Alexander Johan Hjalmar Skarsgård (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈskɑːʂɡoːɖ]; born August 25, 1976) is a Swedish actor. He is best known for his roles as vampire Eric Northman on the HBO series True Blood, Meekus in Zoolander and Brad Colbert in the HBO miniseries Generation Kill. He is the son of Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård. Skarsgård was born in Stockholm, Sweden. He is the son of actor Stellan Skarsgård and his first wife, My, a physician. He has five younger siblings: Gustaf, Sam, Bill, Eija and Valter, and two half-brothers, Ossian and Kolbjörn. Gustaf, Bill, and Valter are also actors. A friend of his father, who was a director, gave Skarsgård his first film role when he was seven years old. He played Kalle Nubb in Åke och hans värld (Åke and His World). In 1989, the lead role in the Swedish television production Hunden som log (The Dog That Smiled) made him famous in Sweden at the age of thirteen. Uncomfortable with being recognized, he quit acting for the next seven years. At age 19, he applied to do his national service. He served in the Swedish military for 18 months, in a unit that dealt with anti-sabotage and anti-terrorism in the Stockholm archipelago. After completing his service in 1996 he left Sweden and attended Leeds Metropolitan University in England for six months. He enrolled to study English but admits he did not study much and "had a blast" instead. After seven years away from acting, he started to consider it again. In 1997 he enrolled in a theater course at Marymount Manhattan College and moved to New York City. He returned to Stockholm after six months, but the time he spent studying theater showed him that he wanted to act.
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