Michael Chiklis Biography

Michael Chiklis Biography on Monsters and Critics


"Michael Charles Chiklis" (born August 30, 1963) is an Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning American actor. He is known for starring in two popular police dramas: "The Commish" (1991-1995) and "The Shield" (2002-) and as Ben Grimm/The Thing in the live-action "Fantastic Four" films.


Early life

Chiklis was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, to Charlie Chiklis, a second-generation Greek American who runs a hair salon, and Kate, a hospital administrative aide from whom Chiklis has been described as inheriting his acting ability. Chiklis' paternal ancestors came from Lesbos Island. Chiklis grew up in Andover, Massachusetts and began entertaining his family with celebrity imitations when he was just five years old. As a child, Chiklis appeared in regional theater productions and earned his Actor's Equity card at age thirteen. He later attended Boston University College of Fine Arts, where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts.

At age 20, Chiklis shaved his head to look like male-pattern baldness for the part of a 65-year-old man in "You Can't Take It With You". Instead of using powder on his head (as he did on his face), he used greasepaint, and he failed to remove it properly at the end of each day. This killed the hair follicles on his head, essentially shaping his career in many ways. Chiklis has said in an (interview) that this was a very traumatic experience as a young actor, and is the reason he wore a hairpiece in "Wired".


After graduation, Chiklis moved to New York City with high ambitions, but he struggled for several years before being cast the role of John Belushi in the controversial biopic "Wired" in 1989. The film was panned in general and flopped at the box office, but Chiklis received good reviews for his performance. He also guest starred in several popular television series such as "Miami Vice", "L.A. Law", "Murphy Brown", and "Seinfeld" alongside bit parts in films like "Nixon".

"The Commish" was Chiklis's first acclaimed and successful role. In the family-friendly police comedy/drama, Chiklis played Anthony 'Tony' J. Scali, a police commissioner in a small city in upstate New York. A stern but lovable father figure, Chiklis's character had an easygoing style, smart wit, and an unorthodox approach to parenthood and police work. After "The Commish", Chiklis starred in the short-lived and critically-panned NBC sitcom "Daddio". After playing Curly Howard in a television movie about the Three Stooges, Chiklis decided to reinvent his image. With his wife's help, he spent six months on an extensive workout regimen and shaved his head. He turned up to audition for "The Shield" looking nothing like the pudgy, friendly character of "The Commish".

Winning over the creator Shawn Ryan, Chiklis nabbed the leading role of the show's tough, edgy, detective Vic Mackey. Although "The Shield" has been controversial because of its violent content, Chiklis's acting has been highly praised, and he has won several awards for his role. Playing the role of the bulked up and brutal cop has also helped Chiklis break out from typecasting, shedding the overweight and friendly image that had defined his career in the past. It was noted by Charlton Brooker that in many shots he bore a strong resemblence to Ross Kemp. Since 2000, he is also taken up a number of voice roles, voicing Chihiro's father, Akio, in the English dub of Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" and Roman/King Webster in the direct-to-video feature "The Adventures of Tom Thumb & Thumbelina". He has also performed in several episodes of "Family Guy" and had a voice role in "Heavy Gear: The Animated Series".

In 2005, he starred in "Fantastic Four" as The Thing and for its sequel, "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer". A fan of the comic series, Chiklis was often praised for his performance in a film that otherwise earned mixed reviews. Chiklis's first major recognition came in 2003, as he won the 2002 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series for his role as Detective Vic Mackey on "The Shield". He received a Golden Globe that same year for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series-Drama as well. Between 2004 and 2005, he was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama Series but did not win.

Personal life

A lifelong comic book fan, he rarely (if ever) turns down an autograph request from children. In fact, according to the DVD commentary for the "Fantastic Four" film, his voice has been going hoarse from doing so many requests as Thing; in Chiklis's own words 'How do you say no to an 8 year old?'

Chiklis married Michelle Morán on 21 June, 1992 and they have 2 daughters, Autumn, born on October 9, 1993, and Odessa, born in 1999. Autumn plays Vic Mackey's daughter Cassidy on "The Shield".

He attended the same high school as his good friend Jay Leno.

External links

( Photo Gallery for "The Shield")

Exclusive interview from Maxim.com (... more)


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article about Michael Chiklis.