1. Mortensen grew in prominence in the early 2000s with his role as Aragorn in the epic film trilogy The Lord of the Rings.
2. Two years later, another Cronenberg film Eastern Promises earned him further critical acclaim and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.
3. A third teaming with Cronenberg in A Dangerous Method resulted in a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture.
4. Aside from acting, his other artistic pursuits include fine arts, photography, poetry, and music.
5. In 2002, he founded the Perceval Press to publish the works of little-known artists and authors.
6. His mother, Grace Gamble , is American, and his father, Viggo Peter Mortensen, Sr., is Danish; the two met in Norway.
7. The family moved to Venezuela, then Denmark, and eventually settled in Argentina in the provinces of Córdoba, Chaco, and Buenos Aires where he attended primary school and acquired a fluent proficiency in Spanish while his father managed poultry farms and ranches.
8. He then attended St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, earning a degree in Spanish Studies and Politics in 1980.
9. Afterward, he went to Europe and lived in Spain, England, and Denmark where he took various jobs such as driving trucks in Esbjerg and selling flowers in Copenhagen.
10. Also in 1985, he was cast in the role of Bragg on Search for Tomorrow.
11. Coincidentally, the play, about homosexual concentration camp prisoners, was originally brought to prominence by Ian McKellen, with whom Mortensen later costarred in The Lord of the Rings.
12. In 1987, Mortensen guest starred as a corrupt police detective on the hit series Miami Vice.
13. Of these roles, Mortensen was probably best known for playing Master Chief John Urgayle in G.I. Jane.
14. Another major mainstream breakthrough came in 1999, when Peter Jackson cast him as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
15. Mortensen often performed his own stunts, and even the injuries he sustained during several of them did not dampen his enthusiasm.
16. At one point during shooting of The Two Towers, Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, and Brett Beattie all had painful injuries, and during a shoot of them, running in the mountains, Peter Jackson jokingly referred to the three as “the walking wounded.”
17. Also, according to the Special Extended Edition DVD of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Mortensen purchased the two horses, Uraeus and Kenny, whom he rode and bonded with over the duration of the films.