Michael Rooker

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Michael Rooker
Michael Rooker SDCC 2013 Guardians.jpg
Born(1955-04-06) April 6, 1955 (age 59)
Jasper, Alabama, United States
Years active1986–present
Spouse(s)Margot Rooker
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For the English landscape painter, see Michael Angelo Rooker.
Michael Rooker
Michael Rooker SDCC 2013 Guardians.jpg
Born(1955-04-06) April 6, 1955 (age 59)
Jasper, Alabama, United States
Years active1986–present
Spouse(s)Margot Rooker

Michael Rooker (born April 6, 1955)[1] is an American actor, best known for his roles as Henry in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Merle Dixon in The Walking Dead, Frank Bailey in Mississippi Burning, Hal Tucker in Cliffhanger, Rowdy Burns in Days of Thunder and Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Early life[edit]

Michael Rooker was born in Jasper, Alabama. He has eight brothers and sisters. His parents divorced when he was 13 years old, and he moved with his mother and siblings to Chicago, Illinois, where he studied at the Goodman School of Drama.[2][3][4]


Rooker made his film debut in 1986, playing the title role in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, a film based on the confessions of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas.[5] He was acting in a play when the director of the play, who was going to do the prosthetics for Henry, told him about the film. Rooker did not care if the script was good or bad, he just wanted to act in a film as it would "challenge" himself.[6] Henry was a critical success and got Rooker noticed in the filmmaking industry, which led to his receiving more film roles.

Rooker was given more dramatic roles in films such as Eight Men Out, Mississippi Burning, and JFK, but he became widely known for his roles in action and thriller films such as Sea of Love, Days of Thunder, Cliffhanger,[7] and Tombstone.[8] He also starred in Mallrats, Rosewood, The 6th Day, Slither, Jumper, Super[9] and Hypothermia.[10][11]

In June 2010, he revealed via Twitter that he was to appear in the AMC television series The Walking Dead as Merle Dixon, one of the survivors of a zombie apocalypse. He guest starred in two episodes of the first season and one of the second season before finally becoming a series regular for the third season.[12][13]

Rooker is also known for his roles in video games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops (where he played himself), Mike Harper in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 in November 2012, and voiced Merle in The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, the video game based on the television series.

Rooker played Yondu in the Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy, which was directed by James Gunn.[14] Rooker announced at the Wizard World Tulsa Comic Con that he will reprise his role as Yondu in the announced Guardians of the Galaxy 2 in 2017.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Rooker is married to Margot Rooker. They have two daughters.[1]



1986Henry: Portrait of a Serial KillerHenryFantasporto Award for Best Actor
Golden Space Needle Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
1987Light of DayOogie
1988Above the LawMan in bar
1988Eight Men OutArnold "Chick" Gandil
1988Mississippi BurningFrank Bailey
1989Sea of LoveTerry Cruger
1989The EdgeDeputy SheriffTelevision film
1989L.A. TakedownBoskoTelevision film
1989Music BoxKarchy Laszlo
1990Days of ThunderRowdy Burns
1991JFKBill Broussard
1992AfterburnCasey "Z" ZankowskiTelevision film
1993The Dark HalfSheriff Alan Pangborn
1993CliffhangerHal Tucker
1993TombstoneSherman McMaster
1994SuspiciousAttendantShort film
1994The Hard TruthJonah Mantz
1995MallratsJared Svenning
1995Johnny & ClydeFrank TennantTelevision film
1996Bastard Out of CarolinaUncle Earle
1996The Trigger EffectGary
1996Back to BackBob Malone
1997Song of HiawathaBertrand
1997RosewoodSheriff Walker
1997Keys to TulsaKeith Michaels
1998The Replacement KillersStan "Zeedo" Zedkov
1997Shadow BuilderFather Vassey
1998Brown's RequiemFritz BrownAssociate producer
1998Renegade ForceMatt Cooper
1999A Table for OneMatt Draper/Dr. Matthew SwanCo-executive producer
1999Bone Collector, TheThe Bone CollectorCaptain Howard Cheney
2000Table OneRowdy
2000Here on EarthMalcolm Arnold
2000NewsBreakJohn McNamara
2000The 6th DayRobert Marshall
2001ReplicantDet. Jake Riley
2002UndisputedAJ Mercker
2003The BoxDet. Stafford
2003On Thin IceHopkinsTelevision film
2003Saving Jessica LynchCol. CurryTelevision film
2004Skeleton ManCapt. LearyTelevision film
2004The EliminatorMiles Dawson
2005Chasing GhostsMark Spencer
2006Repo! The Genetic OperaRepo ManShort film
2006Lenexa, 1 MileRuss
2006SlitherGrant Grant
2008The Lena Baker StoryRandolph County Sheriff
2008JumperWilliam Rice
2008This Man's LifeRichard CrummlyShort film
2009Super CapersJudge/Dark Winged Vesper
2009The Marine 2ChurchDirect-to-DVD
2010Scott's DeadMitchShort film
2010Freeway KillerDetective St. John
2010Blood Done Sign My NameDefense Attorney Billy Watkins
2010Cell 213Ray Clement
2010DC Showcase: Jonah HexRed Doc (voice)Short film
2010LouisPat McMurphy
2011Atlantis DownFather/Alien
2011MysteriaCaptain McCarthy
2011ElwoodCondelloShort film
2012Asylum of the Dead (Pennhurst)Director
2012HypothermiaRay Pelletier
2012Outlaw CountryLarkin's henchmanTelevision film
2013Brother's KeeperChief Carver
2014Guardians of the GalaxyYondu
2014Bolden!Pat McMurphyPost-production


