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Paul Walker, star of 'Fast & Furious' films, killed in car crash

The 40-year-old died, best known for his role as Brian O’Connor in the hugely successful movie series, died in a crash in California yesterday.

Image: Joel Ryan/AP/Press Association Images

PAUL WALKER, ONE of the stars of the popular ‘Fast and Furious’ action movie franchise, died in a car crash on Saturday, his publicist confirmed.

He was 40 year old.

Walker’s publicist Ame Van Iden confirmed the actor’s death. A statement on Walker’s Facebook page said he was a passenger in a friend’s car, and that the star was in the area to attend a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said that speed was a factor in the crash.

Deputies found a Porsche Carrera GT engulfed in flames when they responded to a report of a collision in the community of Valencia, north of Los Angeles. Two people who were found in the car were pronounced dead at the scene.

The Santa Clarita Valley Signal reported that the Porsche crashed into a light pole and tree and burst into flames. The fundraiser, to benefit victims of Typhoon Haiyan, took place at a nearby racecar shop. Attendees rushed to put out the flames with fire extinguishers to no avail.

Movies

Walker was best known for his role as undercover agent Brian O’Connor in the “Fast and Furious” movies. He appeared in all but one of the six movies in the series, and was one of the leading protagonists along with Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez.

“All of us at Universal are heartbroken,” Universal Pictures, which released the franchise, said in a statement. “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.”

Diesel posted this photograph on Instagram:

image

[Vin Diesel via Instagram]

The son of a fashion model and a sewer contractor, Walker grew up in a working class, Mormon household in Glendale, California. The oldest of five siblings, his mother began taking him to auditions as a toddler. He was a child model beginning at the age of 2.

Walker has said the early induction to show business wasn’t to start him on a career path, but as a way to help provide for the family.

After a string of TV roles as a child in the ’80s, including small roles on “Who’s the Boss” and “Charles in Charge,” Walker made his feature film debut in the 1998 comedy “Meet the Deedles.” Supporting roles in the films “Pleasantville,” ”Varsity Blues” and “Flags of Our Fathers” followed.

His performance in the 2000 thriller “The Skulls” caught the eye of producer Neal H. Moritz, who cast him in “The Fast and the Furious” as undercover police officer Brian O’Conner. Adapted from a Vibe magazine article about underground street races, the film became an unexpected hit.


(Youtube: Empire Magazine)

In the sequel, “2 Fast 2 Furious,” Walker moved to center stage with Diesel temporarily dropping out. Walker, a self-described “gearhead,” kept his character’s sports car from the film.

He starred in other films, including the crime thriller “Running Scared,” the Antarctic adventure “Eight Below” and the heist film “Takers.” Though his stardom didn’t make as much of an impact outside the “Fast & Furious” series, Walker continually drew praise from his co-stars and directors as a kind-hearted and eager collaborator.

“Your humble spirit was felt from the start,” Ludacris, Walker’s “Fast & Furious” co-star, said on Twitter. “Wherever you blessed your presence you always left a mark, we were like brothers.”

This article includes reporting from AP and AFP

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