Michael Rooker is an American actor best known for his turn as the blue-skinned alien Yondu Udonta in 2014’s top grossing film Guardians of the Galaxy, a role he will reprise in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. He is also well known as the character fans loved to hate on AMC’s worldwide hit television show The Walking Dead, Merle Dixon. Rooker is a part of Kevin Smith’s View Askew universe, appearing in the cult hit Mallrats and reprising his role as Mr. Svenning for the upcoming sequel, Mallbrats.
Rooker has thrilled fans for decades with complex portrayals of characters audiences can’t help but cheer on despite their dark personas. He 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. He has since appeared in numerous films including Mississippi Burning, Sea of Love, Days of Thunder, JFK, Cliffhanger, Tombstone, Rosewood, The 6th Day, Jumper, and Bolden!. Rooker also has a prolific relationship with writer/director James Gunn, appearing in the Gunn-helmed productions Slither, Super, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and the upcoming films The Belko Experiment and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2.
He has guest starred on several TV shows including Stargate SG-1, CSI: Miami, Las Vegas, JAG, Numb3rs, Law & Order, Chuck, Criminal Minds, Psych, Burn Notice, and Archer. He added his voice talents to Activision’s video game The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct. Rooker’s voiceover work in video games includes Mike Harper, the lead character in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, and the villain Vikke in Lollipop Chainsaw.
Rooker, who has eight brothers and sisters, was born in Jasper, Alabama and studied at the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago, where he moved with his mother and siblings at the age of thirteen, after his parents divorced.
Guardians of the Galaxy • The Walking Dead • Mallrats