Childhood & Early Life
Eamonn Walker was born in London on June 12, 1962, to a Trinidadian mother and a Grenadian father, in Islington, London. He spent the first nine years of his life in London and developed immense affection for the art of dancing.
Subsequently, he moved to Trinidad for six months with his parents. He finished his school from ‘Hungerford School’ in London, and started learning dance as he entered teenage. He desperately wanted to make a career in dance and trained very hard for that to happen.
As for other extracurricular activities, the close relationship between acting and dance on stage compelled him to give acting a try in the school theatrical productions. Once he graduated from high school, he started studying social work at the ‘University of North London.’ Keen on becoming a professional dancer, he joined the ‘Explosive Dance Theatre Company,’ where he learned the finer nuances of acting and dance.
However, his luck was not on his side, and he injured his leg during a performance and had to undergo an operation. He was told that he would never be able to dance again, which broke him emotionally. He tried to pursue a career in social studies but ultimately decided on taking up acting as a profession.
He moved to the United States and enrolled at the ‘New York Film Academy,’ where he learned filmmaking and screenwriting. At the academy, he studied under the mentorship of acclaimed screenwriter Lynda La Plante and actor Robert David MacDonald. Soon after he graduated, he moved back to London and started working in theater productions.
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Walker made his professional acting debut on stage in 1983, when he played a punk rocker in the musical ‘Labelled with Love.’ For the next two years, he appeared in a few more theatrical productions, before finally making his TV debut in 1985, with the series ‘Dempsey and Makepeace.’ He had a small role in the series.
He also appeared in the children’s series ‘Dramarama.’ He received immense recognition as a gay man in the ‘BBC One’ series ‘In Sickness and in Health.’ This was followed by smaller roles in the series ‘The Bill,’ ‘Tales of the Unexpected,’ and ‘Bulman.’ The 80s did not yield enough success for the talented actor, but the 90s were a different story.
He made his film debut with the 1991 film ‘Young Soul Rebels,’ which featured the different cultural movements prevalent in the English society at that time. In 1992, he appeared in major roles in the series ‘The Old Boy Network’ and ‘Love Hurts,’ both of which received significant critical acclaim.
During the mid-90s, he exhibited his comic timing in his appearances on comedy shows such as ‘Goodnight Sweetheart,’ ‘Birds of a Feather,’ and ‘One Foot in the Grave.’
In the mid-90s, he moved to Los Angeles to start a career in Hollywood, and in 1997, he made his American TV debut, with the series ‘Supply & Demand.’
The same year, he was seen playing the role of ‘Kareem Said’ in the American TV drama ‘Oz.’
Walker’s role in the series was that of a new prisoner and a devout Muslim. He worked hard and researched extensively for his role. In 1999, he won a ‘Satellite Award’ for the ‘Best Actor in a TV Drama Series’ for his performance in ‘Oz.’
The huge critical acclaim that he received for the series turned him into an overnight star. In 2000, he played major roles in two big-budget Hollywood films. The first one was a crime drama, ‘Once in the Life,’ directed by Laurence Fishburne. The second one was the M. Night Shyamalan-directed ‘Unbreakable,’ starring Bruce Willis. Both the films were commercially successful and received immense critical acclaim.
In 2001, he returned to British TV, with the epic drama ‘Othello,’ in which he played one of the lead characters, ‘John Othello.’ His stellar performance won him the award for the ‘Best Male Performance in Television’ at the first ever ‘Black Film Makers Film and Television Award.’
After the success of ‘Unbreakable,’ he teamed up with Bruce Willis again, for the film ‘Tears of the Sun,’ in 2003. He also made an appearance as a guest in the series ‘The Jury.’ In 2004, he appeared in a one-episode role in the British crime drama ‘Rose and Maloney.’
His stint with major Hollywood films continued in 2005, with his performances in the films ‘Duma’ and ‘Lord of War.’ In 2006, he played a minor role in the medical drama ‘ER’ and followed it up with a guest appearance in the legal drama ‘Justice.’
In the next few years, he played major roles in three big films, ‘The Messenger,’ ‘Cadillac Records,’ and ‘Blood and Bone.’ While he did not always taste success, his performances were mostly well-received. He also played an episode-long role as a US Presidential candidate in the series ‘Bonekickers.’
In 2010, he played one of the main roles in the Idris Elba-starrer psychological thriller ‘Legacy.’ The same year, he appeared in two more films, namely, ‘The Company Men’ and ‘A Lonely Place to Die.’ Soon, he started concentrating more on television roles.
Following his success with the series ‘The Whole Truth’ and ‘Lights Out,’ he starred in the series ‘Chicago Fire,’ in 2012, as one of the leading characters, ‘Chief Wallace Bodden.’ The series became a critical and commercial success. However, there have been recent rumors about Walker wanting to quit the series, but there has been no confirmation about the same.
With time, Walker became significantly choosy about his roles. He currently features in the stage production of ‘Between Riverside and Crazy’ by the ‘Steppenwolf Theatre Company.’