Viggo Peter Mortensen, Jr. (born October 20, 1958) is an American actor, poet, musician, photographer and painter.
His film roles include Aragorn in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Frank T. Hopkins in Hidalgo, Tom Stall in David Cronenberg's A History of Violence, and his Academy and Golden Globe Award-nominated role as Nikolai Luzhin in Cronenberg's Eastern Promises. He also stars in the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road as "The Man".
Mortensen was born in New York City. His American mother, Grace Gamble (née Atkinson), and Danish father, Viggo Peter Mortensen, Sr., met in Norway. His maternal grandfather was from Nova Scotia, Canada. His family moved to Venezuela, Denmark, and Argentinian cities Córdoba and Buenos Aires, where he learned Spanish. His father managed chicken farms and ranches in Argentina. They remained there until Mortensen was eleven, when his parents divorced and his mother moved back to New York. He moved with his father to Copenhagen, Denmark. Mortensen and his father eventually went back to the United States, where he graduated from Watertown High School in Watertown, New York. After high school, he returned to Denmark and became a truck driver in Esbjerg, Denmark, before again returning to the United States to pursue an acting career. He attended St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, earning a bachelor's degree in Spanish. He chose that subject because he could get good grades without a lot of study, leaving him free to be in a lot of plays. At his commencement, he refused to wear an academic gown because they were made by sweatshop workers. However, after the Lord of the Rings trilogy, when he was granted an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, he did appear in the appropriate robes.