According to the LA Times, Willis has been in cognitive decline for some time, even as he has continued to work on a series of increasingly shoddy low-budget films.
The Times reported that Willis was struggling to remember his lines, and in one incident kept firing a prop gun on the wrong cue.
It's not clear exactly why Willis continued to work despite growing incapacity. But it certainly raises questions about who was benefiting.
We tend to think of celebrities as free and empowered; Willis’ most famous role is as an action hero in Die Hard where he defeats a skyscraper full of miscreants while emitting a cowboy yodel.
Compared to data entry clerks or Wal-Mart greeters or garbage collectors, or even compared to mid-tier freelance writers, they seem self-actualized, happy, and well-compensated.
And it’s true that rich famous actors have a lot to be grateful for. But even rich famous actors are still workers, and workers can be exploited.
It's possible that Willis wanted to continue working as long as possible, and simply didn’t want to recognize his own growing limitations. But it’s undeniable that many people had an investment in keeping him in front of the cameras.
Willis was paid $2 million for 2 days of work on some of his recent low-budget outings, the Times reported. His name boosted numerous crappy projects, ensuring international distribution for movies from companies Emmett/Furla Oasis and 308 Entertainment Inc.