American actor Michael Beach is well-remembered by television audiences for playing paramedic Monte 'Doc' Parker in the NBC drama “Third Watch” (1999-2005) and his recurring role of Al Boulet, a man who infects his ex-wife with HIV, in the hit medical drama “ER” (1995-1997). The former athlete took home a 2003 Image Award for his work in “Third Witch.” His long and varied list of television credits also include recurring roles in “Under Suspicion,” “NYPD Blue,” “Brothers & Sisters” and “Stargate: Atlantis,” and performances in such TV movies as “Weekend War” (1988), “Knight Rider 2010” (1994), “Rebound: The Legend of Earl 'The Goat' Manigault” (1996), “Ruby Bridges” (1998) and “Critical Assembly” (2003). On the silver screen, Beach, who made his debut alongside Wesley Snipes in “Streets of Gold” (1986), has acted in various films, most notably James Cameron's “The Abyss” (1989), Carl Franklin's “One False Move” (1992), Robert Altman's “Short Cuts” (1993, jointly netted a Golden Globe Award and a Venice Film Festival Award), Tony Scott's “True Romance” (1993), Damian Harris' “Bad Company” (1995), Forest Whitaker's “Waiting to Exhale” (1995), Richard Pearce's “A Family Thing” (1996), George Tillman Jr.'s “Soul Food” (1997, earned a nomination at the Acapulco Black Film Festival), Eriq La Salle's “Crazy as Hell” (2002) and Larry Bishop's “Hell Ride” (2008).
The Juilliard graduate will have roles in “Relative Stranger” (2008, TV), “Play Dead” (2008), “Night and Day” (2009, TV) and “Pastor Brown” (2009). He is set to return to series TV in the Canadian drama “Soul” (2009).
Beach has four children with his former wife, Tracey. He is now in relationship with actress Elisha Wilson, with whom he lives with in Los Angeles.
Childhood and Family:
Born on October 30, 1963, in Roxbury, Massachusetts, Michael Anthony Beach was raised alongside his three siblings by his divorced mother, Barbara Gomez Beach, a city planner. Thanks to his athletic prowess, the accomplished running back won a football scholarship to the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Massachusetts. However, an ankle injury cut short his ambition of having a professional football career. Following a suggestion from a friend, Michael then tried his hand at acting and secured a part in his very first audition. After graduating in 1982, he went on to pursue drama studies at New York City's Juilliard School, whose classmates also included upcoming stars like Eriq LaSalle, Andre Braugher and Ving Rhames.
Michael has three daughters, Ivy-Belle, Ella-Bleu and Lariah-Skye, and a son named Travon. They were mothered by his ex-wife Tracey.
Star athlete Michael Beach turned his attention to acting in high school after a lacrosse injury ended his sport’s career. He then appeared in a school play called “The Diary of Anne Frank” and went on to make an impact at the celebrated Julliard School in New York, from which he won a scholarship after a noted performance at NAACP’s Act-So contest. At the time, he played Walter Lee in “Raisin in the Sun.”
Entering Julliard in 1982, Beach was awarded a Drama League for Outstanding Achievement in 1984 and won a New York Shakespeare Festival Award two years later. Just before his graduation, he had his first taste in front of the film camera playing opposite Wesley Snipes in the sport’s themed “Streets of Gold” (1986), directed by Joe Roth. Also that year, he made his TV movie debut in CBS' “Vengeance: The Story of Tony Cimo,” starring Brad Davis.
After graduating, Beach performed in a number of off-Broadway and regional plays before eventually moving to Los Angeles to find more opportunities in film and television. Along the way, he landed starring roles in the L.A. productions of “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Ascension Day.”
In 1987, Beach got a bit part in Peter Yates’ drama “Suspect,” which offered him the chance to act with such big names as Dennis Quaid, Liam Neeson and John Mahoney, and appeared with Kevin Bacon in the indie drama “End of the Line.” He moved on to star in the forgettable romance “In a Shallow Grave” (1988) and in 1989, he could be seen playing Mr. Darnell in the Morgan Freeman vehicle “Lean on Me” and Barnes in the blockbuster movie “The Abyss,” directed and written by James Cameron and starring Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.
Meanwhile, on television, Beach nabbed a regular role in the syndicated police series “The Street” (1988), was cast as a reserve military volunteer in the ABC television movie “Weekend War” (1988), opposite Stephen Collins and Daniel Stern, and costarred in the based-on-play “Open Admissions” (1988). He also appeared in “Taking a Stand” (1989), an “ABC Afterschool Specials” where he was cast as Jake.
1990 saw Beach portray an obedient Los Angeles officer in “Internal Affairs,” a thriller directed by Mike Figgis and starring Richard Gere and Andy Garcia, and a hard-bitten stockade convict in “Cadence,” opposite Charlie Sheen, Laurence Fishburne and Martin Sheen, who also directed the drama. He then appeared with Lauren Hutton and Heather Graham in the independent film “Guilty as Charged” (1991) and played a doctor in the Sci-Fi movie “Late for Dinner” (1991), starring Peter Berg, before scoring a breakthrough with the cult hit “One False Move” (1992), a thriller directed by Carl Franklin.
