Christopher Peter Meloni (born April 2, 1961) is an American actor. He is best known for his television roles as NYPD Detective Elliot Stabler on the NBC police drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and as inmate Chris Keller on the HBO prison drama Oz. In June 2012, he returned to HBO, as the vampire Roman on the main cast of True Blood for the series' fifth season.
His most well known films are Man of Steel, Wet Hot American Summer, 12 Monkeys, Runaway Bride and 42.
Meloni was born in Washington, D.C., the youngest of three children (he has a brother and sister) of Cecile (nÃ©e Chagnon), a homemaker, and Dr. Charles Robert Meloni, an endocrinologist. His maternal ancestry is French Canadian and his paternal ancestry is Sardinian (Italy). Meloni attended St. Stephen's School (now St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School) in Alexandria, Virginia, and played quarterback on the football team. He studied acting at the University of Colorado at Boulder and graduated with a degree in history in 1983. After graduation, Meloni went to New York where he continued his studies with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse, as well as the Center for the Media Arts.
Meloni worked as a construction worker prior to getting his acting break. He has also worked as a bouncer, bartender, and personal trainer. Meloni worked his way up the acting ladder with commercials, short-lived TV series, and bit parts in a number of films. His first noticeable role was as the hotheaded son of a Mafia Don in the 1996 thriller Bound. He also appeared as Robbie Sinclair's friend Spike in Dinosaurs and Julia Roberts' character's fiancÃ© in Runaway Bride.
Oz and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
From 1998 to 2003, Meloni portrayed the bisexual criminal Chris Keller on the HBO series Oz.
Law & Order producer Dick Wolf signed Meloni to play Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 1999; until Oz went off the air in 2003, Meloni appeared on both Oz and Law & Order: SVU simultaneously. In 2006, Meloni was nominated for an Emmy Award, in the category of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, for his role as Elliot Stabler.
In May 2011, Meloni announced that he would not be returning to SVU in fall 2011 for its 13th season after the failure of negotiations over a new contract.
He returned to his comedic roots when he portrayed the character "Gene" in Wet Hot American Summer in 2001, the puppet-loving pediatrician Dr. Norris in a 2003 episode of Scrubs, and the character of "Freakshow" (albeit in heavy make-up) in the 2004 comedy Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. He would make another cameo in its sequel, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, as "The Grand Wizard". In 2005, he appeared on episode 107 of MTV2's adult puppet show Wonder Showzen in a series of parody public service announcements warning of the threat of cooties. He also had an uncredited role as a gay hotel desk clerk in Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas.
In July 2009, Meloni portrayed DC Comics character Hal Jordan/Green Lantern in the DC Universe Animated Original Movie Green Lantern: First Flight. He briefly appeared in the first episode of the Comedy Central series Michael & Michael Have Issues portraying himself for a fake movie starring Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter.
Meloni played Colonel Hardy, a supporting role, in the Superman reboot film Man of Steel (2013). That year he also played Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher in the historical baseball feature 42.
On November 30, 2011, it was announced that Meloni was in talks with HBO to take on a "major" role in the fifth season of True Blood as an "incredibly powerful" vampire. It was later confirmed that he would be taking a role as a series regular for season 5 as Roman, an "ancient, powerful vampire who holds the fate of Bill and Eric in his hands." He'll also be starring in the upcoming film They Came Together.
Meloni has appeared in many public service announcements in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues. In 1999, Meloni jokingly kissed Lee Tergesen (who played Tobias Beecher, Meloni's on-screen boyfriend on Oz) at an awards dinner for GLAAD. In 2006, Meloni was given the Human Rights Campaign's Equality Award, along with actor Jake Gyllenhaal and director Ang Lee, for his work on behalf of LGBT issues.
In 2004 and 2006 respectively, Meloni competed in both the fourth and the eighth series of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown; in the eighth series he finished in second place, behind Robin Tunney, and ahead of Macy Gray, Joy Behar, and Andy Dick. He played for Feed the Children.
He also appeared on Celebrity Jeopardy! on November 10, 2006, defeating fellow Law & Order stars Sam Waterston and Kathryn Erbe. Meloni split his $50,000 charity prize between the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Program and the Montefiore Advocacy Center.
Meloni was included in the 2006 edition of People magazine's Sexiest Men Alive.
Meloni has been married to production designer (Doris) Sherman Meloni (nÃ©e Williams) since July 1, 1995, and they have two children, daughter Sophia Eva Meloni (b. March 23, 2001), and son Dante Meloni (b. January 2, 2004). Former Law & Order: SVU co-star Mariska Hargitay is the godmother to his daughter.
He has a Cubist-inspired representation of the crucifixion of Christ tattooed on his upper left arm, as well as a butterfly tattoo on his left upper thigh and a Chinese astrological chart of his family on his right lower leg. In 2007, Meloni was inducted into his high school's athletic Hall of Fame as a member of the undefeated 1978 football team, for which he was quarterback.
In 2011, Meloni stated he is in favor of the Human Rights Campaign's "New Yorkers for Marriage Equality" campaign on a video.
Meloni currently resides in Los Angeles in a home made famous on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. He tried to sell his 60th-floor New York apartment after moving but was unable to and is, instead, renting it to a Saudi prince.
Awards and nominations
- 2006: Nominated, "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series" - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
- 2004: Nominated, "Performance in a TV Drama Series Episode" - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
- 2008: Nominated, "Performance in a TV Drama Series Episode" - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
- Christopher Meloni at the Internet Movie Database
- Christopher Meloni at Emmys.com
- Christopher Meloni on Twitter