Christopher Walken has been working in the entertainment industry for pretty much all his life. No, but for real, his mother dragged him to his first photoshoot when he was just 14 months old. His career really started picking up steam, however, in the late 70s when he was honored with the Academy Award For Best Supporting Actor in The Deer Hunter.
Ever since Walken has predominantly been cast in eccentric or dangerous roles. He has been called the quintessential character actor. That being sad, judging by his interviews and public appearances, in real life he’s anything but wild. He prefers to live a quiet life in the countryside with his wife of more than fifty years. He doesn’t even own a computer or a cell phone. Some people might think that’s pretty crazy, especially considering his role as a public figure, but he seems to enjoy living that way.
As far as celebrities go, Walken is a bit of an enigma. But that’s precisely what makes him such a fascinating personality. In this video, we’re going to be discussing a few startling facts about Christopher Walken that will likely change the way you view him.
Let’s get started.
He’s Been Known To Steal Clothes From Film Sets
Speaking with The Independent in 2010. Walken nonchalantly admitted to jacking articles of clothing from movie sets that he has worked on. In fact, he even showed up to that interview wearing a sports jacket that he commandeered while on the set of the 1990 film The Comfort Of Strangers. Reportedly, he’s been doing this kind of thing for decades.
While shooting Batman Returns, Walken fully intended on taking a bunch of clothes with him to add to his collection, but unfortunately, the film’s crew knew of his reputation and decided to take preemptive action to ensure that he didn’t walk away from the set with anything he wasn’t supposed to. After filming wrapped up on the last scene, Walken went back to his dressing room to discover that everything was already gone.
Christopher And His Brothers Were Child Stores
Christopher Walken is the middle child of three boys of a family from Queens. His dad was a baker, while his mother was fascinated with show business. When they were still young, she started taking her boys to open auditions for television shows and commercials. Despite his early childhood success, Walkens insists that he was simply just following his friends.
Back in the 50s, television really started taking off, and there was a lot of interest in live shows from New York. They were a dime a dozen back then, and because of that there were hundreds of kids from Queens from normal working class families that were doing television shows. According to Walken, in Queens, he and his friends didn’t go bowling or catch a movie on Saturdays. They went to dance school instead.
It was a very different time, but Walken lucked out. While so many of those other kids ended up having their careers in show business fizzle out, he continued to find steady work while honing his craft and making a name for himself in the industry.
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He Briefly Worked As A Lion Tamer
Even though he was fortunate enough to have a head start acting, Walken experimented with other career paths as well. After all, he wanted to be sure that what he was getting himself into was actually his passion.
When he was 16 years old, Walken spent a summer working as a lion tamer for a local circus. To be precise, he worked as a lion tamer apprentice but close enough, right? There was this running joke that the real lion tamer who owned the circus had a son even though he didn’t. But Walken owned an identical outfit as his boss, so he filled in as the fictional son and did this big act with a dozen or so lions.
At the end of the show, he would come out with his whip and act like he was putting the oldest lion in her place even though in reality, she was actually super sweet. Walken described her as being more like a dog than anything, so the danger was minimal. But even so, he got to add ‘lion tamer’ to his resume, which is a pretty cool qualification to flaunt.
He Almost Played Han Solo In Star Wars
According to Walken, he was merely one of the hundreds of actors who either auditioned or were considered for the role, but according to the book ‘How Star Wars Conquered The Universe’, George Lucas considered Walken to be his second choice for the iconic role that inevitably went to Harrison Ford.
Lucas was reportedly a bit reluctant to cast Ford in the role at first because he’d already used the actor previously in his film American Graffiti. And it’s even rumored that Lucas was still considering Walken for the role even after he had already given it to Ford. Can you imagine Christopher Walken starring down into a Sarlacc pit? That would have been something.
He Refuses To Own A Computer Or Cell Phone
No, he isn’t Amish, but in multiple interviews, Christopher Walken has stated that he doesn’t own either a cell phone or computer. He’s never sent an email nor a text and doesn’t have any social media accounts.
In 2020, Walken told Late Night host Stephen Colbert that at times, while working on a film, the studio will give him a cell phone, but it’s more so that they get a hold of him if they need to. Whenever he wants to use it, he has to have someone else dial it for him.
That interview with Colbert took place during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it had to be conducted via Zoom. In the interview, Walken mentioned that he had to have someone come over to his home to set up the digital connection since he hadn’t the faintest idea of how to do it himself.
