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Jackie Earle Haley is an Oscar-nominated film actor known for his roles in The Bad News Bears, Little Children, Watchmen and Lincoln.
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Born on July 14, 1961, in Northridge, California, Jackie Earle Haley was a child actor known for The Bad News Bears (1976), also starring in Breaking Away (1980-81). His on-screen career was quiet for a while, with Haley taking on directing work, but he made a big turnaround in the 2006 drama Little Children, for which he received an Academy Award nomination. Subsequent projects have included Watchmen (2009) and Lincoln (2012).
"When I was a little kid acting, I was fascinated with what the director was doing... By the time I was 10, I fully understood camera geography, what would cut and what wouldn't, how to tell a story visually."
Actor Jackie Earle Haley was born on July 14, 1961, in Northridge, California. The son of a radio disc jockey, Haley caught his first break by voicing a cartoon character around the age of 5. He then moved on to commercials and television guest spots on such shows as The Partridge Family (1970-74) and The Waltons (1972-81).
In 1976, Haley found fame with his turn in The Bad News Bears. He appeared alongside Tatum O'Neal as one of the young misfits on a troubled little league team coached by Walter Matthau. Haley's character, the rebellious loner Kelly Leak, became a hit with movie-goers. He reprised his role in two sequels.
Haley enjoyed another wave of success in 1979 with the surprise hit Breaking Away. This film was about a small-town teenager (Dennis Christopher) who becomes enamored with cycling and proves to be an unlikely success at it. In the movie, Haley played Moocher, one of the teen's friends, appearing with Dennis Quaid and Daniel Stern. He reprised his role in the short-lived television series based on the movie.
Like many child actors, Haley struggled as a performer in his post-teen years. He ended up working as a limo driver, a security officer and a pizza delivery guy to make ends meet for a time. Eventually, Haley abandoned Hollywood for San Antonio, Texas. There he started up his own company, JEH Productions, and began a new career as a director of commercials. His interest in directing dated back to his early days.
"When I was a little kid acting, I was fascinated with what the director was doing... By the time I was 10, I fully understood camera geography, what would cut and what wouldn't, how to tell a story visually," Haley explained to Videography magazine.
In 2006, Haley was drawn back into acting by writer-director Steve Zaillian. Zaillian actually sought out Haley to audition for the role of Sugar Boy in All the King's Men, a political drama starring Sean Penn, Jude Law and Kate Winslet. Taken by surprise, Haley "thought I just might get a second chance" at a film career with this new role, according to the Washington Post. And his strong supporting turn as a bodyguard did indeed help open the door to another great opportunity.
That same year, Haley gave a riveting performance as a sex offender in Little Children (2006) with Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson. Critics raved about Haley, including Rolling Stone Peter Travers who wrote that "Haley's boldly implosive performance will haunt your dreams." The film brought Haley his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
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