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Creator / Christopher Walken

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Knock knock.
Who's there?
Christopher Walken.
Christopher Walken who?
Christopher Walken and then walk out after his cameo.

"I am the malevolent WASP."

Christopher Walken (born Ronald Paul Walken; March 31, 1943 in Astoria, New York) is an Academy Award-winning American actor of stage and screen, in a career spanning more than 60 years. A prolific actor, he has appeared in over 100 movie and television roles, notably including A View to a Kill, Annie Hall, The Deer Hunter, David Cronenberg's The Dead Zone, King of New York, Batman Returns, True Romance, Catch Me If You Can and Pulp Fiction, as well as music videos by recording artists such as Madonna and Fatboy Slim.

Walken appeared as the Archangel Gabriel in the first three Prophecy movies, as well as his frequent guest-host appearances on Saturday Night Livenote , his most notable being The Bruce Dickinson (not that Bruce Dickinson) in the "More Cowbell" sketch and The Continental (based on an actual TV character from an obscure 1950s show, but most people wouldn't know that). In the United States, films featuring Walken have grossed over $1.8 billion. He has also played the main role in the Shakespeare plays Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and even Coriolanus. Famous film roles were Nikanor "Nick" Chevotarevich in The Deer Hunter (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor) and in Pulp Fiction, as Captain Koons, a Vietnam War veteran, which has since become a pop culture icon. In fact, his prolific film appearances relate to his own policy of never turning down film roles unless he's too busy, finding that each and every role is a learning experience.

His distinctive style of speaking, including random pauses, wild enunciation and a tendency to change voice pitch at random, have made clips from his movies subject to a great deal of Memetic Mutation, and he's one of the most imitated living actors out there along with the likes of Jack Nicholson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jeff Goldblum, and William Shatner. He doesn't actually sound much like most of his impersonators. You're still... imagining!... this his...illustrious voice!

Christopher Walken doesn't cherrypick with the roles he takes. He just plain loves making movies.

He's also known for frequently working with Susan Sarandon.

A former professional dancer, which he got to show off in the 1981 film version of Pennies from Heaven (where he played a dancing pimp), his opening monologue from one of his hosting stints on Saturday Night Live, the 2007 rendition of Hairspray, as well as the aforementioned Fatboy Slim video, which consists solely of him dancing in an empty hotel.

Notable for:

Cowbell solo!

Tropes Include:

  • '50s Hair: His distinctive pompadour.
  • Adam Westing: His many, many, many eccentricities are a goldmine of parody, which he himself regularly takes part in, notably on SNL.
  • Ascended Meme: A variety of strange quotes and character tics have turned him into something of an icon.
  • Big Applesauce: He was born and raised in Queens.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: He naturally comes across this way, and a lot of roles and media love to play this up.
  • The Comically Serious: Special mention goes to Captain Koons in Pulp Fiction and Ed Glossier from SNL.
  • Cold Ham: Both his conviction and his numerous quirks are all expressive enough.
  • Cool Old Guy: When they aren't evil, his characters in his later roles are definitely this and sometimes even when they are. He's also very much this in real life.
  • Does Not Like Guns: Despite using them in many films, he has admitted that he hates guns and dislikes even holding them.
  • Doing It for the Art: Takes nearly every role offered to him, not because he needs the money, but because he thinks every role is a learning experience.
  • EmPHAsis On The Wrong SylLAble: An oft-imitated speech pattern of his. Made fun of in one SNL monologue, in which he sings "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" but never changed the pronunciation.
    Jimmy: You’re singing the words the same. You have to say, like, tomayto, tomahto. Tomahto, potahto.
    Walken: "Tomahto", what's that?
  • Happily Married: He's been married to Georgianne Thon since 1969.
  • Kubrick Stare: Walken will invoke this in his more villainous roles, like his performance in True Romance.
  • Leslie Nielsen Syndrome: While he is mostly devoted to comedy nowadays, his early career consisted of more serious performances, like his Oscar-winning role in The Deer Hunter.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: His birth name was inspired by Ronald Colman.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Especially in Tim Burton films, Walken often plays unsettling or creepy characters.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: The more acrobatic sections of "Weapon of Choice" were clearly handled by a double, made obvious by the fact that their hair colors don't match and that the double's face is awkwardly blurred out to try and obscure the switch, only to draw more attention to it.
  • Production Posse: Walken is one of Abel Ferrara's favorite actors, appearing in no less than four films made by him.
  • Reclusive Artist: While he has no issue doing promotional work, he is very private and has little interest in fame or being a celebrity, spending any time he isn't working at his home in Connecticut and he says the only people other than his wife that he usually sees when he isn't on set are the garbage men.
  • Renaissance Man: Outside of acting, he is also a professional dancer, a singer, a comedian, a very good chef, and even a former circus performer (he did a stint in a traveling circus as a lion tamer's "son" the summer he was 15).
  • Supreme Chef: He loves cooking and is very good at it, occasionally making meals for his co-stars. His father owned and operated a bakery in Queens.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: His characters always seem to stare off into the distance. Apparently, this is because Walken is always reading cue cards.
  • Typecasting: He's usually a weirdo or a villain, with a few exceptions such as The Deer Hunter and Hairspray.
  • Verbal Tic: Several: An irregular rhythm, unusual changes in pitch, and long pauses.note