Viggo Mortensen, born in New York on October 20, 1958, is an actor, director, writer, musician, and multimedia artist from America. After making his debut in 1985, he carved out a name for himself with significant movie roles. He did several notable movies in the 90s before being cast in the role of a lifetime in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of the classic, “Lord of the Rings.” He continues to amaze critics and fans with his mind-blowing performances across various movie genres. He has also received a number of accolades, including three Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards.
Viggo Mortensen was born Viggo Peter Mortensen Jr. on October 20, 1958, in Watertown, New York, to an American mother and a Danish father. His parents divorced when he was 11. He lived in Venezuela, Denmark, and Argentina before moving back to America with his mother. He attended Watertown High School and St. Lawrence University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish studies and politics in 1980. Before returning to the States to pursue a career in acting, he worked odd jobs in England, Spain, and Denmark.
Mortensen’s first movie appearance was a minor role in the thriller, “Witness” (1985). He appeared in supporting roles throughout the 90s in noteworthy movies such as “The Indian Runner” (1991); “Crimson Tide” (1995); “A Perfect Murder” (1998); and “28 Days” (2000). In 1999, his role as “Aragorn” gave him international acclaim, and he went on to star in all three parts of Peter Jackson’s epic fantasy adventure trilogy, “The Lord of the Rings.” He is the recipient of several acting awards and multiple nominations, including three Academy Award nominations for ‘Best Actor.’
Mortensen was married to singer Exene Cervenka, and they have a son, Henry. Since 2009, he has been in a relationship with Spanish actress, Ariadna Gil. He owns Perceval Press, a publishing house specializing in poetry, art, and critical writing. He has also co-authored publications about the ethnography of South American natives. He writes his poems in Danish, English, and Spanish, and his discography consists of 21 collaborative tracks. Being a sports enthusiast, he is an avid football, ice hockey, and baseball fan. As a member of the Catalan N.G.O., Omnium Cultural, he participated in the protest against the inclusion of Tel Aviv at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2009.
He graduates in Spanish studies and politics from St. Lawrence University, New York.
He stars in a supporting role in the thriller, “Witness.”
The first collection of poetry, titled, “Ten Last Night,” is published.
He plays the iconic role of Aragorn in all three installments of the movie adaptation of the epic fantasy, “The Lord of the Rings.”
His first Oscar nomination as ‘Best Actor’ comes for his role in “Eastern Promises.”
He is awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog.
Why We Love Viggo Mortensen
He is Aragorn
Mortensen played one of the most loved and iconic literary characters in history, in one of the most popular franchises in the world. His casting as Aragorn was a perfect match, and his portrayal brought the gallant ranger to life in a way fans could only dream of.
He is a method actor
Mortensen takes his role very seriously. The Wellington police were called on him for waving a sword in a street. Another time, he was kicked out of a store in Pittsburgh when he was mistaken for a homeless man. Yet another time, he scared people at a local pub after walking in covered in tattoos in the get-up of a Russian gangster.
A plethora of talents
Mortensen is truly multi-talented; he can act, direct, paint, write, and sing. He can also speak at least eight different languages and write poetry in three of them. And let’s not forget that he can ride horses and wield a sword as well.
5 Surprising Facts
He is a polyglot
He knows several languages: English, French, Spanish, Danish, Italian, Catalan, Swedish, and Norwegian.
He has widespread experience
Mortensen worked various odd jobs in Europe before he returned to America; he worked as a truck driver, a flower peddler, and a translator for the Swedish hockey team.
Aragorn didn’t interest him
Mortensen would have passed on the role of Aragorn had his son, who was crazy about the epic, not forced him to take it.
He painted murals
In the movie “A Perfect Murder” (1998), Mortensen, who played an artist, hand-painted the character’s murals.
He almost drowned
During the river scene from “The Two Towers,” he was sucked underwater by a tide and had to be saved by a rescue team.
Viggo Mortensen FAQs
What does the name Viggo mean?
Viggo is a male Nordic name, and there are two main theories about its origin. One declares it to be a Latinized form of the Old Norse name, Vigge, meaning ‘battle’ or ‘fight.’ The other says that this name is a variant of the Icelandic name Voggur, meaning “one who lies in a cradle.”
Which is Viggo Mortensen’s favorite “L.O.T.R.” movie?
His favorite “Lord of the Rings” installment is the first one, “The Fellowship of the Ring,” because it had fewer special effects and was more organic.
How did he get the lip scar?
Contrary to popular belief, he got his scar from a barbed-wire fence on Halloween night when he was 17 and not from some stunt accident while shooting.
Viggo Mortensen’s birthday dates