Sam Rockwell biography
Date of Birth: November 5, 1968
Known for his dynamic leading performances in the independent film world, Sam Rockwell was born in Daly City, California, and experienced a bohemian upbringing. The son of artist-actors, Sam moved to New York City with his parents when he was two. After three years in the Big Apple, his parents got divorced. His father moved to San Francisco, so Sam spent much of his youth traveling back and forth between his parents.
His mother, whose unconventional lifestyle—replete with sex, drugs, and flamboyant hippies—introduced Sam to some very unorthodox adult pastimes at an extremely young age. But it was through his mother that he became involved in theater, making his stage debut at the age of ten.
He later attended San Francisco's High School of the Performing Arts, where at the age of 18, he made his film debut in Clown House (1988), an ill-fated thriller revolving around three brothers' fight to the death with a group of maniacal circus entertainers.
Other stage credits include Face Divided as part of the EST Marathon series and the off-Broadway production of Goosepimples.
Following his screen debut, Sam moved to New York and proceeded to make 20 more films, including Last Exit to Brooklyn (1990) and Tom Di Cillo's Box of Moonlight (1996).
It was the actor's work in Box of Moonlight that first won him recognition. Sam gave an engaging performance that sparked industry attention; unfortunately, the independent film disappeared at the box office.
Although unrewarded in his efforts, Sam continued to work in the indie-film industry. In John Duigan's Lawn Dogs, he starred as a lonely outsider who forms a controversial alliance with a rebellious 10-year-old girl. His performance earned him Best Actor awards at both the Montréal and Barcelona Film Festivals. He also starred opposite Steve Zahn, Harvey Fierstein and Michael Lerner in Safe Men. The comedy, about a pair of untalented singers who, through a case of mistaken identity, get caught up with the Jewish mafia, was a critical favorite and enjoys a loyal cult following. Sam also starred in Saul Rubinek's dark comedy Jerry And Tom as a used-car salesman who moonlights as a part-time hit man. The three independent films gained him considerable notice.
As a result of these films, Sam made the jump to big-budget features. Films such as Woody Allen's Celebrity (1998) and Michael Hoffman's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999) with Kevin Kline and Michelle Pfeiffer would introduce him to the mainstream audiences while roles in Galaxy Quest (1999) and The Green Mile (1999) would mark his successful transition into mainstream film industry. He's since made appearances in major Hollywood films such as Iron Man 2 (2010) and Cowboys & Aliens (2011) with Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig. He starred in the thriller, A Single Shot (2013) and in the comedic drama Better Living Through Chemistry (2014) opposite Olivia Wilde. More recently, he appeared in Poltergeist (2015) and played quirky hitman Francis in Mr. Right (2016) opposite Anna Kendrick. In 2018, he received his first Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG Award for his role as police officer Dixon in the indie film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017).
In 2018, Sam played the role of George W. Bush in Vice (2018), which earned him Best Supporting Actor nominations at the Golden Globe Awards and Academy Awards.
On television, Sam has appeared in the HBO special Dead Drunk and episodes of NYPD Blue, Law & Order and The Equalizer.