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Jackie Earle Haley

Jackie Earle Haley

Jackie Earle Haley's first major screen role was as ‘Adore' in John Schlesinger's film adaptation of Nathanael West's novel Day of the Locust – a role in which he was pummeled to death by Donald Sutherland's presciently named character, ‘Homer Simpson.' When Jackie Earle turned 14, his father took him to the audition that changed his life, and earned him the iconic role of the cigarette smoking, motorcycle riding hellion Kelly Leak in Michael Ritchie's Bad News Bears, indelibly earning him a place in 1970s pop culture. A year after this Jackie won another role that he'd long be remembered for: the practical, laid-back, short-tempered Moocher in the 1979 Peter Yates' Oscar-winning film, Breaking Away. In 1983, he played the sexobsessed Dave in Curtis Hanson's Losin' It, co-starring Tom Cruise. On Broadway, he performed with Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, and Val Kilmer in the Scottish play, Slab Boys. Even after all these years, in 2005 Jackie was prominently listed in VH1s 100 Greatest Kid Stars.

But, like so many on that list, the successful transition from child actor to adult actor was elusive and he was forced to quit and join the ranks of blue-collar workers. From limousine driver to security officer, Jackie struggled for years to make ends meet. One of his memories was delivering a pizza to Richard Halsey, an editor who cut one of the films he was in. Jackie said, "It's nothing to be sorry about, working to make a living. But it was strange. That kinda stuff happened all the time." After a decade, Jackie Earle finally found work where he could utilize his acting knowledge - as a television commercial director.

Even though things were finally shaping up for Jackie, he still had the desire to do what he loved most – act. But the desire was subdued by a self-preserving stoicism. In October of 2004, Steven Zaillian was trying to find Jackie Earle. He wanted him to audition for the part of Sugar Boy in All the King's Men. At first, Zaillian was told that Haley couldn't be found. But eventually he tracked him down in France… on his honeymoon. I couldn't believe it. Haley recalls, It was like a dream… I'm still pinching myself.

After filming All the King's Men, Jackie was determined to continue working on projects that had meaning for him. He got ahold of an early draft of Todd Field's Little Children, and set his sights on playing Ronnie J. McGorvey. He made an audition tape, and sent it to Field. "I'll never forget watching what Jackie prepared on that tape, says Field. His work was so original, specific and unexpected – I couldn't take my eyes off him." Field called him up, and asked if he would to come to NYC to discuss the possibility of playing McGorvey. 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."

Note: This profile was written in or before 2007.

Jackie Earle Haley Facts

BirthdayJuly 14, 1961 (62)
BirthplaceNorthridge, California, USA
Height5' 5½" (1m66)  How tall is Jackie Earle Haley compared to you?

Selected Filmography

The Tick
London Has Fallen
Shutter Island
Criminal Activities
Last Stand
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Prophet of Evil: The Ervil LeBaron Story
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