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Did You Know Christopher Walken Was a Child Actor?

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Actor Christopher Walken rose to prominence with his Oscar-nominated performance in 1978’s Deer Hunter, preceding a string of slightly unhinged but highly entertaining roles. Long before that, Walken, then known as “Ronnie,” started his career as a child actor in the 1950s with regular appearances on NBC’s The Colgate Comedy Hour. Growing up in Queens, N.Y., his mother’s Hollywood aspirations were impressed upon him. Here’s Walken discussing his upbringing in a Guardian profile:

“My father was one of nine brothers and sisters. Three were priests, three were nuns, and three were bakers. I could have been a baker, but my [mom] had a thing about show business. She was good looking, a little flamboyant. She would have loved to have been a performer, but she was raising a family. I guess I absorbed her ambition.”

Below, RealClearLife has sifted through the archives, pulling images of young Ronald Walken at work.

Child actor Ronnie Walken, who later found fame as Hollywood star Christopher Walken, enjoying a pillow fight with his brothers and fellow child stars at their home in Bayside, Long Island in 1955. (Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)
Child actor Ronnie Walken, who later found fame as Hollywood star Christopher Walken, enjoying a pillow fight with his brothers and fellow child stars at their home in Bayside, Long Island, in 1955. (Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)
Young clown Ronnie Walken combing his hair in front of a mirror. (Al Barry/Three Lions/Getty Images)
Young clown Ronnie Walken combing his hair in front of a mirror. (Al Barry/Three Lions/Getty Images)
Child actor Ronnie Walken (right) with his brothers and fellow child actors Glenn (left) and Ken in the living room of their home in Bayside, Long Island. (Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)
Child actor Ronnie Walken (right) with his brothers and fellow child actors Glenn (left) and Ken in the living room of their home in Bayside, Long Island. (Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)
Young clown Ronnie Walken, later film star Christopher Walken, looking out onto the street. (Al Barry/Three Lions/Getty Images)
Young clown Ronnie Walken, later film star Christopher Walken, looking out onto the street. (Al Barry/Three Lions/Getty Images)
Child actor Ronnie Walken puts on a show for the local kids at his home in Bayside, Long Island. (Al Barry/Three Lions/Getty Images)
Child actor Ronnie Walken puts on a show for the local kids at his home in Bayside, Long Island. (Al Barry/Three Lions/Getty Images)
Young television stars Glenn (left) and Ronnie Walken, later film star Christopher Walken, roll out dough for pie crusts at their father's bakery. (Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)
Young television stars Glenn (left) and Ronnie Walken, later film star Christopher Walken, roll out dough for pie crusts at their father’s bakery. (Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)
Actor Ronnie Walken at 10 years old in New York City. (Constance Bannister Corp/Getty Images)
Actor Ronnie Walken at 10 years old in New York City. (Constance Bannister Corp/Getty Images)
Child actor Ronnie Walken appearing on the TV program 'Wonderful John Acton'. (Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)
Child actor Ronnie Walken appearing on the TV program ‘Wonderful John Acton’. (Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)