Jackie Earle Haley Biography

Jackie Earle Haley photo

Born: July 14, 1961


Date of Birth: July 14, 1961

Starting out as a kid actor at the age of five, Jackie Earle Haley made appearances on several of the top TV series of the early 1970s, including The Waltons, The Partridge Family, Marcus Welby, M.D. and Shazam. When he was 14, he went from "working child actor" to "child star" when he was cast as Kelly Leak, a tough kid who routinely rips up the baseball field on his dirt bike in The Bad News Bears (1976), opposite Walter Matthau and Oscar-winning fellow child star Tatum O'Neal.

His work in the film led to roles in several sequels, and when he was cast as Moocher in the 1979 Oscar-winning film Breaking Away, it looked like Haley was set to continue his career into adulthood, unlike many other child stars.

Roles in the TV series Breaking Away (1980), the feature film Losin' It (1983) co-starring Tom Cruise, and in the Broadway production Slab Boys with Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon and Val Kilmer followed, but unfortunately, by the mid-1980s, his career petered out, and he was forced to take jobs as a limousine driver, pizza delivery person and security officer. However, Haley longed to return to the creative world and eventually began working as a TV commercial director. It was rewarding, but Haley still hoped to return to his acting roots.

Coincidentally, in 2004, director Steven Zaillian thought of Haley when casting the role of Sugar Boy in All the King's Men (2006). Thrilled by the offer, Haley accepted immediately. Determined to keep his hand in acting after that experience, he then made an audition tape and sent it to director Todd Field, who was casting for his film, Little Children (2006). Impressed by what he saw, Field called Haley and asked him to come discuss playing the role of Ronnie J. McGorvey, a sex offender whose release from prison causes panic in the neighborhood.

Haley says, "At the meeting, Todd asked, "So, would you like to play the role?" I'll remember that moment as long as I live." Haley's work in the film received much acclaim, including a Chicago Film Critics Association Award; New York Film Critics Circle Award; San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award; Online Film Critics Society Award and finally, an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Since then, he's worked non-stop, including playing the coveted role of Walter Kovacs/Rorschach in the blockbuster film Watchmen (2009), Freddy Krueger in the remake A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) and the con artist Willie Loomis in Tim Burton's film-adaptation of Dark Shadows (2012). He can most recently be seen as Raymond Cobb in the reboot Birth of a Nation (2016).

In 2005, Haley was named on VH1's "100 Greatest Kid Stars" list. Married to third wife, Amelia, he has two children from previous marriages.

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