William Bradley Pitt
December 18, 1963
Shawnee, Oklahoma, United States
|Occupation||Actor, film producer|
Jennifer Aniston (m. 2000–05)
Angelina Jolie (m. 2014)
William Bradley "Brad" Pitt (born December 18, 1963) is an American actor and filmmaker. He has received a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and three Academy Award nominations in acting categories, and received two further Academy Award nominations, winning one, for productions of his film production company Plan B Entertainment. He has been described as one of the world's most attractive men, a label for which he has received substantial media attention.
Pitt first gained recognition as a cowboy hitchhiker in the road movie Thelma & Louise (1991). His first leading roles in big-budget productions came with A River Runs Through It (1992), Interview with the Vampire (1994), and Legends of the Fall (1994). He gave critically acclaimed performances in the crime thriller Seven and the science fiction film 12 Monkeys (both 1995), the latter earning him a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor and an Academy Award nomination. Pitt starred in the cult film Fight Club (1999) and the major international hit Ocean's Eleven (2001) and its sequels, Ocean's Twelve (2004) and Ocean's Thirteen (2007). His greatest commercial successes have been Troy (2004), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), and World War Z (2013). Pitt received his second and third Academy Award nominations for his leading performances in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) and Moneyball (2011). He produced The Departed (2006) and 12 Years a Slave (2013), both of which won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and also The Tree of Life and Moneyball, both of which garnered Best Picture nominations.
Following a high-profile relationship with actress Gwyneth Paltrow, Pitt was married to actress Jennifer Aniston for five years. Pitt lives with actress Angelina Jolie in a relationship that has attracted wide publicity. They are married and have six children—Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, Knox, and Vivienne. Since beginning his relationship with Jolie, he has become increasingly involved in social issues both in the United States and internationally.
William Bradley Pitt was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, to Jane Etta (née Hillhouse), a school counsellor, and William Alvin Pitt, who ran a trucking company. The family soon moved to Springfield, Missouri, where he lived together with his younger siblings, Doug (born 1966) and Julie Neal (born 1969). Born into a conservative household, he was raised as Southern Baptist, but has since stated that he does not "have a great relationship with religion" and that he "oscillate[s] between agnosticism and atheism." Pitt has described Springfield as "Mark Twain country, Jesse James country", having grown up with "a lot of hills, a lot of lakes".
Pitt attended Kickapoo High School, where he was a member of the golf, swimming and tennis teams. He participated in the school's Key and Forensics clubs, in school debates, and in musicals. Following his graduation from high school, Pitt enrolled in the University of Missouri in 1982, majoring in journalism with a focus on advertising. As graduation approached, Pitt did not feel ready to settle down. He loved films—"a portal into different worlds for me"—and, since films were not made in Missouri, he decided to go to where they were made. Two weeks before earning his degree, Pitt left the university and moved to Los Angeles, where he took acting lessons and worked odd jobs.
1987–1993: Early work
While struggling to establish himself in Los Angeles, Pitt took lessons from acting coach Roy London. Pitt's acting career began in 1987, with uncredited parts in the films No Way Out, No Man's Land and Less Than Zero. His television debut came in May 1987 with a two-episode role on the NBC soap opera Another World. In November of the same year Pitt had a guest appearance on the ABC sitcom Growing Pains. He appeared in four episodes of the CBS primetime series Dallas between December 1987 and February 1988 as Randy, the boyfriend of Charlie Wade (played by Shalane McCall). Later in 1988, Pitt made a guest appearance on the Fox police drama 21 Jump Street.
In the same year, the Yugoslavian–U.S. co-production The Dark Side of the Sun (1988) gave Pitt his first leading film role, as a young American taken by his family to the Adriatic to find a remedy for a skin condition. The film was shelved at the outbreak of the Croatian War of Independence, and was not released until 1997. Pitt made two motion picture appearances in 1989: the first in a supporting role in the comedy Happy Together; the second a featured role in the horror film Cutting Class, the first of Pitt's films to reach theaters. He made guest appearances on television series Head of the Class, Freddy's Nightmares, Thirtysomething, and (for a second time) Growing Pains.
