Whether you know him as Lady Gaga’s ‘Judas’, or the squirrel-hunting red-neck Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead, the chances are pretty high that at some point you’ve seen Norman Reedus somewhere.
Norman Reedus was born in Hollywood, Florida on 6th January 1969 and was raised in Los Angeles, California. He has a son with Danish supermodel Helena Christiensen, who was also Danish-born called Mingus Lucien Reedus. Mingus was was born on 13th October 1999. Although Norman and Helena aren’t together, they still share joint custody of their son. Norman currently lives in New York with his son Mingus, but has previously spent some time living in Japan, the United Kingdom and Spain. His paternal grandmother was of Italian descent, and his other ancestries include English, Northern Irish, and Scottish! He is also an animal lover and has a cat called ‘Eye in the Dark’ (or sometimes fatso) and a dog called ‘Zero’.
Many people know Norman Reedus for his various different acting roles. His first film was Mimic, a horror-film from 1997. But where many people know him from is the cult-favourite film The Boondock Saints, in which he stared next to Willem Defoe and Sean Patrick Flannery.
Despite being a prominent actor, Norman Reedus’s career also includes being a model. He’s modelled for Prada, Alessandro Dell’Acqua, Durban, Levi’s, Lexus and most recently Morgenthal Fredrics. According to his website he is also a painter, sculptop and photographer and some of his art work is currently shown in galleries in New York, Berlin and Frankfurt. He’s also released a book for photography in late 2013, and he runs a New York-based film production company called Bigbaldhead.
He has nine tattoos: his son’s name ‘Mingus’ done in red ink on his right forearm, a devil on his upper-right arm, a star on his right hand, a small ‘x’ above his left collar bone, two demons on his back, a heart on his right wrist, two demons on his back, a snake on his left leg and his father’s name ‘Norman’ across his chest. Reedus once said of this tattoo “My dad died when I was younger and his name was Norman. That’s why the tattoo over my heart”.
Norman Reedus had also appeared in nine music videos, some of which you may have already seen: Flat Top by Goo Goo Dolls, Cats in the Cradle by Ugly Kid Joe, Mean to Me by Tonic, Strange Currencies by R.E.M., Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead, Violently Happy by Björk, Wicked as it Seems by Keith Richards, and most recently Judas by Lady Gaga.
The story of how Norman Reedus got into acting his pretty awesome. In the man’s own words here it is: “I followed a girl to Los Angeles and was immediately dumped. I got a job at a motorcycle shop in Venice called “Dr. Carl’s Hog Hospital”. The day I quit that job a friend took me to a party up in the hills, a movie people party. I drank way too much and started screaming at the party from the second story of the living room with these giant sunglasses on, someone asked if I wanted to be in a play and took me for pizza to talk about. The first night of the play a wonderful angel of a woman, who was an agent, saw me and side-pocketed me. Hip pocketed me. Whatever you call that and then I booked some stuff and kept running ever since.” Pretty awesome, right?
Something else Norman Reedus also once said of his career was this: “I’m still insecure, but when I first started acting, I was really insecure. I glared at a lot of people. I assumed everyone hated me. Somehow that scowl has turned into an acting career.”
In late February, 2005, Norman was being driven back from a R.E.M. concert in Berlin, Germany, when his driver swerved into traffic at the wrong second. A truck smashed into the side of his car and sent Norman flying through the window into the street. He received some substantial facial damage from this head-dive into concrete, and had to undergo major surgery. As the result of this, Norman Reedus is now part cyborg: he had to have four screws inserted in his nose area as well as a titanium eye socket!
So one role that many of us know Norman Reedus for is his role as Daryl Dixon in AMC’s massive zombie-drama The Walking Dead. Daryl is everyone’s favourite zombie-slaying, red-neck badass, and it’s quite hard to imagine what the show would be like without Daryl in it. But did you know that there is no Daryl Dixon in the comics? And that originally there was to be no Daryl Dixon in the TV Show either? I know, right, hard to imagine but it was almost a reality!
Frank Darabont wrote Daryl Dixon into The Walking Dead especially for Norman Reedus. This was after he auditioned for the role of Merle Dixon, Daryl’s brother in the TV Show. Original show-runner, Frank Darabont, had originally intended to kill Daryl off before the end of the first season. However, his exceptional performance caused him to become such a large part of The Walking Dead. The creator of the comics on which it is based, Robert Kirkman, said: “It all comes down to Norman, I feel absolutely blessed he has honoured our show with his presence, and the way he has come in and taken over that role and defined Daryl Dixon. A lot of Norman’s portrayal of the character in the first season inspired all the writers to do what we did with him in the second season. We love writing him and end up doing cool stuff with him.”
In fact, there have even been rumours that Daryl Dixon may be an addition to The Walking Dead comics written by Kirkman. These rumours span from the cover art for issue #101, which shows us the back of a dirty man in a sleeveless leather jacket. And in his hands is a crossbow not unlike that wielded by Norman Reedus’s character on the TV Show. Reedus spoke about this once, saying that his “son would do cartwheels if it happens”. He also said how his appearances in the show have earned his son some “street cred” with the older kids in the school, and Daryl’s appearance in the comics would only further cement his son’s cred.
Norman Reedus has spoke many times before about how he enjoys filming the show, and how he has become close friends with co-star Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes). He also said before that he relates a lot to his character: “Uh, I’m shy. I’m socially awkward. I’m a loner myself. I’m more of a listener than a talker. I value friendship – I’d do anything for my friends, and I think [Daryl’s] like that. I’m not afraid to take chances or go off on my own.”
So there you have it, some cool facts and some interesting stories about the badass Norman Reedus. Thanks for reading!