That’s right! It’s “Mary Poppins, y’all!” Today, Michael Rooker turns 63! Michael is best known to fans for portraying Merle Dixon, Daryl’s older brother on the hit AMC series The Walking Dead for 3 seasons as well as Yondu Udonta in both Guardians of the Galaxy films.
Born in 1955 in Jasper, Alabama, Michael has nine siblings and studied at the Goodman School of Drama now The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. He made his feature film debut in the 1986 film, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Other film credits include roles in Mallrats, Cliffhanger, JFK, Sea of Love, Tombstone, Days of Thunder, Mississippi Burning, Eight Men Out and The Belko Experiment.
Some of Michael’s television credits other than The Walking Dead include The Outer Limits, The Equalizer, Stargate SG-1, CSI: Miami, Numb3rs, JAG, Chuck, Psych, and Criminal Minds.
In June of 2010, he announced that he was cast in The Walking Dead, appearing as a guest star before becoming a cast regular for the third season.
In season one, Merle goes M.I.A. after being left handcuffed on the roof of the department store. He returned in season two in Daryl’s hallucination while searching for Sophia. In season three, we find out that Merle is part of the Woodbury community run by the Governor. He would eventually leave Woodbury to join Daryl and Rick’s group. Sadly, at the end of the series’ third season, Daryl finds that Merle has turned into a walker after having been shot and killed by the Governor.
He also was the voice of Merle in the video game The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct which is based on the series. He played himself (voice) in Call of Duty: Black Ops and Mike Harper (voice) in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.
Michael continues to be a fan favorite at any Walker Stalker/FanFest Convention he is scheduled to appear.
Michael lives in California with his wife and the couple has two daughters.
Join us in wishing Michael the happiest of birthdays!!!
Happy Birthday, Michael!
Shannon Toohey is Editor-In-Chief of FanFest.com. She graduated from Hofstra University in 2015 with a B.A. in Journalism from the Lawrence Herbert School of Communications. Shannon has been a proud member of the Fan Fest team since 2013. Tweet her in your prettiest bird voice: @shannontoo