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Viggo Mortensen

Full Name: Viggo Peter Mortensen
Nickname: Vig
Height: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
DOB: October 20, 1958

Viggo is the eldest son of Grace and Viggo P. Mortensen. His father, who farmed in Denmark, met his mother, a New Yorker, in Norway. They wed and moved to New York where Viggo Jr. was born, before moving to South America where Viggo Sr. managed chicken farms and ranches in Venezuela and Argentina. Two more sons were born, Charles and Walter, before the marriage grew increasingly unhappy. When Viggo was seven, his parents sent him to a a strict boarding school, isolated in the foothills of the mountains of Argentina. Then, at age eleven, his parents divorced. His mother moved herself and the children back to her homestate of New York. Viggo attended Watertown High School and became a very good student and athlete. He graduated in 1976 and went on to St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. After graduation, he moved to Denmark - driven by the need for a defining purpose in life. He began writing poetry and short stories while working many odd jobs, from dock worker to flower seller. But in 1982 he fell in love and followed his girlfriend back to New York City, hoping for a long romance and a writing career. He got neither. In New York, Viggo found work waiting tables and bartending and began taking acting classes. Three years later, he made his film debut with a small part in Witness. Moving to Los Angeles in 1987, he appeared in Salvation! and married his co-star, Exene Cervenka. The two had a son, Henry. But after ten years of marriage, the couple divorced. In 1999, Viggo got a phone call about a movie he didn't know anything about: The Lord of the Rings. At first he didn't want to do it, because it would mean time away from his son. But Henry, a big fan of the books, told his father he shouldn't turn down the role. Viggo accepted the part and immediately began work on the project, which was already underway. Eventually, the success of Lord of the Rings made him a household name - a difficult consequence for the ever private and introspective Viggo.

Trivia Facts

He is the ex-husband of Exene Cervenka, the singer of the punk band X.
Had a book of poetry printed before he was known. The title: "Ten Last Night."
Speaks fluent English, Spanish and Danish.
Father of Henry Mortensen.
He actually painted the large murals in his artist's studio in the film Perfect Murder, A (1998).
Lived in South America from age 2 to age 11.
Is a photographer.
Has been photographing for years, recently debuted with an exhibition at the Robert Mann Gallery in NYC. - American Photo, July/August 2000
Writes poetry in his spare time.
Is also a jazz musician - he has released three CDs so far.
Worked as a truck driver while living in Denmark.
Broke a tooth while filming a fight sequence for "The Two Towers".
Replaced Stuart Townsend in the role of Aragorn/Strider in The Lord of the Rings, after filming began.
Got so into his character of Aragorn that 'The Lord Of The Rings' director Peter Jackson once addressed him as Aragorn for over half an hour, and Viggo didn't even realise it.
Was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People Magazine in 2002.
He has two younger brothers.
Graduated from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York in 1980 with a degree in Government and Spanish.
An accomplished horseman in his spare time, Mortensen requested that his Lord of the Rings character Aragorn be given more saddle-time than was originally scripted. He also kept his on-screen horse nearby during the entire principal photography schedule in order to ride in his off-hours and strengthen his relationship with the horse.
As Viggo lived in Argentina as a child, he is a fan of Argentine soccer team San Lorenzo.
Broke two toes during the filming of The Two Towers, in the scene where he kicks an orc helmet.
Owner of publishing company Perceval Press.
He is a New York Mets fan.
Visits Denmark at least 3 times a year. In 2003 he had a booksigning, an art exhibition opening and The Lord of The Rings premiere.
Worked as a trucker during his time in Denmark.
He's a Danish citizen.
In 1998, he was in two Alfred Hitchcock remakes. The "Dial M For Murder" remake, "A Perfect Murder", and "Psycho".
Purchased the horses he rode in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "Hildago" after the films were completed.
It is well-known that his father is Danish and his mother American, but also his grandmother was from Trondheim, Norway.
Worked as a translator for the Swedish hockey team during the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid and was at the 'miracle' game between the Soviet Union and United States.
While filming The Lord of The Rings Trilogy in New Zealand, he would go surfing with the other actors in their spare time. One day, he suffered an accident wich left a bruise in the right side of his face. As a result, director Peter Jackson had to shoot only the left side of his face in the entire Moria sequence.
Dated Lola Schnabel (23), daughter of painter and film director Julian Schnabel, for nearly two years. Broke up in 2003.
Was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in June 2004.
Ranked #10 on VH1's Hottest Hotties


Since his screen debut as a young Amish Farmer in Peter Weir's Witness (1985), Viggo Mortensen's career has been marked by a steady string of well-rounded performances. Critics have continually recognized his work in over thirty movies, including such diverse projects as Jane Campion's Portrait of a Lady, The (1996), Sean Penn's Indian Runner, The (1991), Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way (1993), Ridley Scott's G.I. Jane (1997), Tony Scott's Crimson Tide (1995), Andrew Davis's Perfect Murder, A (1998), Ray Loriga's Pistola de mi hermano, La (1997), and Tony Goldwyn's Walk on the Moon, A (1999).

Personal Quotes

On the role of an actor in film: "It comes down to the fact that you supply the blue, and they supply the other colors and mix them with your blue, and maybe there's some blue left in the painting and maybe there isn't. Maybe there wasn't supposed to be any there in the first place. So have some fun and make a good blue and walk away."

"I don't plan [my career]; I wait and hope the right thing will find me."

"Photography, painting or poetry those are just extensions of me, how I perceive things, they are my way of communicating"

"I'm the one who said yes to these movies, and now I'm having to pay the price for it. I mean if I had my druthers, I wouldn't do any movies anymore, frankly."

"I was on my way out of a Sunday rehearsal. When I was walking out of the gym, all sort of sweaty, half in street clothes and half in Aragorn's clothes, waiving the sword around, trying to keep a mental picture of what we've just done. Just walking down the street, down to where my car was parked, on a Sunday afternoon, waiving the sword around, looking like some desperate Rasputin character. Cops car comes: there's been some report..."