|Education||DePaul University (BFA)|
Michael Rooker (born April 6, 1955) is an American actor known for his roles as Henry in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986), Chick Gandil in Eight Men Out (1988), Terry Cruger in Sea of Love (1989), Rowdy Burns in Days of Thunder (1990), Bill Broussard in JFK (1991), Hal Tucker in Cliffhanger (1993), Jared Svenning in Mallrats (1995), Detective Howard Cheney in The Bone Collector (1999), Grant Grant in Slither (2006), Merle Dixon in AMC's The Walking Dead (2010–2013), Yondu Udonta in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), its sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), and the animated series What If...? (2021). He also played Savant in The Suicide Squad (2021).
Since 2006, he has been a frequent collaborator of filmmaker James Gunn, and has appeared in all five films Gunn has directed so far.
Rooker was born in Jasper, Alabama. He has nine brothers and sisters. His parents divorced when he was 13, and he moved with his mother and siblings to Chicago, Illinois, where he attended Wells Community Academy High School and studied at the Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University.
Rooker made his film debut in 1986, playing the title role in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, based on the confessions of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. He was acting in a play when the play's director, who was going to do the prosthetics for Henry, told him about the role. Rooker did not care if the script was good or bad; he just wanted to act in a film as it would "challenge" him. Henry was a critical success and Rooker received more film roles.
He 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, and Tombstone. He also starred in Mallrats, Rosewood, The 6th Day, Slither, Jumper, Super and Hypothermia.
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 becoming a series regular for the third season.
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 as Merle in The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, the video game based on the television series.
He played Yondu in the Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by James Gunn, and reprised it in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017). In 2021 he appeared in the action film F9, directed by Justin Lin.
|1986||Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer||Henry||Fantasporto Award for Best Actor|
Golden Space Needle Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
|1987||Light of Day||Oogie|
|1988||Above the Law||Man in bar|
|Eight Men Out||Arnold "Chick" Gandil|
|Mississippi Burning||Frank Bailey|
|1989||Sea of Love||Terry Cruger|
|Music Box||Karchy Laszlo|
|1990||Days of Thunder||Rowdy Burns|
|1993||The Dark Half||Sheriff Alan Pangborn|
|Cliffhanger||Ranger Hal Tucker|
|The Hard Truth||Jonah Mantz|
|1996||Bastard Out of Carolina||Uncle Earle|
|The Trigger Effect||Gary|
|Back to Back||Bob Malone|
|1997||Song of Hiawatha||Bertrand|
|Keys to Tulsa||Keith Michaels|
|Shadow Builder||Father Vassey|
|1998||The Replacement Killers||Stan "Zeedo" Zedkov|
|Brown's Requiem||Fritz Brown||Also associate producer|
|Renegade Force||Matt Cooper|
|1999||A Table for One||Matt Draper / Dr. Matthew Swan||Also co-executive producer|
|The Bone Collector||Captain Howard Cheney|
|Here on Earth||Malcolm Arnold|
|The 6th Day||Robert Marshall|
|2001||Replicant||Det. Jake Riley|
|2003||The Box||Det. Stafford|
|2004||The Eliminator||Miles Dawson|
|2005||Chasing Ghosts||Mark Spencer|
|2006||Repo! The Genetic Opera||Repo Man||Unreleased short film|
|Lenexa, 1 Mile||Russ|
|2008||The Lena Baker Story||Randolph County Sheriff|
|This Man's Life||Richard Crummly||Short film|
|2009||Super Capers||Judge / Dark Winged Vesper|
|The Marine 2||Church||Direct-to-DVD|
|2010||Scott's Dead||Mitch||Short film|
|Freeway Killer||Detective St. John|
