Fast and Furious No More

Walker is gone after only 40 years (The News Tribe)

Walker is gone after only 40 years (The News Tribe)

Although I am likely the last to know, I just heard that Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker died in a horrible car crash yesterday in Southern California. He was 40 years old—younger than me—and I, for one, will miss him.

Walker was last seen leaving a holiday toy drive for his charity Reach Out Worldwide with his friend and racing team partner Roger Rodus. He jumped into the passenger seat of a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT—with Rodus behind the wheel—around 3:00 p.m. and sped off for Rodus’ shop.

Unfortunately, they never made it.

Only a few hundred yards from the shop—and likely traveling at excessive speeds, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office—the car flew into a Valencia office park in Santa Clarita, slammed into a light pole and burst into flames.

Antonio Holmes was at the same charity event as Walker, watched him drive away, got a call about the crash and rushed to the scene, but there was nothing that he or anyone else could do.

“We all… grabbed fire extinguishers and immediately went to the vehicle,” he explained later. “It was engulfed in flames. There was nothing. They were trapped. Employees, friends of the shop. We tried. We tried. We went through fire extinguishers.”

Firefighters and investigators worked hard to extract the bodies—or at least what was left of them—and Los Angeles Coroner Investigator Dana Bee said it could take as long as 48 hours to officially identify the remains from dental records.

Walker in the original Fast and the Furious (Universal)

Walker in the original Fast and the Furious (Universal)

Sadly, this doesn’t change the fact that on Saturday, Hollywood lost one of its “good ones.” Walker was a solid actor by any measure, of course, but his philanthropy off-screen was also well documented.

He once overheard a groom just back from Iraq—and preparing for another deployment—who couldn’t afford to buy a wedding ring for his bride. Without making a fuss, Walker had the ring charged to his account and quietly ducked away before his altruism could be praised. Granted, this isn’t a world-changing example to propel Walker into the charitable stratosphere of George Clooney, but he did change the world for that couple.

Yes, it’s rare to find a Hollywood actor who manages to keep his feet planted so firmly on the ground. You may not care for the Fast and the Furious franchise and you might not even like any of Paul Walker’s work. But you can’t deny one very important fact: he was a good guy.

And I would argue that in today’s world, good guys are the rarest of them all. Rest in peace, Paul.

Posted on December 1, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Thanks for that post, I couldn’t agree more. He will definitely be missed.

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