Sam Rockwell (born November 5, 1968) is an American actor known for his leading roles in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Choke and Moon, as well as for his supporting roles in The Green Mile, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Frost/Nixon, Galaxy Quest, Matchstick Men, Everybody's Fine and Iron Man 2.
He was born in Daly City, California, the son of actors who divorced when he was five years old. He was raised by his father, Pete Rockwell, in San Francisco, while his mother, Penny Hess, stayed behind in New York (he spent his summer vacations with her). Rockwell had what The New York Times described in 1998 as a "footloose upbringing" and, at age 10, made his brief stage debut playing Humphrey Bogart in an East Village improv comedy sketch starring his mother. His mother had an unconventional lifestyle - she was involved with hippies, sex, and drugs.
He attended San Francisco School of the Arts with Margaret Cho and dropped out before graduation. He later received his high school diploma after his parents enrolled him in an Outward Bound-style alternative high school called Urban Pioneers because, as Rockwell explained, "I just wanted to get stoned, flirt with girls, go to parties." The school, the actor said, "had a reputation as a place stoners went because it was easy to graduate," but the program ended up helping him regain an interest in performing. After appearing in an independent film during his senior year, he graduated and moved to New York to pursue an acting career.