Christopher Walken (born 31.3.1943)
Christopher Walken is an American screen and stage actor with a lengthy and impressive filmography to his name, including The Deer Hunter and Annie Hall.
Christopher Walken: Childhood
Christopher Walken was born to Rosalie and Paul Walken, in New York. His mother was Scottish and his father German and he was raised as a Methodist.
Christopher was a child actor, as were his brothers Kenneth and Glenn. He began his studies at Long Island's Hofstra University but did not complete them. He wet on to train as a dancer, studying musical theatre at the Washington Dance Studio.
Christopher Walken: Career
After appearing in a number of comedy shows such as The Colgate Comedy Hour and working as a narrator on The Wonderful John Acton. Walken's TV appearances in this era were numerous and he had many stage roles, as well. Up until 1964, he performed under his given name, Ronnie Walken before changing it to Christopher. In 1969, he also made a guest appearance in Hawaii Five-O.
Walken's film debut came in 1971, with a minor role alongside Sean Connery in The Anderson Tapes. The following year, Walken appeared in The Happiness Cage, which marked his first starring role. A turning point for him came with his performance in Woody Allen's classic, Annie Hall. In the film, he featured alongside Diane Keaton, Paul Simon and Shelley Duvall. George Lucas considered him for the role of Han Solo in Star Wars, but the role eventually went to Harrison Ford.
In 1978, Christopher Walken starred in The Deer Hunter and was awarded with an Oscar, for his performance in support to Robert De Niro's lead role. The movie also won Best Picture. Following his award, Walken's first film of the 1980s was Heaven's Gate, in which he starred alongside Kris Kristofferson, Jeff Bridges, Sam Wollaston and John Hurt. The film was controversial for the allegations of animal rights abuse made against its makers and it is considered one of the biggest box office flops of its time. Walken went on to star in 1981's The Dogs of War, directed by John Irvin.
In Herbert Ross' Pennies From Heaven, he confounded critics by showing off his dance skills, in a tap-dancing striptease. This was followed by a role in David Cronenberg's adaptation of the Stephen King novel, The Dead Zone.
1985 saw Christopher Walken transform into a Bond villain, Max Zorin, in A View to a Kill. His character was killed off in a memorable scene, in which he fell from the Golden Gate Bridge, in a fight with Roger Moore's Bond.
In the 1990s, Christopher Walken made a number of low-key appearances in art-house films, such as Paul Schrader's The Comfort of Strangers. The film is said to have disturbed Walken himself, as much as its viewers, for its extreme sexual content. In Abel Ferrara's King of New York, Walken played a ruthless drug dealer, Frank White. The movie also starred Laurence Fishburne and Wesley Snipes.
Christopher Walken also made a number of appearances in some of the most significant films of the decade, such as Batman Returns (with Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer), True Romance (with Dennis Hopper and Christian Slater) and Pulp Fiction (with John Travolta and Uma Thurman). And, in a diversion from his acting career, he also appeared in Madonna's controversial book, entitled SEX.
In 1996, Christopher Walken played the role of a sadistic gangster in Last Man Standing, alongside Bruce Willis. Three years later, he was the headless horseman in Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, which starred Christina Ricci and Johnny Depp.
One of Walken's more notorious moments of this era was his tap-dancing appearance in the music video for Fatboy Slim's 'Weapon of Choice.' He also appeared in the video for 'Bad Girl' by Madonna and 'Breakin' Down' for Skid Row.
Another Academy Award nomination came for Walken for his performance as Frank Abagnale Sr. in Catch Me If You Can, with the junior role played by Leonardo DiCaprio. This was countered, though not significantly, by a Worst Supporting Actor nomination at the Razzies, for his role in The Rundown, with Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock. In the 2007 film adaptation of Hairspray, he featured alongside John Travolta and was seen in a romantic duet with his former Pulp Fiction co-star.
In addition to his film work, Walken has also hosted Saturday Night Live on a number of occasions.
Christopher Walken: Personal Life
Christopher Walken married his wife Georgianne in 1969. She works as a casting director and cast The Sopranos, amongst other films and TV shows.