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Also Known As: Ronny Walken, Ronnie Walken, Ronald Walken Died:
Born: March 31, 1943 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Astoria, New York, USA Profession: actor, dancer, singer, model

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Having made the rare successful transition from child player to adult star, Christopher Walken went on to become one of the most respected and sometimes feared performers on screen, if only because of his offbeat portrayal of sinister villains. With a dry, deadpan delivery that was oft-imitated by his contemporaries, Walken himself was as much of a cultural phenomenon as some of his performances. After cutting his teeth on the stage in musicals and later dramatic productions, he made his first impression on film as the demented brother of the titular "Annie Hall" (1977) before winning an Academy Award for his tormented Vietnam veteran who becomes obsessed with playing Russian roulette in "The Deer Hunter" (1978). With his status secure, Walken spent the next few decades turning in numerous performance gems in a never-ending string of projects that ranged from Oscar-winning films to bargain bin rentals, including "Biloxi Blues" (1988), "True Romance" (1993) and "Pulp Fiction" (1994). Peppered into his résumé were some of the most outlandish, over-the-top villains ever put on film, like the bleach-blonde industrialist Max Zorin in "A View to a Kill" (1985); the corrupt business man, Max Shreck, who...

Having made the rare successful transition from child player to adult star, Christopher Walken went on to become one of the most respected and sometimes feared performers on screen, if only because of his offbeat portrayal of sinister villains. With a dry, deadpan delivery that was oft-imitated by his contemporaries, Walken himself was as much of a cultural phenomenon as some of his performances. After cutting his teeth on the stage in musicals and later dramatic productions, he made his first impression on film as the demented brother of the titular "Annie Hall" (1977) before winning an Academy Award for his tormented Vietnam veteran who becomes obsessed with playing Russian roulette in "The Deer Hunter" (1978). With his status secure, Walken spent the next few decades turning in numerous performance gems in a never-ending string of projects that ranged from Oscar-winning films to bargain bin rentals, including "Biloxi Blues" (1988), "True Romance" (1993) and "Pulp Fiction" (1994). Peppered into his résumé were some of the most outlandish, over-the-top villains ever put on film, like the bleach-blonde industrialist Max Zorin in "A View to a Kill" (1985); the corrupt business man, Max Shreck, who wears human molars as cuff links in "Batman Returns" (1992); and the sadistic Headless Horseman in "Sleepy Hollow" (1995). Though occasionally in danger of self-parody throughout his career, Walken was always relevant, as the "More Cowbell" skit on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975) indicated. He was also capable at any time of turning in an Oscar-caliber performance, as he did in "Catch Me If You Can" (2002), proving that the always unpredictable Walken was worthy of his stature as one of the most respected actors working in Hollywood.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Popcorn Shrimp (2002) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Family Fang, The (2014)
3.
 Jersey Boys (2014)
4.
5.
6.
7.
 Stand Up Guys (2012)
8.
9.
 Always Brando (2010)
10.
 Maiden Heist (2009)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born and raised in the Astoria section of Queens, NY
:
Began career as a catalog model with his brothers
:
Trained as a dancer
:
Appeared on live television in the 1950s
1954:
Occasionally replaced brother Glenn as Mike Bauer on CBS daytime drama "The Guiding Light"
1959:
Made Broadway debut in "J.B." (billed as Ronnie Walken)
1960:
Worked for the summer as an assistant lion tamer with the Tarryl Jacobs Circus
1965:
Cast in the chorus of "Baker Street"; first role billed as 'Christopher' Walken
1966:
Made first appearance with the New York Shakespeare Festival (NYSF) in "Measure for Measure" in Central Park
1968:
Film debut, a bit part in "Me and My Brother"
1971:
Had first significant feature role in "The Anderson Tapes"
1972:
First film in a lead role, "The Happiness Cage"
1974:
Played "Macbeth" at the NYSF's Public Theatre
1975:
Starred in the stage play "Kid Champion"
1975:
