Ronald Walken, known professionally as Christopher Walken, is an American actor who has appeared in more than 100 movies and television shows. Walken was born Ronald Walken in Astoria, Queens. His mother, Rosalie Russell (May 16, 1907 March 26, 2010), was a Scottish immigrant from Glasgow, and his father, Paul Walken (October 5, 1903 February 23, 2001), immigrated from Germany in 1928 with his brothers. His father owned and operated Walken's Bakery in Astoria, Queens.He was raised a Methodist.
Influenced by their mother's own dreams of stardom, he and his brothers, Kenneth and Glenn, were child actors on television in the 1950s. As a teenager, he worked as a lion tamer in a circus. Walken went to Hofstra University but dropped out after one year, having gotten the role of Clayton Dutch Miller on an Off-Broadway revival of Best Foot Forward, co-starring with Liza Minnelli, who played Ethel Hofflinger. Walken initially trained as a dancer in music theatre at the Washington Dance Studio, before moving on to dramatic roles in theatre and then film.