Christopher Walken, Photo Text Portrait: *March 31, 1943. Textportrait Christopher Walken by Ralph Ueltzhoeffer 2011, 2011 October 5. Biography Text (2011 October 5, 2011 by Wikipedia.org). Text: Christopher Walken – Christopher Walken (born Ronald Walken on March 31, 1943) is an American actor. He has appeared in more than 100 films and television shows, including The Deer Hunter, Annie Hall, The Prophecy trilogy, The Dogs of War, Brainstorm, The Dead Zone,
A View to a Kill, True Romance, Pulp Fiction, Catch Me If You Can, Hairspray and Seven Psychopaths, as well as music videos by many popular recording artists. Walken has received a number of awards and nominations during his career, including winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1978 for his portrayal of Nikanor “Nick” Chebotarevich in The Deer Hunter. Walken’s films have grossed more than $1 billion in the United States. He has also played the lead in the Shakespeare plays Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and Coriolanus. He is a popular guest-host of Saturday Night Live, having hosted seven times as of April 2008. His most notable roles on the show include record producer Bruce Dickinson in the “More Cowbell” sketch, as the double-entendre-named disgraced Confederate officer, Colonel Angus, and his multiple appearances as The Continental. Walken debuted as a film director and script writer with the short film Popcorn Shrimp in 2001. He also wrote and acted the main role in a play about his idol Elvis Presley titled Him, in 1995. Early life Named for actor Ronald Colman, Walken was born Ronald Walken in Astoria, Queens. His mother, Rosalie (née Russell; May 16, 1907 – March 26, 2010), was a Scottish emigrant from Glasgow, and his father, Paul Walken (October 5, 1903 – February 23, 2001), moved from Germany in 1928 with his brothers. His father owned and operated Walken’s Bakery in Astoria, Queens. He was raised a Methodist. Influenced by their mother’s own dreams of stardom, he and his brothers, Kenneth and Glenn, were child actors on television in the 1950s. As a teenager, he worked as a lion tamer in a circus. Walken went to Hofstra University but dropped out after one year, having gotten the role of Clayton Dutch Miller on an Off-Broadway revival of Best Foot Forward, co-starring with Liza Minnelli, who played Ethel Hofflinger. Walken initially trained as a dancer in music theatre at the Washington Dance Studio, before moving on to dramatic roles in theatre and then film. Career Early roles As a child, Walken appeared on screen as an extra in numerous anthology series and variety shows during the Golden Age of Television. After appearing in a sketch with Martin and Lewis on The Colgate Comedy Hour, Walken decided to become an actor. He landed a regular role in the 1953 television show The Wonderful John Acton as the show’s narrator. During this time, he was credited as “Ronnie Walken”. Over the next two years, he appeared frequently on television (landing a role in the experimental film Me and My Brother) and had a thriving career in theatre. From 1954 to 1956, Walken and his brother Glenn originated the role of Michael Bauer on the soap opera The Guiding Light. In 1963, he appeared as “Chris” in an episode of Naked City starring Paul Burke. In 1966, Walken played the role of King Philip of France in the Broadway premiere of The Lion in Winter. In 1969, Walken guest-starred in Hawaii Five-O as Navy SP Walt Kramer. In 1964, he changed his first name to “Christopher” at the suggestion of a friend who believed the name suited him better than his given name, Ronald. He prefers to be known informally as “Chris” instead of “Christopher”. 1970s Walken made his feature film debut with a small role opposite Sean Connery, in Sidney Lumet’s The Anderson Tapes. In 1972’s The Mind Snatchers A.K.A. The Happiness Cage, Walken played his first starring role. In this science fiction film, which deals with mind control and normalization, he plays a sociopathic U.S. soldier stationed in Germany. Paul Mazursky’s 1976 film Next Stop, Greenwich Village had Walken, under the name “Chris Walken”, playing fictional poet and ladies’ man Robert Fulmer. In Woody Allen’s 1977 film Annie Hall, Walken played the homicidal and borderline crazy brother of Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). Also in 1977, Walken had a minor role as Eli Wallach’s partner in The Sentinel. In 1978, he appeared in Shoot the Sun Down, a western filmed in 1976 that costarred Margot Kidder. Along with Nick Nolte, Walken was considered by George Lucas for the part of Han Solo in Star Wars; the part ultimately went to Harrison Ford. In (1977) Walken also starred in an episode of Kojak  as Ben Wiley, a robber. Walken won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Michael Cimino’s 1978 film The