Remembering Paul Walker

By Allan I. Ross

MSU grad worked with late action star on his first film

In 1998, MSU graduate Steve van Wormer co-starred in the live-action Disney comedy, “Meet the Deedles.”

He played an adrenaline junkie working as a park ranger in Yellowstone with his twin brother, played by Paul Walker in his first headlining roll. Walker, who went on to star in a slate of Hollywood movies, including six films in the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, died on Saturday in a car wreck in Santa Clara, Calif. He was 40 years old.

Even though van Wormer said he hadn’t talked to Walker in several years, he said he was “elated for all his successes” and was shocked and saddened when he heard the news of Walker’s death through Facebook.

“He was very kind and he had this really warm personality,” van Wormer said. “I highly admired (him).”

Van Wormer, who turns 44 on Sunday, said he and Walker bonded while doing many of their own stunts over the 12-week shoot of “Deedles,” which involved rock climbing and street luging.

“The very first day, we showed up and had to learn how to rappel,” he said. “ It was the first stunt training either of us had. But we were young guys. It was fun for us. Three of us rented a house in Utah for the duration of the shoot. The off-hours were as exciting as what we did on-screen.”

Van Wormer said he moved to Los Angeles “about four days” after graduation, where he fell in with some other MSU alumni who were breaking into filmmaking. He said his passion, however, is on the writing side of the business and that he splits his time these days between creative marketing and voiceover work. And while “Deedles” didn’t connect with audiences, van Wormer got something significant out of it.

“I had a great time working with Paul,” van Wormer said. “This was just a horrible, tragedy. He was a great guy.”