Paul William Walker was born September 12, 1973 and passed away November 30. He had just left a charity event with his close friend and financial adviser, Roger Rodas. The two were traveling in Rodas’ 2005 Porsche Carrera GT when Rodas lost control, hitting a light pole and a tree causing the car to burst into flames. Both Rodas and Walker were declared dead on the scene.

It goes without saying that the manner in which Walker died plays obvious parallels to the character he portrays in “The Fast and The Furious” films. I like to joke around when I write about movies, I swear, rant off topic and break many rules of proper journalism but hey that’s me. I refuse to make a cheap joke about a man’s death; I might take jabs at some of his action performances but never mock his untimely demise. But let’s all admit that “The Skulls” and “She’s All That” are both shitty movies. Shitty movies that I friggin’ LOVE, folks.

Now that we have covered how Paul Walker died but allow me to honor his memory and discuss how he lived. Paul Walker was born and raised in Southern California as you can probably tell from his look and overall laid back attitude. His mother was a model, which explains that undeniably beautiful face of his (admit it guys). Walker’s paternal grandfather was a professional boxer, “Irish Billy Walker.” Now we know where the pretty boy/tough guy look/persona that we all find irresistible came from.

Walker has been in Hollywood since 1986, playing his first role at the ripe age of 13. He played ‘Professor’ Bennett in the horror comedy, “Monster in the Closet.” Also starring in this movie was a young Stacy Ferguson.

Fast-Furious-the-fast-and-the-furious-movies-23782370-1024-768Who’s Stacy Ferguson? FERGIE! Walker, in his first film credit was in a horror comedy with Fergie about a monster that killed people in closets. Pretty good goddamn start Paul!

In Walker’s early career he appeared in many TV shows including “Highway to Heaven,” “Throb” and then “Charles in Charge,” “Who’s the Boss” and “The Young and The Restless.” After hanging out with Scott Baio and Tony Danza and learning all the secrets of the universe Walker was well equipped for his future in movies.  In 1998 Paul had his first leading role in the comedy “Meet the Deedles “where he plays a slacker surfer that gets into some outrageous mischief with his buddy. The plot of the movie isn’t important but PW getting a leading role was because after “Meet The Deedles” Walker started popping up in movies everywhere.

Hey Matt When are you going to get to “The Fast and the Furious” movies? SOON! I’m building to it, patience folks.  

In 1999 he made his first big screen splash in “Varsity Blues.” I was a freshman in high school when “Varsity” “Blues” came out and the idea of sports glory, hot stripper teachers and naked cheerleaders covered in whipped cream was very exciting! Alas that wasn’t my experience (surprised?) so I was happy to live vicariously through the characters in “Varsity Blues.”  Walker plays starting quarterback Lance Harbor who gets hurt, goes down and is replaced by Jon Moxon (James ‘Dawson’ Van Der Beek) who turns out is a better quarterback. Not unlike how Drew Bledsoe went down in 2001 and Tom Brady emerged as the savior/better quarterback.

Paul made his mark as the jock that seemed like a meat-head but deep down had heart and a good head on his shoulders, which became his calling card in his later career. Other than our boy Walker the rest of the cast of “Varsity Blues” kind of fizzled out after that movie. Which is a shame because Dawson is still awesome in my book.

Two years after “Varsity Blues” Walker starred along side Vin Diesel in “The Fast and the Furious,” the high-octane car racing/heist movies that dominated the box office and my daydreams while I’m stuck in traffic. Paul plays Brian O’Conner, an undercover cop who is trying to take down a crime syndicate that also participates in illegal street racing; think of “Point Break” with cars instead of surfing. O’Connor struggles with his role as a police officer as he becomes part of a family that makes more sense to him than anything else has before it. Walker was a boy in all his movies up until this point but after “The Fast and the Furious” he was a man. Strong, bold, smart, handsome, shirtless, goofy at times and all together tough.

Paul-Walker-Dead-2871365“The Fast and the Furious” quickly became a powerhouse franchise adored by its audiences but panned by most of its critics. But what it undeniably did do was introduce a generation to fast cars in a way that a few other actors did in the 1960s. “Fast” has spawned a seven-movie franchise, with the last installment set to be Walker’s swan song when it comes out next year.

Walker ended his career and life on the same note sadly, in a fast car. His grandfather, the boxer, also raced cars for Ford. Paul himself raced cars professionally for AE Performance. He loved to race and was a self-proclaimed “gearhead.”

Walker wasn’t just an actor he was also heavily involved in multiple charities and was a marine biology fanatic. So much so that he even appeared on the National Geographic’s series “Shark Men.” Walker was a surprising renaissance man who could act, race cars, catch goddamn SHARKS, do charity work, practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and be a proud and good father at the same time.

Walker lived a life most of us dream of, doing the things he loved every day while having six-pack abs and pretty eyes. Hollywood lost a fun and entertaining actor, but he won’t be forgotten. Once I send this article off to my editor I’m going to fire up the DVD player, pop in the first installment of “The Fast and the Furious” (still my favorite), crack a beer and pour some out for a great man, Paul Walker. Rest in peace brother.

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Blast is Boston’s Online Magazine

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