He was born as Paul William Walker IV on September 12, 1973, in Glendale, California, U.S. to Cheryl Crabtree and Paul William Walker III. His mother was a fashion model while his father was a sewer contractor and a fighter. He had four younger siblings.
He began modeling as a toddler and starred in a television commercial for Pampers. As he grew up, he began taking up roles in television series such as ‘Charles in Charge’, ‘Highway to Heaven’ and ‘Who’s the Boss’.
He made his film debut in 1986 when he was selected to play the role of “Professor” Bennett in the horror/comedy film ‘Monster in the Closet’. The next year he appeared in ‘The Retailiator’ (aka Programmed to Kill), a low budget cyborg action film.
He graduated from Sun Valley’s Village Christian School in 1991and attended several community colleges in Southern California, majoring in marine biology. He was a fan of marine biologist Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
Even though he had a genuine interest in marine biology, he realized that he was more passionate about acting and decided to pursue acting as a full-time career.
In 1993, Paul Walker played Brandon Collins on the CBS soap opera ‘The Young and the Restless’. This role got him noticed for his good looks and acting skills, and earned him a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a soap opera at the Youth in Film Awards.
He starred along with Tobey Maguire, Jeff Daniels, Joan Allen, William H. Macy, J. T. Walsh, and Reese Witherspoon in the 1998 fantasy comedy-drama film ‘Pleasantville’. The movie was a big hit and Walker started receiving more offers following the film’s success.
After appearing in movies like ‘Varsity Blues’ (1999), ‘She’s All That’ (1999), and ‘The Skulls’ (2000), Paul Walker was chosen to play the protagonist—undercover cop Brian O’Conner—in the action film ‘The Fast and the Furious’, the first film in the franchise. He co-starred with Vin Diesel who would become one of his best friends over the years. The film proved to be a great commercial success and spawned several sequels in which Walker reprised his role.
In 2005, he appeared in the action film, ‘Into the Blue’ in which he was paired opposite Jessica Alba. The film was a box-office flop and received negative reviews.
Walker bounced back to being a bankable star with the family drama ‘Eight Below’ (2006) in which he played Jerry Shepard, a guide at an Antarctica research base under contract with the National Science Foundation. A Walt Disney production, the film opened at #1 and was a huge commercial success.
He portrayed a reformed criminal on parole who gets a second chance at life and begins work at a psychiatric hospital in the thriller film ‘The Lazarus Project’ in 2008.
He began the year 2013 on a good note and appeared in several movies including ‘Vehicle 9’, ‘Fast & Furious 6’, and ‘Pawn Shop Chronicles’. He was in the midst of filming ‘Furious 7’ at the time of his untimely death in November 2013.
ACHIEVEMENTS AND AWARDS
He is best remembered for his role as Brian O’Conner, the main protagonist, in ‘The Fast and the Furious’ film franchise. He played the role of an undercover cop who must stop semi-truck hijackers from stealing expensive electronic equipment. This was the role that established Paul Walker as an accomplished Hollywood star.
He won the 2014 MTV Movie Award for best on-screen duo, with Vin Diesel for the movie ‘Fast & Furious 6’ (2013).