Pitt was cast as Billy Canton, a drug addict who takes advantage of a young runaway (played by Juliette Lewis) in the 1990 NBC television movie Too Young to Die?, the story of an abused teenager sentenced to death for a murder. Ken Tucker, television reviewer for Entertainment Weekly wrote: "Pitt is a magnificent slimeball as her hoody boyfriend; looking and sounding like a malevolent John Cougar Mellencamp, he's really scary." The same year, Pitt co-starred in six episodes of the short-lived Fox drama Glory Days and took a supporting role in the HBO television film The Image. His next appearance came in the 1991 film Across the Tracks; Pitt portrayed Joe Maloney, a high school runner with a criminal brother, played by Ricky Schroder.
After years of supporting roles in film and frequent television guest appearances, Pitt attracted wider recognition in his supporting role in the 1991 road film Thelma & Louise. He played J.D., a small-time criminal who befriends Thelma (Geena Davis). His love scene with Davis has been cited as the event that defined Pitt as a sex symbol. After Thelma & Louise, Pitt starred in the 1991 film Johnny Suede, a low-budget picture about an aspiring rock star, and the 1992 film Cool World, although neither furthered his career, having poor reviews and box office performance.
Pitt took the role of Paul Maclean in the 1992 biographical film A River Runs Through It, directed by Robert Redford. His portrayal of the character was described by People 's Janet Mock as a career-making performance, proving that Pitt could be more than a "cowboy-hatted hunk." He has admitted to feeling under pressure when making the film and thought it one of his "weakest performances ... It's so weird that it ended up being the one that I got the most attention for." Pitt believed that he benefited from working with such a talented cast and crew. He compared working with Redford to playing tennis with a superior player, saying "when you play with somebody better than you, your game gets better."
In 1993, Pitt reunited with Juliette Lewis for the road film Kalifornia. He played Early Grayce, a serial killer and the boyfriend of Lewis's character in a performance described by Peter Travers of Rolling Stone as "outstanding, all boyish charm and then a snort that exudes pure menace." Pitt also garnered attention for a brief appearance in the cult hit True Romance as a stoner named Floyd, providing much needed comic relief to the action film. He capped the year by winning a ShoWest Award for Male Star of Tomorrow.
1994–1998: Critical success
1994 marked a significant turning point in Pitt's career. Starring as the vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac in the feature film Interview with the Vampire, based on Anne Rice's 1976 novel of the same name, he was part of an ensemble cast that included Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst, Christian Slater, and Antonio Banderas. Despite his winning two MTV Movie Awards at the 1995 ceremony, his performance was poorly received. According to the Dallas Observer, "Brad Pitt ... is a large part of the problem [in the film]. When directors play up his cocky, hunkish, folksy side ... he's a joy to watch. But there's nothing about him that suggests inner torment or even self-awareness, which makes him a boring Louis."
Following the release of Interview with the Vampire, Pitt starred in Legends of the Fall (1994), based on a novel by the same name by Jim Harrison, set in the American West during the first four decades of the twentieth century. Portraying Tristan Ludlow, son of Colonel William Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins) a Cornish immigrant, Pitt received his first Golden Globe Award nomination, in the Best Actor category. Aidan Quinn and Henry Thomas co-starred as Pitt's brothers. Although the film's reception was mixed, many film critics praised Pitt's performance. Janet Maslin of The New York Times said, "Pitt's diffident mix of acting and attitude works to such heartthrob perfection it's a shame the film's superficiality gets in his way." The Deseret News predicted that Legends of the Fall would solidify Pitt's reputation as a lead actor.
In 1995, Pitt starred alongside Gwyneth Paltrow in the crime thriller Seven, playing a detective on the trail of a serial killer. Pitt called it a great movie and declared the part would expand his acting horizons. He expressed his intent to move on from "this 'pretty boy' thing ... and play someone with flaws." His performance was critically well received, with Variety saying that it was screen acting at its best, further remarking on Pitt's ability to turn in a "determined, energetic, creditable job" as the detective. Seven earned $327 million at the international box office.
