Paul Walker, whose smoldering good looks and tough-guy persona made him an essential element of the Fast and Furious franchise, died Saturday in a car wreck during a charity event in Valencia, CA. He was 40 years old.
According to media reports, Walker was participating in a charity event for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. He was the passenger in a Porche when the driver lost control and crashed into a pole and a tree, causing the car to ignite. The driver, who was reportedly a friend of Walker’s, was also killed. Police are still investigating the cause of the crash.
Born in Glendale, CA in 1973, Walker got an early taste of fame when he appeared in a Pampers commercial as a small child. He appeared in a number of TV shows as a teenager, including Highway to Heaven and Who’s the Boss. In 1998, he starred in the comedy Meet the Deedles, and he subsequently had roles in such high-profile films as Pleasantville and Varsity Blues.
Walker’s breakthrough came when he starred with Vin Diesel in The Fast and the Furious in 2001. Walker played Brian O’Conner, an undercover LAPD detective tasked with infiltrating a illegal street racing ring; in subsequent films he would team with Diesel’s Dominic Toretta to take down criminal organizations. Walker also won praise for his range in such well-received films as Flags of Our Fathers and Eight Below. Walker is survived by a daughter.