Movie Stars: Walker, Paul–Industry Mourns Fast and Furious Actor

Rob Cohen, the director of the first “Fast and the Furious” picture, recalled actor Paul Walker as a “down-to-earth personality” who was a perfect fit with his career-making role as an undercover cop in the Universal action franchise.

“His American beauty, his athleticism, the directness of his approach to the character, his effusive, down-to-earth personality brought joy to me and everyone around him,” Cohen said late Saturday following the news of Walker’s death in a car crash at age 40.  “I will miss him all the rest of my days.”

Cohen recalled that the two had worked together on the 2000 crime drama “The Skulls.” They ran into each other in Maui that year over the Christmas holiday just as Cohen was starting work on the script for “Fast and the Furious.” Cohen offered him the part of Brian O’Conner on the spot.

“He committed on the spot and my commitment to him never wavered,” Cohen said. Walker and co-star Vin Diesel “were just the perfect duo for me.”

Among the entertainment figures expressing their sorrow over his death were “Fast & Furious” co-stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Fast & Furious 7″ director James Wan, Walker’s “Flags of Our Fathers” co-star Ryan Philippe, choreographer-producer/director Adam Shankman, Ludacris, Todd Lieberman, who produced the Walker-starring movie “The Lazarus Project,” Tyrese and actor Michael Chiklis.

“Fast & Furious” star Vin Diesel posted a photo of the pair on his #therealvindiesel Instagram account, saying “Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new Angel. Rest in Peace.”