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 has reprised in 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 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, Mallrats, 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, 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 recently joined the cast of the acclaimed HBO series True Detective for a surprise appearance as Hoyt, the shadowy billionaire owner of Hoyt Foods at the end of season 3. He also completed filming the horror film reboot of Fantasy Island and soon after joined his former Walking Dead brother on an upcoming episode of AMC’s Ride With Norman Reedus. Michael will also appear in Paramount Players’ Monster Problems as well as James Gunn’s next film project, DC’s The Suicide Squad and the next installment in the Fast and Furious franchise.