Paul Walker, the handsome actor who became a worldwide star thanks to The Fast and the Furious franchise, died tragically on Saturday, November 30th in Santa Clarita, California. Despite his youthful looks, Walker turned 40 this September and leaves behind a filmography full of memorable performances. From being a child actor in the 1980s to a teen idol in the 90s (and later an action star in the new millennium), here are 11 of the late actor's best roles. —Rob LeDonne
Paul Walker was born on September 12th, 1973 in Glendale, California. His mother, Cheryl, was a model, and by the time he was two, Walker was following her footsteps. The young Walker later pursued acting, and counts the popular NBC drama Highway to Heaven as his first on-screen performance. This clip showcases his second stint on the series – watch as he plays a mentally challenged boy alongside Michael Landon.
Throughout the late 80s and early 90s, Walker found a niche as a cute, young day player on various television shows including the soap The Young and the Restless and sitcoms Who's the Boss and Charles in Charge. This clip from Charles' fifth season features a tall and lanky Walker at just 13. But even then, he was stealing hearts.
During the mid-90s, Walker began to focus exclusively on films. His first starring role in Disney's screwball 1998 comedy Meet the Deedles fell flat, so it wasn't until his turn in the critically acclaimed movie Pleasantville later that year that audiences began recognizing his charm. The film hit theaters across America on October 23rd, 1998; Walker's only child, a daughter named Meadow, was born just 12 days later.
Two months later, the 1999 pigskin drama Varsity Blues made Walker a bonafide teen idol breakout thanks to the film's surprise blockbuster success. Despite the fact he was 24 when the movie was shot, Walker became one of the key faces of the late 90s teen movie bonanza, largely thanks to his smoldering Varsity performance.
Going from brooding star to comedic hunk, She's All That was released just two weeks after Varsity Blues in January 1999. Starring alongside late-90s stalwarts Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Rachel Leigh Cook, the light teen flick provided a theatrical one-two punch that cemented Walker's status as a young heartthrob to fans everywhere.
Walker became a leading man in the college-aged drama The Skulls alongside Dawson's Creek alum Joshua Jackson. While not a critical success, the film's intriguing storyline is based around Yale University's infamous Skull and Bones society and brought in enough box office to merit two sequels, neither of which Walker appeared in.
With the new milleniam came the project that launched Walker to worldwide superstar. Released on June 22nd, 2001, The Fast and the Furious starred Walker as a cop that gets caught up in the underworld of L.A. street racing. Made for $38 million, the film went on to net an astounding $207 million, making it one of the year's biggest hits.
Into the Blue combined Walker's three loves – acting, surfing and nature. The sexy beach drama, which co-stars Jessica Alba, suited Walker's skills perfectly, since he studied Marine Biology during a stint in college and maintained a fascination with it ever since. Walker's aquatic interests later led to appearances on the National Geographic series Expedition Great White in 2010 and on Shark Week this summer.
Walker headlined this crime caper alongside Matt Dillon and Chris Brown, playing a tough-guy character typical of his post-Furious resume. The same year, while on a Haitian relief mission, Walker founded Reach Out Worldwide, a non-profit group that dispatches first-responders to crisis situations. Sadly, Walker was attending a toy drive for Reach Out at the time of his death.
Despite his death, Walker's filmography will continue through at least next year. Later this month comes Hours, which stars Walker as a father struggling to save his daughter in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Walker also has the cop drama Brick Mansions coming up (it's currently in post-production and co-stars RZA, who paid tribute to late actor on a new four-minute ballad called "Destiny Bends").