Hollywood, movie fans and the rest of the world alike were startled to learn of Paul Walker’s death on Saturday night. Amazingly, TMZ actually broke the news first, but, given that gossip site’s reputation, many of Walker’s fans held out hope that the website was chasing a false lead in an effort to break a major story.
Walker, 40, is survived by one daughter. His legacy will be known for starring in the Fast and the Furious film franchise, which fulfilled many people’s unquenchable desire for fast cars, attractive women and Vin Diesel.
What’s unfortunate for him, though, is how his death will be labeled as “ironic.” The Fast films involve fast-paced, often reckless driving, and the fact that he died in a car accident will always lead to a connection between the two. Unfortunately, that should not be the case, as Walker was not the one who was driving. Rather, Walker’s friend and financial adviser, Roger Rodas — who also died — was the driver. But that will probably be overlooked.
When someone dies at a relatively young age, it’s common to assess their life’s work, as a source of perspective for what they contributed during their time on Earth. As a movie star, we have Walker’s filmography to look at. And when I do that, the first thing that comes to mind is that he was in a lot of movies. And quality movies, at that.
Obviously, there is the Fast movies, which you either loved or hated. For me, they personally were not my cup of tea. I can appreciate an action flick, but I prefer movies that make me think a little bit.
But regardless, Walker also was in Pleasantville, Varsity Blues, She’s All That, The Skulls, Joy Ride and Eight Below, all of which had their own positive qualities. That’s a nice little track record. Did he ever come anywhere near performing in a serious, Oscar-worthy dramatic role? No. But you still can’t disregard his body of work.
What has resonated most to me about Walker since I heard the news, however, is not how much I am going to miss his movies. But — and I am solely basing this on what I’ve read, in articles and the outpouring of tweets that have from come from other actors and actresses — by all accounts, he was an authentic person, a good father, and someone who was extremely well-liked in the industry.
He never was involved in a controversy, never someone who was linked to drug or alcohol use, and even had his own charity. In other words — an actual role model. Also, here’s a heartbreaking photo of Tyrese crying at his memorial.
It’s sad that it often takes death to realize somebody’s positive impact in the world, but at least it also leaves us with a positive memory.
And I mean no disrespect to other people who died prematurely, like, for instance, Cory Montieth. But people talked about him for months. He was immortalized as the tragic high school drop out who couldn’t overcome his demons.
Paul Walker, meanwhile, brought a lot of good to this world, inspired others, and it pains me to say that he will probably be forgotten about soon, if not already. For the sake of humanity, I hope I’m wrong.
See ya later, Paul.