Michael Emerson (Actor) - The Practice, Lost
Michael Emerson 1
Updated: 1/31/13

Name: Michael Emerson

Born: September 7, 1954, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Claim To Fame: He is well-known for his roles as serial killer William Hinks in The Practice and Benjamin Linus on Lost.

Family Life: Emerson has been married to actress Carrie Preston since 1998. They met while performing in a stage production of Hamlet in Alabama.

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Info: Emerson moved to New York City after graduating from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa to pursue acting work. However, he couldn't find anything at first, so he took on retail jobs and freelance illustrating work.

He moved with his first wife to Jacksonville, Florida in 1986, where he appeared in local productions at Theater Jacksonville and The Players by the Sea and worked as a director and teacher at Flagler College.

In 1993, he enrolled in the Alabama Shakespeare Festival's University of Alabama-sponsored Master of Fine Arts/Professional Actor Training program; and, upon graduating in 1995, he returned to New York where he appeared in the annual Alabama Shakespeare Festival showcase.

In 1997, he won the starring role as Oscar Wilde in Moises Kaufman's critically acclaimed off-Broadway play, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde. He followed this up with several performances, including the 1998 off-Broadway production of Le Misanthrope opposite Uma Thurman. The next year he performed with Kevin Spacey in The Iceman Cometh.

In 2006, Emerson began appearing on the television series Lost as Benjamin Linus, a character that was only supposed to appear in a few episodes. However, he returned for the next season and his character later became the main antagonist of the show.

He received an Emmy nomination in the "Outstanding Supporting Actor" category in 2007 for his work in the third season and was nominated again in 2008 for his role in the fourth season. He won the award in 2009 after being nominated for his role in the fifth season. Emerson was nominated in 2009 for a Golden Globe in the "Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role" category. He was nominated for an Emmy for each season in which he was listed in the main cast.

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Trivia: Graduate of Drake University, where he earned a degree in Theater Arts.

Worked as a freelance illustrator for publications like The Boston Globe and The New York Times.

Emerson graduated from South Tama County High School in Tama, Iowa.

won an Emmy Award in 2001 as "Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series", for playing serial killer William Hinks in several episodes of The Practice.

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Where Are They Now: In 2010, Emerson and his wife read A.R. Gurney's Love Letters at the Charleston Stage as part of a fundraiser for the theatre.

Emerson currently stars on J.J. Abrams series, Person of Interest, which debuted on CBS in September 2011. He plays Harold Finch, a billionaire who pairs up with a supposedly dead CIA agent to fight crime in New York City.

Emerson is a supporter of charities associated with the theatre community, including the Actors Fund, Broadway Cares, and Off-Off Broadway, in addition to publicly supported radio stations and Habitat.

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