Michael Rooker

For the English landscape painter, see Michael Angelo Rooker.
Michael Rooker

Rooker in February 2015
Born (1955-04-06) April 6, 1955
Jasper, Alabama, United States
Occupation Actor
Years active 1986–present
Spouse(s) Margot Rooker
Children 2

Michael Rooker (born April 6, 1955)[1] is an American actor, best known for his roles as Hal Tucker in Cliffhanger, Chick Gandil in Eight Men Out, Henry in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Merle Dixon in The Walking Dead, Yondu Udonta in Guardians of the Galaxy, Frank Bailey in Mississippi Burning, Bill Broussard in JFK, and Jared Svenning in Mallrats.

Early life

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 play's director, 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 Vol. 2 in 2017.[15]

Personal life

Rooker lives in California, and is married to Margot Rooker. They have two daughters.[1]


Rooker at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con International, in character as Yondu from Guardians of the Galaxy


Year Title Role Notes
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
1987 Rent-A-Cop Joe
1988 Above the Law Man in bar
1988 Eight Men Out Arnold "Chick" Gandil
1988 Mississippi Burning Frank Bailey
1989 Sea of Love Terry Cruger
1989 Music Box Karchy Laszlo
1990 Days of Thunder Rowdy Burns
1991 JFK Bill Broussard
1993 The Dark Half Sheriff Alan Pangborn
1993 Cliffhanger Hal Tucker
1993 Tombstone Sherman McMasters
1994 Suspicious Attendant Short film
1994 The Hard Truth Jonah Mantz
1995 Mallrats Jared Svenning
1996 Bastard Out of Carolina Uncle Earle
1996 The Trigger Effect Gary
1996 Back to Back Bob Malone
1997 Song of Hiawatha Bertrand
1997 Rosewood Sheriff Walker
1997 Keys to Tulsa Keith Michaels
1997 Deceiver Kennesaw
1998 The Replacement Killers Stan "Zeedo" Zedkov
1997 Shadow Builder Father Vassey
1998 Brown's Requiem Fritz Brown Also associate producer
1998 Renegade Force Matt Cooper
1999 A Table for One Matt Draper/Dr. Matthew Swan Also co-executive producer
1999 Bone Collector, TheThe Bone Collector Captain Howard Cheney
2000 Table One Rowdy
2000 Here on Earth Malcolm Arnold
2000 NewsBreak John McNamara
2000 The 6th Day Robert Marshall
2001 Replicant Det. Jake Riley
2002 Undisputed AJ Mercker
2003 The Box Det. Stafford
2004 The Eliminator Miles Dawson
2005 Chasing Ghosts Mark Spencer
2006 Repo! The Genetic Opera Repo Man Short film
2006 Lenexa, 1 Mile Russ
2006 Slither Grant Grant
2007 Whisper Sidney
2008 The Lena Baker Story Randolph County Sheriff
2008 Jumper William Rice
2008 This Man's Life Richard Crummly Short film
2009 Super Capers Judge/Dark Winged Vesper
2009 Penance Mann
2009 The Marine 2 Church Direct-to-DVD
2010 Scott's Dead Mitch Short film
2010 Freeway Killer Detective St. John
2010 Blood Done Sign My Name Defense Attorney Billy Watkins
2010 Cell 213 Ray Clement
2010 DC Showcase: Jonah Hex Red Doc (voice) Short film
2010 Louis Pat McMurphy
2010 Super Abe
2011 Atlantis Down Father/Alien
2011 Mysteria Captain McCarthy
2011 Elwood Condello Short film
2012 The Lost Episode Director
2012 Hypothermia Ray Pelletier
2013 Brother's Keeper Chief Carver
2014 Guardians of the Galaxy Yondu
2016 The Belko Experiment Bud Melks
2017 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Yondu Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
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"
1989 The Edge Deputy Sheriff Television film
1989 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"
1995 Johnny & Clyde Frank Tennant Television film
2001 Outer Limits, TheThe Outer Limits Col. Beckett Episode: "Patient Zero"
2001 Hostage Rescue Team Special Agent Nicholas Roberts Pilot
2002 Jeremiah Major Quantrell Episode: "Firewall"
2003 Tremors Kinney Episode: "Hit and Run"
2003 Lucky Gibby Episode: "Savant"
2003 Stargate SG-1 Col. Edwards Episode: "Enemy Mine"
2003 CSI: Miami Marty Jones Episode: "Dead Zone"
2003 On Thin Ice Hopkins Television film
2003 Saving Jessica Lynch Col. Curry Television film
2004 Skeleton Man Capt. Leary Television film
2004 Las Vegas Marcus Wexler Episode: "Degas Away with It"
2005 Numb3rs Don's partner Unaired pilot
2005 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"
2008 Shark Oscar Riddick Episode: "Bar Fight"
2008 Chuck Mauser Episode: "Chuck Versus Santa Claus"
2008 Humanzee! Priest Episode: "Pilot"
2009 Meteor Calvin Stark 2 episodes
2009 Criminal Minds Chief Carlson Episode: "House on Fire"
2009 Psych Garth Longmore Episode: "Shawn Takes a Shot in the Dark"
2010 Burn Notice Dale Lawson Episode: "Guilty as Charged"
2010 Matadors John Canterna Pilot
2010–2013 Walking Dead, TheThe Walking Dead Merle Dixon 14 episodes
Satellite Award for Best Cast – Television Series (2012)
2012 Outlaw Country Larkin's henchman Television film
2012 Archer Sheriff EZ Ponder (voice) Episode: "Bloody Ferlin"

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2004 The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay Centurion / Jack (voices)
2006 Scarface: The World is Yours Various voices
2011 Call of Duty: Black Ops Himself (voice) Call of The Dead DLC
2011 Days of Thunder Rowdy Burns (voice)
2012 Lollipop Chainsaw Vikke (voice)
2012 Call of Duty: Black Ops II Mike Harper (voice) Also provides motion capture
2013 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct Merle Dixon (voice)


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