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c. 1955

Christopher Walken, the child clown

Long before he became a screen legend, Ronnie Walken was clowning around as a child actor

There exists a not-inconsiderable number of Hollywood producers who, under the word ‘chilling’, have ‘Christopher Walken’ listed on their phones.

However, back in 1955 when these shots were taken, there was no such thing as ‘Christopher Walken’. He was yet to exist.

Because the jovial boy you see here is called ‘Ronnie’, short for ‘Ronald.’

Ronnie Walken was born in 1943, in Queens, New York, and he was also born into showbiz.  Aged 14 months, a baby Ronnie was posed with a pair of kittens for a calendar shoot. 

Ronnie’s mom, Rosalie Walken, had latent dreams of being an actress, and in lieu of that dream being realized, she shoehorned her three sons into as many auditions as possible. Ronnie was the middle son, and all three boys scored regular work as TV extras.

He and brother Glenn were, for a while, genuine soap stars.

Indeed, he and brother Glenn were, for a while, genuine soap stars. Between the pair of them, the boys shared the role of ‘Michael Baur’ for two years in the early 1950s, in the show Guiding Light, a soap that ran for decades. 

These shots show Ronnie as child star, fooling around at home as a gleeful clown.  He was, of course, to leave clowning and a soap career well and truly behind him – and also his own identity.

Following an off-the-cuff remark from a friend in 1964, he got rid of Ronnie for good, and Christopher Walken was born.

1955
Walken in a TV program entitled ‘Wonderful John Acton’.
Orlando / Three Lions / Getty Images
1955
Ronnie (right) with his brothers and fellow child actors Glenn (right) and Ken in the living room of their home in Bayside, Long Island.
Orlando / Three Lions / Getty Images
1955
Ronnie the clown
Orlando / Three Lions / Getty Images
1955
Ronnie the clown
Orlando / Three Lions / Getty Images
1955
Ronnie the clown
Orlando / Three Lions / Getty Images
1955
Ronnie the clown
Orlando / Three Lions / Getty Images
1955
Ronnie the clown
Orlando / Three Lions / Getty Images
1955
Ronnie the clown
Orlando / Three Lions / Getty Images
1955
Ronnie the clown
Orlando / Three Lions / Getty Images
1955
Ronnie the clown
Orlando / Three Lions / Getty Images

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