Which Actor Previously Worked At The Circus As a Lion Tamer?

Christopher Walken has spent the majority of his time as an actor charming audiences with his erratic energy and chameleonic skill. The celebrated actor is known for his ability to portray complex characters, many of them are presented as wicked or otherwise offbeat.

The actor from Sleepy Hollow has won over the hearts of adoring fans all over the world with his irresistible charisma and signature Elvis Presley-inspired hairstyle. As a young man, he was able to charm several lions.

Prior to his success in the film industry, Walken held a variety of low-paying jobs to support his family. He has very fond memories of his time spent training lions for a local circus.

Christopher Walken, The Iconic Actor

At the tender age of three, Walken began his career in show business by enrolling in dancing classes. The legendary actor, Ronald Walken, was born in Queens, New York in 1943 and has since become an integral part of Hollywood lore.

The actor from “Seven Psychopaths” and his wife of 52 years, a casting director named Georgianne Walken, have two children together. The two of them encountered each other on a West Side Story theatre tour.

According to his biography, “when performing in a nightclub act he changed his first name from Ronny to Christopher.” After some thought, Walken reflected, “A lady in the act said she wanted me to be called Christopher, and I said, ‘Fine.'” “When I see my name in print, it looks like a freight train,” he lamented, “and I wish I’d picked a shorter name.”

An Unending Run of Success in Show Business

Christopher Walken’s first major film role was in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, released in the 1970s. The Deer Hunter, a riveting classic film from 1978, earned him his only Academy Award nomination and win for Best Supporting Actor.

The Dead Zone and A View to Kill, both written by Stephen King, were two of the many successful films he worked on throughout the ’80s. The audiences in Pennies from Heaven were blown away by his “amazing dance skills,” as noted by IMDb. They discussed how he was able to obtain roles in movies like Joe Dirt and Wayne’s World 2 thanks to “the diversity of his range and even his droll comedic talents.”

Nearly half a century after his acting debut, the Catch Me If You Can star has acted in innumerable films, sharing the screen with Hollywood’s A-list. According to IMDb, Walken’s most recent credits are for 2014’s Jersey Boys and Peter Pan Live, and for 2021’s Severance, a drama series on Apple.

The actor’s prolific career shows no signs of slowing down. In a recent article, USA Today said, “multi-talented actor Christopher Walken is still stunning us at 78!”

It’s True that Walken was Effective as a Lion Tamer.

Walken started his career in the circus when he was just 16 years old. According to an article in Vintage News, the circus was operated by Terrell Jacobs, a professional lion tamer.

Given his inability to procreate, Jacobs created a complex charade in which he falsely claimed that Walken was his son. They put on a display with almost a dozen lions, all of whom wore matching attire.

According to an interview he gave to Vanity Fair, the Pulp Fiction actor used to take the last lion in the act and train it to perform stunts. He identified the lioness as Sheba and rearked how “very nice” she was. It’s like comparing him to a puppy.”

Renowned actor Robin Williams recalled with fondness how Sheba would “rush and sit up and roll over and do stuff” as he waved his whip.

The award-winning actor responded, “I was sort of a jack-of-all-trades in show business for a long time,” when asked if he knew he wanted to act as a career after playing the lion tamer’s kid nightly.