In his private life he loved fast cars, but in the cinema they made him a legend: “Fast & Furious” star Paul Walker would have been 50 years old today.
Today, September 12th, action star Paul Walker (1973-2013) would have turned 50 years old. The main actor of the “Fast & Furious” film series died on November 30, 2013 at the age of just 40 when a red Porsche Carrera GT, driven by his friend Roger Rodas (1975-2013), crashed into Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles crashed into a lamp post and two trees.
Rodas, like Walker himself a car enthusiast, was probably traveling at a speed of between 130 and 150 kilometers per hour – with the permitted speed being 72 kilometers per hour. In addition to excessive speed, old tires may also have played a role in the fatal crash that cost Rodas and Walker their lives. Walker was probably trapped in the burning tailcoat for some time and ultimately died from burns sustained during this period.
A sunny boy from California conquers the screen
Paul William Walker IV grew up in sunny California and began appearing in commercials and modeling as a child. As a teenager, the good-looking American – blonde with blue eyes – starred in sitcoms and, around the turn of the millennium, landed supporting roles in the successful films “Pleasantville” (1998), “Varsity Blues” (1999) and “One Like None” (1999 ).
Big breakthrough with “The Fast and the Furious”
In 2001, Walker appeared alongside Vin Diesel (56) in the car racing film “The Fast and the Furious” – and became a Hollywood star almost overnight. The film, produced with a rather modest budget of 38 million US dollars (around 35.4 million euros) by US standards, grossed a staggering sum of around 207 million dollars (193 million euros) worldwide and founded a film series that has so far brought in over seven billion dollars (6.5 billion euros) at the box office.
Over the years, the “Fast & Furious” franchise has become the seventh most successful film series in cinema history – and in a way Paul Walker is even more connected to it than franchise star Vin Diesel. Because, unlike Walker, he had no desire to take part in the sequel “2 Fast 2 Furious” in 2003 and only got involved in the fourth part “Fast & Furious – New Model. Original Parts.” from 2009 again.
Walker and Diesel, who are also said to have been friends in private, drove together with their co-stars such as Michelle Rodriguez (45), Jordana Brewster (43), Tyrese Gibson (44) and Ludacris (46) as well as the action stars who later joined the series. Heavyweights Dwayne Johnson (51) and Jason Statham (56) have taken the “Fast & Furious” franchise to ever new heights and box office successes – even if with each new part the series is increasingly less connected to its beginnings in the illegal street racing scene had to do with Los Angeles, but gradually mutated into a globe-spanning crime story à la James Bond.
Walker ultimately died in the middle of the production of “Fast & Furious 7,” which was still completed with the help of his brothers Caleb (45) and Cody Walker (35) and using numerous technical tricks. Released in 2015, the blockbuster honored its late star in a wonderfully emotional way. In the world of “Fast & Furious”, the character Brian O’Conner is still alive and spends happy days with his wife Mia Toretto (Brewster) and their son.
Paul Walker’s career outside of “Fast & Furious”
Walker, who was said to not have been particularly interested in a major film career, appeared in addition to “Fast & Furious” primarily in similar action and thriller works, some of which were not released in theaters at all, but directly in home cinema were published. Films like “Joyride” (2001), “The Death and Life of Bobby Z” (2007) or “Takers” (2010) are still definitely worth seeing for viewers interested in the genre. Because the main actor, Walker, reliably impresses with his appearance and his relaxed Californian coolness.
The audience loved him because the star didn’t seem aloof, but rather approachable and like someone you would like to enjoy a cold drink with on the beach at sunset. Walker thus formed an ideal identification figure for the dreams, longings and wishes of the international cinema audience.
He left behind his daughter Meadow Walker (24), a model who recently made a moving little guest appearance in the tenth “Fast & Furious” part.
I am an author and journalist who has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade. I currently work as a news editor at a major news website, and my focus is on covering the latest trends in entertainment. I also write occasional pieces for other outlets, and have authored two books about the entertainment industry.