Hollywood supporting actor Michael Irby's mixed ethnicity enabled him to play characters from a broad array of cultural backgrounds -- from Obaid, one of the Middle Eastern men mistaken by Jodie Foster for a terrorist, in Robert Schwentke's ham-handed thriller Flightplan (2005), to Hispanic writer-in-training Reinaldo Povod (the brief recipient of Miguel Piñero's bisexual overtures) in the 2001 biopic Piñero. Irby's multiethnic quality also accounted for the malleability of his on-camera appearance (depending upon the dramatic situation); he was able to guest as multiple characters, for instance, on the series Law & Order. Irby culled the most widespread attention, however, for his series work on the prime-time military actioner The Unit, as special ops team member Charles Grey.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Grew up playing soccer and after high school, he played in Europe with Team USA. Turned to acting after injuries sustained in a car accident put an end to his soccer days.
- Studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC, where he met his wife, Susan Matus. He and his wife later costarred on The Unit.
- Appeared in the 1998 off-Broadway play Corpus Christi opposite Josh Lucas, who eventually became the godfather of his son, Addison.
- Is of Latino and African-American descent, and plays characters from a variety of backgrounds, including a Middle Eastern man in Flightplan (2005). For Fast Five (2011), he had to learn how to speak some Portuguese.
- Hobbies include cooking, playing guitar and writing poetry.
- Is a supporter of AIDS charities, including the AIDS Walk and the Product Red campaign.