Paul Walker was only 40 years old when he left this Earth. Described by friends as having a heart of gold, he left behind a life and legacy that touched several of his industry peers, family, friends, and fans alike. Despite being an award-winning actor, he remained humble up until the day of his untimely and seemingly senseless death on November 30, 2013.
He was born Paul William Walker IV on September 12, 1973 and was one of five children. He grew up in Glendale, California and began his career as an actor on the set of Throb, a family sitcom. Shortly thereafter he worked as a model before he was cast in his first movie, Tammy and the T-Rex.
Although Paul had quite an extensive acting career well before his role as Brian O’Connor, he is best known for his work in The Fast and The Furious franchise. Walker was known for diving into the characters that he portrayed onscreen. During an interview with USA Today, Paul Walker explained how he identified with the role of Brian in The Fast and The Furious:
“I get that a lot, I’m Brian a lot more than I’m Paul Walker, which is awesome. When I hear, ‘Hey Paul Walker!’ my hair stands up on the back of my neck. It’s uncomfortable. But when I hear ‘It’s Brian!’ it’s cool. I like Brian.”
However, his role as Brian O’Connor seemed to be a bit of a contrast to the role that Paul Walker played as a doting father to his daughter Meadow Rain Walker, a role that he took very seriously. His efforts to be a positive role model for her was fueled by his personal motto which was that kindness and giving will never go out of style. Paul Walker frequently gave of his time and resources for various charities and even established a few of his own.
To commemorate what would have been Paul Walker’s 41st birthday, the non-profit organization Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW) will throw fundraiser in his honor. The ROWW was founded by Walker himself, and provides relief to victims of massive natural disasters through the organization of skilled volunteers, first responders, and resources. This is one example of the many projects that Walker put his name on for the purpose of giving back.
In a ironic twist of fate, it would be a cruise in a friend’s 2005 Porsche Carrera GT after attending a charity event that would cause his death. Shortly after leaving the event, it was reported that Paul Walker and his friend Roger Rodas were involved in a fatal automobile accident.
Vin Diesel, Paul Walker’s co-star in TFATF, seemed to take his death the hardest. Diesel said the following during a recent interview regarding how Paul’s death affected him:
Therefore, it is perhaps so tragic that his life ended so suddenly. To those who knew him, Paul Walker will always be missed, but he will never forgotten. His fans knew him for his endearing movie and TV roles, and his peers respected his heart and work ethic. Though he is gone, his legacy lives on through his body of work as well as the several charitable foundations with which he is involved. So, happy birthday, Paul Walker! We raise our glass to your fast and furious heart of gold.
The anticipated release date for the latest TFATF movie, Fast & Furious 7, which sustained several delays due to Paul Walker’s passing away during filming, is April 3, 2015.