US actor Paul Walker, arrives for the German premiere of the film 'Fast and Furious Five', in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, April 27, 2011. Frank Augstein/Associated Press
Actor Paul Walker, best known for his role in TheFast and the Furious movies, died in a car crash north of Los Angeles Saturday afternoon.
New Regency Productions, a film studio that distributes through Twentieth Century Fox, confirmed the actor's death in a tweet.
According to a post on Walker's Facebook page, he was a passenger in a friend's car at the time of the crash, which happened while he was attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's department said the crash happened in community of Valencia. The Santa Clarita Signal reports a red Porsche crashed into a light pole and tree and burst into flames, killing both occupants. Photos from the scene show a pile of twisted metal and broken windows.
Police haven't confirmed the names of the victims or the cause of the crash.
Walker, 40, was working on the latest TheFast and the Furious movie at the time of his death. He also starred in the suspense drama Hours, a movie that is set for release this month.
Walker rode the The Fast and the Furious franchise to stardom, starring in all but one of the six action blockbusters, beginning with the first film in 2001. The blond-haired, blue-eyed Los Angeles-native brought California surfer good-looks and an easy, warm charm to the popular street-racing series.
"All of us at Universal are heartbroken," Universal Pictures said in a statement. "Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the 'Fast and Furious' films, and to countless fans."
Early start in show business
The son of a fashion model and a sewer contractor, Walker grew up in a working class, Mormon Los Angeles household. The oldest of five siblings, Walker's mother began taking him to auditions as a toddler. He was a child model beginning at the age of 2.
Walker has said the early induction to show business wasn't to start him on a career path, but as a way to help provide for the family.
After a string of TV roles as a child in the '80s, Walker made his feature film debut in the 1998 comedy Meet the Deedles. Supporting roles in the films Pleasantville, Varsity Blues and She's All That followed.
His performance in the 2000 thriller The Skulls caught the eye of producer Neal H. Moritz, who cast him in The Fast and the Furious as undercover police officer Brian O'Conner. Adapted from a Vibe magazine article about underground street races, the film became an unexpected hit.
In the sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Walker moved to centre stage with his co-star Vin Diesel momentarily dropping out. Walker, a self-described "gearhead," kept his character's sports car from the film.
Walker starred in other films, including the crime thriller Running Scared, the Antarctic adventure Eight Below and the heist film Takers. Though his stardom didn't make as much of an impact outside the The Fast and the Furious series, Walker continually drew praise from his co-stars and directors as a kind-hearted and eager collaborator.
And The Fast and The Furious proved unusually enduring. Released in May, The Fast and Furious 6 was the most lucrative of them all, grossing more than $788 million worldwide. The seventh installment began shooting in September, with a release planned for July.
"Your humble spirit was felt from the start," said Ludacris, Walker's The Fast and the Furious co-star, on Twitter. "Wherever you blessed your presence you always left a mark, we were like brothers."
Walker is survived by his 15-year-old daughter.
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