Viggo Mortensen life and biography

Viggo Mortensen picture, image, poster

Viggo Mortensen biography

Date of birth : 1958-10-28
Date of death : -
Birthplace : New York City,U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-10-29
Credited as : Actor, The Lord of the Rings,

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Viggo Peter Mortensen, Jr. is a Danish-American actor, poet, musician, photographer and painter. He made his film debut in Peter Weir's 1985 thriller Witness, and subsequently appeared in many notable films of the 1990s, including The Indian Runner (1991), Carlito's Way (1993), Crimson Tide (1995), The Portrait of a Lady (1996), G.I. Jane (1997), A Perfect Murder (1998), and A Walk on the Moon (1999).

Mortensen made his major breakthrough in 2001 with the epic film trilogy The Lord of the Rings. In 2005, Mortensen won critical acclaim for David Cronenberg's crime thriller A History of Violence. Two years later, another Cronenberg film Eastern Promises (2007) earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Other well-received films in recent years have included Appaloosa (2008) and the 2009 film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road.

Aside from acting, his other artistic pursuits include fine arts, photography, poetry, and music. In 2002, he founded the Perceval Press to publish the works of little-known artists and authors. Mortensen is politically active. He campaigned for Dennis Kucinich in the 2008 United States presidential election, and later endorsed Barack Obama for President.

Mortensen's major mainstream breakthrough came in 1999, when Peter Jackson cast him as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. According to the Special Extended Edition DVD of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Mortensen was a last-minute replacement for Stuart Townsend, and would not have taken the part of Aragorn had it not been for his son's enthusiasm for the J. R. R. Tolkien novel. In the The Two Towers DVD extras, the film's swordmaster, Bob Anderson, described Mortensen as "the best swordsman I've ever trained." Mortensen often spent days hiking to the film's remote locations, in costume and carrying his sword, in order to appear authentically travel-worn; he also performed all of his own stunts, and even the injuries he sustained during several of them did not dampen his enthusiasm.
At one point during shooting of The Two Towers, Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, and the stunt double for John Rhys-Davies all had fairly serious injuries, and during a shoot of them, running in the mountains, Peter Jackson jokingly referred to the three as "the walking wounded." Also, according to the Special Extended Edition DVD of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Mortensen purchased the two horses, Uraeus and Kenny, whom he rode and bonded with over the duration of the films.

In 2004, Mortensen starred as Frank Hopkins in Hidalgo, the story of an ex-army courier who travels to Arabia to compete with his horse, Hidalgo, in a dangerous desert race for a contest prize.
In 2005, Mortensen starred in David Cronenberg's A History of Violence. He was nominated for a Satellite Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for this role. In the DVD extras for A History of Violence, David Cronenberg relates that Mortensen is the only actor he'd come across who would come back from weekends with his family with items he had bought to use as props on the set.

In September 2007, the film Eastern Promises, directed by David Cronenberg, was released to critical acclaim for the film itself and for Mortensen's performance as a Russian gangster on the rise in London. His nude fight scene in a steam room was applauded by Roger Ebert: "Years from now, it will be referred to as a benchmark." Mortensen's performance in Eastern Promises resulted in his winning the Best Performance by an Actor in a British Independent Film award from the British Independent Film Awards. He was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.

In 2009, Mortensen appeared as himself in the film Reclaiming The Blade, in which he discussed his passion for the sword and his sword-work in films such as The Lord of the Rings and Alatriste. Mortensen also talked about his work with Bob Anderson, the swordmaster on The Lord of the Rings, Alatriste, Pirates of the Caribbean and many others.
In 2009, Mortensen performed in The People Speak, a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.

In April 2009 Mortensen revealed in an interview that he had, at least temporarily, retired from film acting as the schedule required for promoting a film is too stressful. In 2010 he joined the cast of The Road, a film adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name, and collaborated with David Cronenberg for a third time on A Dangerous Method.

He has recently made a cameo appearance in Dirty Raymond's Neighbor.
With part of his earnings from The Lord of the Rings, Mortensen founded the Perceval Press publishing house — named for the knight from the legend of King Arthur — to help other artists by publishing works that might not find a home in more traditional publishing venues.

Perceval Press is also the home of Viggo's many personal artistic projects in the area of fine arts, photography, poetry, song, and literature.Mortensen is a painter and photographer. His paintings are frequently abstract and often contain fragments of his poetry in them. His paintings have been featured in galleries worldwide, and the paintings of the artist he portrayed in A Perfect Murder are all his own.

Mortensen has a son, Henry Blake Mortensen (born January 28, 1988), with ex-wife Exene Cervenka, singer in the punk band X. Henry and Viggo have done public father/son poetry readings together as recently as April 2006. His son also has a minor uncredited role in the extended version of The Two Towers.

Mortensen holds dual American-Danish citizenship. He speaks fluent English, Danish and Spanish; he is also conversational in French and Italian, and understands Norwegian and Swedish. He has stated that he was raised speaking English and Spanish and at times feels more comfortable expressing himself in Spanish.
On October 13, 2006, Viggo Mortensen was awarded the Gold Medal of the Province and the City of León, Spain.

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