|Blood Done Sign My Name||Defense Attorney Billy Watkins|
|Cell 213||Ray Clement|
|DC Showcase: Jonah Hex||Red Doc (voice)||Short film|
|2011||Atlantis Down||Father / Alien|
|2012||The Lost Episode||Chris / Dr. Death||Also director|
|2013||Brother's Keeper||Chief Carver|
|2014||Guardians of the Galaxy||Yondu Udonta|
|2016||The Belko Experiment||Bud Melks|
|2017||Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2||Yondu Udonta||Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|Brightburn||The Big T||Cameo|
|Love and Monsters||Clyde|
|The Suicide Squad||Brian Durlin / Savant|
|2022||White Elephant||Gabriel Tancredi||Post-production|
|1986||Crime Story||Lieutenant||Episode: "Pilot"|
|1988||The Equalizer||Bill Whitaker||Episode: "No Place Like Home"|
|1989||Gideon Oliver||Det. John Quinn||Episode: "Sleep Well, Professor Oliver"|
|The Edge||Deputy Sheriff||Television film|
|L.A. Takedown||Bosko||Television film|
|1990||Equal Justice||Wallace "Wally" Dalton||Episode: "Sugar Blues"|
|1992||Afterburn||Casey "Z" Zankowski||Television film|
|1995||Fallen Angels||Babe McCloor||Episode: "Fly Paper"|
|Johnny & Clyde||Frank Tennant||Television film|
|2001||The Outer Limits||Col. Beckett||Episode: "Patient Zero"|
|Hostage Rescue Team||Special Agent Nicholas Roberts||Pilot|
|2002||Jeremiah||Major Quantrell||Episode: "Firewall"|
|2003||Tremors||Kinney||Episode: "Hit and Run"|
|Stargate SG-1||Col. Edwards||Episode: "Enemy Mine"|
|CSI: Miami||Marty Jones||Episode: "Dead Zone"|
|On Thin Ice||Hopkins||Television film|
|Saving Jessica Lynch||Col. Curry||Television film|
|2004||Skeleton Man||Capt. Leary||Television film|
|Las Vegas||Marcus Wexler||Episode: "Degas Away with It"|
|2005||Numb3rs||Don's Partner||Unaired pilot|
|JAG||Capt. Jack Ramsey||Episode: "Heart of Darkness"|
|2006||Thief||Det. John Hayes||5 episodes|
|2007||Crossing Jordan||Shawn Curaco||Episode: "D.O.A."|
|2008||Law & Order||Jamie Yost||Episode: "Executioner"|
|Shark||Oscar Riddick||Episode: "Bar Fight"|
|Chuck||Frank Mauser||Episode: "Chuck Versus Santa Claus"|
|2009||Meteor||Calvin Stark||2 episodes|
|Criminal Minds||Chief Carlson||Episode: "House on Fire"|
|Psych||Garth Longmore||Episode: "Shawn Takes a Shot in the Dark"|
|2010||Burn Notice||Dale Lawson||Episode: "Guilty as Charged"|
|2010–2013||The Walking Dead||Merle Dixon||14 episodes
Satellite Award for Best Cast – Television Series (2012)
|2012||Outlaw Country||Larkin's Henchman||Television film|
|Archer||Sheriff E.Z. Ponder (voice)||Episode: "Bloody Ferlin"|
|2016||Unlocked: The World of Games, Revealed||Himself||Documentary|||
|2017||SEAL Team||Big Chief||Episode: "Tip of the Spear"|
|Robot Chicken||Merle Dixon (voice)||Episode: "The Robot Chicken Walking Dead Special: Look Who's Walking"|
|2019||True Detective||Edward Hoyt||2 episodes|
|2019||The Dark Tower||Eldred Jonas||Pilot|
|2021||What If...?||Yondu Udonta (voice)||Episode: "What If... T'Challa Became a Star-Lord?"|
|2004||The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay||Centurion, Jack|
|2006||Scarface: The World Is Yours||Tony's enforcer / Civilian|
|2011||Call of Duty: Black Ops||Himself||Appears in Call of the Dead|
|Days of Thunder||Rowdy Burns|
|Call of Duty: Black Ops II||Mike Harper||Also motion capture|
|2013||The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct||Merle Dixon|
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- Francisco, Eric. "Michael Rooker: A real-life superpower inspired his 'Suicide Squad' role [Exclusive]". Inverse. Retrieved 2021-08-05.
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- "Amazon.com: Unlocked: The World of Games, Revealed: Sean Astin, Tom Arnold, Michael Rooker, Penn Jillette, Zelda Williams, Matt Walsh, Alison Haislip, Meghan Camarena, William Shatner, Kevin Smith, Tony Hawk, Jeremy Snead: Amazon Digital Services LLC". Amazon.com. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
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