Ethnicity: African American and Caucasian
Michael Michele has won acclaim for her portrayals of strong and capable women on television as well as in feature films.
Born in Evansville, Indiana, on August 30, 1966, she, like practically everyone in the Hoosier State, grew up a big basketball fan. Michele played roundball in high school (with her team making the state championships) and participated in volleyball and track.
In time, she developed a passion for acting which overwhelmed her enthusiasm for sports (although she remained a committed runner and was known to shoot baskets for relaxation between takes shooting films or television shows), and she moved to the East Coast to concentrate on her career in the late ’80s.
In 1989, after a few minor TV roles and parts in commercials, Michele’s big break appeared to have arrived in the form of a showy supporting role in Eddie Murphy’s film Harlem Nights; the actress was fired during the shooting, however, and she later filed a sexual harassment suit against Murphy, which was settled out of court.
Michele rebounding in 1991 when she was cast in Mario Van Peebles’s gritty urban drama New Jack City; a year later, she was a regular on the short-lived TV series Dangerous Curves. Her performance in the mini-series Trade Winds proved more memorable, and led to recurring roles on New York Undercover and Central Park West.
After appearances in a handful of feature films, Michele scored another major TV role in the series Homicide: Life on the Street in 1998. She turned in her badge a year later to step up to the top-rated medical drama ER, where, between 1999 and 2001, she appeared as Dr. Cleo Finch. Michele’s well-regarded work on that series boosted her stock in the film industry, and, in 2003, she appeared in two major motion pictures: How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days and Dark Blue.
An avid jazz fan, Michele became active in mentoring underprivileged children when not busy with her work.