Michael Rooker is an American actor best known for playing the title role in the movie Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986). Other notable roles include those in the movies Mississippi Burning (1988), Sea of Love (1989), JFK (1991) and Mallrats (1995).
He is also known for his recurring role as Merle Dixon in the television horror series The Walking Dead, since 2010.
Rooker is known for his long list of diverse and distinguished credits, such as James Gunn's Slither, Renny Harlin's Cliffhanger, Anjelica Huston's Bastard Out of Carolina and Tony Scott's Days of Thunder; only a few of the many respected projects of which Rooker has been a part.
Born in Jasper, Alabama, Rooker moved with his family to Chicago in the mid-1960s. He earned his B.F.A. from the Goodman School of Drama at De Paul University in Chicago. After graduating in 1982, he quickly began to make a name for himself in the Chicago theatrical community.
Rooker directed the stage play Down and Out at Theatre 68 in Hollywood. He can also be seen in the films Jumper, Bolden!, Louis, Cell 213, Hypothermia and James Gunn's Super.
He directed the feature film Pennhurst and voiced a character in the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Rooker also had a five-episode recurring role in the short-lived drama series Thief, in 2006, playing the role of Detective John Hayes.
He has made guest appearances on television shows such as The Outer Limits, Jeremiah, Stargate SG-1, CSI: Miami, Las Vegas, Numb3rs and JAG.