Pruitt Taylor Vince attended Louisiana State University and began acting due to a mistake; a computer error in his high school registration scheduled him in an acting class.
Pruitt made his film debut in Jim Jarmusch's Down by Law, but his scenes wound up on the cutting room floor. He had prominent supporting roles in a number of major films, including a turn as a dimwitted Ku Klux Klan member in Mississippi Burning, Lee Bowers in JFK, and the main character's best friend in Nobody's Fool. He also starred in Giuseppe Tornatore's Legend of 1900 alongside Tim Roth. He had his first lead role in James Mangold's independent film Heavy, playing a sweet, silent overweight cook harboring a crush on a waitress (Liv Tyler).
Pruitt often alternates roles of both heroic and villainous characters, like a lovable small town pub owner in Beautiful Girls, a serial killer with multiple personalities in Identity (a second collaboration with director Mangold), the disheveled gossip columnist in s1mone, and a pompous sheriff in Nurse Betty. He can also be seen in Love from Ground Zero as Walter. Vince also played a Southern cop in Angel Heart, a kidnapper's assistant in Trapped, and a deputy prison warden in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers.
Other film titles include the neo-noir China Moon and the psychological horror film Jacob's Ladder.
Guest appearances on TV shows include Deadwood, Alias, The X-Files, Miami Vice, Quantum Leap, Chicago Hope, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, House M.D., Highlander: The Series, and the American remake of Touching Evil. In 2011 he appeared as Otis in the AMC television series The Walking Dead. He also had a guest role playing a 600-lb. patient in Fox's medical drama House. In 2010–2011 Pruitt had a multi-episode appearance in The Mentalist. In 2012, he appeared in a full episode of Justified. He shows great comedic talent as "Jelly" in Flypaper.
- I Know My First Name Is Steven (TV Mini-Series)
- K-9 (1989)
- Till Death Us Do Part (1992)
- City Slickers: The Legend of Curly's Gold (1994)
- Murder One: Diary of a Serial Killer (TV Mini-Series)
- Murder One (TV Series)
- Cold Around the Heart (1997)
- Identity (2003)
- Touching Evil (TV Series)
- Deadwood (TV Series)
- Infamous (TV Series)
- The Walking Dead (TV Series)
- True Blood (TV Series)
- The Mentalist (TV Series)
- Stranger Things (TV Series)
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (TV Series)
- Gotti (2018)