Walter Klassen was born in Curitiba, Brazil in 1947. His family were German Mennonites who emigrated to Canada in 1956.
Klassen studied Mechanical Engineering Technologist at the Ryerson Polytechnic Institute. Upon graduation in 1969, he was hired by Polysar Corporation in Sarnia where he worked for three years as an engineer in pipeline design.
In the early 1970’s, Walter took a departure from engineer work to spend nearly a decade touring and working in Europe. He joined a hippie commune in Germany, which allowed him to explore artistic endeavours such as sculpting, moulding, leathermaking and mask-making.
Walter eventually returned to Toronto in 1978, where he devoted himself to leathermaking and sculpting full-time. He opened Asylum Studio, a leather store in the beaches that ran successfully for four years selling clothing, bags and other custom made products.
Later Klassen sold his shop and relocated to a studio in the East end of Toronto where he met and worked with Michele Burke (academy award winning special fx and makeup artist) and Gord Smith (special fx designer). With these connections, Klassen landed his first special effects job on feature film, April Fool's Day (1986). Throughout the 80’s and 90’s he fulfilled a variety roles in the special effects department and managing a prop studio.
Walter worked on popular children’s series Bonapart (OWL TV/Kids), where he designed and operated a mechanical skeleton on set. From there, Walter became engrossed with film and television production and with all possibilities that his expertise in mechanical engineering offered him.
In 1988, Walter opened a prop studio of his own, called Walter Klassen FX. Since then, Walter and his team of designers have created hundreds of key props for television and film including animatronics that have been featured in acclaimed films such as To Die For (1995), The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996), Tommy Boy (1995) Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001) and Are We There Yet? (2005)
Currently Walter lives in the east end of Toronto, in the mecca of the Toronto film and television industry, where he is semi-retired. He continues to manage Walter Klassen FX with the help of his daughter Jennifer and business partners Taku and John.