1. Rockwell was born in Daly City, California, He was raised by his father, Pete Rockwell, in San Francisco, while his mother, Penny Hess, lived in New York .
2. 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.
3. He attended San Francisco School of the Arts with Margaret Cho and Aisha Tyler but dropped out before graduating.
4. 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.
5. After appearing in an independent film during his senior year, he graduated and moved to New York to pursue an acting career.
6. After his debut role in the 1989 horror film Clownhouse , which he filmed when based in San Francisco, he moved to New York and trained at the William Esper Studios. His career slowly gathered momentum in the early 1990s, when he alternated between small-screen guest spots in TV shows like The Equalizer, NYPD Blue and Law & Order and small roles in films such as Last Exit to Brooklyn and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
7. He also appeared as the title character in The Search for One-eye Jimmy.
8. “I tailed a chick who was having an affair and took pictures of her at this motel”, he told Rolling Stone in 2002.
9. A well-paying Miller commercial in 1994 finally allowed him to pursue acting full-time.
10. The ensuing acclaim put him front and center with casting agents and new-found fans alike, with Rockwell himself acknowledging that “That film was definitely a turning point…I was sort of put on some independent film map after 10 years in New York.”
11. In 1999, Rockwell played prisoner William “Wild Bill” Wharton in the Stephen King prison drama The Green Mile.