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The Voice of the Black Community

Arts and Entertainment

Eamonn Walker is on 'Fire'
The "Chicago Fire" star says he's living out his childhood dreams.
 
Published Thursday, December 6, 2012 12:15 am
by Janice Malone

NBC’s new high-octane drama series “Chicago Fire” (Wednesday nights 9 p.m.) is drawing rave reviews from some of the media’s toughest critics.

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London-born Eamonn Walker is well known in the United States for his portrayal of Kareem Said, the Muslim leader on the critically acclaimed series “Oz.”

For the firefighters, rescue squad and paramedics of Chicago Firehouse 51, no occupation is more stressful or dangerous, yet so rewarding and exhilarating. 

These courageous men and women are among the elite who forge headfirst into danger when everyone else is running the other way and whose actions make the difference between life and death. 

If the storylines and physical look of Chicago Fire looks authentic, that’s because it really is. Actual firefighters are used in several background scenes and as used consultants to the show.

Plus, a stellar cast of multi-talented actors give the show even more authenticity.

Eamonn Walker stars as Battalion Chief Wallace Boden, a fireman’s fireman who is confronted by important personal decisions each day.

“I’m so lucky to be playing this role,” said Walker, a London-born actor best-known in the United States for his portrayal of Kareem Said, the Muslim leader on the critically acclaimed series “Oz.”

“The people behind the scenes and the ones in front of the camera, makes it a pleasure to come to work each day,” he said. “The 10-year-old boy inside of me who used to dream about riding in a vehicle 90 miles per hour with the siren ringing is excited to be living that dream.”

Walker said he also enjoys being called “chief” on a daily basis.

“I’ve also fallen in love with what it means to be a fire fighter,” he said.

Many of the show’s key actors had to take a crash course at a fire academy. Walker said during training a camaraderie developed between the actors and actual firefighters.

“One of the first things we were shown is the Wall of the Fallen,” he said. “[It is] a wall to remember the many firefighters who had lost their lives in the line of duty.  That really made an impact on me and many others because it helped us fully understand the importance of what being a firefighter is all about. It’s something I will never forget.”

Walker said was inspired to become an actor after watching Sidney Poitier’s portrayal as Virgil Tibbs in the classic film “In The Heat of Night.” He said it changed his life.

“I was a 9-year-old boy [seeing] the power that Mr. Poitier possessed as an actor,” he said. “It was as if the spirit of what he was saying somehow transferred to me and motivated me to pursue acting with fervor.”

He recalls a time when he got to meet Poitier in person. Walker was performing in a play with Denzel Washington and Poitier was in the audience.

“If everything ended for me today, I will take that one memory and experience with me to my grave,” he said. “I’ve repeatedly said, ‘Thank you God for allowing me to have that moment in my life when I stood face to face with my idol!’”

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