ronnie story large

Christopher Walken: Child Clown

Photos of young "Ronnie" Walken show a child actor destined for the spotlight.

Al Barry/Getty Images

Long before he was an award-winning actor — single-handedly stealing the show in movies, music videos, and sketch comedies — Christopher Walken was stealing the show in his own backyard of Queens, New York.

Born Ronald "Ronnie" Walken on March 31, 1943, Walken was destined for the bright lights before he could even talk. His mother, who had dreams of being a movie star herself, escorted baby Ronnie and his two brothers to auditions in the city, and at just 14 months old, he got his first paid job. The gig? A calendar shoot where he posed in his birthday suit, snuggled between two fluffy kittens. The rest is history...

The middle child of three boys, Walken and his brothers all shared a taste for showbiz. When the youngsters weren&#39;t helping out at their father&#39;s bakery, they would take the train from Queens to Manhattan and hang out around Rockefeller Center, where many of the popular television shows of the time were filmed. Orlando/Getty Images The middle child of three boys, Walken and his brothers all shared a taste for showbiz. When the youngsters weren't helping out at their father's bakery, they would take the train from Queens to Manhattan and hang out around Rockefeller Center, where many of the popular television shows of the time were filmed. Sometimes these trips even ended up in a few gigs. At the age of 10, Walken got the chance to work with comedian Jerry Lewis as an extra in one of his television skits. Constance Bannister Corp/Getty Images Sometimes these trips even ended up in a few gigs. At the age of 10, Walken got the chance to work with comedian Jerry Lewis as an extra in one of his television skits. Ronnie (right) rehearses lines with his brothers Glenn (left) and Ken (middle) in their living room in 1955. Orlando/Getty Images Ronnie (right) rehearses lines with his brothers Glenn (left) and Ken (middle) in their living room in 1955. But when Walken wasn&#39;t hustling his act in the city, he was putting on shows for the local neighborhood kids in Bayside, Queens... Al Barry/Getty Images But when Walken wasn't hustling his act in the city, he was putting on shows for the local neighborhood kids in Bayside, Queens... ...as a clown! Al Barry/Getty Images ...as a clown! Love or hate clowns, these photos don&#39;t lie: Walken is, and always has been, a natural talent who was born to entertain the world. Al Barry/Getty Images Love or hate clowns, these photos don't lie: Walken is, and always has been, a natural talent who was born to entertain the world. An actor who understands the art of subtlety... Al Barry/Getty Images An actor who understands the art of subtlety... ...and an actor who understands when to get a little crazy. Al Barry/Getty Images ...and an actor who understands when to get a little crazy. His magnetizing moves command the attention of any crowd... Al Barry/Getty Images His magnetizing moves command the attention of any crowd... ...and when he smiles, we all smile. Al Barry/Getty Images ...and when he smiles, we all smile. Christopher Walken is so good you even forget you&#39;re looking at a creepy child clown. Al Barry/Getty Images Christopher Walken is so good you even forget you're looking at a creepy child clown. But we definitely prefer him <em>without</em> the clown makeup. Al Barry/Getty Images But we definitely prefer him without the clown makeup.
Sign up for our Newsletter