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Michael Emerson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (15)  | Personal Quotes (11)

Overview (2)

Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
Height 5' 8½" (1.74 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Michael Emerson was born on September 7, 1954 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA. He is an actor, known for Lost (2004), Person of Interest (2011) and Saw (2004). He has been married to Carrie Preston since September 5, 1998.

Spouse (1)

Carrie Preston (5 September 1998 - present)

Trade Mark (2)

Distinctive voice
Frequently works with wife Carrie Preston (e.g. mother and son in 'Lost' (though not in the same scenes), doomed fiances in 'Person of Interest', neighbors in 'Ready? OK!', and numerous appearances together on stage).

Trivia (15)

Is a stage actor who makes occasional films.
In 1995, he graduated from the prestigious Professional Actor Training M. F. A. program run jointly by the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and The University of Alabama Department of Theater and Dance. He turned 40 while in the program, which made him about 15 years older than the typical theater graduate student.
Graduate of Drake University, where he earned a degree in Theater Arts.
Worked as a freelance illustrator for publications like The Boston Globe and The New York Times.
On Lost (2004), he played Ben Linus, the son of Roger Linus, played by Jon Gries, who is actually 3 years the junior of Emerson. The age difference is explicable because Roger is first seen in flashbacks to Ben's birth and childhood. Ben's mother was played by Carrie Preston, who in addition to being (like Gries) somewhat younger than Emerson, is also his real-life wife.
Emerson graduated from South Tama County High School in Tama, Iowa.
Michael Emerson met his now-wife, Carrie Preston, during the mid-1990s, when they both appeared in a production of "Hamlet" at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Preston played "Ophelia" and Emerson played "Guildenstern" in the production.
Close friends with Terry O'Quinn.
Did not have his first starring role in a play until he was 43 years old.
Worked as a freelance illustrator and in retail before his acting career started.
Did not start acting professionally until he was 32 years old.
Worked as a Drama teacher before acting and briefly considered staying with it.
He and the cast were awarded the 1998 Back Stage Garland Award for Ensemble for "Gross Indecency' The Trials of Oscar Wilde at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
He was awarded the 1998 Back Stage Garland Award for Performance for "Gross Indecency' The Trials of Oscar Wilde at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
His father was of German, Irish, and English descent. His mother's ancestry is half Norwegian and half Czech.

Personal Quotes (11)

I've had the blessing of doing classic plays on Broadway, which was one of my great dreams forever.
It worries me a little bit the reach and power of TV. More people saw me in The Practice (1997) than will ever see me in all the stage plays I ever do. Which is sort of humbling. Or troubling. Or both.
[about doing Unfaithful (2002)] You work four days, and then one line is left when you see it. Demoralizing.
A better question might be what is it about those characters that appeals to audiences, or an even better question is why do audiences perceive them as creepy? Let's say I got to the studio one day and I play it in neutral - I don't make any judgment about the character or the material or anything. And then when it comes out and it's all chopped together and there's music and stuff, people go 'my God that's scary!' But I don't know what the scary element is. I don't know if it's something in me. I don't know if it's in the playing of it or the perceiving of it. It's an interesting issue, though. - asked why he's drawn to playing "creepy" characters
[on 'Person of Interest'] When the NSA story broke I thought 'Oh, wow, now real events have caught up with us'. It's double-edged, though, because now we're very topical and the writers can no longer write it from the point-of-view of it being fiction. In a real way, the world has forced itself on us. And now the real world has to be incorporated into our stories in more subtle ways - because of what the audience now knows.
[on having appeared for five seasons on 'Lost'] I like the show better the more I think of it. It did break new ground and it had a ripple effect. It played with the narrative process. It presented the audience with an esoteric view of time and space in a way they hadn't seen before. And I think the audience paid it back with this incredible affection and fervor that has really never gone away.
[After seeing his first show...] I thought to myself that night, if I could ever be half that cool, if I could ever be half that entertaining, I would never ask for anything else.
[When he was cast as Oscar Wilde...] This was the break of a lifetime. This was my Cinderella moment.
While I was a grad student, I was asked to be a driver for a famous actor who came to give a speech at our school. As I was driving him from the airport, I saw that he was studying me and then eventually he said, "Do you mind if I ask you how old you are?" And I said, "forty", and he said, "And you're a student here?", and I said, "Yeah", and he took a beat and then he said, "Well, you're a braver man than I am." And to this day, I'm not sure what he meant by that. Did he mean he really thought I was brave to be starting a career so late in life, or did he really think I was crazy to be starting a career so late in life? It doesn't matter, because I don't think I was either one. It wasn't especially great and it wasn't especially crazy, I was just playing the hand I was dealt. I was on my path. I was on my timetable. Ten short years later, I was in a position to work beside this actor. It's not a race, and you don't have to get there first. It just seems like you get there when you get there. Having accepted the unexpected as a constant in my life, the lesson I take from it - if there is any lesson to be had - is to be patient with yourself, to be patient with the world, to try to be as flexible as you can, and love the thing you do for its own sake, and also see the humour because I'll tell you what, we are in a comedy more often than we think.
{About getting a job on Lost...] There have been times when I regretted all the detours and delays in my so-called career, but I don't think about it that way anymore. I look back on it now and I see that everything was leading, although gradually, towards a wonderful experience like working on this show and hopefully toward something unexpected in the future. I'm glad I didn't give up, even though there were times when it had seemed hopeless.
I feel that I waited a long time to give birth to Benjamin Linus.

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