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Bruce Willis' former colleague gives bittersweet insight into how his family is coping amid dementia battle

The Die Hard actor's The Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan gave a sweet shout-out to the Willis family

Beatriz Colon
Beatriz Colon - New York
New York WriterNew York
24 April 2024
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Bruce Willis and his family will always have the support of his former colleagues and co-stars, especially amid trying times.

The Die Hard actor has been celebrated and honored by various past collaborators ever since his family – which includes wife Emma Heming and their daughters Mabel Ray, 12, and Evelyn Penn, eight, as well as ex-wife Demi Moore and their daughters, Rumer, 35, Scout, 32, and Tallulah, 30 – ever since they first shared his frontotemporal dementia (FTD) diagnosis.

The latest to give a sweet shout-out to the Willis bunch is M. Night Shyamalan, who directed him in one of his most memorable roles: as child psychologist Malcolm Crowe in 1999's The Sixth Sense.

Speaking with People at a recent preview event for his upcoming thriller Trap, starring Josh Hartnett, the director maintained: "[Bruce] has a very loving family," and endearingly added: "They're doing the best they can."

After the two collaborated on The Sixth Sense, they also worked together on 2000 sci-fi thriller Unbreakable, plus Bruce had an uncredited cameo in its 2016 sequel Split, and later a starring role in the trilogy's final installment, Glass, in 2019.

Late last year, another former collaborator of Bruce's, Moonlighting creator Glenn Gordon Caron, also opened up about how he is doing, when the series made its streaming debut on Hulu. The ABC comedy drama, in which Bruce starred as detective David Addison opposite Cybill Shepherd as Maddie Hayes from 1985 to 1989, was his big break, and his wife Emma recently also celebrated its return to the screen.

Bruce Willis and M. Night Shyamalan attend the 2nd Annual Lumiere Award Celebration during The 26th Philadelphia Film Festival at AKA Washington Square on October 26, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania© Getty
Bruce and the Trap director in 2017

Speaking with The New York Post at the time, Glenn said: "I have tried very hard to stay in his life," adding: "I'm not always quite that good but I try and I do talk to him and his wife and I have a casual relationship with his three older children."

MORE: Bruce Willis' wife Emma celebrates granddaughter Lou's 1st birthday along with doting mom Rumer Willis

MORE: Bruce Willis' wife Emma Heming and their daughters make special 'prayer' for him amid FTD battle – watch

Addressing the difficult changes he's seen in Bruce, he continued: "The thing that makes [his disease] so mind-blowing is [that] if you've ever spent time with Bruce Willis, there is no one who had any more joie de vivre than he," noting: "He loved life and… just adored waking up every morning and trying to live life to its fullest."

Emma Heming Willis and Tallulah Willis at the 2024 TCM Classic Film Festival Opening Night screening of "Pulp Fiction" held at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on April 18, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images)© Getty
Emma and Tallulah recently stepped out in honor of the 25th anniversary of Pulp Fiction

"My sense is the first one to three minutes he knows who I am," he explained, before revealing that the actor "is not totally verbal," and that he is "seeing life through a screen door."

MORE: Bruce Willis' wife Emma Heming shares rare videos of daughter Mabel in honor of 12th birthday: 'Keep shining'

Bruce Willis and Demi Moore's blended family© Instagram
The Willis family

"He used to be a voracious reader… He didn't want anyone to know that," he went on. "He's not reading now. All those language skills are no longer available to him, and yet he's still Bruce."

"When you're with him you know that he's Bruce and you're grateful that he's there," he did say, before making the heartbreaking confession that "the joie de vivre is gone."

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