His Real Name Is Ronald
To his closest friends and family members, he’s ‘Ronnie’, so how the heck did he wind up being called Christopher.
Well, he received his stage name from one of his old bosses, Monique Van Vooren. Walken worked as a dancer in her nightclub act alongside two other men during the early days of his career. Van Vooren regularly would introduce the performers using fake names, and one evening she started calling him Christopher. Now, we’re not 100% sure why, but for some reason, that was the name that stuck, and he’s been Christopher ever since.
He Appeared In A Madonna Music Video
You’ve probably seen Walken’s memorable performance in Fatboy Slim’s ‘Weapon of Choice’ music video. That one was directed by Spike Jonze and ended up being honored with several VMA’s and even a Grammy, but that wasn’t the only music video that Walken has done.
In 1992, he appeared in the video for Madonna’s ‘Bad Girl’ portraying the singer’s guardian angel/slasher.
His Distinct Manner Of Speaking Is Deliberate
Walken’s signature way of speaking is one of his trademarks. Over the years, it has inspired dozens of comics to imitate it. Christopher Walken impressions aren’t exactly hard to come by, but the actor insists that he didn’t adopt his unusual cadence for no reason. Growing up in Queens, which was full of immigrant families, English was pretty much a second language. Being surrounded by so many different dialects and accents eventually led to him developing one of his own.
He’s Not A Fan Of Traveling
Some folks have what they call wanderlust, but Christopher Walken is not one of those people. While his work frequently requires him to travel, he would honestly prefer to just stay home. While most celebrities either live in LA or New York, Walken lives in rural Connecticut, and he prefers it that way. He’s not the kind of person to embrace the hustle and bustle of city life, and he certainly doesn’t get out much.
He told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that he can sometimes go weeks without seeing anyone. Some people might find that kind of existence to be a lonely one, but not Walken. He likes to think of himself as just a regular joe. He tries his best to keep a healthy distance from social situations and functions. He hates air travel and even missed a screening for his 2012 film Seven Psychopaths because he simply didn’t want to fly out to London. Walken also dislikes driving, saying that he instead prefers to be driven if he has a choice.
He’s Not A Fan Of Horses
Walken is self-admittedly a lousy horse rider.
While filming Heaven’s Gate, Walken had to ride a horse pretty much every day for eight months straight. That whole time, apparently, the horse never got to like him. Later on in his career, when he portrayed the Bond Villain Max Zorin, the scenes featuring him racing on a horse were filmed by placing the actor on a stuffed horse that was pulled behind a truck.
In 1999s Sleepy Hollow, Walken employed a similar tactic when he played the headless horseman. After informing the film’s producers that he had a fear of horse, he requested that they would provide him with a mechanical mount for his scenes. They ended up using the same prop horse that Elizabeth Taylor once used in her film National Velvet.
He Despises Guns
In that interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that we already referenced once before, Christopher Walken shared that he is not a fan of guns. Even though he’s used a bunch of prop firearms in his films over the years, he believes that there are far too many guns in the real world.
He mentioned that his friends who own guns often tell him that they have them to defend themselves in the event that someone breaks into their house, but in his opinion, what they are really saying is that they can’t wait for somebody to break into their house so they can get a chance to use their weapons.
It’s this trigger-happy mentality that he takes issue with, not necessarily the guns themselves.
He Was With Natalie Wood The Night She Died
On November 28, 1981, Christopher Walken, Actress Natalie Wood, and her husband Robert Wagner set sail to Catalina aboard their yacht, The Splendour. The captain of that vessel was a man named Dennis Davern. At the time of their voyage, Walken and Wood were in the middle of shooting the film Brainstorm, which ended up being Wood’s final movie.
That evening, Walken and Wagner got into some kind of argument and Wood stormed off. Wagner had assumed that she had taken the yacht’s dingy out on the water, but when she failed to return, he called the Harbor Patrol.
At 8 am the following morning, Wood’s body was found floating in the water.
Rumors and speculation about what actually went down that ill-fated evening persist to the present day, and Walken still doesn’t like talking about it. But the few times that he has discussed the events of that evening, he has maintained that her death was likely just an accident. Despite his testimony, however, some people are still convinced that something more sinister went down.
In 2018, the case was reopened after being shut for decades. The LA County Police Department has since called Robert Wagner a person of interest in the case.
Christopher Walken is one of a kind. He doesn’t care about living a lavish life full of opulence. Rather, he just wants to enjoy his privacy while keeping a low profile. And after more than half a century working in show business, he’s earned that right.
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