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Why You Are Sad Paul Walker Died

Updated on June 29, 2015
Paul Walker 1973-2013
Paul Walker 1973-2013 | Source

When a Celebrity Dies

Anytime a mega-watt celebrity dies, it is going to gain massive attention. The recent and tragic death of Paul Walker caught many by surprise, including people who were not all that familiar with the actor. Since his passing, the level of interest in Paul Walker’s life and death has skyrocketed.

For the year 2013, Google announced the name “Paul Walker” ranked number 2 for global searches. Judging from what we see in popular social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, it appears many people were deeply affected by his death and are mourning.

To help better understand what may be happening emotionally with fans and casual observers of Paul Walker, I decided to interview an expert.

Dr. John Moore Author and Consultant
Dr. John Moore Author and Consultant | Source

Interview: Dr. John D. Moore

Dr. John D. Moore is author of the best-selling book, Confusing Love with Obsession and a licensed mental health counselor. He holds a PhD in Psychology from Northcentral University and teaches courses in psychology and human behavior at American Military University.

Moore also leads 2nd Story Consultants, a behavioral sciences training and wellness firm in Chicago. His work has been featured in many popular media outlets, including Web MD, The Los Angeles Times, Men’s Health and Cosmo.

I caught up with Moore and asked him a few questions.

How Sad?

How sad were you that Paul Walker Died?

See results

Let's Jump Right In

Why is there so much interest now in Paul Walker?

There are a couple of things going on here. First, Paul Walker was already an immensely popular actor to begin with. To a greater or lesser degree, he has been in our living rooms for a number of years – through television, movies and magazines. And so many people felt they knew the actor through his work.

What role did the accident involving Paul Walker have in elevating his profile?

Part of what increases awareness and sadness around a celebrity’s death is the nature in which they died. The younger and more tragic the death of the celebrity, the higher the interest level will be. That he died over a holiday weekend in the United States meant that many more people heard about it.

When we look at celebrity deaths that have happened over the past several decades, like John F. Kennedy Jr, Princess Diana, Heath Leger and now Paul Walker, we see the common threads of youth, attractiveness and sudden, unexpected death. What drives up interest in Walker’s death is the amount of irony involved.

Can you expand on that – What do You mean?

Many of the roles he played involved fast cars, particularly in the Fast and Furious movies. That he died in a car accident where speed, for whatever reason, is suspected to be involved makes his death ironically tragic.

Is this why we are seeing the constant comparisons to James Dean?

Absolutely! Like Dean, Walker was tied to fast cars, speed and of course, beauty. Dean and Walker share a lot of similarities, including the state in which they died and the manner in which they died – car accidents.

Do people form emotional bonds with celebrities?

You bet they do. The bond is formed through a common interest or experience. In the case of Walker, he had several things that were going on which tied him to a large fan base.

First, if you love cars you are probably going to like Paul Walker. Many of his movies involved cars, particularly high speed cars. This kind of appeal is going to draw in a lot of people, particularly guys.

Second, Walker was a teen-idol to many, particularly females. What can I say – the guy won over a lot of hearts with his good looks and warm personality. So whenever you have someone who starts off as a teen-idol, you are going to have a built in fan base that is generational in nature.

Third, Walker was involved with marine life and the environment. Score another entire group of people who will follow him and by extension, be considered fans.

Is there something morbid about wanting to know details of his accident?

No. This is a very common reaction to celebrity death – particularly if the nature of how they died was tragic or mysterious. To keep it real, it is only normal to want to know details of how that person died. To this day, there are still active conversations about what caused Princess Diana’s death and President Kennedy’s death. Truth is ... the details and minutia fascinate us.

Were you a fan of Paul Walker?

Yes – and I was deeply saddened by his death. Like everybody else, I was shocked to hear of the news. I recently watched him in Hours, which I consider to be one of his best movies.

So what can people do to work through what they are feeling?

I think there are a couple of things. I don’t have data on this but I think it is a safe bet to say that sales of movies and memorabilia have probably shot up. And so watching some of his flicks likely helps to remind folks why they liked the guy in the first place. Because at its core, we are dealing with mass public grief and mourning.