1986Crime StoryLieutenantEpisode: "Pilot"
1988The EqualizerBill WhitakerEpisode: "No Place Like Home"
1989Gideon OliverDet. John QuinnEpisode: "Sleep Well, Professor Oliver"
1990Equal JusticeWallace 'Wally' DaltonEpisode: "Sugar Blues"
1995Fallen AngelsBabe McCloorEpisode: "Fly Paper"
2001Outer Limits, TheThe Outer LimitsCol. BeckettEpisode: "Patient Zero"
2001Hostage Rescue TeamSpecial Agent Nicholas RobertsPilot
2002JeremiahMajor QuantrellEpisode: "Firewall"
2003TremorsKinneyEpisode: "Hit and Run"
2003LuckyGibbyEpisode: "Savant"
2003Stargate SG-1Col. EdwardsEpisode: "Enemy Mine"
2003CSI: MiamiMarty JonesEpisode: "Dead Zone"
2004Las VegasMarcus WexlerEpisode: "Degas Away with It"
2005Numb3rsDon's partnerUnaired pilot
2005JAGCapt. Jack RamseyEpisode: "Heart of Darkness"
2006ThiefDet. John Hayes5 episodes
2007Crossing JordanShawn CuracoEpisode: "D.O.A."
2008Law & OrderJamie YostEpisode: "Executioner"
2008SharkOscar RiddickEpisode: "Bar Fight"
2008ChuckMauserEpisode: "Chuck Versus Santa Claus"
2008Humanzee!PriestEpisode: "Pilot"
2009MeteorCalvin Stark2 episodes
2009Criminal MindsChief CarlsonEpisode: "House on Fire"
2009PsychGarth LongmoreEpisode: "Shawn Takes a Shot in the Dark"
2010Burn NoticeDale LawsonEpisode: "Guilty as Charged"
2010MatadorsJohn CanternaPilot
2010–2013Walking Dead, TheThe Walking DeadMerle DixonSeason 1 (recurring; 2 episodes)
season 2 (guest, 1 episode)
season 3 (series regular, 11 episodes)
Satellite Award for Best Cast – Television Series (2012)
2012ArcherSheriff EZ Ponder (voice)Episode: "Bloody Ferlin"
2013The Conan O'Brien ShowMerle DixonGuest Actor/Cameo

Video games[edit]

2004The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher BayCenturion / Jack (voices)
2006Scarface: The World is YoursVarious voices
2010Call of Duty: Black OpsHimself (voice)Call of The Dead DLC
2011Days of ThunderRowdy Burns (voice)
2012Lollipop ChainsawVikke (voice)
2012Call of Duty: Black Ops IIMike Harper (voice)Also provides motion capture
2013The Walking Dead: Survival InstinctMerle Dixon (voice)

Awards and nominations[edit]

1990Golden Space Needle AwardBest ActorHenry: Portrait of a Serial KillerWon
1991Independent Spirit AwardsIndependent Spirit Award for Best Male LeadNominated
Fantasporto AwardBest ActorWon
1993Fangoria Chainsaw AwardsBest Supporting ActorThe Dark HalfNominated
2006Relationship from Hell Shared with Elizabeth Banks SlitherNominated
2014Phoenix Film Critics SocietyBest Ensemble Acting Shared with Chris Pratt, Lee Pace, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Glenn Close, Bradley Cooper, Benicio Del Toro, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Laura Haddock, Djimon Hounsou, and John C. Reilly Guardians of the GalaxyNominated


External links[edit]