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Viggo Mortensen Biography

Viggo Mortensen at the Los Angeles premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
Courtesy of New Line
Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn/Strider in The Lord of the Rings.
Courtesy of New Line
Birthdate: October 20, 1958

Viggo Mortensen Gets His Start

Viggo Mortensen has always been involved in the arts. Although Viggo only began studying acting in his early twenties, Mortensen was already an accomplished photographer and an up-and-coming poet and painter. After travelling to, and living in, places like Venezelua and Denmark, Viggo Mortensen decided to go back to his hometown of New York City and take acting lessons.

Viggo Mortensen's Big Break:

Viggo Mortensen landed the role of an Amish farmer in the oscar-winning flick Witness in 1985, but did not snag any other mainstream movie roles for almost a decade. Finally, in the 1990s, Viggo Mortensen began to score some major roles in movies like Carlito's Way, G.I. Jane and A Perfect Murder with Gwyneth Paltrow.

Viggo Mortensen's Breakthrough Role

Unless you live under a rock, you know that Viggo Mortensen's biggest role is playing Aragorn, Future King of Gondor, in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Viggo Mortensen almost didn't take the role because it meant he would be away from his son for over a year (while filming in New Zealand.) Also, the role of Aragorn had already started filming with another actor, Stuart Townsend, and Viggo Mortensen did not like the idea of taking over the role from someone else. Luckily, his son told him he had to take it and Viggo Mortensen listened. The title of the third installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Return of the King, refers to Aragorn's return to Gondor.

Viggo Mortensen - Did U Know?

  • Viggo Mortensen is divorced from the lead singer of the punk band X, Exene Cervenka, and they have a son together.
  • Viggo Mortensen spends every Halloween with his son, Henry. He even makes sure all his movie contracts have a clause that says he doesn't have to film on Halloween.
  • Viggo Mortensen has released three Jazz CDs and several books of poetry including, Ten Last Night and Recent Forgeries.
  • Viggo Mortensen and Orlando Bloom used to jokingly pick on each other during the filming. Viggo Mortensen would make fun of how "pretty" Orlando looked as Legolas, the Elf, and Orlando Bloom would make fun of how "dirty" Viggo Mortensen always looked as Aragorn.

    Viggo Mortensen Says...
    "I guess, in the end, I [took the role of Aragorn] because (if I hadn't) I would feel like I had been chicken. I had to leave the next day, so I'm on a plane reading, looking at this gigantic book, and thinking, what the heck have I done?"

    Related Stories:

  • Quiz! Name that Movie Star Hottie
  • Viggo Mortensen's Co-Star - Liv Tyler
  • Viggo Mortensen's Co-Star - Elijah Wood Biography
  • Quiz! Which Lord of the Rings Hero Are You?
  • More Bios on The LOTR Cast as well as other Actors and Musicians
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