Beach next joined Andie MacDowell, Bruce Davison, Jack Lemmon, Julianne Moore, Matthew Modine and others for the award winning ensemble drama “Short Cuts” (1993), helmed by Robert Altman, and shared Golden Globe's Special Award and the Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup for Best Ensemble Cast for his work in the film. He appeared in another high profile project later that same year, the Tony Scott-directed “True Romance,” which starred Christian Slater, Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt, Samuel L. Jackson and Dennis Hopper.
By the time Beach costarred in the syndicated TV film “Knight Rider 2010” (1994), the Massachusetts native had made such TV movies as “Fire: Trapped on the 37th Floor” (1991), “The Hit List” (1993) and “Final Appeal” (1993) and appeared as a guest star in such series as “Quantum Leap” (1991) and “Walker, Texas Ranger” (1993). After having a part in the television sequel “Midnight Run for Your Life” (1994), starring Melora Walters, he appeared in “Under Suspicion” and “NYPD Blue.” However, it was his recurring role in the popular medical series “ER” that gained Beach real notice. Playing Al Boulet, the alienated husband of doctor's assistant Jeanie (played by Gloria Reuben), who unintentionally infects his wife with the HIV virus after having an affair, he was in the show from 1995 to 1997 and received a 1998 Image nomination in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. Beach enjoyed additional attention on the big screen with his roles in director Damian Harris' drama “Bad Company” (1995) and the Forest Whitaker directed, Terry McMillan written drama “Waiting to Exhale” (also 1995).
Afraid of being typecast as a cheating louse, Beach took on the role of James Earl Jones’ son on the 1996 comedy “A Family Thing,” which reunited him with Billy Bob Thornton. He was then reunited with James Earl Jones for the HBO film “Rebound: The Legend of Earl 'The Goat' Manigault” (also 1996), which was directed by “ER” costar and longtime friend Eric La Salle. Beach then played a lawyer in the drama “Soul Food” (1997). For his fine acting, Beach was handed a Black Film nomination for Best Actor at the 1998 Acapulco Black Film Festival. Directed and written by George Tillman, Jr., the film featured an ensemble cast of Vanessa L. Williams, Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long, Mekhi Phifer, Jeffrey D. Sams, Irma P. Hall, Gina Ravera and Brandon Hammond.
A year after leaving “ER,” Beach was seen in Tim Reid's “Asunder,” with Blair Underwood and Debbi Morgan, the award-winning short “A Room Without Doors,” for director Mel Donalson, “Ruby Bridges” (ABC), playing the father of Chaz Monet, “Johnny Skidmarks,” opposite Peter Gallagher, Frances McDormand, John Lithgow and Jack Black, and the Kasi Lemmons short “Dr. Hugo.” He then costarred with James Belushi and Timothy Dalton in the 1999 independent film “Made Men” and returned to series TV as a guest star in “Law & Order” and “Touched by an Angel” (both 1995) and was heard in the animated series “Spawn” (1999).
Still in 1999, Beach was cast as the idealistic paramedic Monte “Doc” Parker on the NBC drama series “Third Watch.” The show was a success and ran for six seasons until 2005. As for Beach, he was nominated for an Image award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series in 2000 and finally picked up the trophy in 2003.
An active performer, Beach managed to get work during the show's breaks. In 2002, he acted alongside Eriq La Salle in the thriller “Crazy as Hell,” which was also helmed by La Salle. As Dr. Ty Adams, Beach received a Black Reel nomination for Theatrical - Best Independent Actor. He was then cast as FBI Agent Winston in the NBC movie “Critical Assembly” (2003), directed by Eric Laneuville, and guest starred as Andy Abbott in the “Law & Order: SVU” episode of “Lowdown” (2004).
Beach continued his TV career with appearances in episodes of “Brothers & Sisters” (2006, as Noah Guare), “Justice League” (2004-2006, as the voice of Mr. Terrific), “Without a Trace” (2006), “Criminal Minds” (2007) and more recently, was seen in the Sci-Fi series “Stargate: Atlantis,” where he plays the recurring role of Colonel Abe Ellis (2007-2009). On the film front, Beach teamed up with Ice Cube, Katt Williams, Tracy Morgan and Loretta Devine for David E. Talbert's “First Sunday” (2008) and made an impact as Goody Two-Shoes in the Sundance premiered “Hell Ride” (2008), directed and written by and starring Larry Bishop.
Forty-something Beach has five post-production projects under his belt. He plays James Clemons in the drama “Relative Stranger” (2008, TV), directed by Charles Burnett, and Preston in the crime “Night and Day” (2009, TV), starring William Fichtner as Dan Hollister. He also costars with Chris Klein, Fred Durst and Jake Busey in the Jason Wiles action film “Play Dead” (2008) and supports Salli Richardson in “Pastor Brown” (2009). Beach currently plays Isaiah in the Canadian series “Soul” (2009).
Image: Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series, “Third Watch,” 2003
Golden Globe: Special Award, Best Ensemble Cast, “Short Cuts,” 1994
Venice Film Festival: Volpi Cup, Best Ensemble Cast, “Short Cuts,” 1993