As a renowned thespian and one of the most captivating stars of ABC’s hit series Lost, 2009 Emmy winner for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and 2010 Golden Globe nominee for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television, Michael Emerson proves that being the bad guy pays off. Named by Variety as “one of the greatest villains in television history,” Emerson held Lost’s inexplicable answers close for his five-season tenure on the hit series. Now Emerson stars as the lead of CBS #1 drama Person of Interest which debuted as the fastest-growing show on network television, out-delivering every scripted program on every other network. In the hugely popular action-drama series, Emerson finds himself reunited with Lost creator J.J. Abrams where he stars alongside James Caviezel as the mysterious and shadowy tech billionaire Finch who had decided to dedicate himself to a justice mission and teams up with John Reese (Caviezel), an ex-CIA operative who he recruits to do the field work.
During its 6 season run, Lost became a national phenomenon, igniting the return of intelligent and in-depth television. Emerson played the deceitful ex-leader of The Others, Benjamin Linus, who believed he has the island’s best interests in mind. Recently, Emerson guest starred to great acclaim on the NBC drama Parenthood. Married to Carrie Preston, who stars as Arlene Fowler on HBO’s #1 hit series True Blood, the 2 are making waves as one of television’s most successful power couples.
Emerson was raised in a small farming community in Iowa and fell in love with theater while watching a high school production of Arsenic and Old Lace. His first public success was in the role of a Swedish lumberjack at the state Speech and Debate competition (Humorous Declamation division). He attended Drake University on a scholarship where he majored in Theater. Emerson’s slight frame and piercing voice allowed him to specialize in the playing of old men and eccentrics.
Emerson made his Broadway debut in 1999 in The Iceman Cometh (sharing a dressing room with Kevin Spacey, Tony Danza and Paul Giamatti). Later he would appear in Hedda Gabler opposite Kate Burton. Many period and language plays have drawn him to off-Broadway and regional stages since then.
Emerson arrived on the TV screen in the form of serial-killer William Hinks on ABC’s The Practice, winning a 2001 Emmy award for Best Guest Performance in a Dramatic Series, and has since appeared on Law & Order, The X-Files, Without a Trace and the HBO movie The Laramie Project. For movies, he is most often recognized for his roles in Saw, The Legend Of Zorro, The Imposters and Straight Jacket. In 2008, he received critical acclaim for his role in Ready? OK!, a story of a gay teen’s struggle for acceptance by his family and community.
Emerson is keen on Shakespeare and the classical theater, drawing, and ghost stories. He supports off-Broadway theater and theater-community charities (Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Gay Men’s Health Crisis), and publicly-supported radio stations.