Michael Rooker (born April 6, 1955) 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 Udonta in Guardians of the Galaxy. He was originally from Jasper, Alabama.
On first breaking into film, his intensity and "don't-mess-with-me" good looks were highlighted to chilling effect as the title character in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, filmed in 1986 but not released until 1990 due to its controversial nature. Since that widely noticed and highly praised performance, much of his career has been spent playing brutes, villains and psychopaths. His occasional turns as a "good guy", however, are always well-acted and a welcome change for a talented actor too often typecast.
- Gun Nut: To a degree. He owns a share in the Los Angeles Shooting Range, and is a fan of the 1911 pistol.
- Production Posse: If you're watching a James Gunn movie, you can bet good money he's gonna be in it in some way, shape, or form.
- Star-Making Role: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, widely regarded as one of the best, most realistic and chilling performances of a serial killer in film.
- Typecasting: Due to his raspy voice and memorable performance as Henry Lee Lucas, Michael is often cast as sinister villains (even in comedic flicks like Mallrats). However, he has (and does) play good guys.
- Regardless of moral alignment, his characters tend to fit redneck, white trash stereotypes to varying degrees.
- Vocal Dissonance: Played With. While his raspy voice is no doubt intimidating, it is somewhat higher and weaker-sounding that one would expect.
- 1986 Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer as Henry
- 1988 Mississippi Burning as Frank Bailey
- 1990 Days of Thunder as Rowdy Burns
- 1991 JFK as Bill Broussard
- 1993 Cliffhanger as Hal Tucker
- 1993 Tombstone as Sherman McMaster
- 1995 Mallrats as Jared Svenning
- 1998 The Replacement Killers as Stan "Zeedo" Zedkov
- 1999 The Bone Collector as Captain Howard Cheney
- 2000 The 6th Day as Robert Marshall
- 2006 Slither as Grant Grant
- 2010 Super as Abe
- Marvel Cinematic Universe as Yondu Udonta
- 2016 The Belko Experiment as Bud Melks