Michael Ealy
Birth Date:
August 3, 1973
Birth Place:
Silver Spring, Maryland, USA
5' 9''
Springbrook High School, Maryland
Show more

Sleeper Cell


"I love to act because it's the only aspect of my life beside God and family that I am truly passionate about on a daily basis. I thank God for not only the gift of creative expression but also surrounding me with others who both possess the gift and support it to the fullest." Michael Ealy.

Following his star-making performance as reformed street thug Ricky Nash in the Barbershop films (2002 and 2004), Michael Ealy quickly became one of Hollywood’s leading young actors list. He went to star in Never Die Alone (2004) with DMX and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his role as Darwyn al-Sayeed (2005-Present), a 30-year-old African-American undercover FBI agent assigned to infiltrate a terrorist sleeper cell, in the Showtime one-hour drama series “Sleeper Cell.” He was also critically acclaimed while playing Halle Berry's ill-fated true love in the TV movie sensation Their Eyes Were Watching God (2005).

Besides acting, the 5' 9½" tall performer with bright blue eyes and charming smile also appeared in Mariah Carey's music video for her hit single "Get Your Number" and in the "Trade It All" music video with Fabolous featuring P. Diddy and Jagged Edge.

Michael Brown

Childhood and Family:

Born in Silver Spring, Maryland on August 3, 1973, Michael Brown was raised in the suburban Maryland neighborhood of Stonegate. He attended Springbrook High School and later graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a degree in English.

In Barbershop


“Summer of '93. I spent that summer shooting a movie on eight millimeter video with two of my best friends, who made me audition for the role. And, I just found—I don't know, I had a moment of clarity. I was like “this is what I'm supposed to do.” I know that seems hard to believe at nineteen, but I was nineteen when I made that decision. And I haven't had a single regret. It's extremely fulfilling to do what I do. It really is. Now, obviously, when I do something bad, it will be a little bit different. It'll be “you were great in Barbershop.” Michael Ealy (being asked about at what point he knew that he wanted to be an actor).

Shortly after graduating from college, Michael Ealy relocated to New York where he appeared in several Off-Broadway productions, including the hits “Joe Fearless” and “Whoa Jack,” for which he was nominated an Adelco Award. He subsequently transitioned into television and landed a role in the dramatic TV movie Metropolis (2000). That same year, he also landed a guest spot in an episode of NBC police procedural and legal drama "Law & Order" and ABC short-lived comedy "Madigan Men," as well as a starring role in Mad Matthewz's 27-minute film, The Lush Life.

Following his guest appearance in a January 2001 episode of Showtime’s hit series “Soul Food,” Ealy received his first film role, although only small one, in Charles Herman-Wurmfeld's critically-acclaimed independent romantic comedy, Kissing Jessica Stein (2001; starring Jennifer Westfeldt), which was based on a 1997 off-Broadway play by Westfeldt and Juergensen called "Lipschtick." He followed it up with the next year’s film, Bad Company, an action/adventure spy movie by director Joel Schumacher starring Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock. In the film, he played G. Mo, the best friend of Rock’s Jake Hayes.

In 2002, Ealy delivered a star-making performance as reformed street thug Ricky Nash in Tim Story's ensemble drama comedy Barbershop, alongside Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer and Anthony Anderson. He later reprised his role in its second installment, Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004), helmed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan.

Meanwhile, Ealy had a recurring role in two episodes of the Emmy-winning medical drama series “ER” as well as in writer-director Evan Oppenheimer's Justice (2003) and John Singleton's crime action 2 Fast 2 Furious (also in 2003; starring Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson and Eva Mendes). Additionally, he co-starred with Courteney Cox and James LeGros in Greg Harrison's drama-thriller November and starred opposite DMX in Ernest R. Dickerson's adaptation of Donald Goines' novel, Never Die Alone (both in 2004).

“X is great. He's just a very interesting guy. I would describe his performance as authentic in that he just brings a certain rawness to that character that was so fitting. The guy is—he's not for everybody. Not everybody can take him. But I find something very endearing about him. He's very hot and cold. I mean, if he loves you, he loves you. If he doesn't, it's bad. It's real bad. Personally, I haven't seen the bad side. So we're very cool. I had a good time working with him.” Michael Ealy (on working with DMX).

In 2005, Ealy returned to the small screen, teaming with Oscar winner Halle Berry in the Oprah Winfrey-produced TV movie sensation set in the 1920s, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Playing Tea Cake, Berry's ill-fated true love, Ealy won a Black Reel award for Best Actor – Television. He also secured a regular role on Showtime’s Emmy-nominated drama "Sleeper Cell," playing the lead role of Darwyn al-Sayeed, a 30-year-old African-American undercover FBI agent assigned to infiltrate a terrorist sleeper cell that is planning an attack in Los Angeles. His brilliant performance later was nominated a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television. The one-hour show began airing on December 4, 2005, and its eight-episode second season premiered on December 10, 2006.

During his "Sleeper Cell" stint, Ealy also went to star as Jacob, a young man just released from a psychiatric ward attempts to lead a normal life, in writer-director Mark Banning's drama film Jellysmoke (2005).

"Teaching. When I was in college I was an English major and my last year or so I tutored high school students in reading and writing. After I got into acting I said to myself, where does your real passion lie and if you do the teaching route will you say 'what if?' when you are 40 and regret that you didn't act. I thought, "Hell yeah, I would regret it." Michael Ealy (when asked if he could imagine doing anything else if he wasn't acting).


  • Black Reel: Best Actor - Television, Their Eyes Were Watching God, 2006

Show Less
© Retna
© Screen Gems
© Retna
© Screen Gems
© Retna
© Sony Pictures Classics
© Retna
© Retna