Acting seems to have been his fate
"I find it rather odd that by the tender age of five, I already knew that I wanted to be an actor. Stranger still is the fact that I haven't changed my mind."
Name: Michael Chiklis
Date of Birth: August 30, 1963
Place of Birth: Lowell, Massachusetts, USA
Family: Married Michele Moran on June 21, 1992. The couple has two daughters. Autumn was born in 1993 and Odessa came along in 1999.
"It was early on in the run of The Commish that I became keenly aware of the self-interested way that I had lived much of my young life. I credit my wife wholly for bringing this to my attention. There's nothing like a great woman and some beautiful kids to pull you out of yourself"
A Determined Young Man
He Knew What He Wanted
Michael Chiklis began acting professionally at the age of thirteen when he appeared in his first summer stock season at the Town and Country Playhouse in Salem, New Hampshire. It was during this time that Michael met his theatrical mentor, Mark Kaufman. His affiliation with Kaufman led to his involvement in the opening of one of the most prosperous theaters in Massachusetts, The Merrimack Repertory Theater. It was at that theater in a production of Romeo and Juliet, that 13-year-old Michael Chiklis earned his Equity card.
According to Michael, it was during this exciting time in his life when his love for the theater, particularly his interest in the classics, was galvanized.
"I appeared in a number of Regional Theater productions, including many of Shakespeare's works, Chekov. Molliere, American contemporary classics and musicals. Basically, I would act in anything they would let me act in"
Throughout his tenure at Andover High School, he was an avid participant in all of the school productions as well as being a triple letterman in sports. It was a turbulent time in the life of teenaged Michael, but that did nothing to deter his interest in attending the Boston University School of Fine Arts. He described studying acting at a major university in Boston.
"For those of you who are wondering what studying acting at a major university in a great city like Boston might be like...How can I briefly describe it? Thrilling, frightening, challenging, inspiring, sickening, gratifying, confusing, enlightening and a whole lot of other words ending in "ing"
Moving To The Big Apple
He Kept Trying
The day after graduating from college in the early 1980's, he moved to New York. Michael's journey into the real world was beginning. At first he found the city completely overwhelming. Then he dared to dream.
"I remember driving over the hill on route 84 south, and seeing the monstrous expanse of the big apple for the first time and thinking I'm going to kick this city's ass! I'm going to own this joint!"
Three years later, young Michael was barely able to survive. Working on one off Broadway show after another, the money he was making didn't pay the price of a can of Spam. With no money and practically destitute, Michael Chiklis was the quintessential starving artist. He was so devastated that one day he found himself literally on his knees on the Brooklyn Bridge overlooking downtown Manhattan. While crying his heart out, he was begging the city its forgiveness.
Michael Gets Wired
A Taste Of Bittersweet
Two months later, 24-year-old Michael was starring in a major motion picture about one of his idols, John Belushi. After twelve auditions, Michael won the lead role in the feature film version of Wired . The hard-hitting biography dealt extensively with the late comedian's drug abuse. In 1988, Michael was all set for the exciting venture, but controversy and litigation kept the film from opening until 1989. At this point, it was shunned by Hollywood and overlooked by the public. Casting directors, however, took notice of Michael. He seems to have taken all the fuss surrounding the movie in stride.
"Ah, "Wired" my first taste of bittersweet success. Twenty-four years old, starring in a major motion picture produced by a man who had just won an Academy Award, only to find out, two months into production, that all of Hollywood wanted my head for doing it. Much has been written and said about "Wired." I don't care to say much more about it than this - Do I regret having done it? No. Is it the way I pictured my film career starting? Absolutely not. Am I the wiser for it? Without question. I feel incredibly blessed to have survived it, career wise, that is."
His Career In Television
It All Pays Off
In 1989, Michael made his TV-movie debut as an evangelist hoping to benefit from a child preacher's trust fund in an episode of B.L. Stryker, a series starring Burt Reynolds. In 1991, Michael played a sexist comedian in Murphy Brown. Some other popular shows he's appeared on over the years include Miami Vice, L.A. Law, Wiseguy, Seinfeld, Touched by an Angel and Family Guy.
In 1991, Michael was cast in the role of Anthony J. "Tony" Scali in the ABC weekly series, The Commish. The show lasted from 1991 to 1995. Michael's portrayal of the easygoing Police Commissioner is considered his claim to fame.
In 2000 came the lead role in the NBC sitcom Daddio, in which he played stay-at-home dad, Chris Woods. The show went off the air shortly after it debuted. Everything, including his physical appearance was about to change for the actor.
A New Look For A New Character
A New Attitude
Bright-eyed Michael Chiklis was balding, has a tendency to be overweight and always appeared older than his years on camera. By the time The Commish was established, Michael, who was in his late twenties had lost so much weight that he had to wear a "fat suit" to remain in character. As Chris Woods on Daddio, he was noticeably thinner, but looked much the same and projected the same sweet and lovable image.
After Daddio went off the air, Michael's wife, Michele suggested he slim down and change his image. Dieting and working out vigorously, he shed more than 50 pounds. Also shaving his head, he had changed his entire look. Working together, he and Michele began writing a movie role for the new Michael Chiklis. The two were determined to get a new role for Michael, even if it meant creating one themselves. The role they had in mind was that of a rogue cop.
A Different Kind Of Cop
Detective Vik Mackey
A new television called The Shield brought an excellent opportunity for Michael Chiklis. The show premiered in March of 2002 on The FX Network. The series stars Michael Chiklis as Detective Vik Mackey, leader of the elite Strike unit. Mackey is an effective cop, but one that operates under his own set of rules.
When Michael eventually read the pilot script for The Shield, which was similar to the script he and Michele had been working on, he knew it was what he'd been hoping for. When he read for the part, he generated anger by being furious at the prospect of not getting it. He aggressively pursued the role of Vik Mackey until he got it.
The pilot of The Shield was the highest-rated original series premiere in Basic Cable television history, and for the former star of The Commish, it's the part of a lifetime. Vik Mackey doesn't see himself as a good cop or a bad cop. He's a "different kind of cop." What Michael likes best about the show is that it doesn't tell you what to think, and he's not about to supply the moral himself.
"The camera just sees what it sees. "The reflection is unbiased. We want to evoke thought, emotion, dialogue. Wasn't it Shakespeare who said that art was a mirror held up to life?"
His First Emmy
Anything worth having is worth the patience, the work and whatever else it takes to get it. In September of 2002, Michael Chiklis won his first Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series. In answer to those who initially criticized the series as exploitative, Michael said his Emmy, and two other nominations the series received, were vindication of the drama's quality.
Michael's favorite charity is The Children's Lifesaving Foundation
The Rain Killer (1990)
Body and Soul (1998)
The Taxman (1999)
Do Not Disturb (1999)
St. Michael's Crossing (1999)
Carlo's Wake (1999)
The Three Stooges (2000)
Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001)
Heavy Gear: The Animated Series (2001)
The Shield (2002)
The Three Stooges 75th Anniversary Special (2003)