Early life[ edit ] Viggo Peter Mortensen Jr. May 8, — March 2, His mother was American , while his father was Danish ; they met in Norway. Upon graduating, he lived in England and Spain , then moved back to Denmark, where he took various jobs such as driving trucks in Esbjerg and selling flowers in Copenhagen. Also in , he was cast in the role of Bragg on Search for Tomorrow. Coincidentally, the play, about homosexual concentration camp prisoners, was originally brought to prominence by Ian McKellen , with whom Mortensen later costarred in The Lord of the Rings.
In , Mortensen guest starred as a police detective on the hit series Miami Vice. Mortensen at the premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King , December 1, Another major mainstream breakthrough came in , when Peter Jackson cast him as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
The Fellowship of the Ring , Mortensen was a last-minute replacement for Stuart Townsend , and would not have taken the part of Aragorn had it not been for his son's enthusiasm for the J. At one point during shooting of The Two Towers, Mortensen, Orlando Bloom , and Brett Beattie scale double for John Rhys-Davies all had painful injuries, and during a shoot of them, running in the mountains, Peter Jackson jokingly referred to the three as "the walking wounded.
The Return of the King , Mortensen purchased the two horses, Uraeus and Kenny, whom he rode and bonded with over the duration of the films. He received critical acclaim for his portrayal of Aragorn, and was ranked No. In , Mortensen starred in David Cronenberg 's movie A History of Violence as a family man revealed to have had an unsavory previous career. In the DVD extras for A History of Violence, Cronenberg related that Mortensen is the only actor he had come across who would come back from weekends with his family with items he had bought to use as props on the set.
In September , the film Eastern Promises , directed by David Cronenberg, was released to critical acclaim for the film itself and for Mortensen's performance as a Russian gangster on the rise in London. His nude fight scene in a steam room was applauded by Roger Ebert: In , Mortensen performed in The People Speak , a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn 's A People's History of the United States.
While it was reported in April that Mortensen had, at least temporarily, retired from film acting,  Mortensen said he was misquoted.
In a interview, he denied that he ever said he was retiring, only that he didn't have "plans to do another movie" at the time and that he was "taking a little break now. Viggo Mortensen at the Venice Film Festival. Mortensen is also an author, with various books of poetry, photography, and painting published. Ten Last Night — , his first collection of poetry. Introduction by Dennis Hopper. Errant Vine — , limited edition booklet of an exhibit at the Robert Mann Gallery.
SignLanguage — ISBN , a catalog from an exhibition of his works, combining photographs, paintings, and poetry into a multimedia diary of his time in New Zealand while filming The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Introduction by Kevin Power. In this book, the artist combines photographs, paintings, and poems that cover his artistic output from to The Return of the King.
Abstract images, fragments, and phrases from poems comprise this photography book. Many of the photographs were shot during travels to Morocco, Cuba, and the northern plains of the United States. Un hueco en el sol — , a small booklet published to accompany the exhibition "Un hueco en el sol" at the Fototeca de Cuba in Havana.
Miyelo — , a series of panoramic photographs of a Lakota Ghost Dance. It also tells about the events leading up to the massacre at Wounded Knee. Nye Falsknerier — The Horse is Good — , ISBN, a photography book, partly shot during his work on the film Hidalgo , about horses as partners, teachers, and fellow travelers.
This book reflects Mortensen's fondness for horses. He also purchased the stallion that played Arwen 's horse, a grey Andalusian stallion named Florian , and gave it to the stunt woman, Jane Abbott, who rode the horse in place of Liv Tyler. In this book, the artist combines black and white photographs and prose poems. I Forget You For Ever — Collection of photographs, poems in English, Spanish and Danish and quotes.
Canciones de Invierno — Winter Songs — Collection of photographs and poems. It includes new texts most of the poems and all the translations and revised versions of texts previously published. They're accompanied by pictures of landscapes taken during the previous two winters. Ramas Para Un Nido - Visual arts and discography[ edit ] Mortensen at the Toronto International Film Festival Mortensen is a painter and photographer. His paintings are frequently abstract and often contain fragments of his poetry in them.
His paintings have been featured in galleries worldwide, and many of the paintings of the artist he portrayed in A Perfect Murder are his own. Mortensen experiments with his poetry and music by mixing the two art forms. Viggo was first introduced to Buckethead's work while working on sounds for an educational CD on Greek mythology. The finished product included a guitar part by Buckethead, which caught Viggo's ear and led him to initiate contact with the guitarist.
The collaboration grew from there.