Though known mainly for his role as complicated police officer Vic Mackey on F/X's television cop drama The Shield, Massachusetts native Michael Chiklis has been acting professionally since the age of 13, when he made several appearances at the Town and Country Playhouse in Salem, NH. From there, Chiklis enlisted in a variety of classical, occasionally Shakespearian theatrical productions at the prestigious Merrimack Repertory Theatre and ultimately studied acting in the drama program at Boston University's College of Fine Arts. After graduating, Chiklis traveled to New York and began the auditioning process. In 1988, he was picked to portray John Belushi in the feature film Wired, though litigation and controversy delayed the release and proper promotional process, and the picture itself was a wretched mess (not to mention a depressing affair).
By 1991, after making guest appearances in some of the most popular sitcoms of the time (Murphy Brown, L.A. Law, and Seinfeld, to name a few), Chiklis was cast as amiable police commissioner Tony Scali on ABC's The Commish. Though a few extra pounds at that time helped him land the role after his audition, his subsequent weight loss required him to wear a "fat suit" to remain in character (though the actor was only in his mid-twenties, series producers created the role for someone much older). When The Commish ceased to be after a five-year run, Chiklis took on a small role in Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995) and starred in the ill-fated NBC sitcom Daddio (2000). Two years later, the series premiere of The Shield catapulted Chiklis back into the forefront of network success. His role on the popular series would bring him two Best Actor nominations from the Golden Globes, as well as one from the Screen Actor's Guild.
Chiklis contented himself with this part for several years, but in 2005, he returned to cinematic ventures and went big budget with the FX-laden summer extravaganza Fantastic Four. This film - like the famous Stan Lee comic strip - concerns a group of individuals who journey into outer space to investigate a cosmic storm, and find each of their DNA codes altered in a unique way; one by one, they become The Human Torch, The Thing, The Invisible Girl, and Mr. Fantastic (four superheroes, each of whom has a unique power) -- and must collectively take on the seemingly invincible Doctor Doom (Julian McMahon). Chiklis plays The Thing (nee Ben Grimm), a creature made entirely of stone. Though broadly derided in the press, the public ignored the negative critical responses and helped The Fantastic Four reel in an estimated worldwide gross of around $330 million -- paving the way for a 2007 sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
The Shield would end its run in 2008, but that same year, Chiklis signed for a supporting role in director D.J. Caruso's psychological thriller Eagle Eye. He was soon back on the small screen, however, with a starring role on the short-lived comedy series No Ordinary Family.