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Aside from acting, Mortensen's other artistic pursuits include fine arts, photography, poetry, and music.

In 2002, he founded the Perceval Press to publish the works of little-known artists and authors. was born in New York City on October 20, 1958, the son of Grace Gamble (July 8, 1928 – April 25, 2015, née Atkinson) and Viggo Peter Mortensen Sr. His mother was American, while his father was Danish; they met in Norway.

15 on a 2015 survey of "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters" conducted by Empire.In 1987, Mortensen guest starred as a police detective on the hit series Miami Vice. In The Two Towers DVD extras, the film's swordmaster, Bob Anderson, described Mortensen as "the best swordsman I've ever trained." Mortensen often performed his own stunts, and even the injuries he sustained during several of them did not dampen his enthusiasm.During the 1990s, Mortensen appeared in supporting roles in a variety of films, including Jane Campion's The Portrait of a Lady, Young Guns II, Prison, Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Sean Penn's The Indian Runner, Danny Cannon's The Young Americans, Carl Colpaert's The Crew, which won the São Paulo Film Festival Audience Award, Brian de Palma's Carlito's Way, Crimson Tide, G. Jane, Daylight, A Walk on the Moon, American Yakuza, Charles Robert Carner's remake Vanishing Point, Philip Ridley's films The Reflecting Skin and The Passion of Darkly Noon, the remake films A Perfect Murder and Gus Van Sant's Psycho (the 1998 remakes of two Alfred Hitchcock's movies Dial M for Murder and Psycho), 28 Days, and The Prophecy, with Christopher Walken. Another major mainstream breakthrough came in 1999, when Peter Jackson cast him as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. At one point during shooting of The Two Towers, Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, and Brett Beattie (scale double for John Rhys-Davies) 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." 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.He has collaborated with guitarist Buckethead on several albums, mostly released on his own label (Perceval Press) or TDRS Music.Viggo was first introduced to Buckethead's work while working on sounds for an educational CD on Greek mythology.

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