“My roots are in the South and that's where my soul is.” Walton Goggins
American character actor and film producer Walton Goggins has been in show business since the late 1980s. He is perhaps best recognized as the corrupt temperamental Detective Shane Vendrell on the police drama “The Shield” (FX, 2002-2008), where he was nominated for a Television Critics Association Award for his performance. He is also known for playing Almanzo Wilder in the television film “Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder” (CBS, 2000) and its sequel, “Beyond the Prairie, Part 2: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder” (2002), as well as for guest starring in such popular TV series as “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “JAG,” “NYPD Blue,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “CSI: Miami” and “Criminal Minds.” On the movie front, the southern born performer, who made his debut in Billy Chrystal's “Mr. Saturday Night” (1992), got his break out role in Robert Duvall's “The Apostle” (1997), where he was cast as Duvall's confidant, Sam. Other film credits include Tom Dey's “Shanghai Noon” (2000), Doug Liman's “The Bourne Identity” (2002), Rob Zombie's “House of 1000 Corpses” (2003), Roger Donaldson's “The World's Fastest Indian” (2005), Rowan Woods' “Winged Creatures” (2008) and Spike Lee's “Miracle at St. Anna” (2008). Goggins was also one of producers of the short film “The Accountant” (2001), which won an Oscar in the category of Best Live Action Short Film. Goggins has also lent his producing talents to the films “Chrystal” (2004), “Randy and the Mob” (2007) and “That Evening Sun” (2009).
Goggins was married to wife Leanne Goggins from 2001 until her death in 2004. He is best friends with former “The Shield” cast member Kenneth Johnson.
Childhood and Family:
Walton Sanders Goggins Jr. was born on November 10, 1971, in Birmingham, Alabama, to Walton Goggins, Sr. and Janet Goggins. He has a younger brother named Sandy. Walton was raised in Lithia Springs, Georgia. At age 8, he competed at the Gold West State Days Hog Calling Contest and ended up winning the first prize. A few years later, he and his mother became statewide champion Cloggers, which is a form of dancing, and later served as the opening acts for the B.B. King tour at the Atlanta Fulton County Prison. It was around age 12 or 13 that Walton expressed he wanted to become an actor.
Walton attended Campbell High School in Smyrna, Georgia, before transferring to Lithia Springs High School. After graduating, he launched his acting career and moved to Los Angeles at age 19.
In 2001, Walton married wife Leanne Goggins on the set of “Shanghai Noon” in Canada. His wife was the manager of a dog walking business that the family founded. In late 2004, Leanne, who suffered from depression, committed suicide by jumping from an L.A. high-rise. At the time, she had just filed for divorce.
Walton Goggins made his television acting debut as Darrell in a 1989 episode of “In the Heat of the Night.” He would continue to have different characters on the show throughout the early 1990s. In 1990, he appeared as Lyle in NBC's “Murder in Mississippi.” Based on the true story of the murder of three civil rights activists in 1964, the powerful film starred Tom Hulce, Blair Underwood and Josh Charles and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special.
After moving to Los Angeles, Goggins made his feature film debut in “Mr. Saturday Night” (1992), which was directed, written by and starred Billy Crystal. He then appeared in “Forever Young” (1992, starred Mel Gibson, Jamie Lee Curtis and Elijah Wood) and “The Next Karate Kid” (1994, starred Pat Morita and Hillary Swank) before scoring his first break with the supporting role of Sam, Robert Duvall’s friend and confidant, in “The Apostle” (1997), which Duvall also directed, wrote and co-produced. He followed it up with roles in the independent thriller “Painted Hero” (1997, with David Yoakam), the action “Switchback” (1997, starred Dennis Quaid), the sport themed “Major League: Back to the Minors” (1998, starred Scott Bakula) and Randall Harris' “Wayward Son” (1999, starred Harry Connick Jr.).
