Michael Bay
Birth Date:
February 17, 1965
Birth Place:
Los Angeles, California, USA
6' 2" (1.88 m)
Famous for:
Producer-director behind such blow-'em-up action films as Bad Boys (1995), The Rock (1996) and Armageddon (1998)
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High Grossing Director


“I'm one of the few directors - it seems like a dying art - that actually shoot a lot in the camera.” Michael Bay

Film director and producer Michael Bay started out as director with music videos and commercials (he has won every major commercial directing award since the age of 26) before making his feature film directorial debut with the smash hit “Bad Boys” (1995). Since then, he has risen to fame as the director/producer of such big-budget blockbusters as “The Rock” (1996), “Armageddon” (1998), "Pearl Harbor" (2001), "Bad Boys II" (2003) and "Transformers" (2007). He is currently directing the upcoming sequel to the 2007 film "Transformers," "Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen."

Bay will serve as the producer of several upcoming horror/thriller films, including "The Horsemen," "The Unborn," "Friday the 13th," "The Birds" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street."

“I don't make movies for critics. I make them for crowds that laugh and applaud at the end.” Michael Bay

The 6' 2" filmmaker/producer, who is known for his high grossing action-packed movies, ranked #47 on Premiere's 2005 Power 50 List. He once dated Playboy centerfold Jaime Bergman (45th Anniversary Playmate).


Childhood and Family:

Born in Los Angeles, California, on February 17, 1965, Michael Benjamin Bay was raised in Westwood, California, by his adoptive parents, Jim Bay, a district attorney, and Harriet Bay, a bookstore owner/child psychiatrist. He has a sister named Lisa Bay.

After being rejected by USC and other notable film schools, Bay enrolled at Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut, where he was a member of the PSI Upsilon fraternity. There, he studied under film historian Jeanine Basinger, who later provided audio commentary, along with Bay, for the “Pearl Harbor” (2001) DVD. Bay received his BFA degree in film in 1986 and later an MFA degree in film from the Art College Center of Design, in Pasadena, California.

Bay owns mastiff hounds named Mason and Grace, after characters in “The Rock” (1996) and “Armageddon” (1998). He is a very close friend of writer/director George Lucas from whom he often seeks advice. He is also a very good friend to Don Michael Paul. He even lent him some aerial shots from “The Rock” (1996) for Paul's movie “Half Past Dead” (2002).

The Rock


Spending his teenage years making films using his parents' Super-8 movie camera, Michael Bay landed a filing job at Lucasfilm at age 15 and worked at ILM in the storyboard department for films like “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981). He studied at Wesleyan University and the Pasadena Arts Center, where he shot a Coke commercial as a student project.

After graduation, Bay landed his first project in the music video business. One of the members of the LA music video production company Propaganda Films, he worked on videos for artists such as Meat Loaf, Richard Marx, Wilson Phillips, Lionel Richie, The DiVinyls, and Tina Turner and helped re-launch Donny Osmond's career. His work won recognition and a number of MTV award nominations.

He began directing television commercials for such large companies as Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Nike, and Reebok. His most successful advertising campaign was the series of "Got Milk?" ads that earned him 1994 Director's Guild nomination for Best Commercial Director and won him the Grand Prix Clio for Commercial of the Year and the Cannes Silver Lion. He also won the Gold Lion at Cannes for The Best Beer campaign for Miller Lite. In 1995, he was honored by the Directors Guild of America as Commercial Director of the Year.

Bay was subsequently hired by producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer to make a music video called "Days of Thunder." In 1995, Simpson and Bruckheimer stepped in to produce Bay's feature film directorial debut, “Bad Boys,” which became a star-maker for then-newcomer actors Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. The $23 million action movie became a success, grossing more than $141 million in ticket sales worldwide, and has generated huge profit for the producers and Columbia Pictures.

“I look at directing as a sporting event. It's a race, a marathon. It's great when it clicks, which is why I push my crews so hard so we can excel.” Michael Bay

In 1996, after directing the "Got Milk?" TV commercial for the American Dairy Association, Bay released his second film, "The Rock." Starring Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, and Ed Harris, the film was also successful. Like Bay's first film, the summer blockbuster was also produced by Simpson and Bruckheimer and is dedicated to Simpson who died five months before its release. “The Rock” won a number of minor awards, including “Best On-Screen Duo” for Connery and Cage at the MTV Movie Awards, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound.

