Christopher Walken is one very creepy actor. He’s great, though! I really respect this guy’s movies and he deserves his own Five Best list. Besides having a very recognizable voice and for portraying villains, most of us know nothing about this Academy Award winning actor. In fact, according to him, his hair was famous before he was! After doing a little research, here are five facts you probably didn’t know about this actor with the nervous speaking pattern and a tendency to play those that are mentally unbalanced.
The Birth Of A Star
Christopher Walken is a first generation American, born to a Scottish mother (Rosalie Russell) and a German father (Paul Walken). While growing up in Queens, New York, Walken’s father was a baker. He had two brothers, Kenneth and Glenn, who are also, both actors. In fact, Christopher wanted to be in show business after being influenced by his mother and Jerry Lewis, whom he got to know after being an extra on one of his comedy specials. Walken went to Hofstra University in Long Island to follow his dream, but did not graduate.
The Birth Of A Name
Christopher Walken was actually born Ronald Walken and used to go by the name of Ronnie. Acting wasn’t his first choice of profession. It was dancing! He was dancing backup for a woman named Monique Van Vooren in a nightclub act, when she told him that she didn’t like the name Ronnie and that he looked more like a Christopher. She asked if she could call him Christopher. Walken responded (and I can just picture the voice) with, “I don’t care what you call me, just don’t call me late for lunch!” He told that to a film critic in 1982. Incidentally, to his friends, he prefers to be called ‘Chris’. His wife and brothers don’t care what his stage name is – they still call him ‘Ronnie’.
You Can’t Win Them All
Christopher Walken is well known for not being a picky person when it comes to getting a role. As long as he doesn’t have a previous commitment, he’s willing to take a role. This might explain some of the eclectic parts that he’s taken in the past. Currently, he’s appeared in 112 different roles and he says that 200 performances isn’t out of the question (he’s currently 67). However, you can’t win them all. Imagine Walken in these movie parts that he tried out for that he didn’t get.
- Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean (went to Johnny Depp – who does an impression of Walken).
- Han Solo, Star Wars: A New Hope, Episode IV (He was George Lucas’ second choice in case they didn’t get Harrison Ford!).
- Number Two, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (played by Robert Wagner. Walken was on the yacht at the time Natalie Wood fell overboard).
- Oliver Barrett IV, Love Story (the role went to Ryan O’Neil, making him a star).
- Eric Qualen, Cliffhanger (lost out the role to John Lithgow)
Getting To Know The Man
Here’s a look at the man behind the monster, as it were. While it is a rarity in Hollywood, he has been married to the same woman, Georgeanne, for the past 41 years. That’s quite an accomplishment for people in entertainment. She’s in the same field. She’s a casting director who has done a lot of work on the Sopranos. The couple do not have any children, which Walken credits to his large number of roles. The two live in Connecticut, not Los Angeles, and he lives in a house in the country, while his wife lives in their New York apartment. Walken says the only people he sees when he is not working are the garbage men. This might also help keep their marriage alive. While at home, Walken is a pretty accomplished chef. He even has a video out showing off his skills! What else are you going to do when your wife is in the city?
Scary Is As Scary Does
Rosie O’Donnell once called Walken “The scariest man alive”. That was before he showed up on her show with flowers and candy! Even though he is typically typecast as a really scary dude, Walken has a great sense of humor! This can be apparent by his numerous roles on Saturday Night Live, where he has reoccurring roles. In fact, he and Alec Baldwin have a standing request from Lorne Michaels to do the comedy show anytime they would like to appear. He’s done some very funny skits on the shows, including: “I’m Walken, I’m Talking”, “Walken In A Winter Wonderland” (which was done in honor of his mother who doesn’t like the fact he’s always a bad guy), and of course, the skit “More Cowbell!” – which has become a part of modern popular culture. While Walken likes the persona of being frightening – he once said “I don’t need to be made to look evil. I can do that on my own.” – he’s really not that way. He’s in a class of his own!