Following the success of Seven, Pitt took a supporting role as Jeffrey Goines in Terry Gilliam's 1995 science-fiction film 12 Monkeys. The movie received predominantly positive reviews, with Pitt praised in particular. Janet Maslin of the New York Times called Twelve Monkeys "fierce and disturbing" and remarked on Pitt's "startlingly frenzied performance", concluding that he "electrifies Jeffrey with a weird magnetism that becomes important later in the film." He won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor for the film and received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
The following year he had a role in the legal drama Sleepers (1996), based on Lorenzo Carcaterra's novel of the same name. The film received mixed reviews. In the 1997 film The Devil's Own Pitt starred, opposite Harrison Ford, as the Irish Republican Army terrorist Rory Devany, a role for which he was required to learn an Irish accent. Critical opinion was divided on his accent; "Pitt finds the right tone of moral ambiguity, but at times his Irish brogue is too convincing – it's hard to understand what he's saying", wrote the San Francisco Chronicle. The Charleston Gazette opined that it had favored Pitt's accent over the movie. The Devil's Own grossed $140 million worldwide, but was a critical failure. Later that year he led as Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer in the Jean-Jacques Annaud film Seven Years in Tibet. Pitt trained for months for the role, which demanded significant mountain climbing and trekking practice, including rock climbing in California and the European Alps with his co-star David Thewlis. The film received mostly negative reviews, and was generally considered a disappointment.
Pitt had the lead role in 1998's Meet Joe Black. He portrayed a personification of death inhabiting the body of a young man to learn what it is like to be human. The film received mixed reviews, and many were critical of Pitt's performance. According to Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle, Pitt was unable to "make an audience believe that he knows all the mysteries of death and eternity." Roger Ebert stated "Pitt is a fine actor, but this performance is a miscalculation."
In 1999, Pitt portrayed Tyler Durden in Fight Club, a film adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's novel of the same name, directed by David Fincher. Pitt prepared for the part with lessons in boxing, taekwondo, and grappling. To look the part, Pitt consented to the removal of pieces of his front teeth which were restored when filming ended. While promoting Fight Club, Pitt said that the film explored not taking one's aggressions out on someone else but to "have an experience, take a punch more and see how you come out on the other end." Fight Club premiered at the 1999 Venice International Film Festival. Despite divided critical opinion on the film as a whole, Pitt's performance was widely praised. Paul Clinton of CNN noted the risky yet successful nature of the film, while Variety remarked upon Pitt's ability to be "cool, charismatic and more dynamically physical, perhaps than ... his breakthrough role in Thelma and Louise". In spite of a worse-than-expected box office performance, Fight Club became a cult classic after its DVD release in 2000.
Following Fight Club, Pitt was cast as an Irish Gypsy boxer with a barely intelligible accent in Guy Ritchie's 2000 gangster film Snatch. Several reviewers were critical of Snatch; however, most praised Pitt. Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle said Pitt was "ideally cast as an Irishman whose accent is so thick even Brits can't understand him", going on to say that, before Snatch, Pitt had been "shackled by roles that called for brooding introspection, but recently he has found his calling in black comic outrageousness and flashy extroversion;" while Amy Taubin of The Village Voice claimed that "Pitt gets maximum comic mileage out of a one-joke role".
The following year Pitt starred opposite Matt Damon, Andy García, and Julia Roberts. Well received by critics, Ocean's Eleven was highly successful at the box office, earning $450 million worldwide.
Pitt appeared in two episodes of MTV's reality series Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. He took on his first voice-acting roles in 2003, speaking as the titular character of the DreamWorks animated film Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas and playing Boomhauer's brother, Patch, in an episode of the animated television series King of the Hill.
