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Also Known As: Mike Beach Died:
Born: October 30, 1963 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Boston, Massachusetts, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A versatile, classically-trained performer, actor Michael Beach came to prominence as the charismatically unfaithful husband in Terry McMillan's adapted novel, "Waiting to Exhale" (1995), and on the hit medical drama, "ER" (NBC, 1994- ), playing a man who infects his ex-wife (Gloria Reuben) with HIV. Despite playing such abhorrent characters for much of his career, Beach was finally able to avoid being typecast as the betraying husband. Later in his career, in fact, Beach had established himself in lighter roles, playing men of conscience in the upbeat feature, "Soul Food" (1997), and on the long-running NBC drama "Third Watch" (1999-2005), allowing Beach to project his innate warmth and steadiness in parts more befitting the genial actor.Beach was born on Oct. 30, 1963 in Roxbury, MA, where he was raised with his three siblings by his divorced mother, Barbara Gomez Beach, an MIT-educated city planner. A star running back, Beach's athletic skills led him to play football for Noble and Greenough School on scholarship. He had dreams of turning professional, but an injury permanently sidelined his hopes. A friend suggested acting as a new passion and the devastated Beach reluctantly auditioned for a...

A versatile, classically-trained performer, actor Michael Beach came to prominence as the charismatically unfaithful husband in Terry McMillan's adapted novel, "Waiting to Exhale" (1995), and on the hit medical drama, "ER" (NBC, 1994- ), playing a man who infects his ex-wife (Gloria Reuben) with HIV. Despite playing such abhorrent characters for much of his career, Beach was finally able to avoid being typecast as the betraying husband. Later in his career, in fact, Beach had established himself in lighter roles, playing men of conscience in the upbeat feature, "Soul Food" (1997), and on the long-running NBC drama "Third Watch" (1999-2005), allowing Beach to project his innate warmth and steadiness in parts more befitting the genial actor.

Beach was born on Oct. 30, 1963 in Roxbury, MA, where he was raised with his three siblings by his divorced mother, Barbara Gomez Beach, an MIT-educated city planner. A star running back, Beach's athletic skills led him to play football for Noble and Greenough School on scholarship. He had dreams of turning professional, but an injury permanently sidelined his hopes. A friend suggested acting as a new passion and the devastated Beach reluctantly auditioned for a school play. But the discipline of performing - coupled with him playing an elderly Dutch Jewish in "The Diary of Anne Frank" - permanently hooked the former athlete. Beach graduated in 1982 and soon entered into the NAACP's Act-So competition. On the strength of his performance as Walter Lee in "Raisin in the Sun," he was granted a scholarship to the prestigious Juilliard School in New York. Beach spent the next four years in Manhattan, honing his craft alongside future stars Andre Braugher, Ving Rhames and Eriq LaSalle.

In 1984, Beach earned an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Drama League. Meanwhile, towards the end of his term at Juilliard, a visiting talent agent tapped Beach as a client and within a month, he was working opposite Wesley Snipes in the feature "Streets of Gold" (1986). Beach returned to the stage, nabbing a New York Shakespeare Festival Award, which in turn led to a steady stream of film and television work. He had a small role in Peter Yates' "Suspect" (1987), then became a reserve military volunteer in the TV movie "Weekend War" (ABC, 1988). Mixing it up, Beach went from an independent period feature, "In a Shallow Grave" (1988), playing a southern mansion worker at the turn of the 20th century, to a blockbuster with James Cameron's "The Abyss" (1989).

After appearing in "Lean on Me" (1989), which he suited up for as an athletics faculty member at odds with principal Joe Clark (Morgan Freeman), Beach began to land more and more features. He was a tough stockade inmate in the Martin Sheen-directed "Cadence" (1990), then played a dutiful Los Angeles officer in "Internal Affairs" (1990). Some roles offered him a chance to flex his dramatic chops in darker ways, like his turn as remorseless killer Wade "Pluto" Franklin in the acclaimed thriller, "One False Move" (1992). Though he was focused on advancing his career, even high profile projects like Robert Altman's "Short Cuts" (1993) and Tony Scott's "True Romance" (1993) followed his personal philosophy of choosing roles for the characters, not necessarily the size of the project.

The year 1995 proved to be a watershed one for the actor, kicking off with "Bad Company," which saw Beach play a gay espionage agent. Later that fall, he appeared in a recurring role on the second season of "ER" - ironically enough, Beach initially auditioned to play Dr. Peter Benton, a role won by old friend and Juilliard classmate, Eriq La Salle. But instead he played Al Boulet, the estranged husband of doctor's assistant Jeanie Boulet, who unknowingly infects his wife with HIV after contracting the virus from an affair. Despite Boulet's acts of selfishness, Beach and co-star Gloria Reuben brought the arc to a somewhat sympathetic, sensitive place of redemption, rather than one of vilification. By the end of the year, Beach acted the villain to much effect, playing the callous John Harris, who commits adultery before callously leaving his wife, Bernie (Angela Bassett), in the feature drama "Waiting to Exhale" (1995).

