Viggo Mortensen Biography

Viggo Mortensen is a Danish-American actor, producer, and musician. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, family life, achievements and fun facts about him.

Quick Facts

Birthday: October 20, 1958

Nationality: American

Famous: Actors American Men

Sun Sign: Libra

Age: 60 Years, 60 Year Old Males

Also Known As: Viggo Peter Mortensen

Born in: Manhattan, New York City

Famous as: Actor

Height: 1.80 m

Spouse/Ex-: Ariadna Gil (2009–present), Exene Cervenka (m. 1987; div. 1998)

father: Viggo Peter Mortensen

mother: Grace Gamble Atkinson

City, States, Provinces & Districts: New Yorkers

Net worth: $30 million

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Viggo Peter Mortensen is a Danish-American actor, producer, and musician. Following his first film appearance in Peter Weir's 1985 thriller ‘Witness’, he has appeared in many other well-known films including ‘The Indian Runner’, ‘Carlito's Way’, ‘Crimson Tide’, ‘Daylight’, and ‘28 Days.’ He received international attention with his role as Aragorn in the epic film trilogy ‘The Lord of the Rings’. His performances in ‘Eastern Promises’ earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor, and ‘A Dangerous Method’ resulted in a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also received a Best Actor nomination at the 89th Academy Awards for his performance in ‘Captain Fantastic’. Also an author and poet, Viggo has various books of poetry, photography, and painting to his name. He founded the Perceval Press publishing house to help publish the works of little known artists and authors. He is a renowned painter and photographer as well. His paintings, which are mainly abstract, and often contain fragments of his poetry, have been featured in galleries worldwide. As a musician, he has experimented by mixing his poetry and music in a new art form. He has been granted an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, St. Lawrence University.

