Although he is best known for playing the undercover police officer Brian O’Conner in the Fast & Furious franchise, the late star has in fact graced us with numerous movies from psychological thrillers and high school flicks to action packed adventures. As we mourn the news of Paul Walker’s tragic death, we take a look back at some of the roles we will remember him by.
Walker made his debut on the big screen at age 13, playing ‘Professor’ Bennett in the 1986 horror/comedy Monster in the Closet, which also starred Stacy Ferguson (Fergie) from Black Eyed Peas fame.
Nearly seven years later, he returned as the protagonist in Tammy and the T-Rex, a bizarre forgotten classic, playing a teenager who is later turned into an animatronic dinosaur. The film also starred Denise Richards who played Walker’s love interest.
This 1998 comedy had Walker in his first surfer role (before Into the Blue), which incidentally was also one of his favorite hobbies in real life. The movie was Disney’s first attempt to focus on surf culture, later inspiring movies such as Johnny Tsunami (1999) and Rip Girls (2000).
This black and white 1950s sitcom was the emergence of Walker as a Hollywood heartthrob.
He played the cocky quarterback in this football drama that earned $54 million at the box office, making the actor one of the new golden boys of teen cinema. About his role, he told IGN in 2001:
That was a blast. I mean I loved it. I didn’t have a prom and I got to play the meathead jock that I hated in high school … I know exactly who I was when I was makin’ that movie.
Walker continued his run of high school movies and further solidified his image as a teenage heartthrob with this popular teen comedy of the 90s.
This psychological thriller had Walker returning to the horror genre, nearly 15 years after his debut. The film was criticized but still managed to spawn two direct-to-video films, The Skulls II and The Skulls III.
In 2001, the actor was propelled into worldwide prominence with his role undercover agent Brian O’Conner in the first part of the Fast & Furious franchise – a movie that grossed over $200 million on a $38 million dollar budget. Walker reprised the role in all but one of the five sequels.
Filming for Fast and Furious 7, which was scheduled to release in 2014, has been delayed following Walker’s death according to the movie’s producer and studio executives.
Walker was in another thriller in 2011, Joy Ride, co-written by J.J Abrams and Clay Tarver. He played the role of Lewis Thomas, a college student who, on his way to a summer break spot, takes a detour when a prank involving a truck driver goes awry.
Walker brought his high-speed acting skills to this action-packed movie set in the Bahamas, starring opposite the gorgeous Jessica Alba.
This war film was directed, co-produced, and scored by Clint Eastwood, based on a book of the same name. Walker played the role of Sgt. Hank Hansen, moving away from his typecast teen and action roles and exploring his versatility as an actor.
In his last film, Walker stars as a man who finds himself trapped in a hospital with his newborn daughter during and after Hurricane Katrina. The movie, which debuted at the SXSW Film festival, was a ‘passion project’ for Walker. In March, he told Indiewire:
It was something I just connected with. I felt like it was pure … I’m always doing the big action thing, running around and being cool guy, which is fun from time to time. It was nice just being honest and tell things from the heart.
We will miss you Paul Walker.
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