Remembering Paul Walker on His Birthday: The Actor's Legacy, 3 Years After His Tragic Death
Paul Walker would have celebrated his 43rd birthday on Monday
Paul Walker would have celebrated his 43rd birthday on Monday, and while gone, his presence is still felt in Hollywood and beyond.
Walker was killed in November 2013 after a car the 40-year-old was a passenger in crashed and burst into flames in Santa Clarita, California.
In the years since, Walker’s daughter, Meadow, and many of his costars and friends have helped his legacy live on through charities and film.
The Paul Walker Foundation
Established in 2015, The Paul Walker Foundation honors the star’s passion for marine life and science.
The organization is devoted to helping students and researchers pursue marine science education and work toward developments in the field.
Through grants and scholarships, the organization has created more opportunities to continue honoring Walker’s passion for protecting our oceans.
“It’s an honor to receive the Paul Walker Ocean Leadership Award,” Grenier said in June. “I share Paul’s inquisitiveness for the mystery of the ocean and the great potential it holds for new discoveries that will enrich the lives and inspire the curiosities of the next several generations.”
The Fast & Furious Franchise
Walker’s best-known role was that of Brian O’Connor in the popular Fast & Furious series. The franchise’s seventh installment was unfinished when Walker died, so his younger brother Cody Walker stepped up, serving as a stand-in for certain scenes.
The elder Walker’s absence, though, was resonated deeply. While accepting the film’s two 2016 People’s Choice awards, costar Vin Diesel choked up, singing a brief but heartfelt rendition of “See You Again” in Walker’s honor.
The song, written by Wiz Khalifa and featuring Charlie Puth, was commissioned for the soundtrack of 2015’s Furious 7 as a tribute to Walker. It spent 12 non-consecutive weeks atop the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, tying Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and the Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow” for the longest-running No. 1 rap single in the country, according to Billboard. The accompanying music video, which includes footage from Furious 7, has received over 2.02 billion views to date, making it YouTube’s second most-viewed video of all time, behind Psy’s “Gangnam Style.”
“I know you’re in heaven smiling and rooting for us all,” Gibson added.
Michelle Rodriguez also struggled with her emotions after Walker’s death, saying of her late friend in the documentary The Reality of Truth, “When I lost Paul, I went through a year of just being like an animal, like, what could I do, physically, to just get my mind off of existentialism?”
As the stars film Furious 8, Walker’s role in the series continues to be honored.
Scott Eastwood, the newest member of the cast, wrote on Instagram in April, “Paul was a close friend of mine. We surfed together, traveled together, and he was a huge role model and influencing figure in my life when I was younger. He still is. He was an older brother to me. For me to be able to add to the F&F story, Paul’s story, and the FAST family is like a dream come true.”
Additionally, Diesel shared on social media, “Many of the crew members who have worked on several of the past Fast films are here again to help us make something special.”
He continued, “One of them at the end of the week came up to me and said wow what we are capturing on film is excellent … And then looked at me and said Paul would be proud.”
Meadow, whose mother is Walker’s ex Rebecca Soteros, was only 15 at the time of her father’s death.
In addition to helping run the Paul Walker Foundation, the teen is also involved in a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the vehicle that Walker was riding, along with driver Roger Rodas, when both were killed.
The wrongful death lawsuit, filed against Porsche in 2015, alleged that Walker would still be alive if the company had installed proper safety features in the car.
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Specifically, Meadow’s lawyers assert that despite Porsche “knowing that the Carrera GT had a history of instability and control issues,” the company “failed to install its electronic stability control system,” which they say is “specifically designed to protect against the swerving actions inherent in hyper-sensitive vehicles of this type.”
Meadow was also awarded $10.1 million dollars after a settlement with Rodas’ estate this past April, reportedly to be paid into a trust.
Her lawyer Jeffrey Milam said in a statement, “Through his estate, Mr. Rodas, the driver of the car, took partial responsibility for the crash.”