Michael Ealy: The Actor Behind the Blue Eyes
Known for his charming good looks and deep blue eyes, Michael Ealy has graced the big screen in the early 2000’s and never looked back. Though once featured as one of People magazine’s “Sexiest Men Alive” in 2002 Ealy has always been far more interested in developing his acting skills than trading in his looks for stardom.
Ealy, who never considered becoming an actor, changed his mind once he saw Denzel Washington in Spike Lee’s “Mo’ Better Blues” in 1990. This was the first time he thought that acting was something he would like to pursue as a future career. After majoring in English at the University of Maryland, Ealy still harbored the notion to act. So with his English degree in hand the ambitious actor headed for the busy streets of New York City to pursue his career. Learning his craft on the fly while serving tables in various New York restaurants, this blue-eyed beauty took acting classes and workshops for the next five years while in search of his big break. In 1999, Ealy found himself in an Off-Broadway production called “Joe Fearless” as well as “Whoa Jack,” where he played a black soldier on an Alabama Army base in 1960 that battled deep-rooted racial tensions. A year later, Ealy was on stage again, playing a basketball star in the Off-Broadway production “J Fearless (A Fan Dance).” The play had two different endings depending on whether he made the buzzer-beating jump shot or not. “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,” said Ealy.
He would go on to make cameo appearances in Law and Order (1990), Madigan Men (2000) and Showtime’s Soul Food (2000). In addition, Ealy then made his feature debut in 2001 with a small part as an unlucky boyfriend in the romantic comedy “Kissing Jessica Stein.” However, it was his next role in 2002 as “Ricky Nash,” a reformed ex-con trying to earn his G.E.D. This role earned Ealy his first real widespread recognition in the small but very noticeable role in the urban comedy hit “Barbershop.” Ealy would continue to play the character of “Ricky Nash” in the sequel “Barbershop 2: Back in Business,” in 2003. But meanwhile, he scored supporting roles in “Bad Company” (2002), HBO’s “Baseball Wives” (2002) and “2 Fast 2 Furious” (2003) before making the crossover to television and starring in the hit show “ER.”It wasn’t until 2005 and his starring role in the ambitious and controversial Showtime series “Sleeper Cell” that audiences would finally look past his stunning good looks and realize there was talent behind his sparkling blues. He also starred along side Oscar winner Halle Barry, whom he would begin dating off screen, in “Oprah Winfrey Presents: Their Eyes Were Watching God,” an adaptation of Zora Neal Hurston’s novel about an independent-minded African American woman in the 1920’s who goes against the grain of the small town white locals.
Ealy earned a Golden Globe nomination for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television.” He has also co-starred with great actors such as Will Smith and Rosario Dawson in 2008’s “Seven Pounds” as well as Julianna Margulies and Michael J. Fox in CBS’s television series “The Good Wife.” In addition, he has taken on the role as a Bishop hiding in a small Italian village that opposes the Nazis cause in Spike Lee’s acclaimed war drama “Miracle at St. Anna,” in 2008. Ealy has taken the acting bug and ran with it, playing roles in the crime thriller “Takers” (2010) and Tyler Perry’s production of “For Colored Girls” (2010) and most recently gracing the lovely screen in the romantic comedy “Think Like A Man” (2012). “It’s extremely fulfilling to do what I do,” said the actor. “I thank God for not only the gift of creative expression but also surrounding me with others who both posses the gift and support it to the fullest.”