Sam Trammell is an American film, television, and Tony-nominated stage actor probably best known as Sam Merlotte, the mysterious diner owner on the HBO series True Blood
. A Southerner just like his character on the show, Sam grew up in Charleston, West Virginia where he completed his early education. He majored in Semiotics and studied French philosophy, film theory among other disciplines at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He also spent some time in France enrolled at the University of Paris, studying similar courses.
As time went by, Sam was beginning to undergo burnout from studying Semiotics and had a vague idea on what to do next when an actor/musician friend encouraged him to audition for the New Plays Festival in Brown. He performed in his first play before he graduated from college. Trammell then moved to New York in pursuit of a career in acting. While he made his film debut as a TV talk show intern in The Hotel Manor Inn
(1994) and primetime debut in the 1996 CBS/Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation Harvest of Fire
, Sam was initially recognized as a New York City theater actor, who made his Off-Broadway debut as a compulsive gambler on Dealer's Choice
. Throughout the late '90s, he continued to appear in numerous Off-Broadway and Broadway plays in New York.
On television, Sam played the fast-talking ex-con Sonny Dupree on the short-lived ABC dramedy Maximum Bob
(1998) and Liam McCallister, the youngest son of an Irish Catholic family on the axed NBC drama Trinity
(1998). In Showtime's Going to California
(2001-2002), he appeared as Kevin 'Space' Lauglin, one of the leads on the show. In the few years that followed, he has had guest-starring roles in several regular and cable network series such as House
, and Medium
. In 2008, Trammell won the role of Merlotte, the Bon Temps business owner who has an unrequited affection for Sookie Stackhouse (played by Anna Paquin
), on the vampire drama True Blood