Danish American theater and film actor Viggo Mortensen is also a poet, musician, photographer and painter. He was born on October 20, 1958 in New York City, to an American mother and a Danish father. After moving around frequently as a child due to his parents’ separation, he eventually settled in the United States. He graduated from Watertown High School and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish at the St. Lawrence University in New York. He studied acting while there, under the tutelage of Warren Robertson. Mortensen appeared in a number of stage plays, and earned a Drama-logue Critic's Award for his performance in the Coast Playhouse production of Bent.
Viggo Mortensen made his first appearance in movies playing an Amish farmer in Peter Weir’s Witness. In 1985, he was given a role in Search for Tomorrow. He starred in various films, getting minor roles in 1990 thriller Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Boiling Point and Ruby Cairo. He was also cast in Jane Campion’s The Portrait of a Lady, as well as being in Sean Penn’s The Indian Runner and Brian DePalma’s Carlito’s Way. Mortensen was also given roles in two Philip Ridley films, The Reflecting Skin and The Passion of Darkly Noon. In 1998, he was cast in the Gus Van Sant remake of Psycho. He became well-known playing Master Chief John Urgayle in Ridley Scott’s G.I. Jane.
Mortensen’s breakthrough role was playing Aragorn in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. He performed his own stunts in the films, released in 2001, 2002 and 2003. His next film was 2004’s Western drama Hidalgo. He was then cast in the 2005 David Cronenberg film, A History of Violence. Mortensen was nominated a Satellite Award for Best Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture. His next role was that of Captain Diego Alatriste in Alatriste, the most expensive Spanish film ever made. He reunited with Cronenberg in 2007’s Eastern Promises, which was released to critical acclaim. His performance resulted in him winning the Best Performance by an Actor in a British Independent Film award from the British Independent Film Awards, as well as an Academy Award for Best Actor nomination.
Viggo Peter Mortensen, Jr.
-Viggo Mortensen is dedicated to helping the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign to stop American Wild horses being slaughtered for food, and to free up grazing land for cattle.
-After the filming of Hidalgo Viggo Mortensen bought one of the horses who starred in the movie as Hidalgo; Viggo felt so close to the horse that he just had to own it.
-Viggo is trilingual. He speaks English, Danish, and Spanish. He also knows French, Italian, Swedish and Norwegian to a lesser degree.
-The women that Viggo finds most irresistible and sexy are those who are able to form their own opinions, who know who they are and who are independent.
-Any ordeal that you can survive as a human being is an improvement in your character, and usually an improvement in your life.
-There's no excuse to be bored. Sad, yes. Angry, yes. Depressed, yes. Crazy, yes. But there's no excuse for boredom, ever.
-I prefer the smaller acting than big histrionics. It's about reacting and looks, which is often underestimated.
-Whatever you are - a Republican, Democrat, Communist or a Fascist - it's all about getting rid of George Bush, because he is a deadly, dangerous fool.
-If you're trying to please everyone, then you're not going to make anything that is honestly yours, I don't think, in the long run.