Born to a teenage heroin addict and a mobster, Michael Morra was addicted to heroin since birth. After his mother died, he became "Rockets Redglare." Growing up in Brooklyn and Long Island surrounded by severe drug addiction and illegal activity, Rockets turned to performing as an outlet and began a life as an actor, comedian, and general tough guy. Hanging out around the East Village during the late '70s, Rockets became a permanent fixture in the punk and porno film scenes. He worked as a bodyguard for the Sex Pistols and was the personal drug dealer for Sid Vicious. In the early '80s, he joined up with Steve Buscemi for standup comedy performances and short plays called "The Rockets Redglare Taxi Cabaret." With a small role in Jim Jarmusch's independent opus Stranger Than Paradise, he began a 15-year-long acting career. Playing characters not unlike his real-life persona, Rockets has also appeared in such independent classics as Desperately Seeking Susan, Mystery Train, and Trees Lounge. He played himself in the biographical drama Basquiat, as a bodyguard to the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Due to complications with liver failure and hepatitis C, Rockets died on May 28, 2001, at the age of 52. In 2002, Luis Fernandez de la Reguera released a documentary about his career and use of comedy performance to triumph over personal battles.