Best known as an actor, Viggo Mortensen is a renaissance man of sorts who also pursues a variety of other artistic endeavors, including painting and poetry. Born in Manhattan, New York, in 1958, Mortensen grew up in a diverse household as the son of a Danish father and American mother. After his parents divorced in the late '60s, Mortensen lived with his mother in Watertown, NY, where he attended high school. After school, Mortensen earned degrees in government and Spanish at St. Lawrence University, from which he graduated in 1980. He then lived for a time with his father's family in Denmark before returning to the States. In 1982, Mortensen began taking acting classes in New York City and eventually relocated to Los Angeles to pursue his career. Subsequently, he won a Drama-logue Critic's award for his performance in the Coast Playhouse production of +Bent. In 1985, Mortensen made his big-screen debut in director Peter Weir's film #Witness, which starred Harrison Ford. Two years later, Mortensen married Exene Cervenka, the lead singer of the punk band X, with whom he has a son. The couple divorced in 1997. Since that time, he has continued to work steadily, appearing in increasingly higher-profile and often critically praised roles that culminated in his 2001 breakthrough performance as Lord Aragorn in director Peter Jackson's #Lord of the Rings trilogy. In 2008, Mortensen received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his performance as a Russian gangster in director David Cronenberg's #Eastern Promises. An accomplished poet, Mortensen has released a handful of spoken word albums, including Other Parade in 1999 and Time Waits for Everyone in 2008. ~ Matt Collar, Rovi

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