On November 30, 2013, film fans across the world were left shocked by some incredibly sad news. Following his attendance at a charity event in California, Paul Walker was tragically killed in a car accident. And now, some five years after the crash, his daughter has reached a significant milestone.
Born in September 1973 Walker made his small-screen debut at a young age, appearing in three episodes of the 1985 TV show Highway to Heaven. The following year, he earned his first movie role in the horror comedy Monster in the Closet, before being cast in a sitcom called Throb.
Walker featured in over 20 episodes of Throb before leaving the show in 1987. After that, the actor made a few more TV appearances, including a stint on the soap opera The Young and the Restless in 1992. However, some six years later, he slowly started to break into the big time.
Walker was cast as one of the leads in Meet the Deedles, a family comedy made by Disney Studios. Unfortunately for him, the movie was a major bomb, earning just over $4 million on an estimated budget of $24 million. Despite this disappointment, however, the actor went on to star in a number of other films in the late 1990s.
Indeed, following an appearance in 1998’s Pleasantville, Walker earned lead roles in movies such as Varsity Blues, She’s All That and The Skulls. However, his life changed forever in 2001 as he starred alongside Vin Diesel in the action thriller The Fast and the Furious. That film went on to spawn a hugely popular franchise, with each installment raising the spectacle.
As a result, Walker became an action star, featuring in a number of other movies in the genre. Despite all that work though, the actor was still known best for his role in the Fast & Furious franchise, appearing in four sequels to the original film. In 2013 he was working on his fifth sequel, titled Fast & Furious 7.
However, everything changed on November 30 that year. Walker was visiting an event hosted by his charity Reach Out Worldwide, which was established back in 2010. Launched in the aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, the charity was holding a gathering for those who were affected by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
At the end of the event, Walker allegedly jumped into his friend’s Porsche, sitting in the passenger seat. From there, the car drove off, but some time later the driver lost control of the vehicle. At that point, they lurched off the road and hit a tree, which caused the Porsche to catch fire.
Tragically, both Walker and his friend Roger Rodas were killed in the crash. Aged just 40, the star left behind his young daughter Meadow Rain Walker, who subsequently inherited his estate. Two years after her father’s untimely death, Meadow filed a lawsuit against Porsche.
Alongside her legal team, Meadow put forth the case that Walker actually survived the initial crash, but couldn’t escape the vehicle due to his seat belt. As a result of that, they claimed that the actor died in the ensuing fire. Following a two-year battle, a settlement was eventually reached in October 2017.
However, around the time that Meadow filed the lawsuit, she also launched a special project in her dad’s name. Indeed, the actor’s daughter played a pivotal role in creating The Paul Walker Foundation, which continued his charity work and acts of kindness.
“The Paul Walker Foundation is to serve as an enduring light of Paul’s unique spirit, far-reaching goals, and spontaneous goodwill,” reads a statement on the charity’s website. “Many of his traits have been passed onto his daughter Meadow. Meadow is excited to be carrying on his legacy.”
“One of the key ways [Meadow] plans to meet this challenge is by helping ocean leaders of tomorrow become beacons in the fight to protect our oceans, wildlife, and ourselves,” the statement adds. Meanwhile, following its creation, Meadow made her own announcement on her Instagram page.
“Reflecting on my father, I found myself reflecting on his passions,” Meadow wrote in September 2015. “His passion for the ocean, his passion for rescuing animals, his passion for helping people and his passion for spontaneous goodwill. I wanted to start this foundation because I want to share that piece of him with the world.”
“I am tremendously proud to be launching The Paul Walker Foundation on his birthday,” Meadow added. “I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my father. #DoGood.” That particular post earned close to 500,000 likes, with online users showing their support.
Since then, Meadow has made just five more posts on her Instagram page, each focusing on Walker and the foundation. With that in mind, she currently boasts over 1.5 million followers on the social media website. Meanwhile, the charity’s Twitter page has also earned close to 20,000 followers.
And in keeping with the foundation’s slogan “Do Good,” one of Meadow’s Instagram posts showed her doing just that in September 2017. “Donating a bunch of food to a local homeless shelter today!” she wrote. “I love seeing all of your random acts of kindness and can’t wait to see more.”
As she continues to honor her father’s legacy with the foundation, Meadow reached a significant milestone herself in November 2018. Indeed, ahead of the fifth anniversary of Walker’s death, she celebrated her 20th birthday, marking the occasion with a post on Instagram Stories.
And while Meadow is still at such a young age, her work has undoubtedly made an impact – though her efforts might have been aided by the overall popularity of her father. Walker was a much-loved figure in Hollywood, with his final on-screen performance coming in Fast & Furious 7. Given the tragic events behind the scenes, that movie went on to earn over $1.5 billion at the worldwide box-office.
But despite his popularity, Walker was first and foremost a father, and in August 2018 his brother Cody offered a heartwarming insight into what that meant to him. “He loved being a dad,” the sibling said at the time. “He was so proud of [Meadow].” If only the actor could see what his daughter is doing now in his name.