“Sometimes I marvel at my good fortune. You can never take it for granted and I am always challenging myself and trying to develop.” Michael Boatman
Making his professional entrance into the entertainment business by playing Motown in the critically heralded “Hamburger Hill” (1987), actor Michael Boatman has since worked steadily on stage, television and film. The Image Award nominee, however, is best-recalled by TV audiences for his roles of Samuel Beckett in the drama series “China Beach” (ABC, 1998-1991), Carter Heywood in the sitcom “Spin City” (ABC, 1996-2002) and Stanley Babson in the comedy series “Arli$$” (HBO, 1996-2002). Boatman netted four Image nominations and a GLAAD Award for “Spin City” and two Image nominations for “Arli$$.” He has also appeared in many TV films and made guest appearances in such popular series as “Law & Order,” “Scrubs,” “Grey's Anatomy” and “Hannah Montana.” Boatman's movie credits include “The Glass Shield” (1994), “Woman Thou Art Loosed” (2004), “And Then Came Love” (2007), “Killing of Wendy” (2008) and “American Summer” (2009).
Boatman, who is also a writer, has collected comic books since he was in the third grade. He currently resides in New York with his wife and four children.
Childhood and Family:
Michael Patrick Boatman was born on October 25, 1964, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Daniel Boatman, an army officer, and Gwendolyn Boatman Pugh, who worked with the handicapped. His parents divorced when Michael was two years old. He grew up in Chicago, Illinois.
Lured by his interest in acting, Michael majored in theater at the Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. He graduated in 1986. During his years at the university, Michael starred in a number of classic dramas. As a senior, he picked up a Best Supporting Actor Award after a performance in the Irene Ryan National Competition at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Eleven years after his graduation, in 1997, Michael was handed an Alumni Achievement Award.
Michael has been married to Myrna Forney since November 28, 1992. The couple has four children.
Michael Boatman, who took home the esteemed Irene Ryan theater award while still an undergraduate, began his professional career by working for a casting agent after graduation. It was not long before he made his feature acting debut in the critically acclaimed Vietnam drama “Hamburger Hill” (1987), in which he played the important role of Motown, opposite Don Cheadle and Dylan McDermott. He then moved to New York City and performed off-Broadway. The following year, he supported Christine Lahti, River Phoenix and Judd Hirsch in Sidney Lumet's “Running On Empty” (1988). Also in 1988, Boatman landed his first TV role in “The Trial of Bernard Goet” for the PBS American Playhouse series. However, he did not experience a real breakthrough until he won the regular role of Sam Beckett on the applauded ABC drama “China Beach,” for which he moved to Los Angeles. Playing the undertaker in the China Beach mortuary, he remained with the show from its debut in 1988 to its cancellation in 1991. In 1990, Boatman made his TV movie debut in CBS' “Donor,” a thriller starring Melissa Gilbert and Jack Scalia.
After “China Beach” went off the air, Boatman had a part in the independent comedy “Unbecoming Age” (1992). Later that same year, he scored a regular role on the Tom Arnold comedy “The Jackie Thomas Show,” playing Grant Watson. Boatman was next seen as Johnny 'J.J.' Johnson in “The Glass Shield” (1994), a critically acclaimed drama directed by Charles Burnett, and in episodes of “The Larry Sanders Show” and “Living Single” (both 1995) before appearing in the syndicated sitcom “Muscle” (also 1995), where he was cast as Garnet Hine. He acted in the short-lived show alongside Alan Ruck.
Boatman's career enjoyed a significant boost when he landed the starring role of Carter Heywood on the ABC sitcom “Spin City” (1996-2002), opposite Richard Kind, Michael J. Fox, Barry Bostwick, Connie Britton, Heather Locklear and his former “Muscle” costar Alan Ruck. The series was a hit and Boatman, who portrayed the hot-tempered, openly gay advisor, earned four Image nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (1998-2001). In addition, he was handed a GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Association Against Defamation) award in the category of Best Actor. Boatman also played the role of Stanley Babson on the HBO series “Arli$$” (1996-2002), which also starred Robert Wuhl, Sandra Oh and Jim Turner. For his fine acting job, he was nominated for two Image awards for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series. While working on the shows, Boatman revisited the big screen with performances in “The Peacemaker” (1997), opposite George Clooney and Nicole Kidman, and the independent movie “Walking to the Waterline” (1998), in which he was reunited with Alan Ruck.
Boatman next portrayed the recurring role of Dave Seaver on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” which he played in five episodes from 2003 to 2006. The role also appeared in two episodes of “Law & Order” (2003, 2007) and Boatman acted in a number of TV movies, including “Educating Lewis” (2004, starred Lewis Black), “Play Dates” (2005, opposite Susan Ward, Erinn Hayes and Rebecca McFarland), “Once Upon a Mattress” (2005, played The Jester), “Traveling in Packs” (2007, starred as Bob) and “Frangela” (2007, starred as Adam), and had episodic role in “Less Than Perfect” (2003), “CSI: Miami” (2004), “ Yes, Dear” (2004), “Scrubs” (2005), “Huff” (2006) and “Grey's Anatomy” (2007). On the big screen, the handsome actor costarred with Kimberly Elise, Loretta Devine and Debbi Morgan in “Woman Thou Art Loosed” (2004), which was adapted from the self-help novel by T.D. Jakes, played Special Angel Albert in “Kalamazoo” (2006), and teamed up with Vanessa Williams and Kevin Daniels for the romantic comedy “And Then Came Love” (2007). In 2008, Boatman played Randall Harrison in an episode of “Hannah Montana.”
Boatman has completed filming the comedies “Killing of Wendy” (2008), which was directed by David Hickson and written by Jason Conway, and “American Summer” (2009), opposite Tom Arnold, Matthew Lillard, Efren Ramirez and Brett Davern. Boatman also had a part in the made-for-TV film “Warehouse 13” (2008), where he portrayed Professor Marzotto. Costars in the mystery included Eddie McClintock, Simon Reynolds, CCH Pounder and Saul Rubinek.
Boatman is also a writer. “God Laughs When You Die,” his first collection of short stories, was published by Dybbuk Press on October 23, 2007, while his horror novel, “The Revenant Road,” was published by Drollerie Press in October 2008. His short stories have also been included in several magazines and multi-author anthologies.
GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Association Against Defamation): Best Actor, “Spin City”