I would say a way of moving through these feelings is to reach out to others who are sharing the same reactions of loss and sadness. There are several wonderful Paul Walker fan sites online, including Facebook. RIP Paul Walker is a great one. Talking about what a celebrity means to us can be very cathartic and helpful.

Keep in mind too that if we have personally lost someone, like a friend of family member, a celebrity’s death can often stir up unresolved grief.

Walker had a charity called Reach Out Worldwide. Does donating help?

For many people, yes – that can help with the grief process. As an aside, the fact that he had a charity paradoxically plays into the irony of his death and now legend.

And so if someone decides to give to his charity as a way of remembering – that makes sense.

Thank you for your time Dr. Moore

---End of Interview---

Paul Walker's Charity is Reach Out Worldwide

© 2013 John Hollywood


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      Bill Waters 2 years ago

      Wow very sad well rest in pace Paul.

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      Death is not the end 2 years ago

      of course 8 Below has to be on right now nothing sad going on in the movie right now but I'm still sad about this even have a shirtless picture of him in a frame and I'm gonna keep it in there! Rest in peace young handsome man remembered forever I still remember the day I heard about his death I had a doctors appointment that day and remember trying not to be sad sitting in the waiting room good thing there wasn't too many people in there! But anyway me my mom and sister are sad about it we miss him forever love babe, you didn't deserve to die in that car crash all cause that idiot driver was in a goddamn hurry!

    • profile image

      Andrea 3 years ago

      This was a very good article. So many people are still sad about his death - just terrible. Love this interview by the way.

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      Tanya 3 years ago

      I'm still upset he died 7 months later. I felt like I lost a family member. Dr. Moore's comments in this article made a lot of sense. Very comforting to read!

    • profile image

      Ayden 3 years ago

      Paul was like an older brother in my life and I have looked up to hom since I was 6 or so. I still get very sad when I think about the gap paul left in my life..I however, have this weird way of mourning where I want to do what he did in his movies, particularly Fast And Furious 2..I don't know what this means or how to deal with it. I think i tied Paul to a lot of my problems and thus its like I lost a family member

    • profile image

      Tam 3 years ago

      I don't have a crush on paul but I feel like I love him for the difference he made its now march and I'm still struggling to get a grip I feel gutted because we was going to meet him at the fast 6 premier in London but we ran late and missed him :'( now ill never have the chance xx

    • rls8994 profile image

      rls8994 3 years ago from Mississippi

      It was very sad indeed and even though he was a celebrity, he too was just a real person with real family and friends that loved him. So tragic and sad.

    • Askme profile image

      Pritchard 3 years ago

      Wow your poll shows 64% are devastated. I did not expect that high of number.

      Maybe because I grew up in Los Angeles and have been around many celebrities/actors, I am not all that impressed or obsessed. I've also worked for several actors. Mostly I have been disappointed when I've actually met an actor I admired because most, although extroverted when acting are shy and very introverted in real life. I see them only as people. While I am saddened for Paul Walkers children or is it child and sad that his young life was cut short, I am not devastated.

    • misterhollywood profile image

      John Hollywood 3 years ago from Hollywood, CA

      Glad you enjoyed Peach!

    • misterhollywood profile image

      John Hollywood 3 years ago from Hollywood, CA

      Thanks, CJ!

    • profile image

      cj 3 years ago

      No paul can't be gone no furious 19 ..oh god rip paul an that driver nobody kne or cared abt..very sad :'(

    • profile image

      eleonora 3 years ago

      Wow. .. great article. It describes perfectly all the fan's feelings.. we are very sad.. i can't believe it yet...

      For all Paul's italian fans...

    • oldiesmusic profile image

      oldiesmusic 3 years ago from United States

      Honestly, I didn't know Paul Walker until the day he died. As I got to know him tho, he had a good heart until the end of his life. I've heard he was to attend a charity event for the Haiyan typhoon victims when he died in the accident.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      great article. It is indeed sad to see Paul passing although i don't watch much of his movies. RIP