Bay then directed the video "Falling in Love is Hard on the Knees" for Aerosmith (1997) and a TV commercial for Nike called "Alpha Project" (1998-1999). He signed a two-year multimillion dollar producing and directing deal with Disney and helmed the big-budget disaster/science fiction "Armageddon" (1998), which he co-produced with Bruckheimer and released on Disney's Touchstone Pictures label. Starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, and Liv Tyler, the film was an international box office success, but received a large amount of criticism from film reviewers. It received the Saturn Awards for Best Direction and Best Science Fiction Film, but was also nominated in seven categories for the 1998 Golden Raspberry Awards (The Razzies). Bay won a Saturn Award for Best Director at the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.

Talking about the film, Bay admitted, “It is really cool to have created a movie that has turned out to become the biggest movie of the year.”

In 2001, Bay directed the big-budget WWII-era set "Pearl Harbor," which again he co-produced with Bruckheimer. The movie, a dramatic re-imagining of the attack on Pearl Harbor that stars Ben Affleck, Alec Baldwin, Jon Voight, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, Cuba Gooding Jr., Dan Aykroyd, Jaime King, and Jennifer Garner, won an Oscar for Best Sound Editing and an ASCAP Award for Top Box Office Films.

2003 saw Bay direct "Bad Boys II," a sequel to the 1995 smash hit "Bad Boys." At the MTV Movie Awards 2004, it was nominated for "Best Action Sequence" and won "Best On-Screen Team" for returning stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.

Bay was offered the opportunity to direct “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” (2003) and “Man on Fire” (2004), but pulled out of the projects because of scheduling conflicts. He also turned down the offer to direct “Van Helsing” (2004), opting to do “The Island” (2005) instead. Unfortunately, the $126 million sci-fi thriller, which he also co-produced and stars Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson, was considered a domestic box office bomb. It earned only $36 million at the United States box office, but went on to gross $127 million overseas.

During this time, Bay directed the ad "Chevy: An American Revolution" which premiered on TV on the first day of 2004. He also bought the special effects company Digital Domain from former owners James Cameron and Stan Winston in 2006 and was considered to direct “Superman Returns” (2006). He served as a co-producer of the Jonathan Liebesman directed "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" (2006), a prequel to New Line Cinema's 2003 film "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

“I was a non-'Transformer' fan, but that's good because I think it makes it more accessible for people that are non-'Transformer' fans. I kept having this image of a kid hiding his robots from his parents. To me that's just a great kid fantasy. You have alien robots that are your friends. That's charming to me.” Michael Bay (on his approach in making “Transformers” (2007)

Bay hit the box offices in 2007 with the movie "Transformers" (2007). Starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, and Jon Voight, the film was a box office success and won four awards from the Visual Effects Society. It was also nominated for three Academy Awards.

In early 2008, Bay appears as the director of an over-the-top TV commercial ('Determined to be Different') for Australia's Commonwealth Bank. He is currently sitting in the director's chair for the sequel "Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen," in which Steven Spielberg returns as the executive producer, alongside the original film stars. It began shooting in May 2008 and is set for a June 26, 2009 release date.

Bay also serves as a producer for the upcoming films "The Horsemen," a thriller directed by Jonas Åkerlund and starring Dennis Quaid and Zhang Ziyi, "The Unborn," a supernatural thriller film directed by David S. Goyer that stars Gary Oldman, and "Friday the 13th," a horror helmed by Marcus Nispel that stars Jared Padalecki and Danielle Panabaker. Additionally, he is producing Martin Campbell's upcoming remake of Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 thriller, "The Birds," which is rumored to star Naomi Watts, and a new horror/thriller that re-imagines the horror icon Freddy Krueger, "A Nightmare on Elm Street."


  • Motion Picture Sound Editors: Filmmaker's Award, 2008

  • World Stunt Awards: Action Movie Director Award, 2002

  • Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films: Saturn Award--Best Director, "Armageddon," 1999

  • Directors Guild of America (DGA): Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials, "California Milk: Aaron Burr," "Vending Machine," "Baby and Cat/Miller Lite: Big Lawyer Round-Up/Nike: Deion Sanders," 1995

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