In just a few months, Christopher Walken will turn 80-years-old. He will have survived more than 60 years of making movies and more than 50 years serving as a husband to Georgianne Thon.
The couple actually goes back almost six decades — but who’s counting? After all, few would’ve expected, after already achieving widespread fame, Christopher Walken would get renewed waves of appreciation thanks to the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Saturday Night Live, and Fatboy Slim.
Here’s what we’ve witnessed Walken do so far:
The decorated actor has, in addition to an Oscar for The Deer Hunter in 1980, collected multiple Emmy and Tony nominations. He participated in productions that made more than $1.6 billion in the U.S.
Christopher Walken is best known for playing Vietnam War vets in that movie and Pulp Fiction, the father of a con artist in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me if You Can, and the King of New York in a picture called exactly that.
Walken’s career breakthrough came in 1977 in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. In the credits, his name was infamously spelled wrong, as “Christopher Wlaken,” even though he had a semi-major role.
His endless list of credits also includes The Dead Zone, A View to a Kill, and True Romance. Walken’s part in the latter movie is especially legendary:
Most recently, the frequent Saturday Night Live guest host earned an Emmy Award nomination for his unlikely performance in the dark sitcom Severance.
Walken’s varied filmography also encompasses animated movies, made-for-TV movies, and a five-minute short film that he wrote and directed (Popcorn Shrimp).
Christopher Walken’s Wife
Christopher Walken met future casting director Georgianne Thon when they played a couple in a production of West Side Story. They tied the knot in 1969 and are roughly the same age.
“She was a fox. She is a fox,” Walken said. “We loved each other right away.”
(To give you an idea of where Walken was career-wise, that same year, he scooped up his second and third film credits. Those were for his acting performances in Me and My Brother and The Three Musketeers.)
Thon picked up Emmy Award nominations every year from 1999 to 2007, according to AmoMama.com. “I don’t have kids. I don’t have hobbies, Walken once said. He added that he doesn’t like “to travel. I like to go to work.”
He is on the record for having said more than once that he wouldn’t have enjoyed as much success if he had had kids.
The Scandal They Survived: Part I
Just as famous as Christopher Walken is the scandal that he and his wife survived.
On Nov. 29, 1981, the star was suddenly proclaimed dead, by accidental drowning. There are many undetermined factors concerning her cause of death. This is what is known. She was on a weekend trip to Catalina Island with her husband Robert Wagner, and actor Christopher Walken. The Hollywood stars were all having a little getaway, aboard the Splendour, during the filming of their movie Brainstorm. The Splendour was captained by Dennis Davern.
Wood’s body was recovered a mile away from the boat with contusions on her arm and face on the morning of November 29th. An LA coroner, Thomas Noguchi, ruled her death to be hypothermia and accidental drowning, assuming she slipped trying to re-board The Splendour’s dinghy. Natalie Wood’s sister, Lana Wood, expressed that there was no way this could have happened as her sister was, and had always been afraid of the water and would never have gone on the water alone. Wood was buried in Los Angeles.
The Scandal They Survived: Part II
Years later, in November 2011, the case was reopened after Splendour Captain Dennis Davern admitted he wasn’t totally honest in his original interview. He further explained that the couple had gotten into an altercation while aboard The Splendour.
Wood was allegedly flirting with her co-star Walken, which upset Wagner. Davern essentially claimed that Wood’s husband was at fault for the movie star’s death and that he did not allow him to turn on the searchlights after she had gone missing.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department changed Wood’s death certificate in 2013 to “drowning and undetermined factors,” court papers said. That’s essentially the status it is at now.
Wagner was named a person of interest in the actress’s death in 2018. He has since denied murdering his wife and routinely declines to comment on the situation.