Deer Hunter. He plays a young Pennsylvania steelworker who is emotionally destroyed by the Vietnam War. To help achieve his character’s gaunt appearance before the third act, Walken consumed only bananas, water, and rice for a week. 1980s Walken in 1984 stage play, Hurlyburly Walken’s first film of the 1980s was the controversial Heaven’s Gate, directed by Cimino of Deer Hunter fame. Walken also starred in the 1981 action adventure The Dogs of War, directed by John Irvin. He surprised many critics and filmgoers with his intricate tap-dancing striptease in Herbert Ross’s musical Pennies From Heaven (1981). In 1982, he played a socially awkward, but gifted theater actor in Who Am I This Time? opposite Susan Sarandon. Walken then played schoolteacher-turned-psychic Johnny Smith in David Cronenberg’s 1983 adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dead Zone. That same year, Walken also starred in Brainstorm alongside Natalie Wood and (in a minor role) his wife, Georgianne. Walken was one of the last persons to see Wood alive before her drowning near Santa Catalina Island, California, while on a Thanksgiving weekend boating trip. In 2011, Walken hired a lawyer when authorities re-opened the Wood case, while the LAPD said “Walken is not a suspect.” The case was closed and termed an accidental death until June 2012, when the investigation was re-opened and the cause of death was changed to “undetermined”. Authorities stated that Walken is not a suspect. In 1985, Walken played a James Bond villain, Max Zorin, in A View to a Kill, Roger Moore’s last appearance as Bond. Walken dyed his hair blond to befit Zorin’s origins as a Nazi experiment. At Close Range (1986) starred Walken as Brad Whitewood, a rural Pennsylvania crime boss who tries to bring his two sons into his empire; his character mostly based on criminal Bruce Johnston. In Biloxi Blues (1988), Walken played an eccentric drill sergeant, known for his stinging sarcasm and sharp wit. In 1989, he played the lead role of “Puss” in the Cannon theatre group’s version of “Puss in Boots”. In 1988, Christopher Walken played a memorable role as Sgt.Merwin J. Toomey in Neil Simon’s “Biloxi’s Blues” which was directed by Mike Nichols. Walken played the role of Federal Agent Kyril Montana in Milagro Beanfield War in 1988. He also played the leading role of Whitley Strieber in 1989’s Communion, an autobiographical film written by Strieber based on his claims that he and his family were subject to alien abductions. 1990s Walken (right) on the set of Celluloide, 1996 The Comfort of Strangers, an art house film directed by Paul Schrader, features Walken as Robert, a decadent Italian aristocrat with extreme sexual tastes and murderous tendencies who lives with his wife (Helen Mirren) in Venice. King of New York (1990), directed by Abel Ferrara, stars Walken as ruthless New York City drug dealer Frank White—recently released from prison and set on reclaiming his criminal territory. In 1992, Walken played a villain in Batman Returns: millionaire industrialist Max Shreck. Also in 1992, Walken appeared in Madonna’s controversial coffee table book, SEX, and he played Bobby, Cassandra’s producer in Wayne’s World 2. Walken’s next major film role was opposite Dennis Hopper in True Romance, scripted by Quentin Tarantino. His so-called Sicilian scene has been hailed by critics as the best scene in the film and is the subject of four commentaries on the DVD. Walken has a supporting role in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction as a Vietnam veteran giving his dead comrade’s son the family’s prized possession—a gold watch—while explaining in graphic detail how he had hidden it from the Vietcong by smuggling it in his rectum, after the boy’s father, in whose rectum the watch had previously been concealed, had died of dysentery. Later in 1994, Walken starred in A Business Affair, a rare leading role for him in a romantic comedy. Walken manages to once again feature his trademark dancing scene as he performs the tango. In 1995, he appeared in Wild Side, The Prophecy and the modern vampire flick The Addiction, which was his second collaboration with director Abel Ferrara and writer Nicholas St. John. He also appeared in Nick of Time, which also stars Johnny Depp, and an art house film by David Salle, “Search and Destroy.” In the 1996 film Last Man Standing, Walken plays a sadistic gangster. That year, he played a prominent role in the video game Ripper, portraying Detective Vince Magnotta. Ripper made extensive use of real-time recorded scenes and a wide cast of celebrities in an interactive movie. In 1996 Walken also appeared in the Italian film Celluloide as US Officer Rod Geiger. In 1997, Walken starred in the comedy films Touch, Excess Baggage and had a minor role in the film MouseHunt. He also appeared in