Michael Boatman

Active - 1987 - 2018  |   Born - Oct 25, 1964 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

Versatile supporting and occasional leading actor Michael Boatman has worked steadily on stage, screen, and television since making his feature film debut playing Motown in Hamburger Hill (1987). Fans of the late-'90s ABC sitcom Spin City will recognize him for playing Carter, while those who loved the ABC drama China Beach will remember him for playing the caustic but funny Private Sam Beckett.

Though born in Colorado Springs, CO, Boatman was raised in Chicago. His initial interest in acting as a teen was purely mercenary, in that he thought it might be a way to meet girls. He proved to have a knack for acting and went on to study theater at Western Illinois University, where he played leads in a variety of classic dramas. He won a Best Supporting Actor Award after competing in the Irene Ryan National Competition at the Kennedy Center.

Following the filming of Hamburger Hill, Boatman spent 18 months in New York establishing his acting credentials off-Broadway. The role of Private Beckett lured him to Los Angeles and he remained on China Beach for its entire run. Other television appearances include guest shots on The Larry Sanders Show and Living Single, as well as co-starring roles in such made-for-TV movies as Donor and Conspiracy of Terror. In 1994, Boatman played the lead in the film The Glass Shield.

Boatman is also recognizable for his work on the long-running HBO series Arli$$; his role as uptight CFO Stanley Babson would earn him nominations for four Image Image Awards. The actor continued to work in a supporting capacity throughout the mid-2000s, appearing in feature films including Woman, Thou Art Loosed (2004), Once Upon a Mattress (2005), and 2007's And Then Came Love. However, Boatman found more success on the small screen for his work on Sherri, the Lifetime comedy series starring Sherri Shepherd, and in the role of attorney Julius Cane in CBS' The Good Wife. In 2012, Boatman worked with Charlie Sheen in a recurring role for the television series Anger Management.

Movie Highlights

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  • Spent a month after college working for a casting agent, which quickly led to his debut film role as Motown in the 1987 Vietnam War movie Hamburger Hill.
  • Received the Alumni Achievement Award from Western Illinois University in 1997.
  • Nominated in the Image Awards' Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series category every year from 1998 through 2001 for Spin City; also nominated for the Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Award in 2002 and 2003 for Arli$$.
  • Writes science-fiction novels as a sideline to his acting work.
  • Has been an avid collector of comic books since he was in third grade.