Christopher (Ronald) Walken, born March 31, 1943, is an American film actor from Astoria Queens. He has been in show business since he was a young boy, starting as an extra in films, catalogs, and as the regular narrator of The Wonderful John Acton. He is perhaps best known for Annie Hall (1977) and The Deer Hunter (1978), for which he won an Academy Award. He usually portrays mentally unstable characters or the villain, and has commented on being typecast on numerous occasions.
Walken was born to a Scottish mother and a German father. His mother wanted her sons to be in show business, so she got them roles in commercials and in theater. He attended Hofstra University, but dropped out for a role in the off-broadway show Best Foot Forward with Liza Minnelli.
Because of his unique voice and affect, Walken is known for playing strange and unsettling characters. He has complained on occasion about being typecast, but has also discussed its benefits. Here are some of his comments on the subject:
"I play a lot of those parts, and it's a chicken-and-egg thing. I don't know whether you get scary because you play those parts or did you get those parts because you were scary? But I do believe that there's a very close connection to what's scary and what's funny. So I think if you have the ability to do one, you might have the ability to do the other."
"Well, I don't play heroes obviously. I never played the guy who gets the girl. It might be interesting to do a part where I was a father in a functional family."
"I have the easiest job in Hollywood, because I get paid to be me. What's the role? A milkman? 'Hey, I'm a milkman. Here's your milk.' 'Cut. Print.'"
"Early on, I played one or two disturbed people and I guess I must have been good at it, because it stuck. But, you know, I'm a regular guy. I stay home a lot, I make an effort to keep a distance from the whole social thing, the openings, the parties. I try to live in a calm way."
"I play disturbed people a lot, but always with a bit of distance or tongue-in-cheek...Most of the villains I play are essentially harmless."
Walken has appeared in countless films throughout the 1970s until now. In Annie Hall, he played Annie's suicidal brother and he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor when he portrayed an emotionally unbalanced Vietnam War vet in The Deer Hunter. Other notable films of his include The Anderson Tapes (1971), The Dead Zone (1983), and The Comfort of Strangers (1990). Walken debuted as a screenwriter and director with his 2001 short Popcorn Shrimp.
Walken lives in rural Connecticut with his wife Georgianne Walken, who he has been married to since 1969. They have no kids, a fact which to which Walken attributes his prolificacy.
Walken is said to be currently working on a film called Freezing People is Easy, which chronicles the tale of a man experimenting with cryogenics in the 1960s, and Gods Behaving Badly, in which he portrays the Greek God Zeus.
- Birthday Date: Monday, 31 March 2014