Christopher Walken

by ethnic on June 1, 2010

Birth Name: Ronald Paul Walken

Place of Birth: Astoria, Queens, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: March 31, 1943

Ethnicity:
*German (father)
*Scottish, small amount of Irish (mother)

Christopher Walken is an American actor. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for The Deer Hunter (1978).

He was born in Queens, to immigrant parents. His father, Paul Wälken, was German, from Horst Ander Emscher, Westfalen. His mother, Rosalie (Russell), was Scottish, from Glasgow. She also had a small amount of Irish ancestry.

Christopher is married to casting director Georgianne Walken (born Georgianne Leigh Thon).

Christopher’s maternal grandfather was Joseph Egen (the son of Matthew Egen and Alice Chambers). Christopher did not know the identity of his biological maternal grandfather, Joseph, until he appeared on the show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2017).

Christopher’s maternal grandmother was Mary/Molly Russell (the daughter of William Charles Russell and Mary MacFarlane Burgess). William was born in Ireland, the son of John Russell, who was Scottish, and of Catherine Sullivan, who was Irish. Christopher’s great-grandmother Mary MacFarlane Burgess was the daughter of John Grant Burgess and Ann/Anne MacFarlane.

While he is not of Italian descent, Walken has played many film characters of Italian heritage, including in the films True Romance (Vincenzo Coccotti), A Business Affair (Vanni Corso), Suicide Kings (Carlo Bartolucci), Illuminata (Umberto Bevalaqua), Joe Dirt (Anthony Benedetti), The Affair of the Necklace (Alessandro Cagliostro), Catch Me If You Can (Frank Abagnale Sr.), Kangaroo Jack (Salvatore Maggio), The Sentinel (Det. Rizzo), and Jersey Boys (Gyp DeCarlo).

image via Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

pookerella June 25, 2013 at 11:52 pm

Christopher Walken’s Dad was Jewish, but he converted to marry his Mom.

follers June 26, 2013 at 12:29 am

What’s your proof of that? His father, Paul Walken, moved to the States in 1928, before any major waves of immigration by Jews from Germany because of the Nazis (the Nazis came to power in 1933).
https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KXG4-FRB

bearboy October 17, 2017 at 2:08 pm

I don’t know if there is Jewish ancestry on Christopher’s fathers side of the family but I think I found his paternal grandparents. Paul Walken (1903-2001) (Christopher’s father) was the son of Wilhelm Walken (1867-1924) and Emlli Elmenhorst (1875-1924). Wilhelm Walken was the son of Anton Walken and Bernhardine Pobmann. Source is ancestry.com family trees but I could easily have found tree’s of people who made mistakes copying off each other.

ashash October 17, 2017 at 5:55 pm

We will find out if he is Jewish when he is on Finding Your Roots.

bearboy October 17, 2017 at 6:50 pm

His episode already aired and they didn’t show his DNA results along with the other two guests.

bearboy October 17, 2017 at 6:55 pm

To add to that, even if Christopher Walken is half-Jewish they might not mention that either since they seemed to ignore Bill Maher 50% Ashkenazi ancestry.

ashash October 17, 2017 at 7:02 pm

Apparently, it turns out one of his relatives was a Nazi. So I don’t think he has any recent Jewish ancestry.

bearboy October 17, 2017 at 7:04 pm

I agree with you, I don’t think he has Jewish ancestry either. My point was Finding Your Roots sometimes strangely have guest with a large amount of ancestry from an ethnic group and choose to ignore it throughout the whole episode.

bablah October 18, 2017 at 4:24 am

They always focus on one branch of the family that fits the theme of the episode. Same goes for “Who do you think you are?”.
I’m sure these celebs are told their entire ancestry, but not everything gets aired.

follers October 18, 2017 at 6:26 am

You mean Bill Maher, Harry Connick, Jr., Patricia Arquette, and Carly Simon. They also didn’t mention that Fred Armisen’s mother is Venezuelan. It’s just bizarre. Unlike Who Do You Think You Are?, Finding Your Roots usually takes a more comprehensive view.

I have no way to confirm that those are Walken’s grandparents, at least at the moment.

bearboy October 18, 2017 at 7:23 am

Yes, Bill Maher was the only example that came to my head earlier. But even though they might not mention all of his ancestry I still agree with @ashash that he most likely has no recent Jewish ancestry.

bearboy October 18, 2017 at 7:26 am

I don’t think Christopher Walken has no recent Jewish ancestry I meant to say not Bill Maher who obviously does.

bearboy October 18, 2017 at 7:27 am

“any Jewish ancestry” my last comment was accidentally a double negative statement.

fuzzybear44 May 28, 2013 at 2:07 am

had no idea, he wasn’t Italian.Very good actor(great as Gabriel in The Prophecy)

andrew May 10, 2016 at 4:23 pm

He played many Italian roles in his career:

True Romance (Vincenzo Coccotti), The Sentinel (Det. Rizzo),The Affair of the Necklace (Alessandro Cagliostro), Catch Me If You Can (Frank Abagnale Sr.), Kangaroo Jack (Salvatore Maggio), Jersey Boys (Gyp DeCarlo), A Business Affair (Vanni Corso), Suicide Kings (Carlo Bartolucci), Illuminata (Umberto Bevalaqua), Joe Dirt (Anthony Benedetti)

source: IMDb.com

fuzzybear44 May 10, 2016 at 11:32 pm

@ Andrew

Exactly the reason why I thought he was Italian. However Andy Garcia Plays Italian a lot also , and he’s not either

ethnic May 11, 2016 at 2:12 am

Interesting. I have added that info to the profile.

Jane Wood November 25, 2011 at 8:03 am

Christopher Walken…a very gifted actor…a commanding presence on screen. The saying goes..”beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and I for one think he is beautiful, his captivating eyes, boyish grin and the way he moves so gracefully, I’m glad he’s here.

Melissa S May 10, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I knew it! I knew it! I’m exactly the same and only those bloodlines combined can make a forehead like a flattened helmet. I see it in my family and in the mirror.

Anonymous March 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Who are they trying to fool when they cast him as an Italian/Sicilian-American? That’s like having Brad Pitt play a Greek!

COOLGUY2012 September 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I could agree in some way that Brad Pitt could not look like an average greek (although there are blonde greeks and that is because they are europeans and mixed with other european groups) and in some way too with christopher walken not looking like a sicilian american. But lets not forget, not all italians that went to USA came from southern italy, but there were some northern italians settled in america (real italians) and swiss and austrian people has resemblance with them.

total23 June 2, 2010 at 12:56 pm

he is also the father or angelina jolie!

anna June 2, 2010 at 2:05 pm

no,it’s jon voight!!!
great actor!

total23 June 2, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Thanks For Correcting Me.

TheKing April 24, 2011 at 1:51 pm

shut up total23

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