Christopher Walken

Christopher Walken
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Name: Christopher Walken

Real name: Ronald Walken

Who is:

Birth date: (80 y.o.)

Place of birth: New York

Height: 6'0 ft ()

Weight: 176 lb (80 kg)

Namesakes:

Birth Sign:

Chinese zodiac:

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Christopher Walken's Biography

Christopher Walken is an American stage and film actor who refers to himself as an ordinary person, while colleagues, critics, and fans lavish him with adjectives like "magnificent," and "extraordinary,". Throughout his entire career, the actor has hardly ever turned down a role, believing that each one has given him invaluable experience.

Having won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the war drama "The Deer Hunter" (1978), he has appeared in more than a hundred diverse films. In 2023, the actor turned 80, but he continues to delight fans with new and interesting roles.
Actor Christopher Walken
Actor Christopher Walken

Childhood, Youth, Family

Ronald (the actor's real name) was born in the spring of 1943 to Paul Walken and Rosalie Russell in Queens, a troubled neighborhood of New York at the time. Along with him, his immigrant parents also raised two brothers - Ken and Glenn.
Christopher Walken (right) with his younger brother in childhood
Christopher Walken (right) with his younger brother in childhood
His father ran his own bakery and through his line, Walken has German roots. His Scottish mother was a housewife. Speaking of her much later, the actor noted her influence on him from an early age and how she largely contributed to his entry into the film business:
My mother came to America as an adult. She was originally from Glasgow. She was just crazy about cinema: she read all the film magazines and wanted her children to be in the show business. I was simply placed there... I'm very grateful to her. I can't imagine anything else that could have given me such a good life.
Ronald didn't have a childhood in the usual sense. He danced, went with his mother to all sorts of auditions, studied at a specialized school where he could simultaneously get an education and work. Along with his brothers, the boy participated in various shows and began to star in TV series: "Wonderful John Acton" (1953), "The Motorola Television Hour" (1954).
Christopher Walken in the series Wonderful John Acton
Christopher Walken in the series Wonderful John Acton
At the age of ten, thanks to the popular host Jerry Lewis, Walken made it to the famous comedy show, got a role in the production "The Climate of Eden" at the Martin Beck Theater, and in 1954 starred in the longest-running American TV series "Guiding Light" as Mike Bauer.
Christopher Walken Watches a Clip of Himself as a Child Actor
The debut was successful, and the young man decided to try his hand in other roles. He changed his name, later explaining it as follows:
Her name was Monica Van Vooren: together with her and another guy we performed in the evenings in an improvised show: Monica sang, we danced. After the last song, she always introduced us to the audience and always did it with imagination. And suddenly one night she called me Christopher, and then in the makeup room she said: “You know, Walken, it's a cool name. That's what I'm going to call you from now on”. I don't know why, but I didn't object: and from that evening only my closest ones call me Ronnie - my wife and brothers.
With her, Walken enrolled at Hofstra University, where he decided to get a theater education, but it didn't last long. For a while, Christopher toured in musical revues as a dancer, worked in a traveling circus as a trainer and "tamer" of an elderly lioness:

Acting Career

Walken faced a serious challenge with the role of Duane Hall in Woody Allen's ironic comedy "Annie Hall" (1977). Although his role was rather small, it attracted the attention of the audience of the four-time Oscar-winning film.
Christopher Walken in the movie 'Annie Hall'
Christopher Walken in the movie 'Annie Hall'
Just a year later, Christopher himself became the owner of the coveted Oscar statuette, having starred in the war drama "The Deer Hunter" directed by Michael Cimino. His character, Nick Chevotarevich, made an even bigger impression on viewers and critics than the main character played by Robert De Niro, who was also nominated for this prestigious film award.
Christopher Walken with his Oscar
Christopher Walken with his Oscar
During the eighties, Walken truly experienced what popularity was. He appeared in fifteen films, mainly in leading roles. Notable among them were the action film "The Dogs of War" (Jamie Shannon), the thriller "The Dead Zone" (Johnny Smith), the sci-fi film "Brainstorm" (Dr. Michael Anthony Brace), and the film based on real events "Communion" (writer Whitley Strieber).
Christopher Walken in the movie 'Brainstorm'
Christopher Walken in the movie 'Brainstorm'
The nineties proved to be the most fruitful for Christopher. At the beginning of the decade, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for his role as Jacob Witting in the miniseries "Sarah, Plain and Tall". The duo of Glenn Close and Chris Walken was simply brilliant. The actor also held his own in the company of Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, and Michelle Pfeiffer in the sequel to the Batman saga.
Christopher Walken in the movie 'Batman Returns'
Christopher Walken in the movie 'Batman Returns'
Recalling this role, Christopher shared:
Once I was in a small town, a dusty hilly town in southern Italy, and I met a woman with a child. He was probably about eight. He kept looking at me, and then he said: 'Max!' - meaning Max Shreck from 'Batman'. That's the power of cinema for you.
The audience also noted Christopher's cameo in the film "True Romance", for which Quentin Tarantino wrote the screenplay. Walken's acting impressed the director so much that he offered him the role of Captain Koons in "Pulp Fiction". The monologue about the gold watch that his character managed to keep while being held captive by the Viet Cong became one of the film's most striking episodes, thanks to Christopher's talent.
Pulp Fiction - the gold watch monologue
In addition to Tarantino, the actor was loved by Tim Burton, who filmed him in his mystical films. Besides "Batman Returns", Christopher appeared in his horror movie "Sleepy Hollow", playing the terrifyingly comical Headless Horseman.
Christopher Walken in the movie 'Sleepy Hollow'
Christopher Walken in the movie 'Sleepy Hollow'
Apart from the creepy villain roles, the actor also excelled in comedic roles, for example, in the film "Plots with a View" (2002) or in the comedy "Kangaroo Jack" (2003).
Christopher Walken in the movie 'Kangaroo Jack'
Christopher Walken in the movie 'Kangaroo Jack'
Critics recognized his role as Frank Abagnale in Steven Spielberg's thriller "Catch Me If You Can" (2002) as successful. Leonardo DiCaprio, who played Walken's on-screen son, noted that his senior colleague played hyperventilation so realistically that it made Leo panic seriously. Unfortunately, the Oscar, for which Christopher was nominated for this role, went to Chris Cooper from the tragicomedy "Adaptation".
Christopher Walken in the movie 'Catch Me If You Can'
Christopher Walken in the movie 'Catch Me If You Can'
An interesting and unexpected role for the actor was the portrayal of a cellist with Parkinson's disease in the film "A Late Quartet" (2012). Together with Al Pacino, the actor shone brilliantly in the crime comedy "Stand Up Guys" (2012), and with Kevin Spacey, he worked on the film "Nine Lives", convincingly portraying a spell-casting salesman in a cat store (2016).
Christopher Walken in the movie 'Nine Lives'
Christopher Walken in the movie 'Nine Lives'
In tandem with Robert De Niro, Walken delighted viewers with the film "The War with Grandpa" (2020), and he starred with John Turturro in the dystopian series "Severance" (2022).
Christopher Walken in the movie 'The War with Grandpa'
Christopher Walken in the movie 'The War with Grandpa'