Pitt had two major film roles in 2004, starring as Achilles in Troy, and making a second appearance as Rusty Ryan, in the sequel Ocean's Twelve. He spent six months sword training before the filming of Troy, based on the Iliad. An on-set injury to his Achilles tendon delayed production on the picture for several weeks. Stephen Hunter of The Washington Times stated that Pitt excelled at such a demanding role. Troy was the first film produced by Plan B Entertainment, a film production company he had founded two years earlier with Jennifer Aniston and Brad Grey, CEO of Paramount Pictures. Ocean's Twelve earned $362 million worldwide, and Pitt and Clooney's dynamic was described by CNN's Paul Clinton as "the best male chemistry since Paul Newman and Robert Redford."
In 2005, Pitt starred in the Doug Liman-directed action comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith, in which a bored married couple discover that each is an assassin sent to kill the other. The feature received reasonable reviews but was generally lauded for the chemistry between Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who played his character's wife Jane Smith. The Star Tribune noted that "while the story feels haphazard, the movie gets by on gregarious charm, galloping energy and the stars' thermonuclear screen chemistry." Mr. & Mrs. Smith earned $478 million worldwide, making it one of the biggest hits of 2005.
For his next feature film, Pitt starred opposite Cate Blanchett in Alejandro González Iñárritu's multi-narrative drama Babel (2006). Pitt's performance was critically well-received, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer said that he was credible and gave the film visibility. Pitt later said he regarded taking the part as one of the best decisions of his career. The film was screened at a special presentation at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival and was later featured at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. Babel received seven Academy and Golden Globe award nominations, winning the Best Drama Golden Globe, and earned Pitt a nomination for the Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe. That same year, Pitt's company Plan B Entertainment produced The Departed, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Pitt was credited on-screen as a producer; however, only Graham King was ruled eligible for the Oscar win.
Reprising his role as Rusty Ryan in a third picture, Pitt starred in 2007's Ocean's Thirteen. While less lucrative than the first two films, this sequel earned $311 million at the international box office. Pitt's next film role was as American outlaw Jesse James in the 2007 Western drama The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, adapted from Ron Hansen's 1983 novel of the same name. Directed by Andrew Dominik and produced by Pitt's company Plan B Entertainment, the film premiered at the 2007 Venice Film Festival, with Pitt playing a "scary and charismatic" role, according to Lewis Beale of Film Journal International, and earning Pitt the Volpi Cup award for Best Actor at the 64th Venice International Film Festival. He eventually collected the award one year later at the 2008 festival.
Pitt's next appearance was in the 2008 black comedy Burn After Reading, his first collaboration with the Coen brothers. The film received a positive reception from critics, with The Guardian calling it "a tightly wound, slickly plotted spy comedy", noting that Pitt's performance was one of the funniest. He was later cast as Benjamin Button, the lead in David Fincher's 2008 film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a loosely adapted version of a 1921 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The story follows a man who is born an octogenarian and ages in reverse, with Pitt's "sensitive" performance making Benjamin Button a "timeless masterpiece," according to Michael Sragow of The Baltimore Sun. The performance earned Pitt his first Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, as well as a fourth Golden Globe and second Academy Award nomination, all in the category for Best Actor. The film received thirteen Academy Award nominations in total, and grossed $329 million at the box office worldwide.
Pitt's next leading role came in 2009 with the Quentin Tarantino-directed war film Inglourious Basterds, which premiered at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Pitt played Lieutenant Aldo Raine, an American resistance fighter battling Nazis in German-occupied France. The film was a box office hit, taking $311 million worldwide, and garnered generally favorable reviews. The film received multiple awards and nominations, including eight Academy Award nominations and seven MTV Movie Award nominations, including Best Male Performance for Pitt. He next voiced the superhero character Metro Man in the 2010 animated feature Megamind.
Pitt appeared in Terrence Malick's drama The Tree of Life, co-starring Sean Penn, which won the Palme d'Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. In a performance that attracted strong praise, he portrayed the Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane in the drama Moneyball, which is based on the 2003 book of the same name written by Michael Lewis. Moneyball received six Academy Award nominations including Best Actor for Pitt.
