Rugged leading man Josh Brolin was raised on a horse ranch in California, a fact that would come to inform his persona as an actor in years to come. But when the 17 year old made his big-screen debut in 1985's The Goonies, most viewers knew him as the son of actor James Brolin. The younger Brolin didn't shy away from his Hollywood roots, and when he relocated to L.A. to pursue an acting career, he moved in with his dad while he studied the craft under the esteemed Stella Adler. He soon followed his appearance in The Goonies with a lead role in the series Private Eye, and though the show didn't last, Brolin decided to stay in TV, starring in the Western series Young Riders.
The show ended its three-year run in 1992, when Brolin's marriage to Alice Adair ended as well, and Brolin seemed intent on flying under the radar for the next several years, pursuing mostly smaller, independent projects like My Brother's War and Mimic. In 2007, he caught on with a new core group of fans when he played the sinister Doc Block in Robert Rodriguez's instant cult favorite Planet Terror, one half of the Grindhouse double feature. Later that same year, however, he would be reintroduced to audiences on a much huger scale when he took the lead role in the Coen brothers' highly acclaimed No Country for Old Men. The sleeper film would become one of the biggest films of the year, winning the Oscar for Best Picture and making Brolin a household name for the first time in over a decade.
Brolin next signed on to play the title role in W., Oliver Stone's satirical biopic about president George W. Bush. Buzz gathered around the project before so much as a trailer was released, praising the actor's complete transformation into what had originally seemed like a strange role for him to play. Although the buzz was that he would garner some awards for his role as the 43rd President, it turned out that a different political film from 2008 would bring him the biggest accolades of his career. His portrayal of Dan White, the man who assassinated Harvey Milk, in Gus Van Sant's Milk garnered Brolin his first Academy Award nomination, as well as a nod from the Screen Actors Guild.
In 2010 he would play the title character in the adaptation of the comic book Jonah Hex, but he would find much greater success as the dastardly Tom Chaney in the Coen brothers remake of True Grit. He shares a very funny story in the 2011 documentary Woody Allen: A Documentary. In 2012 he stepped into the successful Men In Black franchise with MiB3, playing a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones's character. He next appeared in Gangster Squad, opposite Ryan Gosling, and took on the lead in the 2013 English language remake of Oldboy. Brolin joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe, playing the villainous Thanos, first in Guardians of the Galaxy and later reprising his role in other films in the MCU. In 2014, he also appeared in the Sin City sequel A Dame to Kill For and Inherent Vice. He later took a role in the disaster film, Everest, based on the real-life disaster the occurred on the mountain in 1996.