Supporting actor Michael Jace was a regular on the short-lived ABC network drama Dangerous Minds (1996-1997). He has also appeared in feature films since 1996. The tall African-American did not originally aspire to perform, but a smart-aleck comment and a challenge led him to the bright lights. It happened while Jace was in college: A marketing major, he'd gone to watch his then-girlfriend rehearse for a campus play. Acting looked easy and he said so. The director overheard him and suggested he go up and read some lines. Jace accepted and proved to be a natural. Thus inspired, he enrolled in drama classes at the Classic Stage Conservatory in New York. Following graduation, Jace worked in regional theater across the U.S. before he moved to Los Angeles to further his career. It wasn't long before opportunity knocked and he was cast as the leader of the militant Black Panthers in Forrest Gump (1994). He has subsequently appeared in several films, including Strange Days (1995). Among his other television credits include guest-starring roles on L.A. Law, Bridges, and N.Y.P.D. Blue, though he became best known for his portrayal of a sexually confused police officer on The Shield (2002-2007), a gritty police drama from FX. In 2009 he took on a small role in State of Play, a political thriller starring Ben Affleck and Helen Mirren, and appeared in the sports comedy Football's Finiest in 2011. He had a recurring role on the TNT cop drama Southland.
Biography by Sandra Brennan
- Played high-school basketball and baseball in Hackensack, NJ.
- Took up acting in college when he saw his girlfriend rehearsing for a play and thought it looked easy.
- Studied with the Classic Stage Company in New York City.
- Made his film debut as a Black Panther in Forrest Gump (1994).
- Has portrayed many athletes, including boxer Mitch Green in Tyson (1995); the title character in the TV-movie Michael Jordan: An American Hero (1999); and a football player in The Replacements (2000).
- His character on The Shield, Det. Julien Lowe, was originally supposed to be killed off at the end of the first season, but executive producer Shawn Ryan was so impressed with Jace's performance that he kept the character alive.
- Participated in the H.D. Buttercup Inaugural Celebrity Treasure Hunt for Charity and Cinco de Mayo in May 2005.