Paul William Walker IV (September 12, 1973 – November 30, 2013) was an American actor. He became well known in 1999 after his role in the hit film Varsity Blues. On November 30th Paul was killed in a car crash, alongside his friend and business partner Roger Rodas, after returning from a charity event. He portrayed the character Brian O'Conner in The Fast and the Furious franchise.
Walker was born in Glendale, California on September 12, 1973 and raised in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County, the son of Cheryl, a fashion model, and Paul Walker III, a sewer contractor. His paternal grandfather was a professional boxer. He is the oldest of five, having two brothers and two sisters. Walker was raised as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon, church. He attended and graduated from Village Christian School. After high, he attended several community colleges where he majored in marine biology.
Walker resided in Santa Barbara, California, with his dogs, one of which is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Paul and his then-girlfriend Rebecca had a baby daughter, Meadow (born in 1998), who lives with her mother in Hawaii. He is an avid surfer and enjoys the beach. Walker holds a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Ricardo "Franjinha" Miller at Paragon Jiu-Jitsu.
Walker's first passion was marine biology, with his idol being Jacques Cousteau, and he joined the Board of Directors of The Billfish Foundation in 2006. He recently fulfilled a lifelong dream by starring in a National Geographic Channel series Expedition Great White, which premiered in June 2010. He spent 11 days as part of the crew, catching and tagging 7 great white shark off the coast of Mexico. The expedition, led by Chris Fischer, founder and CEO of Fischer Productions, along with Captain Brett McBride and Dr. Michael Domeier of the Marine Conservation Science Institute take measurements, gather DNA samples, and fasten real-time satellite tags to the great white sharks. This will allow Dr. Michael Domeier to study migratory patterns especially those associated with mating and birthing over a 5-year period of time.
In March 2010, Walker went to Chile, specifically to Constitución, to offer his help and support to the people injured in the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck on February 27. He also flew with his REACH OUT team to Haiti to lend a helping hand to the 2010 Haiti earthquake victims. He is also an avid car enthusiast who currently competes in the Redline Time Attack racing series in which he races a M3 E92 and is on the AE Performance Team. His car is currently sponsored by Etnies, Brembo Brakes, Ohlins, Volk, OS Giken, Hankook, Gintani, and Reach Out Worldwide.
Walker's small-screen career began as a toddler, when he starred in a television commercial for Pampers. He began modeling at the age of 2 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 1987, with the horror/comedy film Monster in the Closet. He and his sister Ashlie were contestants on a 1988 episode of the game show I'm Telling!, finishing in second place. He has continued with roles in several other movies without much success. It was not until 1998 that 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, Varsity Blues, She's All That, and The Skulls.
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, Into the Blue, and Timeline, and also had a supporting role in Clint Eastwood's 2006 adaptation of Flags of Our Fathers.
Walker then starred in the crime thriller Running Scared and Walt Disney Pictures' Eight Below, both released in 2006. Eight Below garnered critical-acclaim and opened in first place at the box office, grossing over US$20 million during its first weekend. During the filming of Running Scared, director Wayne Kramer stated that "[Walker] is that guy on some level" when comparing Walker with his character in the movie, Joey Gazelle. Kramer continued on to say that he "loved working with [Walker] because as a director he's completely supportive of my vision of what the film is. And even better, he's completely game for it."
Walker starred in the independent film The Lazarus Project, which was released on DVD on October 21, 2008. He subsequently returned to The Fast and the Furious franchise, reprising his role in Fast & Furious, which was released on April 3, 2009.
Walker appeared with T.I., Idris Elba, Chris Brown, Matt Dillon, and Hayden Christensen 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.
Walker returned to his signature role of Brian O'Conner in Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6. He completed most of his role as Brian O'Conner Furious 7 before his death in November of 2013. The rest was completed using stand-ins (among them his brothers, Caleb and Cody Walker), stunt doubles and computer generated graphics by Weta Digital.
On November 30, 2013, at approximately 3:30PM, Walker and Roger Rodas, 38, left an event for Walker's charity Reach Out Worldwide for victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in Rodas's red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT. The car crashed into a concrete lamppost and two trees on Hercules Street, in a 45 miles per hour (72 km/h) speed zone near Kelly Johnson Parkway in Valencia, Santa Clarita, California, after which the vehicle burst into flames. The crash was caught on film by a security camera. Authorities determined that Rodas was driving the car while Walker was the passenger. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department declared both victims dead at the scene. Rodas died of multiple traumatic injuries while Walker died from the combined effects of traumatic and thermal trauma, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's office. Both of their bodies were burned beyond recognition.
The curve where Walker and Rodas were killed is a popular spot for drifting cars. The coroner's report stated that the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT was traveling at a speed possibly as high as 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) before the crash. The coroner's report further stated that no alcohol or other drugs were found in the systems of either man. Furthermore, it states that there were no hints of technical problems with the car and neither a damaged surface of the street nor parts on the street played a role in the accident. Police investigated as to whether drag racing played a role but were unable to find evidence of a second car's involvement. A piece of the car was stolen off the tow truck as the wreckage was towed away on a flatbed. Two men, Jameson Brooks Witty and Anthony Janow, were arrested for grand theft. Walker's autopsy showed "scant soot" in his Vertebrate trachea, leading investigators to believe he died before the car was engulfed in fire, where Rodas was killed on or shortly after impact by head, neck, and chest trauma.
In March 2014, further investigation revealed that the speed of the car was the main reason for the crash. The car was said to be traveling between 80 miles per hour (130 km/h) and 93 miles per hour (150 km/h) and had nine-year-old tires that were seldom driven on.
With Furious 7 in the middle of filming at the time of Walker's death, Universal announced an indeterminate hiatus on the production, citing a desire to speak with his family before determining what to do with the film.
Numerous friends and movie stars posted tributes to Walker on social media. His body was cremated and his ashes were buried in a non-denominational ceremony at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills.
In December 2014, Walker's father, Paul III, filed a lawsuit against Rodas's estate seeking the return of, or "a proportionate share" of revenue generated by a group of automobiles that were jointly owned by both Walker and Rodas.
In September 2015, Walker's daughter Meadow filed a suit against Porsche for wrongful death of her father, claiming that the Porsche Carrera GT had numerous design defects including a history of instability, and that seat belt placement can cause harm upon impact. Porsche's response denied any wrongdoing and blamed Walker himself, stating: "The perils, risk, and danger were open and obvious and known to him, and he chose to conduct himself in a manner so as to expose himself to such perils, dangers, and risks, thus assuming all the risks involved in using the vehicle." In April 2016, a U.S. District Court ruled in favor of Porsche in a separate lawsuit filed by Roger Rodas' widow, Kristine. The ruling has no bearing on two other cases against Porsche which have been filed by Walker’s father, who is also the executor of the actor’s estate, and his daughter. Both are pending cases at the Los Angeles superior court.