Though he may be best known for his acting skill and rebellious behaviour, the year 2020 will mark the 100-year anniversary of the death of a man who had a profound impact on the world. In honour of this momentous occasion, here are 10 things you didn’t know about Robert Pattinson.
1. He Was Once Reported To Be the Most Powerful Man In Hollywood
The actor, producer, and singer has had more than a century of adventures, starting with his native Scotland in 1920. He attended the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, moving to New York City and then finally landing in Los Angeles in the 1930s. There he became a regular on the so-called golden era of Hollywood, starring in films such as Batman (Batman), Waterloo Road (Moulin Rouge!), and Twilight (New Moon).
As the “king of the jungle” himself once said, “I’m an actor. I’m used to people not believing in me, but in this case, I actually think people might be a bit jealous of me.” Though he would go on to act in several famous films, his first major break came in 1939 when he was 21 years old. That year he starred in Cecil B. DeMille’s epic The Wild Man of Borneo, which was met with rave reviews. Variety wrote, “In certain scenes, Robert Pattinson gives a convincing demonstration of being an expert in jungle fighting, riding and shooting. Those scenes are the type that can make or break an actor’s career.” The following year he appeared in a supporting role in the musical drama The Wizard of Oz, and once again, audiences were impressed.
On the topic of acting, Pattinson admitted in 2015 that he used to be afraid of losing his fame. “I was a little bit lost when I came down the red carpet for the first time and didn’t know how to act. But then I realised, well, I’ve got to act now. All sorts of things have happened because I acted. I’ve got to find my own way and keep acting.” These days, he seems rather comfortable in his royal role.
2. He’s An Able Scorer
Aside from acting, Pattinson is also an accomplished guitarist. He has played music with several bands over the years, including Good God and the Gypsy Gangsters. In 2018, he collaborated with electronic music producer Mark Ronson on an album called Set List. The pair also toured the UK, performing songs from the record as part of the 20-date mark Ronson’s solo tour. While touring, he also played some intimate gigs in London. He’s even lent his voice to several songs, including the animated film Valiant. In 2019, he worked with legendary producer Nile Rodgers on a cover of the Tom Petty classic “I Won’t Back Down.”
3. He Was Once Reported To Be The Most Powerful Man In Hollywood
Aside from acting, producing, and singing, Pattinson is also a brand-management expert. He co-founded the GenArt brand-management agency in 1989, and in 2019 he became the agency’s managing director. In addition, he’s held several positions with high-profile companies, including L’Oreal and Calvin Klein. In the 1960s and 70s, he was reportedly an agent for Elle MacLeman, helping her create the look that became her famous “California Girl” hairstyle. This is perhaps one of the reasons why he’s often appeared in adverts for beauty products, including Arbonne, Benefit, and Urban Decay.
During a break from filming a TV commercial for Arbonne in 2020, Pattinson admitted that he was “deeply involved” in the brand’s cultural impact. He said: “I think it’s a really positive thing that a beauty brand is investing so much in women of colour and celebrating diversity. It’s refreshing to see a brand not afraid to talk about their differences.”
4. He Was A Fashion Icon In The 1960s
It’s fair to say that the 1960s were a time of transition for Pattinson. That decade saw the collapse of the UK’s Swinging London, and the actor grew his hair long, donning baggy clothing and headbands. It was an homage to his Scottish roots and a deliberate attempt to defy the fashion industry. When he posed for the cover of the March 1969 issue of Rolling Stone, he made the bold choice to expose more of his cleavage than usual. He recalled that the photographer John Paul Getty was keen to exploit this “cleavage shot,” but he refused, saying, “It’s my tits. I’ll do what I want with them.”
Around this time he also fronted the band the Raincoast Accentors, releasing their album Hoots N’ Hellos in January 1969. The album, which featured original songs by the band as well as some covers, was accompanied by a UK tour that saw the group perform for several hundred gigs around the country. It was during this time that Pattinson’s bandmate and best friend Alan McGibbon first called him “Sexy Bob.” Though the name would later be satirised in the UK comedy series Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, at the time it evidently served as a compliment.
5. His Brother Is Robin McGibbon, Known For His Performance In Boyz N’ The Hood
Pattinson’s brother, Robin McGibbon, was also a member of the Scottish rock band, Hootenanny. After the band secured a recording contract in the US in the late 1960s, Robin relocated there, becoming famous for his work in the 1991 film Boyz N’ The Hood, alongside actors Ice Cube and Tupac Shakur. He went on to play supporting roles in several other films, notably Black Snake Moan (2006) and Drumline (2009).
As well as acting, Robin McGibbon is a singer-songwriter and producer whose songs have been featured in several TV shows and films. He has also released several solo albums, the most recent of which is 2019’s A Change of Pace. In terms of style, Robin admitted in a 2014 interview that he was “never [really] comfortable” with the way he looked, and after years of struggling with his weight, he eventually decided to “stop trying to be somebody [he] wasn’t.” Now 69 years old, he’s happily settled in the California with his wife, singer-songwriter and actor Cherise McGibbon.
6. He Wrote His First Book When He Was 15
Pattinson began writing his memoirs when he was 15 years old. He wrote a letter to his agent, trying to explain why he couldn’t sign a deal for a reported £500,000 advance for his next book. In the letter, he stated he had already written a book, and even offered to send a copy. The following year, he wrote further letters to publishers, alleging that he was the author of this early work. However, despite the letters, the publisher Blackford Books were unable to locate the original manuscript. This is perhaps one of the reasons why Pattinson’s early work remains relatively unknown. What is known about it is largely thanks to his correspondence with agents and publishers, which have been preserved and form part of his personal collection.
7. He Was First In Line At The Scottish Rite Centre In New York City
In 1960, Pattinson arrived in New York City, attracted by the bright lights and opportunity to study acting. It was there that he first joined the Scottish Rite Centre, an occult fraternity that held secret ritual meetings in the thespian’s Manhattan apartment building. At the time, he said he didn’t understand why people kept telling him he would succeed in Hollywood, and that he should “do something else.” In fact, it was his time in the fraternity that convinced him to pursue acting as a career. He left the organisation in 1966, and in later years would joke that he regretted not joining earlier. These days, he’s more focused on his acting career than he ever was before, and the fraternity has remained an important part of his life.
8. He Was Once Reported To Be The Most Powerful Man In Hollywood
Aside from acting, producing, and singing, Pattinson is also an accomplished artist. He has illustrated several books, including three volumes of the epic poem The Divine Comedy, published in 2019. He also painted the cover for the 2007 album Feels So Good by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and over the years, has covered several famous faces, including John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Kurt Cobain. In October 2019, he revealed that he had been exploring the concept of recording a solo album for almost 15 years. Finally, in April 2021, he released his debut solo album, Dusk Till Dawn, to much critical acclaim, if not always praise.