Sam Rockwell (born November 5, 1968) is an American actor known for his leading roles in Lawn Dogs (1997), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), Matchstick Men (2003), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Choke (2008), Moon (2009) and Seven Psychopaths (2012), as well as for his supporting roles in The Green Mile (1999), Galaxy Quest (1999), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), Frost/Nixon (2008), Conviction (2010), Iron Man 2 (2010), Cowboys & Aliens (2011) and The Way, Way Back (2013).
Rockwell was born in Daly City, California, the son of actors who divorced when he was five years old. He was raised by his father, Pete Rockwell, in San Francisco, while his mother, Penny Hess, stayed behind in New York (he spent his summer vacations with her). Rockwell had what The New York Times described in 1998 as a "footloose upbringing" and, at age 10, made his brief stage debut playing Humphrey Bogart in an East Village improv comedy sketch starring his mother.
He attended San Francisco School of the Arts with Margaret Cho but dropped out before graduating. He later received his high school diploma after his parents enrolled him in an Outward Bound-style alternative high school called Urban Pioneers because, as Rockwell explained, "I just wanted to get stoned, flirt with girls, go to parties." The school, the actor said, "had a reputation as a place stoners went because it was easy to graduate," but the program ended up helping him regain an interest in performing. After appearing in an independent film during his senior year, he graduated and moved to New York to pursue an acting career.
After his debut role in the 1989 horror film Clownhouse (produced by Francis Ford Coppola's production company), which he filmed when based in San Francisco, he moved to New York and trained at the William Esper Studios. His career slowly gathered momentum in the early 1990s, when he alternated between small-screen guest spots in TV shows like The Equalizer, NYPD Blue and Law & Order and small roles in films such as Last Exit to Brooklyn and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He also appeared as the title character in The Search for One-eye Jimmy. During this time Rockwell worked in restaurants as a busboy and delivered burritos by bicycle. At one point, Rockwell even worked as a private detective's assistant. "I tailed a chick who was having an affair and took pictures of her at this motel", he told Rolling Stone in 2002. "It was pretty sleazy." A well-paying Miller commercial in 1994 finally allowed him to pursue acting full-time...
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