Actor Paul Walker dead at 40
‘Fast and Furious’ star killed in fiery car crash
This is really really sad. Paul Walker, the star of The Fast and the Furious movie franchise, and a friend identified as Roger Rodas died on this Saturday in Southern California after the Porsche they were in crashed violently into a tree. Police said speed was a factor.
The 40-year-old Paul Walker was riding in a red Porsche GT about 3:30 p.m. when the sports car flew off the road and slammed into a tree in Santa Clarita, authorities and witnesses said. The car burst into flames. “It was engulfed in flames,” said Antonio Holmes, a friend of Walker’s who raced to the scene after hearing about the crash. “There was nothing. They were trapped.” Holmes said he was among a group of people who showed up at the site with fire extinguishers and tried to rescue Walker and the driver. “We tried. We tried,” he told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal. “Him and his buddy, his brother in arms at heart, just decided to joyride, take a spin. Something we all do.”
Jim Torp, who was also at the event, identified the second victim as Roger Rodas, a pro racer and father of two who owned Always Evolving Performance Motors. Torp described how Rodas’ 8-year-old son tried to save his dad. “I ran over afterwards, I was trying to find Roger’s son”, Torp said. “I found out his son had jumped the fence and gone over, he was trying to get his dad out. Paul Walker’s best friend was trying to get Paul out of the car while it was still on fire… he was trying to save his friend… there was nothing he could do.”
Torp said friends of the actor and race-car driver were trying to make sense of the horrific crash and its grim parallel to Walker’s movie franchise. “It’s strange,” Torp said. “(Walker) made his movies. He lived his life and he died fast and furious today. He loved speed, he loved cars, and he had to die this way. He died in a very fast car with his friend.”
Walker was in Santa Clarita, about 30 miles north of Los Angeles, for a charity event to benefit his organization Reach Out Worldwide, which sends first responders to the scenes of natural disasters. The event was held at Rodas’ Always Evolving Performance Motors, just down the street from the accident site on Rye Canyon Loop, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
“He was a great guy. His employees loved him,” friend Torp said of Rodas. “Every month Roger did a car show to help people. This was the big one for him, they were trying to help the victims in Indiana and the monsoon (in the Philippines),” Torp said.
“Sadly, I must confirm that Paul did pass away this afternoon in a car accident,” said his rep, Ame Van Iden. “Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the Fast and Furious films, and to countless fans.”
In a grim twist, Walker’s death came just days after he was the victim of an online death hoax. Several celebs and journalists took to Twitter hoping the new reports were another sick joke. His Fast and Furious co-stars bared their heartbreak after his death was confirmed. “Brother, I will miss you very much,” Vin Diesel wrote on Instagram. “Heaven has gained a new Angel.”
“I am so beyond heartbroken right now,” James Wan, director of Fast & Furious 7, wrote on Facebook.
The site of Paul Walker’s death has been filled with fans who have created a vigil for the fallen star.
Source: NY Daily News.
Life and career
Paul William Walker IV was born on September 12, 1973, in Glendale, California, son of Cheryl (née Crabtree), a fashion model, and Paul William Walker III, a sewer contractor, and raised in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County. He was of Irish, English and German descent. Walker was raised as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He graduated from Village Christian School and after high school, he attended several community colleges, majoring in marine biology.
Walker began his small screen career as a toddler, when he starred in a television commercial for Pampers. He began modeling at the age of two and began working on television shows in 1985, with roles in shows such as Highway to Heaven, Who’s the Boss?, The Young and the Restless, and Touched by an Angel. Walker’s film career began in 1986, with the horror/comedy film Monster in the Closet. He continued with roles in several other movies without much success. In 1998, Walker made his feature film debut in the comedy Meet the Deedles, which finally gained him fame. This subsequently led to supporting roles in the movies Pleasantville (1998), Varsity Blues (1999), She’s All That (1999), and The Skulls (2000).
In 2001, Walker’s breakthrough role arrived when he starred opposite actor Vin Diesel in the successful action film The Fast and the Furious. The film established Walker as a notable film star and leading man and led to his reprisal of the role in the 2003 sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious. He continued his career with leading roles in films such as Joy Ride (2001), Into the Blue (2005), and Timeline (2003); he had a supporting role in Clint Eastwood’s adaptation of Flags of Our Fathers (2006). Walker then starred in the crime thriller Running Scared and Walt Disney Pictures’ Eight Below, both released in 2006.
He subsequently returned to The Fast and the Furious franchise, reprising his role in Fast & Furious, which was released on April 3, 2009. Walker then appeared in the crime drama Takers, which began filming in early September 2008 and was released in August 2010. The Coty Prestige fragrance brand Davidoff Cool Water for Men announced in January 2011 that Walker was going to be the new face of the brand as of July 2011.
From left to right: Luke Evans, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, Gal Gadot, Paul Walker, Justin Lin, Elisa Pataky, Vin Diesel, Gina Carano, Tyrese Gibson and Ssung Kang attend the world premiere of “Fast & Furious 6” in London, England, on May 7. Photo: Dave J. Hogan.
He reprised his role in the fifth installment of The Fast and the Furious series, Fast Five (2011), and again in Fast & Furious 6 (2013). Upcoming films in which Walker starred or appeared in due for release are Hours set for release in December 2013, and Brick Mansions, set for release in May 2014. At the time of his death, Walker had been filming Fast and Furious 7, which was slated for release in July 2014. His death has forced the shooting of the film to be delayed while producers try to rework the film.