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Viggo Mortensen
Childhood & Early Life
  • Viggo Peter Mortensen was born on October 20, 1958, in New York City to American mother Grace Gamble and Danish father Viggo Peter Mortensen Sr. While his maternal grandfather was a Canadian, his maternal grandmother was from New England.
  • His family moved a lot, frequently shifting to different countries. He attended primary school in Buenos Aires where his father managed poultry farms and ranches. His parents divorced when he was 11, and his mother returned to New York with him.
  • He graduated from Watertown High School in 1976. He attended St. Lawrence University in Canton, and earned a bachelor's degree in Spanish Studies and Politics in 1980.
  • After graduating, he lived in England and Spain for some time before moving to Denmark, where he did various jobs like driving trucks and selling flowers. He eventually returned to the US to pursue an acting career.
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Career
  • Viggo Mortensen made his film debut in ‘The Purple Rose of Cairo’, but unfortunately his scenes were deleted. In 1985, he made his appearance in Peter Weir's ‘Witness’ as an Amish farmer. In the same year, he was featured in ‘Search for Tomorrow’, an American television soap opera, in the role of Bragg.
  • In 1987, he acted in the Martin Sherman play ‘Bent’, which was about homosexual concentration camp prisoners. In the same year, he guest starred as a police detective on the series ‘Miami Vice’.
  • In the 1990s, he appeared in supporting roles in a number of films like Jane Campion's ‘The Portrait of a Lady’, ‘Young Guns II’, ‘Prison’, ‘Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III’, ‘The Indian Runner’, ‘The Young Americans’, ‘The Crew’, and others. His supporting role as ‘Master Chief John Urgayle’ in ‘G.I. Jane’ was significant.
  • The major breakthrough in his career came in 1999, when Peter Jackson cast him as Aragorn in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ film trilogy. He often performed his own stunts, and was even injured several times.
  • Viggo Mortensen composed the music for, and was featured on ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’ soundtrack, singing ‘Aragorn's Coronation’. In the extended DVD edition of the Lord of the Rings movie, ‘The Fellowship of the Ring,’ he sang the song ‘The Lay of Beren and Lúthien’.
  • In 2002, utilizing some of his earnings from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ films, he, along with his partner Pilar Perez established the Perceval Press publishing house to help publish the works of little-known artists.
  • In 2004, Viggo Mortensen was cast as Frank Hopkins in ‘Hidalgo’, which told the story of an ex-army courier who competes with his horse, Hidalgo, in a desert race for a contest prize.
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  • He was featured in David Cronenberg's movie ‘A History of Violence’, an American crime thriller film, written by Josh Olson in 2005. It was an adaptation of the 1997 novel of the same name.
  • In 2006, he appeared in the Spanish film ‘Alatriste’, as Captain Diego Alatriste. The film was based on the series of novels ‘The Adventures of Captain Alatriste’. In 2007, he starred as a Russian gangster on the rise in London in the film ‘Eastern Promises,’ directed by David Cronenberg.
  • In 2009, he appeared as himself in ‘Reclaiming the Blade’, a documentary written and directed by Daniel McNicoll, in which Viggo Mortensen talked about his passion for the sword and his sword-work in films like ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Alatriste’. In the same year, he starred in ‘The People Speak’, a documentary feature.
  • He then starred in ‘The Road’, a film adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name. In 2011, he was featured in ‘A Dangerous Method’, a German-Canadian-American-British historical film directed by David Cronenberg.
  • A highly creative individual, he experimented by mixing his poetry and music into a new art form. He collaborated with guitarist Buckethead on a number of albums, released on his own label Perceval Press or TDRS Music.
  • He is also an author, and has published many books of poetry, photography, and painting. These include ‘Ten Last Night’ (1993), his first collection of poetry, ‘Linger (2005), ‘I Forget You For Ever’ (2006), ‘Skovbo’ (2008), a collection of photographs and poems, and ‘Canciones de Invierno–Winter Songs’ (2010), a collection of photographs and poems.
  • Mortensen is a painter and photographer as well. His paintings are often abstract and contain fragments of his poetry in them. His paintings have been featured in many galleries worldwide.
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Major Works
  • Viggo Mortensen earned critical acclaim for his portrayal of Aragorn in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movie series; his character was ranked No. 15 on a survey of ‘The 100 Greatest Movie Characters' conducted by Empire in 2015.
  • In 2005, he received critical acclaim for his performance in ‘A History of Violence’. In 2007, he was again praised for his role in ‘Eastern Promises’; his nude fight scene was applauded as a “benchmark”.
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Awards & Achievements
  • In 1987, Viggo Mortensen’s performance in the play ‘Bent’ won him a Dramalogue Critics' Award.
  • In 2005, he was nominated for a Satellite Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for his role in ‘A History of Violence’.
  • In 2006, he was granted an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, St. Lawrence University. On October 13, 2006, he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Province and the City of León, Spain.
  • In 2007, his role in the movie ‘Eastern Promises’ earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. He also won the Best Performance by an Actor in a British Independent Film award from the British Independent Film Awards.
  • He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog on April 16, 2010.
  • In 2011, his role in ‘A Dangerous Method’ resulted in a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor—Motion Picture.
  • He earned a Best Actor nomination at the 89th Academy Awards for his performance in ‘Captain Fantastic’ in 2017.
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Personal Life
  • Viggo Mortensen married actress and singer Exene Cervenka on July 8, 1987. On January 28, 1988, their son Henry Blake was born. The couple separated in 1992, and divorced in 1997. Since 2009, Viggo has been in a relationship with Spanish actress Ariadna Gil.
  • He is a fan of soccer, and his favorite players are Argentine player Diego Maradona and Héctor Bambino Veira. Besides Argentine and Danish national teams, he supports Argentine club San Lorenzo de Almagro, English team Fulham FC, and Turkish team Besiktas. Hockey is his next favorite sport, and he supports the Montreal Canadiens, New York Mets, and the New York Giants.
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1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

  (Drama, Fantasy, Adventure)

2. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

  (Drama, Fantasy, Adventure)

3. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

  (Adventure, Action, Drama, Fantasy)

4. Carlito's Way (1993)

  (Drama, Crime, Thriller)

5. Captain Fantastic (2016)

  (Drama, Comedy)

6. Eastern Promises (2007)

  (Mystery, Thriller, Drama, Crime)

7. A History of Violence (2005)

  (Crime, Thriller, Drama)

8. Witness (1985)

  (Crime, Romance, Drama, Thriller)

See the events in life of Viggo Mortensen in Chronological Order

Pictures of Viggo Mortensen

How To Cite

Article Title
- Viggo Mortensen Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/viggo-mortensen-34500.php
Last Updated
- October 27, 2017

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Viggo Mortensen