Portrayed Chance Wayne to Irene Worth's Alexandra del Largo in Tennessee Williams' "Sweet Bird of Youth"
1977:
Offered memorable cameo as Diane Keaton's brother in "Annie Hall"
1977:
Danced for the first time in a feature in James Ivory's "Roseland"
1978:
Won an Oscar for his memorable turn as a soldier serving in Vietnam in Michael Cimino's "The Deer Hunter"
1980:
Re-teamed with Cimino for the controversial "Heaven's Gate"
1981:
Displayed his dancing abilities to great effect as the oily villain in "Pennies From Heaven"
1984:
Co-starred in David Rabe's play about Hollywood "Hurlyburly"
1985:
Portrayed the villain out to destroy Sillicon Valley in the James Bond adventure "A View to a Kill"
1986:
Played Stanley Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire" at the Williamstown Theatre Festival
1986:
Cast as the father with a criminal past in the downbeat but well-acted "At Close Range," co-starring Sean Penn and Chris Penn
1988:
Played the nemesis sergeant to a wisecracking new recruit in the film adaptation of Neil Simon's "Biloxi Blues"
1988:
Had title role in NYSF's production of "Coriolanus"
1989:
Portrayed real-life author Whitley Streiber, who claimed to have had encounters with aliens in "Communion"
1990:
First of several films with director Abel Ferrara, "The King of New York"
1992:
Appeared as the department store owner Max Schreck in "Batman Returns"
1993:
Acted opposite Dennis Hopper in "True Romance"; scripted by Quentin Tarantino; his so-called "Sicilian scene" hailed by critics as the best scene in the film
1994:
Co-starred in Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction"; delivered a memorable monologue about a gold watch
1995:
Debut as playwright (also starred) with one-man, off-Broadway production "Him"
1995:
Cast as Gabriel, the evil leader of renegade angels in "The Prophecy"
1996:
Starred as the eldest of three brothers in a crime family in Ferrara's "The Funeral"
1997:
Offered a wildly over-the-top cameo as an exterminator in the comedy "Mouse Hunt"
1997:
Reprised role of Gabriel in the sequel "Prophecy II: Ashtown"
1998:
Voiced the character of Cutter in the animated "Antz"
1998:
Offered an over-the-top comedic performance as an effete turn-of-the-century drama critic in John Turturro's "Illuminata"
1999:
Returned to the NYC stage for the musical "James Joyce's The Dead"; received Tony nomination as Actor in a Musical
1999:
Made third telefilm with Glenn Close, "Sarah, Plain and Tall: Winter's End" (CBS)
2000:
Played an ex-con who gets embroiled in a robbery scheme in "The Opportunists"
2001:
Danced in the popular Fatboy Slim music video "Weapon of Choice"
2001:
Returned to the stage in the Mike Nichols-directed "The Seagull"; presented by the New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park
2001:
Appeared as a mesmerist in the period drama "Affair of the Necklace"
2002:
Played the father of the youngest man to make the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List (Leonardo DiCaprio) in "Catch Me If You Can"; received an Oscar nomination for his supporting role
2002:
Portrayed Marcus Porcius Cato in the TNT miniseries "Julius Caesar"
2004:
Cast in the remake of ''The Stepford Wives,'' Bryan Forbes' 1975 cult classic about upper-crust women being replaced by robots with sunny dispositions
2004:
Starred opposite Jack Black and Ben Stiller in the comedy "Envy"; directed by Barry Levinson
2005:
Cast opposite James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, and Kate Winslet in "Romance & Cigarettes," helmed by John Turturro
2005:
Appeared in the romantic comedy "The Wedding Crashers," starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn
2005:
Portrayed a reality TV producer in "Domino" opposite Keira Knightley as Domino Harvey, a model-turned-bounty hunter
2006:
Cast opposite Adam Sandler in the comedy "Click," directed by Frank Coraci
2006:
Cast opposite Robin Williams in Barry Levinson's political comedy "Man of the Year"
2007:
Acted in the remake of John Water's "Hairspray" as Edna Turnblad¿s (John Travolta) husband Wilbur
2010:
Returned to Broadway in the black comedy "A Behanding in Spokane"; earned Tony Award nomination for Leading Actor in a Play
2012:
Cast in ensemble crime comedy "Seven Psychopaths"
2012:
Co-starred with Al Pacino and Alan Arkin as aging con men in crime comedy "Stand Up Guys"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Hofstra College: Hempstead , New York -
Actors Studio: New York , New York -
Professional Children's School: New York , New York - 1961

