I’m sure everyone’s heard by now about the tragic death of actor Paul Walker this weekend in a fiery car crash in Santa Clarita County, California. (Details are still emerging, but it appears that Walker was a passenger in the 2005 Porsche Carrera, after attending a charity event.) Walker, who was 40, was on a break from shooting “Fast & Furious 7,” the latest entry in the franchise that made him a worldwide star. He leaves behind a teenage daughter and, based on the outpouring of emotion online since his death, many grieving friends.
The handsome Walker, a California native, had been working in movies and television since his teens, but first was noticed by movie audiences in the late 1990s, in a trio of films: “Pleasantville,” “She’s All That,” and “Varsity Blues.” Back in 1999, I interviewed Walker when he came to Seattle to promote “She’s All That,” a forgettable teen comedy in which Walker was charming in a supporting role. I remember his blue eyes and good looks — but more importantly, I remember how incredibly nice he was to an interviewer who was very new to her job and still figuring it out. There wasn’t a trace of movie-star attitude; quite the opposite, as I remember him writing down and giving me his personal email address. (I’d mentioned some article — I don’t remember what — and he asked if I would mind forwarding it to him.) It’s been many years and many, many actor interviews later; and I don’t think anybody else has ever given me their email address. Just a tiny anecdote, but perhaps a telling one. A good guy, gone too soon.