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Summary Article: Walken, Christopher
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

US actor. A prolific talent on stage and television, as well as in film, he is particularly known for his convincing portrayals of menacing villains, but is also noted for his quirky, deadpan humor. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as an emotionally disturbed Vietnam veteran in the seminal war drama The Deer Hunter (1978).

His first starring role was as a soldier in the low budget science fiction thriller The Mind Snatchers (1972). He reached wider audiences in his supporting role as the title character's suicidal brother in Woody Allen's classic romantic comedy Annie Hall (1977), and later developed a following for his edgy, sinister villains in such films as the James Bond classic A View to Kill (1985), Tim Burton's comic-book adaptation Batman Returns (1992), and Quentin Tarantino's dark comedies True Romance (1993) and Pulp Fiction (1994). He also won wide critical acclaim, including another Academy Award nomination, for his supporting role in the crime film Catch Me If You Can (2002).

Walken was born in Queens, New York, to a Scottish mother and German father. He appeared on television from a young age, and achieved his first major role as the narrator and grandson of the title character in the family drama The Wonderful John Acton (1953, as ‘Ronnie Walken’). His feature film debut was in the crime drama The Anderson Tapes (1971), with Sean Connery. Other films include the Western Heaven's Gate (1980), the musicals Pennies from Heaven (1981) and Hairspray (2007), the horror film The Dead Zone (1983), and the political comedy Man of the Year (2006).

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