His roles on "Exhale" and "ER" put Beach on the map, though he received a fair share of criticism from female fans. Undeterred with being typecast as a cheating louse, Beach went back to work, logging major screen time as James Earl Jones' son, Virgil, in "A Family Thing" (1996), before somewhat redeeming his husband status with a turn as a decent, but frustrated attorney in the feature drama, "Soul Food" (1997). In 1997, Beach appeared in the Disney telefilm "Ruby Bridges" (ABC, 1998), playing the father of the real-life six-year-old who helped integrate America's school system by attending school in New Orleans in 1960. While continuing to work in small films, Beach was recruited by his former "ER" boss John Wells to play a fresh-on-the-beat New York paramedic named "Doc" Parker - a role specifically written for the actor - on NBC's "Third Watch" (1999-2005).

Beach's time on "Third Watch" netted him an Image Award in 2003 and marked his longest stint on a project up until that time. During his breaks from the show, he squeezed in other work, notably putting his chops to the test in "Crazy as Hell" (2002) opposite director and co-star LaSalle. Meanwhile, in the fifth season of "Third Watch," Doc tried to save his station house by shooting the company captain, only to wind up institutionalized, thus marking the end of the beloved character. An in-demand Beach, however, continued to appear in other projects, moving into a multi-episode arc of ABC's "Brothers & Sisters" (2006- ) and tackling the horror thriller "Hell Ride" (2008). No longer merely an onscreen villain, Beach's "Third Watch" co-star Jason Wiles knew who to call when directing his own feature, tapping his former colleague to help save a town in peril in "Play Dead" (2008).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Broken City (2013)
3.
 Red Dawn (2012)
5.
 Pastor Brown (2011)
6.
 First Sunday (2008)
7.
 Hell Ride (2008)
8.
 Lenexa, 1 Mile (2006)
9.
10.
 Crazy As Hell (2002) Ty Adams
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Roxbury, Massachusetts
:
Left home at age 14 to attend Noble & Greenough School on a football scholarship; ankle injury ended athletic aspirations
:
Studied at Juilliard and met up with Eriq LaSalle, Ving Rhames and Andre Braugher
1986:
TV-movie debut in "Vengeance: The Story of Tony Cimo" (CBS), starring Brad Davis
1986:
Film debut, "Streets of Gold", billed as Mike Beach
1987:
Played a parking lot attendant in "Suspect"
1988:
Had regular role on syndicated cop series "The Street", filmed mostly at night with hand-held cameras to give it a documentary-news look
1988:
Co-starred in the unsuccessful "In a Shallow Grave", playing Quintus Pearch
1989:
Acted in "The Abyss" and "Lean on Me"
1991:
Had major role of Pluto, a knife-wielding ex-con, in the cult hit "One False Move"; first screen collaboration with writers Billy Bob Thornton (who also acted) and Tom Epperson
1994:
Appeared in the syndicated TV-movie "Knight Rider 2010"
1995:
Cast as the closeted gay spy partner of Laurence Fishburne in "Bad Company"
1995:
Played recurring character Al Boulet, who infected his ex-wife (Gloria Reuben) with the HIV virus in the NBC drama series "ER"
1995:
Portrayed Angela Bassett's cheating husband in "Waiting to Exhale"
1996:
Appeared opposite Irma P Hall as Virgil, the surly son of James Earl Jones, in the comedy-drama "A Family Thing", scripted by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson
1997:
Cast as the drug-dealing antagonist in the HBO movie "Rebound: The Legend of Earl 'The Goat' Manigault", directed by good friend Eriq LaSalle
1997:
Played opposite Vanessa L Williams in "Soul Food"; film also co-starred Irma P Hall as Williams' mother
1999:
Featured in the ensemble of the NBC drama series "Third Watch"
2002:
Had a role in the Eriq La Salle directed drama "Crazy as Hell"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Noble & Greenough School: Dedham , Massachusetts -
The Juilliard School: New York , New York - 1986

Notes

Received the 1986 New York Shakespeare Festival's Best Armed Combat Award for his performances at Juilliard

"The next few choices I make, I might want to stay away from the problem husband, but . . . if something great comes up, I'll probably do it." --Michael Beach, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, October 17, 1997

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Tracey Beach.

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