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Paul Walker

The actor Paul Walker tragically died today (30th November 2013) in a car crash, so I thought I'd write this brief biography in memory of him.

Paul Walker's full name was Paul William Walker IV. He was born on September the 12th 1973 in Glendale in California in the United States. He died aged forty on November the 30th 2013 in Valencia, California. He was the passenger in a car that was being driven by a friend of his, Roger Rodas. Rodas also died in the crash. The car was Rodas's red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT. It crashed into a lamp post and then became engulfed in flames. Walker and Rodas had just left a charity event for Walker's charity Reach Out Worldwide. Rodas was Walker's financial adviser, helped to set up Reach Out Worldwide, and he was the CEO of a performance car shop called Always Evolving which was located in Valencia and which was owned by Walker.

Walker was brought up as a Mormon and grew up in Los Angeles County in the San Fernando Valley area. He started appearing in front of the camera when he was little more than a baby. His mother, Cheryl (nee Crabtree) was a model and she would take him to her photo shoots. He began to be offered work. She then took him to auditions to get him cast in commercials, and as a toddler he appeared in a commercial for Pampers. Walker's father, Paul William Walker III, was a sewer contractor. Walker once said that his parents never regarded his acting as a career, but merely as a way to bring extra income into the household.

Walker would later drop out of acting and occupy himself with surfing and doing a marine biology course at college, which he dropped out of, but a casting director remembered him from many years previously and tracked him down so that he could offer him a role in a CBS spiritual drama TV series called Touched By An Angel. After that he got a minor role in the fun time-travel movie Pleasantville, which starred Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire. Later he got a regular role in a TV soap opera called The Young And The Restless. He also appeared in Highway To Heaven, Who's The Boss?, and the 1986 horror-comedy film Monster in the Closet. He was also in Meet The Deedles and Pleasantville. In the late 1990's he got roles in the teenager films Varsity Blues, in which he played a high school football star and which garnered him some good critical attention, She's All That, which was a teen love story, a film called Takers, which was a crime action thriller, and The Skulls, which was about a clandestine society on the campus of an Ivy League college.

Walker said that he enjoyed acting because it gave him the money and the time to continue enjoying surfing and basically be rather irresponsible

The Skulls was directed by Rob Cohen and produced by Neal Moritz. They told Walker that he reminded them of Steve McQueen when he was young. They suggested that he should take his acting more seriously than he was doing at that time.

Walker's big break came when he got a starring role as Brian O'Conner in Cohen and Moritz's next film, The Fast And The Furious, which of course went on to become a series of films in which Walker appeared in five of the six completed by the time of his death. He effectively co-starred with the actor Vin Diesel in the first film, playing the role of an undercover cop who infiltrates Vin Diesel's street racing gang. When Vin Diesel dropped out of the second film over a pay dispute, Walker took on the lead role. Vin Diesel later returned to the franchise from the third film onwards to take up the starring role once more, but Walker dropped out of this film, returning for the fourth in the series and the later ones. At the time of Walker's death the seventh Fast & Furious film was being made. So far the series has grossed an estimated 2.4 billion dollars in box offices around the world. It works to a winning formula of high speed car chases, criminal gangs, and spectacular stunts.

Walker filmed a Christmas drama called Noel, a thriller about diving called Into The Blue, and a film called Eight Below about a husky dog trainer who has to go and rescue his huskies which are stranded in the Antarctic. He was also in Joy Ride, Timeline, The Death And Life Of Bobby Z, Turbocharged Project, Tammy And The T-Rex, Bottoms Up, Vehicle 19, American Breakdown, and he had a supporting role in Clint Eastwood's film Flags Of Our Father. Walker was also in the crime thriller Running Scared and in The Lazarus Project. His latest film, a drama called Hours, which was about Hurricane Katrina, was due to be released about two weeks after his untimely death. Another film Walker worked on is Brick Mansions, a remake of a French action film called District B13.

With his height (1.88 meters) and good looks, Walker was regarded as something of a heart throb.

Commercially Walker represented the fragrance called Davidoff Cool Water.

Walker set up a charity called Reach Out Worldwide which helps the victims of natural disasters. It sent volunteers with various skills to help after earthquakes in Chile and in Haiti, and also after the 2010 tsunami in Indonesia and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

He was on the Board of Directors of The Billfish Foundation.

He once appeared in the National Geographic Channel series Expedition Great White, in which he spent several days assisting a crew in catching and tagging seven great white sharks off the coast of Mexico

Walker was very keen on fast cars and he competed in the Redline Time Attack car racing series. The car he raced was a BMW M3 (E92 series). He was on the AE Performance Team and his car was sponsored by several firms - Ohlins, Gintani, Hankook, Etnies, OS Giken, Volk, Ohlins and Brembo Brakes - and also by his own charity Reach Out Worldwide.

In the second Fast & Furious film, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Walker's character Brian O'Conner drives a Nissan Skyline (R34 GT-R V-Spec II). Walker owned this car and he himself had it especially customized for the film. Walker was able to do many of the driving stunts himself for that film.

Walker leaves behind a daughter called Meadow, aged fifteen at the time of Walker's death. Meadow's mother is Walker's ex-girlfriend Rebecca.

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