An exuberant Vietnam veteran and best friend of The Dude, Walter owns a security company and specializes in getting The Dude into trouble.
Walter is a Vietnam War veteran who owns his own security shop, and never settles for the wrong answer, or no. He abides by the rules and makes sure everyone else does, even if it means taking out his .45 cal m1911 pistol and yelling like a mad man. He dabbled in pacifism, "but not in 'Nam, of course." Walter is best friends with The Dude and Donnie. He may yell at Donnie a lot, but he cares for him. Walter is a peacemaker, and has a soft spot, but knows what he knows, and what he knows, he thinks is right. Walter Sobchak is a scary, stand up guy, who is not afraid to pull the trigger if he thinks you've stepped over the line.
Walter was based on a few friends of the Coen brothers, most notably "Big" Lew Abernathy. Abernathy, a former private investigator, treasure hunter, screenwriter and actor--appearing most notably in James Cameron's Titanic--accompanied his friend Peter Exline to interrogate a teenager whose homework the pair had found in Exline's stolen car. Abernathy attended USC and worked nights as a private investigator to pay his way through school. He met Exline when the latter was a studio executive at Universal Pictures. Exline and Abernathy really encountered an aging, infirm television writer who turned out to be the father of one of the teenagers who stole Exline's car.
"Big" Lew Abernathy
Abernathy also attended a funeral for a fellow USC student who was killed in a motorcycle accident. While his ashes weren't in a coffee can, but a plastic baggie, the dead student's friends tried to scatter the ashes into the ocean and had it blow back on everyone. During his career as a private investigator, Abernathy was summoned to the large mansion of a rich couple engaged in a marital dispute. The butler told Abernathy that the owner of the house was in the back, "in seclusion." Once Abernathy entered the room, he found a middle-aged woman hanging completely naked from a bungee cord, painting on a canvas.
Another influence for Walter's character was famous Hollywood director John Milius. Walter shares Milius' right-wing, militant attitude and predilection for firearms. He's a bit dangerous and not entirely housebroken.