History lesson: Famous actor hails from Watertown

History lesson: Famous actor hails from Watertown
Published: Aug. 25, 2023 at 7:06 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Did you know the leading man of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is from Watertown?

Viggo Mortenson, best known for his role as Aragorn in Lord of the Rings, spent his early childhood in South America. But when Mortensen was 11, he moved to Watertown with his mother, a north country native.

He went to Watertown High School, then St Lawrence University.

For years, he was working odd jobs abroad before returning to New York and pursuing his acting career, during which he starred in films like the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3,” “G.I. Jane,” “The Prophecy,” and “Crimson Tide.”

For his breakthrough role as Aragorn, he was known to perform his own stunts and sword work.

He’s been nominated for three Academy Awards, three BAFTA awards, four Golden Globes, and seven Screen Actor Guild awards, one of which he won.

But despite stardom and accolades, Mortensen was never too famous to visit home and encourage other young actors. He’s known to still have a family cottage along the St. Lawrence River and he spoke at the Snowtown Film Festival in 2017.

And a movie he wrote, produced, and starred in, “Falling,” is loosely based on his own experiences and emulates life in the north country, of which he often speaks fondly.