini. Geminis are typically chatty, clever, intellectual, like creative and academic activities rather than loud, active things like sports.

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He likes to collect rare books and insects. Kind of speaks to that Gemini thing, no? (Picture him poring over rare books ABOUT insects.)

He loves his family. He’s married to French model Vanessa Paradis, is the father of two (Lily-Rose, 5 and Jack, 2) and lives a relatively peaceful life in France (we’ll even forgive him for dissing the U.S. a few years ago). “The instant my baby was born, I looked at her and immediately, instantly, everything came into a sharp focus. I looked at her, this pure little angel, that I was just meeting for the first time, and I realized I had known her for 10,000 years. There will never be anyone that will know me better, that will understand me just by a look.” (The San Francisco Examiner, 1999)

His early years were really cool. Depp joined a band called The Kids, selling ballpoint pens over the phone while playing nighttime gigs supporting such bands as the B- 52s and Iggy Pop before his wife at the time (a makeup artist five years his senior) suggested he try acting and introduced him to her friend Nicolas Cage.

He’s not afraid to turn stuff down (although imagine the possibilities). Depp reportedly turned down the roles of Lestat in Interview With the Vampire, the Keanu Reeves role in Speed and Brad Pitt’s role in Legends of the Fall. “I’m not ‘Blockbuster Boy’. I never wanted to be. I mean, it would be nice to get a sh**pile of money so you can throw it at your family and friends…I just don’t know if movies can ever be considered art, because there’s so much money involved.” (Vanity Fair, 1997)

His next moves are as offbeat as ever. There’s Libertine, in which he plays the debauched 17th century poet the Earl of Rochester, who died of syphilis at the age of 33. He’s also slated to play the mysterious yet wondrous Willy Wonka in Tim Burton’s revisiting of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and will reprise his ole Capt. Jack in the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels.

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