His next role was as mob hitman Jackie Cogan in  In 2013, Pitt starred in World War Z, a thriller about a zombie apocalypse, based on Max Brooks' novel of the same name. Pitt also produced the film. World War Z grossed over $539 million at the box office worldwide, becoming Pitt's most commercially successful picture. Next in 2013, he produced, and played a small role in, 12 Years a Slave, a historical drama based on the autobiography of Solomon Northup. The film received critical acclaim and was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning three, including Best Picture. Also in 2013, Pitt had a supporting role in Ridley Scott's The Counselor.
Pitt starred in Fury, a World War II film directed and written by David Ayer, and co-starring Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal and Michael Pena. The film was released on October 17, 2014.
Humanitarian and political causes
Pitt visited the University of Missouri campus in October 2004 to encourage students to vote in the 2004 U.S. presidential election, in which he supported John Kerry. Later in October he publicly supported the principle of public funding for embryonic stem-cell research. "We have to make sure that we open up these avenues so that our best and our brightest can go find these cures that they believe they will find," he said. In support of this he endorsed Proposition 71, a California ballot initiative intended to provide state government funding for stem-cell research.
Pitt supports the 
Pitt has a sustained interest in architecture and has narrated  Pitt met with U.S. President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi in March 2009 to promote his concept of green housing as a national model and to discuss federal funding possibilities.
In September 2006, Pitt and Jolie established a charitable organization, the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, to aid humanitarian causes around the world. The foundation made initial donations of $1 million each to Daniel Pearl. According to federal filings, Pitt and Jolie invested $8.5 million into the foundation in 2006; it gave away $2.4 million in 2006 and $3.4 million in 2007. In June 2009 the Jolie-Pitt Foundation donated $1 million to a U.N. refugee agency to help Pakistanis displaced by fighting between troops and Taliban militants. In January 2010 the foundation donated $1 million to Doctors Without Borders for emergency medical assistance to help victims of the Haiti earthquake.
Pitt is a supporter of same-sex marriage. In an October 2006 interview with Esquire, Pitt said that he would marry Jolie when everyone in America is legally able to marry. In September 2008, he donated $100,000 to the campaign against California's 2008 ballot proposition Proposition 8, an initiative to overturn the state Supreme Court decision that had legalized same-sex marriage. In March 2012, Pitt was featured in a performance of Dustin Lance Black's play, '8' — a staged reenactment of the federal trial that overturned California's Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage — as Judge Vaughn Walker.
In September 2012, Pitt reaffirmed his support of President Obama, saying, "I am an Obama supporter and I'm backing his US election campaign."
In the media
Pitt's sex appeal has been picked up by many sources, including Empire, who named him one of the 25 sexiest stars in film history in 1995. The same year, Pitt won People's Sexiest Man Alive, an accolade he won again in 2000. Pitt appeared on Forbes's annual Celebrity 100 list of the 100 most powerful celebrities in 2006, 2007, and 2008, at No. 20, No. 5, and No. 10 respectively. In 2007, he was listed among the Time 100, a compilation of the 100 most influential people in the world, as selected annually by TIME. The magazine credited Pitt with using "his star power to get people to look [to where] cameras don't usually catch". Pitt was again included in the Time 100 in 2009, this time in the Builders and Titans list.
Starting in 2005, Pitt's relationship with Angelina Jolie became one of the most reported celebrity stories worldwide. After confirming that Jolie was pregnant in early 2006, the unprecedented media hype surrounding the couple reached what Reuters, in a story titled "The Brangelina fever," called "the point of insanity". To avoid media attention, the couple flew to Namibia for the birth of their daughter Shiloh, which was described by the media as "the most anticipated baby since Jesus Christ." Similarly, intense media interest greeted the announcement two years later of Jolie's second pregnancy; for the two weeks Jolie spent in a seaside hospital in Nice, reporters and photographers camped outside on the promenade to report on the birth.
