Celebrity Biographies  >  Christopher Walken

 Christopher Walken Biography

Christopher Walken
Paul and Rosalie Walken immigrated to America as adults. They met in New York, married and had three children: Ken, Glenn and Ronald (who later changed his name to Christopher). Ronnie was born on the opening night of Oklahoma! on March 31, 1943. The family resided in Queens and Paul owned and ran a bakery. When the boys were tots, Rosalie would bring them to television show auditions and photography shoots. She belonged to an organization called The Stage Mother's Society and was very involved with her sons' young careers. By the early 1950s, all three boys were enrolled in tap dancing classes and were performing regularly on television shows such as Ernie Kovacs, Philco TV Playhouse and The Colgate Comedy Hour. Ronnie appeared on a television series called The Wonderful John Acton, playing the part of Kevin Acton. As the boys got older, they would take the subway by themselves to Manhattan to work in television and theatre. Ronnie attended PCS (Professional Children's School) and was friends with the world-renowned composer, Marvin Hamlisch, Brandon de Wilde, and Gypsy Rose Lee's son, Eric. In their free time, Ken, Glenn and Ronnie would help their father out in the bakery.

Ronnie made his off-Broadway debut at age fifteen in Archibald MacLeish's J.B. and around that time, he took a brief stint acting as a lion tamer's son in a circus. Ronnie's job was to bring out an old, extremely docile lion and "tame" him. Ronnie graduated from PCS and attended Hofstra University for about one year. In the spring following his first year at college, Ronnie's tap instructor, Danny Daniels cast him and his brother, Glenn in the off Broadway musical he was directing and choreographing; Best Foot Forward. Ronnie suggested that Daniels also audition young girl he was taking acting lessons with. That girl was Liza Minelli and she got the part. Over the next two and a half years, Ronnie worked mostly in musical theater. He worked in a touring production of West Side Story and danced opposite Georgianne Thon.

The two were married later in 1969. At age 22, Ronnie was renamed Christopher by Monique Van Vooren, a singer he was working with. He decided to keep it and was billed as Christopher for the first time when he performed in the1965 musical Baker Street in which he danced next to Tommy Tune. Later he came to do numerous dramatic roles, his first being The Lion In Winter, in which he played the part of King Phillip. This was his first speaking (not singing) role and he has noted that he wrestled with extreme stage fright, nervous shakes and broken concentration. Christopher nearly got fired, but begged the show's producer to give him a chance. He was given three days to find a solution to these dilemmas. Somehow, someway, he overcame his fears and actually went on to win the Clarence Derwent Award for that performance. He was then cast for many other Shakespearian roles and more dramatic stage roles in plays such as The Unknown Soldier. In 1966, he won the Theatre World Award for his performance in the revival of Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tattoo.

At about age 25, Walken began his film career, with small roles in the films Me And My Brother, the Sidney Lumet-directed The Anderson Tapes, and his first starring role in The Happiness Cage. Christopher then had a small but memorable role in Woody Allen's classic Annie Hall, in which he played Annie's brother, Duane. Shortly after that, Christopher was cast as Nick in Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and the New York Film Critic's Circle Award. Soon after, he appeared in Cimino's critically trashed follow-up picture, Heaven's Gate with Kris Kristofferson. It was shortly after returning to New York after filming Heaven's Gate that Christopher was assaulted on the street on which he and Georgianne lived. He had asked two men on the street to turn down their music. The men, in turn, attacked him and broke his nose. But, Walken's career carried on without a break. He continued to get roles in films such as the western with Margot Kidder, Shoot The Sun Down and the last MGM musical movie, Pennies From Heaven with Steve Martin and choreography by Danny Daniels, Walken's former tap teacher. Christopher received rave reviews from critics regarding his dancing scene in Pennies From Heaven- and compliments from toe-tapping legends Fred Astaire and Gene Kelley.

Name: Christopher Walken
Height: 6'
Sex: M
Nationality: American
Date: March 31 1943
Birth Place: Queens New York USA
Occupation: actor
Education: Professional Children's School
Hofstra University Hempstead New York (majored in English; attended for one year)
Husband/Wife: Georgianne Walken (casting agent; met while touring with West Side Story; married in 1969)
Father: Paul Walken (baker)
Mother: Rosalie Walken (baker)
Brother: Glenn (actor; born on November 18 1945) and Kenneth Walken (older)
Claim to fame: as Nick in The Deer Hunter (1978)

