It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 3 years since Paul Walker died in a single vehicle crash in Valencia, California. Pop Horror would like to take a moment to remember him today, September 12th, 2016, on what would have been his 43rd birthday.
While the majority of his fans probably associate him with the FAST AND THE FURIOUS franchise, Paul Walker got his start in Hollywood in the 1986 Horror Comedy MONSTER IN THE CLOSET.
This low budget Troma vehicle, which features Donald Moffat (John Carpenter’s THE THING) and Kevin Peter Hall (PREDATOR), was the first film for both Paul Walker and Fergie (credited as Stacey Ferguson). Despite the fact that it was his feature film debut and he was only 10 or 11 years old at the time of shooting, Walker’s character “Professor” Bennett is one of the three heroes in the film.
Paul Walker grew up on Television with guest spots on Highway To Heaven, Charles In Charge, Who’s The Boss? and The Young and the Restless. He later ventured back into film with high profile roles in SHE’S ALL THAT (1999), VARSITY BLUES (1999) and THE SKULLS (2000).
Paul Walker returned to the Horror genre in 2001 after a 15-year hiatus with JOY RIDE. The film, which also stars Steve Zahn and Leelee Sobieski, is based on an original screenplay by Clay Tarver and J.J. Abrams (LOST, ALIAS, STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS) called SQUELCH.
Walker plays Lewis Thomas, a young man whose plans to drive across country with the girl of his dreams (Sobieski) go South when he meets up with his estranged brother Fuller (Zahn) and the trio is stalked by a sadistic, murderous truck driver. The film has become somewhat of a modern cult classic and spawned two straight to video sequels: JOY RIDE 2: DEAD AHEAD(2008) and JOY RIDE 3: ROAD KILL(2014).
Outside of his career as an actor, Paul Walker founded a charity known as Reach Out Worldwide in 2010 after Haiti was devastated by an earthquake. The organization helps organize and execute relief efforts for those affected by natural disasters. In their own words, “Reach Out Worldwide operates on the philosophy that by making a difference in just one person’s life, the world has been changed for the better.”
Paul Walker has certainly changed lives for the better, both as an actor and as a humanitarian. We salute you, Paul. Happy birthday! Rest in peace.