In a 2006 global industry survey by ACNielsen in 42 international markets, Pitt, together with Jolie, was found to be the favorite celebrity endorser for brands and products worldwide. Pitt has appeared in several television commercials. For the U.S. market, he starred in a Heineken commercial aired during the 2005 Super Bowl; it was directed by David Fincher, who had directed Pitt in Seven, Fight Club, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Other commercial appearances came in television spots including Acura Integra, in which he was featured opposite Russian model Tatiana Sorokko, as well as SoftBank, and Edwin Jeans.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Pitt was involved in successive relationships with several of his co-stars, including Robin Givens (Head of the Class), Jill Schoelen (Cutting Class), and Juliette Lewis (Too Young to Die? and Kalifornia), who was ten years his junior, and was 16 years old, when they started dating. In addition, Pitt had a much-publicized romance and engagement to his Seven co-star Gwyneth Paltrow, whom he dated from 1994 to 1997.
Pitt met Friends actress Jennifer Aniston in 1998 and married her in a private wedding ceremony in Malibu on July 29, 2000. For years their marriage was considered a rare Hollywood success; however, in January 2005, Pitt and Aniston announced they had decided to separate. Two months later Aniston filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. Pitt and Aniston's divorce was finalized by the Los Angeles Superior Court on October 2, 2005. Despite media reports that Pitt and Aniston had an acrimonious relationship, Pitt said in a February 2009 interview that he and Aniston "check in with each other", adding that they were both big parts of each other's lives.
During Pitt's divorce proceedings, his involvement with his Mr. & Mrs. Smith co-star Angelina Jolie attracted media attention. While Pitt denied claims of adultery, he admitted that he "fell in love" with Jolie on the set. In April 2005, one month after Aniston filed for divorce, a set of paparazzi photographs emerged showing Pitt, Jolie and her son Maddox at a beach in Kenya; the press interpreted the pictures as evidence of a relationship between Pitt and Jolie. During 2005, the two were seen together with increasing frequency, and the entertainment media dubbed the couple "Brangelina". On January 11, 2006, Jolie confirmed to People that she was pregnant with Pitt's child, thereby publicly acknowledging their relationship for the first time. Pitt and Jolie announced their engagement in April 2012 after seven years together. They were married on August 23, 2014 in a private ceremony in Château Miraval, France.
- Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt
- born August 5, 2001 in Cambodia; adopted March 10, 2002 by Jolie; adopted early 2006 by Pitt
- Pax Thien Jolie-Pitt
- born November 29, 2003 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; adopted March 15, 2007 by Jolie; adopted February 21, 2008 by Pitt
- Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt
- born January 8, 2005 in Awassa, Ethiopia; adopted July 6, 2005 by Jolie; adopted early 2006 by Pitt
- Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt
- born May 27, 2006 in Swakopmund, Namibia
- Knox Léon Jolie-Pitt
- born July 12, 2008 in Nice, France
- Vivienne Marcheline Jolie-Pitt
- born July 12, 2008 in Nice, France
In July 2005, Pitt accompanied Jolie to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she adopted her second child, six-month-old Zahara Marley. On January 19, 2006, a California judge granted Jolie's request to change the children's surnames from "Jolie" to "Jolie-Pitt". The adoptions were finalized soon after.
Jolie gave birth to daughter Shiloh Nouvel in Swakopmund, Namibia, on May 27, 2006. Pitt confirmed that their newborn daughter would have a Namibian passport. The couple sold the first pictures of Shiloh through the distributor Getty Images; the North American rights were purchased by People for over $4.1 million, while Hello! obtained the British rights for approximately $3.5 million. The proceeds from the sale were donated to charities serving African children. Madame Tussauds in New York unveiled a wax figure of two-month-old Shiloh; it marked the first time an infant was recreated in wax by Madame Tussauds.
At the Cannes Film Festival in May 2008, Jolie confirmed that she was expecting twins. She gave birth to son Knox Léon and daughter Vivienne Marcheline on July 12, 2008 in Nice, France. The rights for the first images of Knox and Vivienne were jointly sold to People and Hello! for $14 million—the most expensive celebrity pictures ever taken. The couple donated the proceeds to the Jolie-Pitt Foundation.
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