Too Fast, Too Soon: Remembering Paul Walker
A Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, a Nissan Skyline, and a Toyota Supra; three of Brian O'Conner's weapons of choice when he began to seal his name on every movie fan's consciousness -particularly in the minds of men who adore cars as much as the man who portrayed O'Conner. It was not, however, one of these Japanese imports that took the man, Paul Walker, on his last ride. It was a red 40-valve 2005 Porsche Carrera GT with a V10 mid-engine, once eighth on the list of the top sports cars of all time, owned and driven by Paul's friend Roger Rodas. It was November 30, 2013, 3:30 PM Pacific, in Valencia, Santa Clarita, California.
Paul William Walker IV was 40.
A post on his Facebook page confirmed that Paul died in the accident while attending a charity event for the organization he put up, Reach Out Worldwide, which has helped in humanitarian efforts in different countries like Haiti. In this particular event, Paul was raising funds for victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines.
Although it was the Fast & Furious franchise that put his name on the map, Paul's career as a model and actor began early. The son of a fashion model and the grandson of a professional boxer, he entered showbiz by way of a Pampers commercial when he was a toddler. He had minor roles on TV shows like Highway to Heaven, Who's the Boss?, Touched by an Angel, and The Young and the Restless. Big screen roles followed soon, most notably She's All That, where he played the popular school guy and villain; Pleasantville, where he played a hunk; and Into the Blue, where he was a beach bum.
In The Fast & the Furious, the first installment of the highly popular franchise, Paul breathed life into O'Conner, the undercover agent out to bust Vin Diesel's character, Dominic Toretto, and his gang. This movie began a journey that none of the major players ever thought they would be part of. For Paul, it was perfect - a big-budget Hollywood film that centered on cars, his favorite toys.
In an interview by Rebecca May for askmen.com before Fast 6 came out, Paul shared his love for cars, from the high-performance to the classic. "The pride and joy of my garage right now? The BMW '74 2002 Touring," he said. "I have about 20 or 30 cars on my forecourt. It's a lot, but they're always on the market. If somebody walks in to the showroom I have set up, everything's lit. They're functional pieces of art."
In the end, perhaps it was only fitting that Paul Walker - who will always be Brian O'Conner for the millions who knew him only because of that role, and who loved those "functional pieces of art" even beyond the celluloid - would leave this life by way of a high performance vehicle. For Darren Franich of insidemovies.ew.com, Paul was "just about perfect." At a time in his life when everything seemed to be going his way, Paul left - fast - survived by a 15-year-old daughter, and loved - perhaps furiously - by millions of fans, friends, and colleagues.
Paul's own words may lend a small measure of understanding and comfort for those who mourn his passing: "If one day the speed kills me, do not cry because I was smiling."