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Thousands memorialize actor Paul Walker at California car rally

U.S. actor Paul Walker presents a creation from Colcci's 2013/2014 summer collection during Sao Paulo Fashion Week March 21, 2013 file photo
U.S. actor Paul Walker presents a creation from Colcci's 2013/2014 summer collection during Sao Paulo Fashion Week March 21, 2013 file photo

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Thousands of fans, some driving souped-up cars, converged in Southern California on Sunday at the site of actor Paul Walker's death, paying tribute to the "Fast and Furious" star and a friend who were killed in a fiery crash two weeks ago.

The unusual public memorial took the form of a car rally, with drivers filing slowly past the spot in Santa Clarita, where Walker, 40, and Roger Rodas, 38, died on November 30.

Rodas, the owner of a local auto dealership and racing services company, was behind the wheel of a Porsche Carrera GT with Walker in the passenger seat when it crashed into a utility pole and burst into flames.

Walker had been in Santa Clarita, about 25 miles north of Los Angeles, for a charity event.

The memorial, which was organized via social media, was scheduled for noon but Captain Mike Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said that mourners began arriving as early as 6 a.m. to pay their respects.

Parker said that more than 1,000 cars drove past the site of the wreck, now marked by flowers and cards, and estimated that a total of 5,000 people took part in the event. He said some mourners had come from as far away as Texas, Arizona and Nevada, driving in caravans.

Walker became a symbol of street-racing and car culture in his role as law enforcement officer Brian O'Conner in the "Fast and Furious" series.

The actor, who played supporting roles in 1998's "Pleasantville" and 1999's "Varsity Blues," was in five of the six "Fast and Furious" films about illegal street racing, heists and organized crime.

Walker also starred in the Hurricane Katrina survival drama "Hours," which will be released on December 13, and the crime drama "Brick Mansions," which is in post-production and will be released next year.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Paul Simao)

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