A native of Silver Spring, MD, suave and clean-cut actor Michael Ealy appeared on-camera from the late '90s. He began on the small screen, with guest appearances on network programs including Law & Order and ER, but scored his breakout role with a much-favored turn as Ricky Nash, a convict-in-the-running with several past charges against him, in the predominantly African American ensemble comedies Barbershop (2002) and Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004). The billing in these projects was somewhat prescient: Ealy continued to take challenging and unique supporting roles and gradually worked his way up the Hollywood ladder, openly declaring himself in no hurry to become a top-billed star. Additional projects included the action sagas 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) and S.W.A.T. (2003) and the psychological thriller November (2003), but Ealy netted much greater acclaim -- and flexed some impressive dramatic muscle -- with his portrayal of Teacake in the Oprah Winfrey-produced telemovie Their Eyes Were Watching God (2005). He then landed the incredibly demanding and edgy lead role of Darwyn Al-Sayeed, a terrorist plotting an attack on the United States, in the Showtime original miniseries Sleeper Cell (2005). In 2008, Ealy starred opposite Will Smith and Rosario Dawson in the earnest suicide drama Seven Pounds, directed by Gabriele Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness). Ealy took on a leading role as a Bishop hiding in a small Italian village that opposes the Nazi cause in Spike Lee's acclaimed war drama Miracle at St. Anna (2008), and co-starred with Julianna Margulies and Michael J. Fox in the CBS television series The Good Wife the following year. In 2010 he played a supporting role in the crime thriller Takers, and starred in the romantic comedy Think Like a Man in 2010.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Got his start acting in off-Broadway plays.
- Named one of the Sexiest Men Alive by People magazine in 2002.
- Played the love interest in music videos for Mariah Carey ("Get Your Number") and Beyoncé ("Halo").
- Appeared in the 2009 documentary The People Speak, a history of American democracy that focuses on the experiences of everyday people.