Johnny Depp was raised in Owenboro, Kentucky before moving to the town of Miramar located on the Atlantic coast between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Florida. Depp was bored in school so he resorted to teaching himself the electric guitar which was of much greater interest to him. Soon Depp dropped out to lead a musicians' life. He started out playing local clubs in the Florida area with a band called Flame. Still being a minor at the time, Depp had to sneak in through the back door and leave after the first set. Soon the band changed their name to the Kids and moved from $25.00 a night gigs to much more profitable ways with punk icon Iggy Pop. Johnny Depp and his band soon moved to L.A. to find their groove. But they found themselves in a sea of other bands with nothing much to set them apart. They soon broke up and the delicate-featured Depp played with over 15 rock bands before turning to acting.
To make ends meet he ended up selling pens over the phone. Fortunately the makeup artist he was dating introduced him to Nicolas Cage who helped him land a minor role in A Nightmare On Elm Street, which led to a part in Platoon. He soon enrolled in L.A's Loft Studio acting school to sharpen his acting skills. After completion, he landed a small role in Platoon. A starring role in the teen cop TV drama 21 Jump Street followed, and suddenly Johnny was all over teen mag covers. Forsaking Hollywood blockbusters, he preferred to appear in a series of eclectic roles. "I made a decision to do only movies I wanted to do and to play only characters I wanted to play... I thought it was important to have integrity," he says.
Hoping to make the transition to the silver screen, he shunned offers of conventional young leading man roles and returned to features with offbeat characterizations where his physical grace and expressive features were an ideal fit for John Waters' "Cry-Baby" and Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands" (both 1990).
In 1993, Depp delivered a top notch dramatic performance in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, a film that co-starred Juliette Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio. Depp was also honored in taking a role opposite Al Pacino in the 1997 film Donnie Brasco, as undercover FBI agent posing as a mobster. He went on to win more critical acclaim in a reunion with Burton in "Ed Wood" (1994) that cast him as the famed cult director whose fondness for cross-dressing doesn't prevent him from creating delightfully bad films. He also shared the screen with Marlon Brando in Don Juan Demarco.
He became a star almost in spite of himself, turning down parts which made immense stars out of other young actors, including Brad Pitt, who appeared in the Depp castoff Legends Of The Fall and Keanu Reeves, who picked up another of his rejects – Speed.
Off-screen, Depp's romances have earned him more press than his acting abilities. His tattooed promise of undying love to Winona Ryder has been changed from "Winona Forever" to "Wyno Forever" and he was busted for trashing a New York hotel suite in a jealous squabble with Kate Moss. Depp is also part owner of the ultra-hip Sunset Strip nightclub The Viper Room.
In 2003 his portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl won him much critical acclaim. The film was one of the top box office draws of the year, and Depp earned both a Golden Globe nomination and an Oscar nod for his audacious performance.
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 enjoyed playing his his Captain Jack Sparrow character, noting 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.