paul-walker“To live in the hearts we leave behind, is not to die,”

-Thomas Campbell (Reposted by Vin Diesel in honor of Paul Walker)

This Friday, April 3 will be a heartbreaking and blessed day for the Fast and Furious family and fans as it will be the last we will see of Agent Brian O’Connor.  Paul Walker was one of my teen idols during the late 90s.  He possessed that California charm, and let’s not forget that smile, that captivated audiences of all ages.  It only seems fitting that Paul Walker is my first Man Crush Monday.

Paul Walker IV was born on September 12, 1973 in Glendale, California.  He graduated from Village Christian High School in Sun Valley, California in 1991.  Once he returned from college, he tried his hand at acting with the support of his friends.  His first hit came in 1998 with Pleasantville starring Reese Witherspoon and Toby Maguire.  He starred as a stud in the 1950s who meets his match with a modern day Reese Witherspoon.  Soon after, he had a string of hits with Varsity Blues (1999), She’s All That (1999), and The Skulls (2000) all of which reinforced his rise to stardom.  In April 2000, Walker was chosen to be one of the young stars featured on the cover of Vanity Fair’s Annual Hollywood Issue.   All the actors featured on the cover tried their best to be moody and sexy, but Paul was the only one smiling which showed just how unique he was.  In 2001, the first Fast and the Furious movie hit theaters worldwide, solidifying his celebrity status.

Paul Walker was not only about making movies, he was also about family and changing the world.  In 1998, Walker and his then-girlfriend Rebecca Soteros, welcomed a baby girl Meadow Rain Walker.  Paul and Rebecca separated shortly after and Meadow lived with her mother in Hawaii for 13 years until moving in with Paul in 2012.  Paul was always active growing up.  He frequently would be seen surfing near his Huntington Beach home and his Santa Barbara home where he lived with his dogs.  Paul would often do his own fight scenes which led him to develop a passion for martial arts.  He studied various forms of Jujitsu, taekwondo, Jeet Kune Do, and Eskrima.  He received a brown belt in Brazilian Jujitsu and later a black belt.  When Paul needed a break from the entertainment business, he would travel the world particularly Asia.  He has been to India, Fiji, Costa Rica, Sarawak, Brunei, and Borneo.

Paul started a charity organization called ‘Reach Out Worldwide.’  His charity aimed to help areas who were victims of natural disasters.  ROWW’s mission statement states that it is “a network of professionals with first responder skill-sets who augment local expertise when natural disasters strike in order to accelerate relief efforts.”

On November 13, 2013, after attending a charity event for’ Reach Out Worldwide’ for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, Paul was killed in a car accident with his financial advisor Roger Rodas behind the wheel.  Rodas was driving his red Porsche Carrera GT when the car crashed into a concrete lamppost and two trees in Valencia, Ca after which the vehicle burst into flames.  Both bodies were burned beyond recognition.  In March 2014, the speed of the car was a factor for the crash.  The car was travelling between 80-95 mph in a 45 mph zone and many sources claim that the car had nine-year-old tires.  Walker was set to star in both ‘The Best of Me’ (2014) and ‘Hitman: Agent 47’ after wrapping The Fast and Furious 7.  The roles went to James Marsden and Rupert Friend respectively.

Some of my favorite movies that I could watch over and over again feature Paul Walker.  His breakout role in ‘Pleasantville’ as Skip Martin is a perfect example.  I owned this movie on a little thing called a VHS tape and I would force my little brother to watch it over and over.  I loved how simple and cute his character was and would dream of an old-fashion man to sweep me off my feet.  My mother had a crush on Freddie Prinze Jr and took me to see ‘She’s All That’ in theaters.  I was ten years old and that movie made me afraid of high school.  Even though Paul Walker played scumbag Dean Sampson, I was still charmed by his presence on screen.  Lastly, Agent Brian O’Conner.  Need I say more?  He has been on our televisions, in theaters, and in our homes for fourteen years.  We loved him, trusted him, hated him, and forgave him, just like Dominic Toretto.

The more I have learned about Paul Walker, the more I realize that he was more than a pretty face.  He was kind, loving, and generous beyond words.  He cared about his daughter more than life itself.  He let his actions speak louder than his words.  He was never in the spotlight unless it was to promote a movie.  He did so much good without having to publicly sell his soul to the world of fame and celebrity.  I envy the people who were touched by his presence and existence on a personal level.  He was a good man, father, son, brother, and friend.