Meanwhile, on television, Goggins guest starred in several TV shows, such as “Beverly Hills, 90210” (1992), “I'll Fly Away” (1993), “Renegade” (1993), “JAG” (1995), “The Sentinel” (1996) and “NYPD Blue” (1998). He also played Harv in two episodes of “Pacific Blue” in 1996, including the pilot. In addition, he worked in TV films like “Stay the Night” (1992, starred Barbara Hershey and Jane Alexander), “For Love and Glory” (1993), “Humanoids from the Deep” (1996, with Robert Carradine and Justin Walker) and “The Cherokee Kid” (1996), in which he was cast as Jim Bob.
Opening the new millennium, Goggins offered a memorable supporting turn as Almanzo Wilder, the loyal husband of Laura Ingalls (portrayed by Meredith Monroe), in the CBS television movie “Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder” (2000). The same year, he also had the famed supporting role of Wallace in the Jackie Chan/Owen Wilson popular vehicle “Shanghai Noon,” for director Tom Dey, supported Kirsten Dunst and Eric Mabius in the thriller “The Crow: Salvation,” the third movie based on “The Crow” comic, and played Lee Todd in the independent drama “Red Dirt.”
In 2001, Goggins formed the production company Ginny Mule Pictures with his longtime friend, actor Ray McKinnon, and his wife. Later that same year, the three produced “The Accountant,” a short comedy film that was directed and written by McKinnon. The film won an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film and several other honors, including the Spirit of Slamdance Award at the 2001 Slamdance Film Festival.
Back to acting, Goggins was cast as Billy Weber in the TV series reunion ”Murder, She Wrote: The Last Free Man” (CBS, 2001), Tommy Christian in Billy Bob Thornton's dark comedy “Daddy and Them” (2001), Almanzo Wilder in the TV film sequel “Beyond the Prairie, Part 2: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder” (2002) and a research technician in the high profile action movie “The Bourne Identity” (2002), which starred Matt Damon and was directed by Doug Liman. It was also in 2002 that Goggins landed one of his best known roles in the FX drama series “The Shield,” opposite Michael Chiklis, Glenn Close, Catherine Dent, Reed Diamond, Paula Garces, Michael Jace and Kenneth Johnson. Playing dishonest detective and Strike Team member Shane Vendrell, he stayed with the show until its finale on November 25, 2008, and was nominated for a 2009 Television Critics Association for Individual Achievement in Drama.
During the show's run, Goggins also appeared with Karen Black in the horror film “House of 1000 Corpses” (2003), for filmmaker Rob Zombie, portrayed Moe Danyou in the Mark Whiting short “Apple Jack” (2003), appeared with Anthony Hopkins in the acclaimed biopic “The World's Fastest Indian” (2005, played Marty), supported Anthony LaPaglia, Viola Davis and Isabella Rossellini in the drama film “The Architect” (2006) and had small roles in Rowan Woods' “Winged Creatures” and Spike Lee's “Miracle at St. Anna” (both 2008). He stepped behind the camera to produce the psychological drama “Chrystal” (2004, starred
Billy Bob Thornton) and “Randy and the Mob” (2007), which were both written and directed by McKinnon and costarred Goggins. He also guest starred in the TV series “Hawaii” (2004) and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2007).
After the demise of “The Shield,” Goggins made guest appearances in “Criminal Minds” and “CSI: Miami” (both 2009), where he played John Cooley and Sean Echols, respectively. He also produced and acted in the drama film “That Evening Sun” (2009), from which he won the Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble Cast at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival.
Goggins has completed filming “Damage” (2010), an action film for director Jeff King and writer Frank Hannah. Costars in the film include Steve Austin, Laura Vandervoort, Lynda Boyd, Clifton MaCabe Murray, Adrian Holmes and Phillip Mitchell. He is also set to play Daniel in the upcoming thriller “Straw Dogs,” which was written and helmed by Rod Lurie. The movie will be released on February 25, 2011.
SXSW Film Festival: Special Jury Award, Best Ensemble Cast, “That Evening Sun,” 2009
Slamdance Film Festival: Spirit of Slamdance Award, “Randy and the Mob,” 2007
Slamdance Film Festival: Spirit of Slamdance Award, “The Accountant,” 2001