Paul Walker: In memory of Hollywood's nice guy

Other | Monday 2nd December 2013 | Toni

Paul Walker was not your average celebrity.

He lived a life out of the tabloids unlike many of today’s socialites and personalities who fill up gossip magazines with scandals and drama.

He was a well-known film star, and his baby blues and chiselled good looks earned him a legion of female fans. Men wanted to be him. He was genuine and caring and used his status to help others. He really was the complete package.   

When news of his passing in a horrific car accident, in which he was a passenger, was released to the public on Saturday, every single celebrity tweet, facebook post and press release that was sent all recorded the same sentiment: Paul Walker was an all-round nice guy and this really was a devastating loss to the entertainment industry-and the world.

That’s why this one really hurts.

For fans, for his colleagues, friends and family: everyone is shattered by the fact that he is gone. He was only 40 years old and just starting to find his stride in many avenues. There are no words for this loss. It is just heartbreaking, even in its irony.

Paul Walker began his career in commercials from an early age and appeared in small roles on shows like ‘Highway to Heaven’, ‘Who’s the Boss’ and soap ‘The Young and the Restless’. Although he wasn’t sure about acting; he loved surfing, the environment and the sea so he began to pursue a major in Marine Biology, an area he still cared deeply about today.

But acting paid well enough that he could do it all, and he had the looks and talent to move up in this competitive industry. When the late 90s arrived Paul soon became one of the biggest heart throbs of the decade gaining notice in memorable roles in ‘Pleasantville’ with Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire, ‘Varsity Blues’ with James Van Der Beek, ‘She’s All That’ with Freddie Prinze Jr and Rachel Leigh Cook and ‘The Skulls’ with Joshua Jackson. Hollywood soon came calling.

By 2001, Walker’s real breakout role came in ‘The Fast and the Furious’ as undercover cop Brian O’Conner. From here on out, he showed he could be a leading man. The success of ‘The Fast and the Furious’ quickly led to a sequel and eventually 4 more films, (with Walker in three) with a 7th film that was currently shooting right now for a 2014 release. Walker wasn’t just known for this franchise alone, with leading roles in many other films like 2005’s ‘Into the blue’, 2006’s ‘Eight Below’ and 2008’s ‘The Lazarus Project’ to name but a few.

On a personal side, Walker’s love of marine biology and the environment saw him join the Board of Directors of The Billfish Foundation in 2006 as well as starring in the 2010 National Geographic series ‘Expedition Great White’ documenting anglers taking DNA samples of Great White Sharks and returning them to the water unharmed.

Also in 2010, following the Haiti earthquake, Walker who travelled there to help and support the people affected, established a humanitarian aid team called ‘Reach Out Worldwide’ as a result of this experience. ‘Reach Out’ involves professionals responding to disasters like earthquakes, tornados and most recently the Philippines Typhoon, offering healthcare, project management, paramedics,  fire fighters, heavy equipment operation etc to these places immediately following these horrific events. Walker had seen a need for a team like this to be assembled due to gaps that he could see existing in response to these events, so he did something about it.

On Saturday, hours before his death, Walker was attending a charity event for this organisation to benefit the Philippines Typhoon. Until the last moments of his life he was still giving to the community and helping others which just highlights how amazing he was.  

His love for fast cars was evident through his films and known hobbies, and it just makes it so much more tragic that his life was cut short in such a horrific way. He just didn’t deserve that.

As a fan of Walker since I was a teenager in the 90s, his death has really affected me. There are not a lot of people in Hollywood that you admire on and off the screen. But he was an exception. I always admired his work, his cheekiness and that smile. I also respected him for who he was as a person. He was not only a film maker, but an environmentalist, a humanitarian, a car lover and a father. He leaves a legacy behind that anyone would be proud of.  

But most of all, we as fans, are just honoured that we got to live in a time that he existed. To enjoy his work, appreciate his good looks that will now never fade and remember the legacy he leaves behind about giving back.

Thank you, Paul Walker for everything that you gave us, as your characters and as yourself.

Rest in peace, mate.