Christopher Walken's Personal Life

The actor has repeatedly admitted that his off-screen life is very conservative. In 1969, he married Georgianne Thon, who was at the time a casting agent and his partner in the musical "West Side Story". Since then, despite the paparazzi's efforts, Christopher couldn't be caught up in any affairs or intrigues.
Christopher Walken and Georgianne Thon in their youth
Christopher Walken and Georgianne Thon in their youth
The couple live alone in a country house about which Walken proudly spoke:
...it's quiet and beautiful. There are hordes of opossums, skunks, and a whole army of raccoons living near my house. They constantly sneak into the house through the cat door and even bring their children. Sometimes, I go to the kitchen at night, and they're sitting there in a pile, devouring cat food. I do the same thing every day. The same thing. I eat at the same time, get up at the same time. I do the same things in the same order. I read, then drink coffee, then work on scripts, then work out, and then cook something to eat.
Their small and strong family couldn't be destroyed even by the lack of children. On the contrary, Christopher believes that he wouldn't have become an actor if he had offspring.
Christopher Walken Uncovers His Grandfather's Criminal History
One of Walken's revelations was his admission that he doesn't use either a mobile phone or a computer, at most he might flick through the channels on the TV, occasionally stopping on one or another satellite TV program.
Christopher Walken and his wife in 2023
Christopher Walken and his wife in 2023
The only clear shadow cast on Christopher's life is his presence on the yacht during the death of actress Natalie Wood in 1981. She, her husband Robert Wagner, and Walken were traveling together near the California Islands. Initially, her death was ruled an accident, then the case was reopened, and Wagner was accused of murder out of jealousy. That the husband and wife had argued during the trip was reported by the ship's captain, Dennis Davern, and in 2018, witnesses emerged claiming that Wagner was jealous of his wife's relationship with Walken. Forty years after the death of the Hollywood star of Russian descent, the case was finally closed.
Christopher Walken and Natalie Wood (movie “Brainstorm”)
Christopher Walken and Natalie Wood (movie “Brainstorm”)

Christopher Walken Now

After the release of Ben Stiller's series "Severance," it was announced that the show would return for a second season, much to the delight of the director and actors, including Christopher Walken. The continuation of the art-house story about employees of a shadowy company who agree to undergo a procedure to separate their personal memories from their work promises to be just as interesting as the first season.

In addition to this, Walken is involved in Denis Villeneuve's epic saga "Dune: Part Two," in which he plays Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV Corrino. Despite the fact that Christopher turned 80 years old in 2023, he dreams of future roles and is not planning to rest on his laurels.
Christopher Walken on the poster of the movie “Dune: Part Two”
Christopher Walken on the poster of the movie “Dune: Part Two”

Interesting Facts

  • Walken has a tradition: he almost always takes a souvenir from every film set. Imagine his disappointment when he finished filming the last episode of "Batman Returns": …I had a whole box of funny costumes and stuff. By the last shooting day, I knew exactly what I wanted to take home. I had lovely handcuffs and a bunch of other things. But when we shot the last scene and I returned to my dressing room, I found that everything was gone. They took everything! Absolutely everything, – the actor complained in one of his interviews.

  • In the seventies, Christopher worked in one of the theaters in Canada. At the same time, the famous Muhammad Ali visited the country with anti-Vietnam war calls. The boxer put up his boxing trunks, which he wore in the ring, for a charity auction. Ultimately, Walken became the owner of them. The shorts are still kept in his collection of "historical" items.

  • The actor's childhood passion for dance came in handy in his adult life. In 1993, he appeared in Madonna's music video for the song Bad Girl, and then choreographed Fatboy Slim's music video for the song Weapon of Choice. Christopher received an MTV VMA award for this work.
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