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Michael Michele Biography

Michael Michele Williams was born in Evansville, Indiana, on the 30th of August 1966. She received the masculine first name by being named after her mother's best friend, Michael Ann. The daughter of Jerry, a shipping executive, and Theresa, a pharmaceutical company manager, Michael grew up in a competitive environment where she and her younger sister were always trying to outdo each other on the courts.

That's right, the courts -- since she spent most of her teenage years shooting hoops. A star forward in Indiana's Benjamin Bosse High School's women's basketball team (the top ranked women's high school basketball team, we might add), Michael's passion was split between basketball and acting. Broadway plays especially fascinated her, and with dreams of pursuing an acting career, Michael headed to the Big Apple after her 1984 high school graduation.

Michael was forced to work in commercials in order to make a living as a struggling actor, while auditioning for films. In the meantime, she was cast to appear in three consecutive Freddie Jackson videos after the musician noticed her. But then casting directors began to take notice of the athletic beauty, and bigger and better things were yet to come her way.

Her unusual name helped her get auditions, as casting directors were intrigued and had to meet the woman behind the male moniker. She finally received her first role in 1990's Def by Temptation, as Lady #6, but it was her role as Wesley Snipes' girlfriend in 1991's New Jack City that was a sign of Michael's future success.

After television roles in Dangerous Curves and Trade Winds, Michael landed the role of lawyer Sandra Gill on New York Undercover in 1994, and portrayed a trendy art gallery owner in the television series Central Park West. Michael's role as tough detective Rene Sheppard during the final season of the popular crime drama Homicide: Life on the Street paved the way to her present emergency room part.

Presently starring as third year resident Dr. Cleo Finch in the Emmy-award winning medical series ER, Michael has finally found the role to put her on the Hollywood map -- a far cry from her days of crashing auditions for the Black Negro Ensemble. Before her medical uniform wearing days, Michael appeared in films such as The Sixth Man, starring Marlon Wayans; The Substitute 2: School's Out; the television miniseries, Creature; and most recently, Homicide: The Movie.

In her free time, Michael volunteers her time for charitable causes, participating in charity basketball tournaments, and working with underprivileged children (which she has done since the age of 15) as a mentor.

Splitting her time for work and play between her L.A. and New York apartments, Michael continues to impress others on the basketball courts, and enjoys running, listening to jazz music, and reading about financiers.

Hailed as one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World, Michael's talent, determination and focus are signs that she is only on her way up -- stat.


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