Actor Christopher Walken turns 81 today

Renowned actor Christopher Walken has appeared in more than 100 movies & television shows

Actor Christopher Walken turns 81 today

Actor Christopher Walken was born on March 31, 1943, in Queens, New York. A performer since the age of 3, Walken started out as a dancer, taking lessons as a child. At age 15, when a girlfriend showed him a magazine photo of Elvis, Walken said, “This guy looked like a Greek god. Then I saw him on television. I loved everything about him.” He changed his hairstyle to imitate Elvis and hasn’t changed it since. Early in his career, he changed his first name from Ronny to Christopher while performing in a nightclub act. After appearing in the chorus in Baker Street in 1965, Walken was asked to try out for a dramatic part. He played King Philip of France in the original production of James Goldman’s historical drama, “The Lion in Winter,” with Rosemary Harris and Robert Preston in 1966. By the early 1970s, Walken had begun working in film. He had a supporting part in 1971’s “The Anderson Tapes,” with Sean Connery and Dyan Cannon. His breakthrough role came six years later with his memorable turn in Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” (1977). In the comedic film, he played Duane, the offbeat, neurotic brother of the Diane Keaton title character. The next year Walken won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Michael Cimino’s 1978 film “The Deer Hunter.” Walken experienced turbulence in his personal life a few years later as a guest on the boat of actress Natalie Wood and her husband, Robert Wagner. On November 29, 1981, Wood drowned while the boat was moored off Catalina Island in California. Walken and Wood were working together on what proved to be her final film, the science-fiction thriller “Brainstorm” (1983). In 1991, Walken garnered his first Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Special for his work on “Sarah, Plain and Tall.” He starred opposite Glenn Close as a widower who solicits a new wife to help raise his two children. Walken reminded movie-goers of his immense talent in Steven Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can” (2002). The film tells the true-life story of con artist Frank Abagnale played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Walken gave a subtle performance as Frank’s father, which earned him his second Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Still clicking with audiences, Walken appeared in such comedies as the box-office hit “Wedding Crashers” (2005), “Click” (2006), “Balls of Fury” (2007) and the actor provided the voice of King Louie for an updated version of Disney’s “The Jungle Book” (2016). Walken married Georgianne Thon, a casting director, in 1969. She is most notable for “The Sopranos”.

By Ken Warren, 2018

Watch Christopher Walken in “Cooking with Christopher Walken” for Funny Or Die

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