Actor - filmography
Gigli (2003)
Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Plots with a View (2002) .... Frank Featherbed
... aka Plotz with a View (2002) (UK)
Down and Under (2002)
Country Bears, The (2002) .... Reid Thimple
Stuart Little 2 (2002) (voice) .... Falcon
Inside Job (2001) .... Jack
Jungle Juice (2001)
Papp Project, The (2001) .... Himself
Poolhall Junkies (2001) .... Mike
Affair of the Necklace, The (2001) .... Count Cagliostro
Chelsea Walls (2001)
MTV Video Music Awards 2001 (2001) (TV) .... Presenter
America's Sweethearts (2001) .... Hal Weidmann
Joe Dirt (2001) .... Clem
Scotland, PA. (2001) .... Lt. Ernie McDuff
Opportunists, The (2000) .... Victor Kelly
Prophecy 3: The Ascent, The (2000) (V) .... Gabriel
... aka God's Army III (2000) (V) (Europe: English title: video title)
Cast and Crew (1999) (V)
Saturday Night Live: 25th Anniversary (1999) (TV) .... Himself
Kiss Toledo Goodbye (1999) .... Max
Sarah, Plain and Tall: Winter's End (1999) (TV) .... Jacob Witting
Sleepy Hollow (1999) .... The Hessian Horseman
Madonna: The Video Collection 93:99 (1999) (V) .... Guardian Angel (segment "Bad Girl")
Vendetta (1999/I) (TV) .... James Houston
Blast from the Past (1999) .... Calvin Webber
New Rose Hotel (1998) .... Fox
Antz (1998) (voice) .... Colonel Cutter
Trance (1998/I) .... Uncle Bill Ferriter
... aka Eternal, The (1999) (USA)
Illuminata (1998) .... Bevalaqua
Prophecy II, The (1998) (V) .... Gabriel
... aka God's Army II (1998) (V) (Europe: English title: video title)
Mouse Hunt (1997) .... Caeser, the Exterminator
Suicide Kings (1997) .... Carlo Bartolucci/Charlie Barret
Excess Baggage (1997) .... Raymond 'Ray' Perkins
Touch (1997/I) .... Bill Hill
Privateer 2: The Darkening (1996) (VG) .... David Hassan
Ripper (1996) (VG) .... Det. Vince Magnotta
Last Man Standing (1996) .... Hickey
Funeral, The (1996) .... Ray
Basquiat (1996) .... The Interviewer
... aka Build a Fort, Set It on Fire (1996)
Celluloide (1996)
Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995) .... The Man With The Plan
Nick of Time (1995) .... Mr. Smith
Wild Side (1995) .... Bruno Buckingham
Addiction, The (1995) .... Peina
Prophecy, The (1995) .... Gabriel
... aka God's Army (1995) (Europe: English title)
Search and Destroy (1995) .... Kim Ulander
... aka Four Rules, The (1995) (Australia: video title)
Pulp Fiction (1994) .... Captain Koons
Business Affair, A (1994) .... Vanni Corso
... aka Astucias de mujer (1994) (Spain)
... aka D'une femme à l'autre (1994) (France)
... aka Liebe und andere Geschäfte (1994) (Germany)
Wayne's World 2 (1993) .... Bobby Cahn
True Romance (1993) .... Vincenzo Coccotti
Scam (1993) (TV) .... Jack Shanks
Skylark (1993) (TV) .... Jacob Witting
... aka Sarah, Plain and Tall: Skylark (1993) (TV) (USA)
All-American Murder (1992) (V) .... P.J. Decker
Grand pardon II, Le (1992) .... Pasco Meisner
... aka Day of Atonement (1992)
Batman Returns (1992) .... Maximillian 'Max' Shreck
Mistress (1992) .... Warren Zell
McBain (1991) .... McBain
Sarah, Plain and Tall (1991) (TV) .... Jacob Witting
Comfort of Strangers, The (1990) .... Robert
... aka Cortesie per gli ospiti (1990) (Italy)
King of New York (1990) .... Frank White
Communion (1989) .... Whitley Strieber
Cannon Movie Tales: Puss in Boots (1988) .... Puss
Milagro Beanfield War, The (1988) .... Kyril Montana
Homeboy (1988) .... Wesley Pendergass
Biloxi Blues (1988) .... Sergeant Toomey
... aka Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues (1988)
Deadline (1987) .... Don Stevens
... aka Witness in the War Zone (1987) (International: English title)
At Close Range (1986) .... Brad Whitewood, Sr.
View to a Kill, A (1985) .... Max Zorin
Dead Zone, The (1983) .... Johnny Smith
Brainstorm (1983) .... Dr. Michael Anthony Brace
Shoot the Sun Down (1981)
Who Am I This Time? (1981) (TV) .... Harry Nash
Pennies from Heaven (1981) .... Tom
Dogs of War, The (1980) .... Shannon
Heaven's Gate (1980) .... Nathan D. Champion
... aka Johnson County Wars (1980)
Last Embrace (1979) .... Eckart
Deer Hunter, The (1978) .... Nikanor Chebotarevich
Roseland (1977) .... Russel
Annie Hall (1977) .... Duane Hall
Sentinel, The (1977) .... Detective Rizzo
Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976) .... Robert
Valley Forge (1974) (TV)
Happiness Cage, The (1972) .... Private James H. Reese
... aka Demon Within, The (1972)
... aka Mind Snatchers, The (1972)
Anderson Tapes, The (1971) .... The Kid
Me and My Brother (1968)
Barefoot in Athens (1966) (TV)
... aka George Schaefer's Showcase Theatre: Barefoot in Athens (1966) (TV) (USA: series title)
"Guiding Light, The" (1952) TV Series .... Michael 'Mike' Bauer #1 (1954-56)
... aka "Guiding Light" (1978) (USA: new title)
"Wonderful John Acton, The" (1953) TV Series (as Ronnie Walken) .... Kevin Acton

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  Celebrity Pictures

Chrisopher Walken at a premiere event.

Christopher Walken - a versatile actor.

During aninterview with Christopher Walken

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