By now, we all know that Michael Cudlitz plays Sgt. Abraham Ford on The Walking Dead — and some of you eagle-eyed Southland fans may have recognized him as Officer John Cooper from the beloved series, which he starred in from 2009-2013 alongside The O.C. alum Benjamin McKenzie.

The 49-year-old's history with television goes back even further, though — to his days as a set-builder. His versatility, plus his gruff exterior combined with a baby face, have led to a really interesting career.

Want to learn more? Read on for five things to know about Michael Cudlitz.


Credit: HBO

1. He Got His Big Break on Band of Brothers. It was 13 years ago, so you might not've recognized him — but Michael Cudlitz was one of the more recognizable actors in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, playing Staff Sergeant Denver "Bull" Randleman, based on a real-life veteran of the same name. Fans of the series got to know Denver in Episode 4, "Replacements" — you may remember him crawling away from a fiery tank while trying to avoid German soldiers.

2. He Took Brenda to Prom on Beverly Hills: 90210. Remember Tony Miller, the flat-topped jock who tried to get busy with Brenda Walsh on prom night? Dude was a staple in Season 3. In case you need your memory jogged, see him in all his bow tied glory in the video below.

He didn't get that role by accident, though — his day job was in set construction (he was a union member — Local 44!), and he worked in that capacity for the original 90210 for 4 1/2 years. Eventually, he ran their whole construction program.

Of course, he also had experience playing a jock with a flat-top — on Step By Step.

3. He Built His Own House. With all that carpentry experience Michael gained from building sets on major TV programs, he was able to build his own house for his family! We're not sure how much help he had with contractors and such, but it's still an impressive feat.

4. He's the Father of Twin Boys! Michael has two 16-year-old sons, but he's not expecting them to get into the family business anytime soon. "They're more interested in all things computer," said Michael in a TV Guide interview. "Designing games and writing codes."

5. He Played Teenagers Well Into His 30s. We've been known to have a little fun with stars who play high schoolers — and their real, adult ages. But seriously, Michael was a champion of the stealth adulthood. Dude even played a member of the rival high school team in D3: The Mighty Ducks, when he was already 31 years old. In 1999, he played a reanimated teen corpse — which, to be fair, might be a little easier to pull off — on Buffy the Vampire Slayer at age 34. He played bit roles of teens in various other TV series, too.

The Walking Dead Season 4 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

Sarah Anne Lloyd is an Associate Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!