Michael Burns went from playing boyish male ingénues in the early '60s to a somewhat less successful career as a male lead in such offbeat movies as That Cold Day in the Park. Born in Mineola, NY, in 1947, he was raised in Yonkers, NY, and later in Beverly Hills, CA. His father, Frank Burns. had been a pioneering engineer in the field of television during the '30s and was later a director. It was through a chance encounter with the father of a classmate in his Beverly Hills school (who knew of an opening for a boy actor) that Michael Burns began a television career in August 1958 at the age of nine. His subsequent small-screen appearances included Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Loretta Young Show, The Twilight Zone, and G.E. Theatre before he landed the role of Barnaby West, a young orphan adopted by the crew of the wagon train, in the MCA-produced series Wagon Train. He later appeared in episodes of Bonanza and other dramatic series. In 1969, he graduated to adult roles in the drama That Cold Day in the Park, directed by Robert Altman, in which he was obliged to portray some sexual situations that would have been unheard of in movies at the time he entered the business. Despite pursuing his acting career into adulthood, Burns is best remembered for roles during his teenage years. He served in production capacities beginning in the '80s, notably as an executive producer of Monster's Ball in 2001.