Completely unpredictable...and undeniably talented...actor Christopher Walken (1943-) was born Ronald Walken on this day in Queens, New York, the son of a baker. "I was the guy that put the jelly in the doughnuts," he recalled.
Young Chris got the acting bug as a child extra on a Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis show. At age 15, he was a circus lion tamer, then graduated to Broadway where he was a song-and-dance man.
"That old Broadway melody is right," he once said. "I'm living proof there is no business like show business."
Definitely one-of-a-kind, he has attained cult status with wild eyes, slicked back hair, and quirky performances: the oddball brother in Annie Hall (1977), the evil tycoon Max Shreck in Batman Returns (1992), the watch-holding Capt. Koons in Pulp Fiction (1994), and the Angel Gabriel in The Prophecy (1995).
That is just scratching the surface. Walken has created over 90 characters, winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor as the suicidal Vietnam vet in The Deer Hunter (1978), a passionate performance that hurt the heart and lingered in the mind.
"I think that a good movie creates its own world, and that world needn't refer to anything that's real. If it's consistent, if it's entertaining, if it's interesting, it justifies its being there," said the actor with the off-kilter delivery.
And if that's not enough, he's a dancer. Soft shoe. Hip. Who can forget his four-minute tap dancing antics in the brilliantly hysterical music video for Fatboy Slim's Weapon of Choice?
The secret to his success? Imagination.
Walken said: "There are actors who thrive on research and getting it all right and all that. I highly approve; I've just found that it doesn't work for me. Information, almost you could say, confuses me...I just make it up."
Celebrate life with complete unpredictability.