the drama/thriller film Suicide Kings which also filled with suspense and humor. In 1998, Walken played an influential gay New York theater critic in John Turturro’s film Illuminata. The same year he voiced Colonel Cutter in the computer animated film Antz. In 1999, Walken played Calvin Webber in the romantic comedy Blast from the Past. Webber is a brilliant but eccentric Caltech nuclear physicist whose fears of a nuclear war lead him to build an enormous fallout shelter beneath his suburban home. The same year, he appeared as the Headless Horseman in Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci. He also appeared in Kiss Toledo Goodbye with Michael Rapaport and Nancy Allen. Walken also starred in two music videos in the 1990s. His first video role was as the Angel of Death in Madonna’s 1993 “Bad Girl”. The second appearance was in Skid Row’s “Breakin’ Down” video. 2000s In 2000, Walken was cast as the lead, along with Blair Brown, in James Joyce’s The Dead on Broadway. A “play with music”, The Dead featured music by Shaun Davey, conducted by Charles Prince, with music coordination and percussion by Tom Partington. James Joyce’s The Dead won a Tony Award that year for Best Book for a Musical. Walken had a notable music video performance in 2001 with Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice”. Directed by Spike Jonze, it won six MTV awards in 2001 and—in a list of the top 100 videos of all time compiled from a survey of musicians, directors, and music industry figures conducted by UK music TV channel VH1—won Best Video of All Time in April 2002. In this video, Walken dances and flies around the lobby of the Marriott Hotel in Los Angeles; Walken also helped choreograph the dance. Also in 2001, Walken played a gangster who was in the witness protection program in the David Spade comedy Joe Dirt and an eccentric film director in America’s Sweethearts. Walken played Frank Abagnale, Sr. in Catch Me If You Can. It is inspired by the story of Frank Abagnale, Jr., a con artist who passed himself off as several identities and forged millions of dollars’ worth of checks. His portrayal earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Walken also had a part in the 2003 action comedy film The Rundown, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Seann William Scott, in which he plays a ruthless despot. He was nominated for a Razzie (Worst Supporting Actor) in 2002’s The Country Bears and in two 2003 movies, Gigli and Kangaroo Jack. Walken also starred in Barry Levinson’s Envy in which he plays J-Man, a crazy guy who helps Ben Stiller’s character, and in his starring role in 2004’s Around the Bend he again has a dancing scene as he portrays an absentee father who has fled prison to reunite with his father, son, and the grandson he never knew, before dying. Walken played the role of Paul Rayburn in 2004’s Man On Fire, where, when speaking about the imminent destructive actions of John Creasy (Denzel Washington), his character states: “A man can be an artist… in anything, food, whatever. It depends on how good he is at it. Creasy’s art is death. He’s about to paint his masterpiece.” In 2006, he played Morty, a sympathetic inventor who is more than meets the eye, in the comedy/drama Click, and also appeared in Man of the Year, with Robin Williams and Lewis Black. He costarred in the 2007 film adaptation Hairspray—where he is seen singing and dancing in a romantic duet with John Travolta—and he portrayed the eccentric but cruel crime lord and Ping-Pong enthusiast Feng in the 2007 comedy action film Balls of Fury, opposite Dan Fogler. Walken was in the movie Five Dollars a Day, released in 2008, in which he plays a con man proud of living like a king on $5 a day. The film The Maiden Heist, a comedy co-starring Morgan Freeman and Walken, about security guards in an art museum, debuted at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on June 25, 2009. Walken can be found in Universal Studios Florida’s “Disaster” attraction (formerly “Earthquake and the Magic of Effects”). Walken portrays the owner of “Disaster Studios” Frank Kincaid, and encourages guests to be extras in his latest film, Mutha Nature. Walken is projected on a clear screen, much like a life-size hologram, and interacts with the live-action talent. 2010s Walken returned to Broadway in Martin McDonagh’s play A Behanding in Spokane in 2010, and received a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play. He had a small voice role in NBC sitcom 30 Rock, in the “Audition Day” episode. Walken reunited with McDonagh for the British crime comedy film Seven Psychopaths which had its world premiere on 7 September 2012. Walken also played the founder and leader of a string quartet in A Late Quartet (late in 2012). Christopher Walken Textportrait by Ralph Ueltzhoeffer 2015.