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Michael Charles Chiklis was born August 30, 1963 and is an American actor, voice actor and occasional director. He is known for starring in the TV series The Commish (1991-1996) and The Shield (2002-2008) as well as for his role as The Thing in the Fantastic Four film series.
Chiklis was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, the son of Charlie Chiklis, a second-generation Greek American who runs a hair/beauty salon, and Katherine, a hospital administrative aide from whom Chiklis has been described as inheriting his acting ability.Chiklis' paternal ancestors came from Lesbos Island.Chiklis grew up in Andover, Massachusetts and began entertaining his family with celebrity imitations when he was five years old. As a child, Chiklis appeared in regional theater productions and became a member of the Actors' Equity Association at age thirteen. He later attended Boston University College of Fine Arts, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
At age 20, Chiklis shaved his head to look like male-pattern baldness for the part of a 65-year-old man in You Can't Take It With You. Instead of using powder on his head (as he did on his face), he used greasepaint, and he failed to remove it properly at the end of each day. This killed the hair follicles on his head, essentially shaping his career in many ways. Chiklis has said in an NPR interview that this was a very traumatic experience as a young actor, and is the reason he wore a hairpiece in Wired.
After graduation, Chiklis moved to New York City with high ambitions, but he struggled for several years before being cast the role of John Belushi in the controversial biopic Wired in 1989. The film was panned in general and flopped at the box office. He also guest starred in several popular television series such as Miami Vice, L.A. Law, Murphy Brown, and Seinfeld alongside bit parts in films like Nixon.
The Commish was Chiklis's first acclaimed and successful role. In the family-friendly police comedy/drama, Chiklis played Anthony "Tony" J. Scali, a police commissioner in a small city in upstate New York. A stern but lovable father figure, Chiklis's character had an easygoing style, smart wit, and an unorthodox approach to parenthood and police work. After The Commish, Chiklis starred in the short-lived and critically-panned NBC sitcom Daddio.
After playing Curly Howard in a television movie about the Three Stooges, Chiklis decided to reinvent his image. With his wife's help, he spent six months on an extensive workout regimen and shaved his head. He turned up to audition for The Shield looking nothing like the pudgy, friendly character of The Commish. Winning over creator Shawn Ryan, Chiklis nabbed the leading role of the show's tough, edgy, detective Vic Mackey. Although The Shield was controversial because of its violent content, Chiklis's performance was highly praised, with his first major recognition coming when he won the 2002 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series for his role as Detective Vic Mackey. He received a Golden Globe Award that same year for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series-Drama as well. Between 2004 and 2005, he was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama Series but did not win.
Since 2000, Chiklis has taken up a number of voice roles, voicing Chihiro's father, Akio, in the English dub of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away and Roman/King Webster in the direct-to-video feature The Adventures of Tom Thumb & Thumbelina. He has also performed in several episodes of Family Guy and had a voice role in Heavy Gear: The Animated Series.
In 2005, he starred in Fantastic Four as The Thing and for its sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. A fan of the comic series, Chiklis was often praised for his performance in a film that otherwise earned mixed reviews.
Chiklis had a role in the 2008 film Eagle Eye as the United States Secretary of Defense.
In the wake of Bernard Madoff scandal, Chiklis is developing a series at FX about a similar investment scheme. The project, called House of Cards, concerns a group committing an elaborate scam similar to the Madoff fraud. Chiklis had been developing the project since February 2008 after he and his wife became victims of a Ponzi scheme themselves. "Cards" will likely center on the leader of the scheme, with Chiklis planning to executive produce but not star.