Jackie Earle Haley biography
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).
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.
Haley described his reaction to the nomination news to the Hollywood Reporter, saying the announcement gave him "pure unbelievable joy."
While he didn't win the Academy Award, Haley has seen this acclaim help him launch a new phase in his career. He has tackled both comedy and drama, appearing in the Will Farrell sports spoof Semi-Pro (2008) and Martin Scorsese's thriller Shutter Island (2010) with Leonardo DiCaprio. Haley has even brought a comic book character to live in Watchmen (2009), based on the series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. In 2010, Haley took on another famous fictional figure, this time the legendary horror icon Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street. He also tried his hand at series television with the short-lived Human Target with Mark Valley and Chi McBride.
Back on the big screen, Haley was cast in two major 2012 films. He worked with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp in Dark Shadows, a vampire comedy based on the cult television show of the same name. Turning to more dramatic fare, Haley went on to land a supporting role in the Steven Spielberg-directed presidential biopic Lincoln (2012), starring Daniel Day-Lewis. In the film, he plays Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Haley has also signed on for a remake of Robocop (2014), starring Joel Kinnaman.