Notes

In 1994 Walken was the recipient of the William Shakespeare Award for Classic Theatre; presented by The Shakespeare Theatre of Washington, DC.

Walken wrote an unproduced screenplay based on the life of porn star John Holmes.

"I've been in show business since I was a kid, and I must say that I've always known what I was good for. I never thought of myself like [a romantic lead]. I'm very happy to work (knocks wood), and to do good work sometimes, and to get paid. To me, there are things you're good at and things you're not so good at. For some reason, I'm good at darker characters. It has to do with how you look. I think the fact I was raised in show business, in New York City, in the '50s, that's affected my personality to the point I'm a little different ...

I was in show business since I was a kid. My mind, the way it works, is in show business, always has been. People talk to me about things, income tax, real estate, plumbing, I have no IDEA what they're talking about. ... Acting is all I know."---Christopher Walken quoted in Movieline, December 1993.

"Offscreen, I'm ordinary, predictable and very conservative. I have two houses, a station wagon, cats, the same wife of 28 years, and I like to save money."---Christopher Walken to Wallace Terry in "It's Hard for Me to Play the Guy Next Door", Parade Magazine, September 21, 1997.

"I know I look strange, and strangeness equates into villainy through the camera. It's hard for me to play the guy next door. But it's an advantage too. because other actors don't have it."---Walken quoted in Parade Magazine, September 21, 1997.

"I make a lot of movies. I make four, um, five, six movies a year. I do it because I really like to work. I really don't have anything else to do. Some of them go straight to video. They're so obscure. I make movies nobody will see. I've made a number if movies that I have never seen."---Walken quoted in Empire, December 1997.

"Actors are priests. They are a consuit from something very powerful to the people. That's why when you got to the theater or to the movies you are moved in some way, to laugh, to get a hard-on, to feel compassion. Good acting has a lot to do with the way you were when you were eight years old, you play. It usually has to do with having a good time. Most good actors are very playful."---Christopher Walken quoted in Movieline, November 1998.

"I found [Lee Strasberg] rather severe. He had humor, but you rarely saw it. Elia Kazan was the best acting teacher I ever saw. He says such simple things. At the Actors Studio there were these people who'd [act like] some kind of Delphic mysteries were being imparted. Such seriousness. I said to somebody once, 'Please, I'm getting a headache.' She said to me, 'You just don't understand.' I haven't been there in 10 years for that reason."---Walken quoted in Movieline, November 1998.

Time OUt New York: "You seem to work all the time. Can't you say no to a good role?"

Christopher Walken: "I can say no to hardly any role! I don't have children, and I don't have hobbies. I don't like to travel, really; I like to stay in the house unless I'm working. So it's better for me psychologically."

---From Time Out New York, April 16-23, 1998.

"I've been in show business since I was 3 years old, there're very, very few people around who can say that. [laughs] You can't have been in show business since you were 3 without it having some mark on you. Who I am, the way I think, the way I speak, the way I approach life, has very much to do with that, for better or for worse."---Walken to Interview June 2004.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Georgianne Walken. Casting agent. Met while touring with "West Side Story"; married in 1969; won Emmy for casting HBO's "The Sopranos" in 1999.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Paul Walken. Baker. German immigrant to USA.
mother:
Rosalie Walken. Baker. Scottish immigrant to USA.
brother:
Kenneth Walken. Actor. Older.
brother:
Glenn Walken. Actor. Younger.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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